our staff

  • the rev. dr. richard holmes


    Please feel free to get in touch with  the Rev. Rich at the church office at 505-867-5718 or by email:  pastor@lasplacitaschurch.org

    I was born in Columbia, SC and I spent my childhood and adolescence growing up in both South Carolina and Georgia. I graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1994 with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and from Columbia Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity in 2000. In the next six years, I served as the pastor of two churches. The first was Long Creek Presbyterian in Kings Mountain, NC and the second was Middle Island Presbyterian Church in Middle Island, NY.

    During the first year of my ministry in NC, I met my wonderful wife Kelly and we were married in 2001. We soon had two children. Sophia was born in 2002 and Dominic was born in 2005. At various times, we have also added dogs, guinea pigs, birds, turtles, hedgehogs and fish to our family.

    From 2006 to 2014, our family lived in SC where Kelly taught elementary and middle school while I was again enrolled at the University of South Carolina, but this time as a full-time graduate student seeking a PhD in Philosophy. During this time, I taught Philosophy classes as an adjunct professor while continuing my ministry as the Parish Associate at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Columbia.

    From 2014 to 2020, I served as the pastor of Northminster Presbyterian Church in North Canton, Ohio. During these years, I completed my PhD and continued to work as an adjunct professor, teaching occasional Philosophy classes at Malone University. It was during this period in my life that I was also diagnosed with kidney cancer. Through the grace and providence of God, I was able to catch the tumor in my kidney long before it threatened my life and I had it removed with a simple surgery.

    In October of 2020, I experienced the greatest honor of my career in being elected to be the pastor of Las Placitas Presbyterian Church. I began working remotely as LPPC’s pastor in November of 2020 and I will be moving to New Mexico in January of 2021.

    As I reflect on my life, I remember having a sense that God was calling me to the ministry long before I understood what this call was all about. But as time went on, what I came to care about more than anything else was sharing the good news that God is a God of endless compassion, hope and inclusion. I think it is tragic that sometimes people hear a message from the church that distorts this picture of God and I want my life to be about allowing the undistorted good news of the gospel to be heard. 

  • Karen Cox

    Administrator/Financial Secretary

    Karen Cox was born in Albuquerque and has lived in New Mexico all but two years of her life. She has Bachelor's degrees in History and Government from New Mexico State. After working for the Social Security Administration, she decided to indulge her creative side and owned a wedding business but she found her passion went she went to work for a bookstore. When she decided she was tired of being poor, she went to UNM and took accounting classes. Her work lead to her own small business and working for an architectural firm and an engineering business. She loves God, her husband, Rich Reif, her six cats, reading, the Placitas Library, classical music and good food and wine.

    As the Administrator, Karen is responsible for production of LPPC’s weekly, monthly and annual documents, management of the church office and coordination of church events in partnership with the many volunteers active at LPPC.

    Karen can be reached by phone at 867-5718 or by email: administrator@lasplacitaschurch.org

  • Elliot Smith

    Choir Director

    Elliot Smith just banded with Las Placitas Presbyterian Church as our Music Director in 2015. Bringing his wife, Maria, and son, Desmond with him from California, he and his little family moved to Albuquerque a bit over a year ago. They remain enchanted with the resonant spirit of the people here, the pure beauty of the nature that surrounds us, and the evident, outspoken support for the Arts.  

    Elliot received his Bachelors in Music from the University of Redlands, where he focused on music composition, theory, and vocal performance. At one time, he was simultaneously a member of the Chapel Singers, Madrigals, the University Choir, Those Guys!, an all a cappella ensemble, Riverside Little Opera, and Canto Bello, the group in which he eventually propositionally serenaded his wife. He steadfastly was the Music Director for University United Methodist Church in Redlands, California for eleven years.

    Elliot invites anyone to join LPPC’s choir and shall aim for the experience Anne Lamott felt as she shared in Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith: “Then the singing enveloped me. It was furry and resonant, coming from everyone's very heart. There was no sense of performance or judgment, only that the music was breath and food.” 

    Here in Albuquerque, he recently directed musically for Musical Theatre Southwest’s productions of The Addams Family musical and Once Upon a Mattress, in which he successfully rewrote most of the score from instrumental to be purely a cappella. He recently secured a position as a pianist for the National Dance Institute of New Mexico and he also enjoys working with the Alley Kats Tap Company as their bluegrass and indie-style band-leading Music Director.

    Elliot can be reached at the church office, 867-5718 or by email at:


  • Mindy Sampson


    Mindy Sampson joined LPPC as our accompanist in 2009. Holding both Bachelor and Master degrees in Piano from the University of New Mexico, Mindy has been a professional accompanist for many churches and several choruses in the greater Albuquerque area. In addition to her church work, she has performed with dozens of theater productions, including with Albuquerque Civic Light Opera/Musical Theater Southwest, Albuquerque Little Theatre, Adobe Theater, New Mexico Young Actors, The Cell, Duke City Repertory Theatre, and many local high schools, serving as rehearsal accompanist, pit keyboards, and music director. Mindy's most recent classical accomplishment was a concert of Mozart, Bruch, and Schumann trios with Willy Sucre and Lori Lovato in the Placitas Artists Series. Having toured with operatic baritone Carlos Serrano and played countless concerts, recitals, and appearances at local, national, and international hotels, restaurants, convention centers, and celebrity parties (for Wayne Newton, Renaldo Bellini, Sid Caesar, and Bill Daily, among others), Mindy has been a popular solo pianist (as "Mindy Mae") since 1977.

    In addition to her musical contributions, she knits and crochets for the C&J Prayer Shawl group at LPPC and enjoys her son, Alex, a professional acrobat and an accomplished musician and artist. Mindy shares her punny sense of humour with her sister, Ellanie, who also knits and crochets for LPPC.

  • TBD

    Youth Ministry Coordinator

  • Nicole Madiera and Arielei Kinzer

    Kids' Day Out Preschool (KDO)

    Program Directors

    They can be reached by phone at 505-867-3371 and by email at mdodirectors@gmail.com

  • Bunny Bowen

    Website Manager

    Bunny and Leland Bowen moved to Placitas in November 1975. They have been members of Las Placitas Presbyterian Church since 1980. A fiber artist, Bunny created a number of batik banners for the church and is a former Clerk of Session.

    Bunny is always in need of individuals with an interest in the internet and websites who would like to volunteer at LPPC. Please feel free to contact her with any website questions through the church office at 867-5718 or by email: webmanager@lasplacitaschurch.org.