Meet the Team
Ashley Crutchfield, program director
As a Raleigh native, Ashley has yet to fall out of love with her hometown. It’s here that she feels called to serve the community and create a full life with her husband, Sam, and three children, Jake, Beau, and Molly. After graduating with a BA in Communications and Religious Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Ashley moved to Washington DC for the Falls Church Fellows Program. As a graduate of their fifth class in 1999, Ashley holds a deep understanding of and belief in the Fellows Initiative’s value and lasting impact. Upon completion of her Fellows year, Ashley returned to Raleigh, worked in marketing for a computer software company, joyfully married Sam, and soon after started a faux finishing company. Three years later, Ashley and Sam had their first son, Jake, which began her career as a fulltime mom. Three babies under the age of three made for a full life. Ashley has served on the Raleigh Fellows committee since its inception in 2008, helping find mentors, host families and jobs. The Crutchfield clan hosted a Fellow in the inaugural year of 2008, which more than rekindled her love for this program and the young adults coming through it. Ashley began directing the Raleigh Fellows in 2010, grateful for the opportunity to work and serve in this capacity. In her free time, Ashley loves to dance, have meaningful conversations over coffee, work out with friends, read historical fiction, play games with her family, date nights with Sam, anything beach & warm (Caribbean, yes please!), time with extended family, neighbors & friends, watch Jake & Beau play basketball, live vicariously through Molly as she dances, play beach volleyball, listen to all kinds of music, taste new foods, travel (anywhere), play with Chip the dog, and make new friends in the places God has her.
Meg has been involved with the Raleighs Fellows Program as a Committee Member and Mentor since 2016 and considers the program to be an incredible opportunity to give back and to be a part of the Apostles community. Having the chance to be involved in the lives of young adults seeking a deeper relationship with Christ and in doing so, impacting those around them, is a true joy. Meg is a native New Yorker (without the characteristic accent!) and has made North Carolina her home since 1985 when she attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to pursue her Masters Degree in Exercise Physiology. Meg currently works as a Wellbeing Specialist for IBM, designing and delivering wellbeing programs for US based employees. In her leisure time, Meg enjoys cooking, gardening, do-it-yourself projects and just about anything done outdoors.
Bruce and his wife, Susanne, have been involved with the Raleigh Fellows program for a number of years, including as mentors and as a host family. They have been active at Church of the Apostles since its early days in 2002 and have had the opportunity to serve in various capacities. When not hosting or hanging out with the Fellows, Bruce enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, camping, skiing and walking for exercise with his wife. When he has spare time not spent in the swimming pool, reading or working with Neighbor 2 Neighbor, a mentoring ministry in Southeast Raleigh, he practices law as a civil litigator. Bruce and Susanne have 4 children who are (usually) living on their own.
Chris Byron committee chair
After a few years of occasional interactions with the Raleigh Fellows, Chris and his wife Pauline had the joy of a wonderful headlong dive into hosting and mentoring for the “Class of 2017”. Very rapidly Chris began to feel like a “proxy Fellow” gaining much personally from his love of and involvement with the Fellows and the program (they read such great books!). Since 2011 Chris and Pauline have enjoyed being part of the Apostles family, serving in various roles, including the prayer ministry. They have three adult children who have happily left the nest in recent years. For relaxation and fun Chris enjoys fitness classes, hiking, travel, occasional golf or tennis, and attempting to learn the latest dance steps (thanks to some patient tutoring from a fleet-footed Fellow or two). On the vocational side he does finance and tax for SAS, a software company based in the Raleigh area.
Cissie was born and raised in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, then graduated from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. She spent most of her adult life in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area of Texas, moving to Raleigh in the summer of 2013. She has three adult children, all married. She joined Apostles shortly after moving to Raleigh, and has enjoyed becoming involved in the Fellows program. Cissie served as a mentor to a Fellow during the 2015-16 year, and became a member of the Fellows committee at the beginning of 2016. Having watched friends and children of friends go through the program in various places, Cissie has been a fan of the Fellows program for many years. She never dreamed she would be able to participate directly, and is thrilled to have the opportunity now.
Upon returning from a year of overseas mission work in 1998, Sam relocated to Falls Church, VA in order to pursue the lovely and talented (and then current Fellow) Ashley Butler (Crutchfield). During this time, he was able to see firsthand the depth and wholeness that a Fellows program affords young adults beyond what a university degree, parachurch group, or employer can offer. Sam has the privilege of participating in several aspects of the Raleigh Fellows program from interviewing, hosting, coordinating internships, to enjoying trivia and a well-made craft beer with current and past Fellows. His highlight is helping facilitate weekly Roundtable discussions for the Fellows to see how faith is impacting their views on culture from the watercooler to the world at large. Sam is a UNC-Chapel Hill graduate and works for Grubb Ventures, a Raleigh-based commercial real estate development company which renovates and develops apartment, office and retail projects. He loves to fish, hike, and laugh with his kids. Sam does not own a pair of skinny jeans but is not afraid to break bread with men who do.
Bethany graduated from Covenant College in 2013. The Raleigh Fellows Program was brought to her attention by a dear friend towards the end of her senior year, and the rest is history! After experiencing some of the most formative months of her life, she decided to put down roots in Raleigh post-Fellows, and continued to build the community God had so richly blessed her with while in the program. She is currently working at Alfred Williams and Company in downtown Raleigh. She enjoys the mountains, sweet tea, her family and friends, and Sola Coffee.
