Steering Committee

Kaitlin Reece, chair of Balancing the Scales, is a postulant in the Diocese of Nebraska and a seminarian at Church Divinity School of the Pacific. She attends St. Martha’s Episcopal Church with her husband and young daughter, where she is involved in preaching and assists with adult formation programming. Kaity is also a lobbyist in the Nebraska Legislature and works on issues related to foster care, juvenile justice, mental health, and services for individuals with developmental disabilities. Her passion for criminal justice reform is rooted not in a moral sense of right and wrong but rather in an experiential understanding of God’s love and the power of redemption through the resurrection of Jesus. She has witnessed the power of healing and restoration in her own life and believes no one is beyond the loving embrace of God.

Dario Ghersi, vice-chair of Balancing the Scales, was born and raised in Genoa, Northern Italy. An academic by training, with and M.D. from the University of Genoa and a Ph.D. from New York University, is an Associate Professor of Biomedical Informatics and calls the Great Plains of Nebraska home. After many years of wandering in the desert, Dario rediscovered Christianity as his native language and the Episcopal Church as the most congenial dialect. He is on the board of the Companions of Mary the Apostle and is looking forward to the end of Capital Punishment in the US.

Susy Miller, Steering Committee member, has been a member of St. Matthew’s Episcopal church in Lincoln for 30 years. She is a member of the Benedictine Oblates of Nebraska which is affiliated with Sacred Heart Monastery. She works at Nebraska Wesleyan University, where she first had the opportunity to read Just Mercy and hear Bryan Stevenson speak in person. This book changed her view on the death penalty, and began a quest to learn more about this social injustice. Then when our Nebraska Episcopal Diocese had a book discussion on this same book, Susy attended and discovered a group of like minded individuals, whom she could learn from and join with to begin to make a difference in our community.

Br. Jerry Thompson, Steering Committee member, has been an Episcopal priest for 30 years and served in various capacities around the country, including as a parish priest and as a Cathedral canon. He is currently a Benedictine monastic at Incarnation Monastery, Omaha, which is the heart of The Benedictine Way, a community that includes a local service corps for young adults as well as a vibrant oblate community of both clergy and laity. Having once served as a jail chaplain, Br. Jerry is well aware of the complexities and challenges within our justice system. He has a particular interest in seeing the end of the death penalty. 

The Reverend Benedict Varnum, Steering Committee member, is the rector of St. Augustine of Canterbury in Elkhorn. Fr Ben is committed to beautiful worship and steady preaching focused on Jesus and our own lives. Fr Ben grew up in the Catholic Church before being confirmed in the Episcopal Church in the eighth grade, and he spent time preparing to become a history or philosophy professor before feeling called to ordained ministry. Ben, his wife Megan and two kittens have a home in Millard. Ben enjoys biking, fancy board games, reading, and keeping up with the latest comic book movies.

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