Meet the Staff of St. Philip's Episcopal Church

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Reverend Brian tarver,

Born in Fort Worth and raised in central Texas near Waco, Brian grew up a cradle Episcopalian and even met his wife, Anna, at the church youth group. During his teenage years, Brian was blessed to help with a yearly medical mission to Honduras. These annual mission trips played a significant role in his path to ministry. As a Boy Scout, Brian fell in love with the outdoors, and he eventually earned his Eagle Award. He attended the University of North Texas, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography.

After college, Brian worked as a youth minister for several years at St. Alban’s in Austin. He made the leap to attending Seminary of the Southwest in Austin. During seminary, Brian served at St. Matthew’s in Austin for his field parish work. Brian was ordained first to the transitional deaconate in May 2015 and then to the priesthood in January 2016. His first call was to serve as a priest on staff at St. Dunstan’s in the North Houston area. In the summer of 2017, St. Philip’s called him to come serve as rector in Beeville, Texas.

Fr. Brian and Anna have three children under the age of six. When there is any free time, Brian enjoys hiking, playing guitar, and trying all different kinds of art mediums. He always tries to find time to explore his passion of photography.

Brian and his family have enjoyed their short time in Beeville, and Brian looks forward to bringing an energetic and youthful approach to ministry here at St. Philip’s.


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Amber Santellana,
   Administrative assistant


Amber serves as the Church’s Administrative Assistant. Amber has studied at the University of Texas at San Antonio. She and her husband AJ are blessed with two beautiful children, daughter Aralynne and son Ayden, who both attend St. Philip’s School. As a family, they enjoy traveling, going to the movies, and board games. Amber worked for the church for several years in the administrative assistant role and also as a pre-k teacher at St. Philip’s School. Amber is also a talented photographer with her own portrait photographer business.  


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Tony Rivas, 

Tony was born in Beeville, Texas, on September 21, 1970. He is married to Linda Mae Rivas. They have six children, four boys and two girls: Tony Jr.(29), Joel (24), Nicole (22), Victoria (18), John (16), and Christian (13). Tony graduated from AC Jones High School in June of 1990. He then entered the US Army on August 6, 1991, where he served for 20 years and retired on November 30, 2011. He and his wife will be celebrating 30 years of marriage on Nov 26, 2017. Tony began working at St. Philip’s on May 19, 2014, working for both the church and the school. Tony’s hobbies include listening to music and maintain his car.

John l Blackburn,

John is the Organist and Choirmaster at St. Philip’s, having previously served as Director of Music for St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and Organist for Temple Rodef Shalom, both in Waco. John graduated Baylor University with a Bachelor degree in Church Music with Organ Emphasis and later a Master of Music in Church Music degree. He is a member of the American Guild of Organist, Organ Historical Society, Pi Kappa Lamba, The Hymn Society of the United States and Canada, and The Royal School of Church Musicians.

John has also participated in the Doctorate of Musical Arts program from the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied with Judith and Gerre Hancock. During his undergraduate years at Baylor University, John served two seasons as Organist for the Baylor University Concert Choir as well as organist for several different University events. 

As a musician for sacred service, John has excelled at the Art of Improvisation.  He has sat as a board member for Baylor University’s Center for Christian Music Studies.  As a hymn writer, Blackburn’s hymns have been sung around Texas and the Southeast, including at a National Convention of the Organ Historical Society in Washington, D.C. in July of 2011.

He has also serve the American Guild of Organists by serving the Central Texas Chapter first as Dean, and later as Secretary and has served on the board of Schola Cantorum of Texas, a professional choir based in Fort Worth.  He has served as a lecturer, teacher and performer for several Pipe Organ Encounters, a national effort to teach both youth and adults how to play the organ.

John is active in the community.  He is a member of Rotary International, serves as president of the school board of St. Philip’s School, and aids various organizations through charity concerts including Habitat for Humanity, the Beeville Vineyard, The Texas Water Mission and Rotary International’s “End Polio Now” Campaign.



Ms. Horton is wholeheartedly committed to creating a nurturing yet challenging atmosphere, where students take pride and find meaning in school traditions and curricular instruction. Her personal and professional experience in education reflects her knowledge and expertise in these areas. Ms. Horton comes to the table with over thirteen years of experience in private education in several capacities: as a student, as an instructor, and in private Christian accreditation. Most recently, Ms. Horton directed business communications and promotions for several businesses in town, including Coastal Bend Distilling, Co. School Board trustees and members of the search committee saw her experience in business & marketing communications as skills that can grow internal operations and lead St. Philip’s Episcopal School’s visibility in the community

Ms. Horton completed her master’s in communication management from the University of Southern California, where she graduated summa cum laude, and earned her bachelor of arts in history, European studies, and marketing from Hillsdale College in Michigan. She attended Hillsdale Academy and Temecula Preparatory School, both classical liberal arts college preparatory schools that have shaped her perspective on private education. Ms. Horton lives in Beeville and enjoys exploring her new home state with her Australian Shepherd, Bailey.