New Co-Director joins Peace Tree’s Staff

New Co-Director joins Peace Tree’s Staff

Anne Knight steps down

Jessica and Anne, October 2017

Over the summer Peace Tree’s Co-Director, Anne Knight, was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.  Currently, Anne is undergoing treatment and being held by her family and community.  She submitted her resignation effective July 1.

Anne’s year with Peace Tree turned the Center’s quiet presence into a more visible resource to the wider community.  She brought insight to our mission and goals, positive changes to our operating procedures, oversaw house improvements, and pursued funding sources through her adept hand and loving heart.  Anne’s physical presence is missed on our grounds, but her spirit remains.


Meet Erin Duffy-Burke

On September 1 Erin Duffy-Burke was hired to serve with Jessica Gazzola as Co-Director.  Erin brings valuable experience and overflows with energy.  Her love for the care and unfolding of the soul permeates everything she does.

Learn more about Erin through her own words:

Hi all!  I’m excited to be a part of the Peace Tree family—thank you for welcoming me and inviting me to join you in doing this work of renewal and healing.  Peace Tree is a place where sacred space is held, where various spiritualities are welcomed and explored, where the people of God are met right where they are and invited into the peace of God.  Yes!  I want to be a part of that!

I am a transplant to St. Louis—my husband and I moved here five years ago now from Berkeley, CA.  We were both doing our graduate studies at the Graduate Theological Union, a consortium of nine different seminaries.  I loved my time there, immersing myself in the work and study of multi-cultural ministry, theology, liturgy and spirituality.  After graduation, when I mentioned moving to the Midwest, John, my now-husband, said YES! very enthusiastically.  He’s from Casper, Wyoming and I’m from Chicago, yet St. Louis became the place that called us home.  We really enjoy our life here—we live in Dutchtown in South City in a 113 year old house with our two dogs, Connell and Lupe.  We love the parks of St. Louis, the pace of life here and mostly, the people.

My career has mostly been centered around teaching and ministry, in various forms.  I served as a fifth-grade elementary school teacher at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Dallas, Texas, then as a campus minister at Southern Methodist University, also in Dallas.  For my first three and a half years in St. Louis, I was the assistant director of campus ministry at the Newman Center at UMSL.  Working with young people was both amazing and eye-opening.  I savored their questions and their energy, and felt privileged to witness their incredible passion to make the world a better place.  I learned a lot from them—their yearnings, their struggles, their desire for church that is truly supportive and accepting of all.  It was creative, engaging, inspiring work being around them and guiding them in the deepening of spirituality and service in their life and in the life of the Church.

Discerning movement away from campus ministry, I have been contemplating becoming a priest with the Ecumenical Catholic Communion, my current church home.  I have long felt a call to the priesthood’s central call of healing, teaching, preaching, ministry and work for justice.  I have also found abundant time to explore the union of my two loves—embodiment and spirituality.  I am a certified yoga instructor and a yoga therapist, helping others to tap into the wisdom and innate healing potential of their own bodies.  I created and facilitate a weekly movement space called Soul Dance:  safe, sacred space for conscious, free-form movement.  My ministry has also evolved into Interweave:  A Ministry of Embodied Spirituality (, a platform through which I offer spiritual direction, yoga therapy, movement workshops and retreats, my writing and even a newly beginning doula business!  In all of this, I consider myself a midwife of the Soul, as that is the center of my passion—walking with others to breathe and move their way into their truest, most authentic, most God-filled self.

I’m excited to put these gifts to use at Peace Tree, especially the skills I learned as a campus minister, assistant director and facilitator of embodiment.  I hope to offer workshops myself, as well as support the gifts, talents and offerings of others.  I look forward to being a part of the weaving of spirituality, community, healing and growth that is at the heart of Peace Tree.