Ben is a commercial insurance broker for Moore & Johnson Insurance in Raleigh, focusing on insurance for non-profit organizations. Originally from Maryland, Ben entered the Raleigh Fellows program in 2011 after graduating from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He continues to serve at Church of the Apostles on the worship team and in student ministry. Ben and his wife Kara were married in May of 2013. He enjoys playing music, F3 and occasionally attempting to play golf. Ben has been on committee since he graduated the program in 2012.
Kara Smith was a Raleigh Fellow in 2011-2012. It was during the Fellows Program that she recognized her passion for middle and high school students and she was able to work as the Assistant Director of Student Ministries at Church of the Apostles for 5 years. In July 2016, she began working for a small real estate firm in Raleigh, Spencer Properties, as the Events and Marketing Coordinator. She met her now husband, Ben Smith, during her Fellows Year (that's a fun story!) and they were married in 2013. Kara is passionate about conversations and people and enjoys hosting friends for dinner at their house. She also enjoys yoga, being by Wrightsville Beach, and starting each morning with a cup of hot coffee!
Lou is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, but is most importantly a daughter of the King. She is aunt to 11 nephews and nieces and Mom to Cooper and Zoe, her furry children. Professionally, Lou has worked for Alfred Williams & Co. for 28 years, and currently serves as an Account Manager for the company. She has been a host Mom with the Raleigh Fellows for three years and has loved the experience.
Janet moved to Raleigh after graduation from UNC-Chapel Hill (Go Heels!). She and her husband, Jim, raised three sons, who are now married with children. Janet spent many years as a CPA specializing in taxes until she retired in 2018. She now spends her time volunteering in various ministries, playing with grandchildren, reading, hiking and working out. Janet and Jim have been blessed by being involved with the Raleigh Fellows for several years as host parents and mentors. She became a member of the Fellows Committee in 2018, handling Fellows’ financial support.
Benji began teaching for the Raleigh Fellows program in the Fall of 2015. He is a Ph.D. student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary studying Old Testament. Prior to studying at Southeastern, he earned a Masters of Divinity from Virginia Beach Theological Seminary. His primary areas of study include creational theology and Sabbath. For fun, he loves to read the novels of Michael O’Brien (e.g. Island of the World) and be a homebody with his wife, Ashley.
Edward Dixon, Ph.D.
Edward is the Program Director of the Center for Christianity and Scholarship, a Christian study Center in Durham, NC. He earned his Ph.D. in New Testament at Emory University, writing his dissertation on Paul's way of teaching moral reasoning. He earned his B.A. in Public Policy from Duke University and an M.A. in Religion from Yale Divinity School. He is author of “Descending Spirit and Descending Gods: A ‘Greek’ Interpretation of the Spirit’s Descent as a Dove in Mark 1:10,” Journal of Biblical Literature 128 (2009). He has taught the spring semester of the Theology class (New Testament) for the last two years.
As students at the University of North Carolina, Eric experienced the profound depth and power of the Scriptures. Since then, the Lord has called him to serve as the Associate Pastor at Church of the Apostles, helping others to know God through his Word. Eric and his wife Robin have two beautiful and entertaining daughters, in high school and college. Their involvement with the Fellows program is born from this conviction that as people learn to view life through the lens of the Scriptures, God challenges, heals and reforms their lives for their good and his glory.
Mary Vandel Young
Growing up on the wide-open plains of Cheyenne, Wyoming, Mary Vandel Young met Christ when she was 15. Mary later graduated from Baylor University with a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education in 1990. She completed a Master of Divinity Degree in 2003 from Fuller Theological Seminary. Throughout her professional life, Mary taught in international schools and also served on Young Life staff in Kauala Lumpur, Malaysia; Lima, Peru; Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Raleigh, North Carolina.
Serving alongside JourneyMates founders Jennifer Ennis and Sally Breedlove since 2007, and Executive Director since 2012, Mary's vocational passion revolves around her role in JourneyMates. Mary also serves as a mentor and spiritual director to individuals, and has taught a graduate course in Christian Spiritual Formation through the Raleigh Fellows since 2009.
Mary now lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, and attends Church of the Apostles Anglican, with her husband, Dr. Jason Young, a psychologist, and their teenage sons, Luke and Tobias.
Jason has been working as a psychotherapist since 1997, and has worked in private practice in Raleigh since 2005. His therapeutic approach is rooted in a relational understanding of psychodynamic theory. He has extensive experience, academically and clinically, in the integration of Psychology and Theology. Jason also does psychological assessments for children, adolescents, and adults focusing on issues of personality, diagnostic clarification, intelligence, achievement, academically gifted, and learning disorders.
Jason has served as a teacher for the Raleigh Fellows since 2010. He and his beautiful wife Mary have two sons Luke and Tobias, who share his deep passion for the NC State Wolfpack.
In Loving Memory of our Founding Director
May 29, 1954 - January 12, 2018
Ray's life is characterized by his steadfast dedication to his family, friends, and ministry. After helping plant Church of the Apostles, Ray dedicated his time and energy to starting the Raleigh Fellows program. Under his leadership, a small committee hosted the first class of Raleigh Fellows in 2008. After serving as the Director for the first two years, he continued serving the Fellows as a World View teacher for years to come.
Countless friends remember his spiritual leadership, careful listening, quick encouragement, and presence in their lives during times when it mattered most. While he lived a life of humble leadership, it was his remarkable attention to individual lives that left the largest impact on his community. His greatest joy in life was investing in family and friends. Ray's attitude in life can be marked by one of his favorite quotes: "Let your whole life say thank-you."