A Lighted Path

About Us

5 Core Values:

  • Inclusivity: We go out as followers of Jesus, humbly listening, to ensure that all voices, regardless of background or belief, are heard and included.
  • Collaboration: Foster partnerships among churches, community leaders, businesses, and local government for holistic development.
  • Sustainability: Focus on initiatives that promote long-term social, emotional, economic, and environmental well-being.
  • Innovation: Encourage creative problem-solving and embrace emerging technologies to address urban challenges.
  • Empowerment: Equip individuals with the skills, resources, and confidence to lead their communities towards positive change

When Leigh Spruill joined the Church of St. John the Divine  in 2021, he shared a vision of A Church in the City — that SJD would seek ways the church could engage to make an impact in our city. 

A two-year research and engagement process focused on the challenges faced by many of our city’s youth.

A Lighted Path is a new nonprofit focused on implementing initiatives that will improve the short-term and long-term outcomes for the very young, for school-aged youth and for young adults disadvantaged by social and economic disparities.

 At the heart of this mission is a focus on relationships, positive one-on-one and group interactions, and mentoring.

A Lighted Path was provided generous seed funding by SJD, but will soon undertake community fundraising, and has received several unsolicited grants to date. A separate non-profit broadens its reach – to our volunteers, the community, donors and supporters.

Our Board Members

Lori Gobillot

President of A Lighted Path Executive Director of Adults in Training

Lori is the heart and soul behind A Lighted Path as the President, and she also spearheads the Adults in Training initiative in her role as Executive Director. She played a pivotal role alongside two other leaders, guiding St. John the Divine’s two-year research and discernment journey known as the Community Engagement Project. This transformative effort paved the way for the birth of A Lighted Path, a vibrant community-centered non-profit organization.

Lori’s passion lies in community-focused ministry, which is evident through her dedicated service on the Boards of Agape Development Ministries and Agape Homes CDC. Her involvement supports Agape’s mission to provide single-family affordable and workforce housing on vacant lots in Houston’s OST/South Union neighborhood.

Before her inspiring journey into community work, Lori enjoyed a distinguished career as an executive at Continental Airlines/United Airlines and as an attorney with Vinson & Elkins. Beyond her professional endeavors, Lori remains committed to making a positive impact within her church and community. She also lends her expertise to the Board of Directors of Oneok and Republic Airways. Lori’s warm and professional demeanor shines through in all her endeavors, making her a true beacon of positivity in our community.

Larry Lawyer

Executive Director of Loving Lamar

With 33 years of executive experience in energy, health care, technology, and manufacturing, Larry Lawyer has led product commercialization and operations of greenfield start-ups to mid and large-capitalized companies. 

Larry has served as special advisor to three private Board of Directors and served on the Finance Committee for a private for-profit domestic hospital. Larry is currently chairman for Eyes on Me (an inner-city evangelism and discipleship non-profit ministry), chairman for a private education company (Firat Education), Chairman for Hydrostat (a start-up water treatment company) and a recent BOD member for United Health Partners. Larry was also a founding BOD Member and Treasurer for Moja Mission in Tanzania. 

Larry received an M.B.A. from INSEAD (European Institute of Business Administration) and a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and Management Information Systems from Southern Methodist University. Larry holds a Series 79 and Series 63 securities license, speaks at various energy conferences and is a regular panelist for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 small business initiative. He has previously led and participated in five for-profit and non-profit strategic planning processes. Larry is passionate about learning. 

In 2020, Larry started Loving Lamar.

Personally, Larry has been married for 33 years and has two sons, 24 and 20, both Eagle Scouts. Larry is active with his church in Houston, St. John the Divine Episcopal Church, acting in various lay leadership roles. 

Jeff McParland

Executive Director of Strong Start

Introducing Jeff a dedicated education enthusiast and a passionate advocate for children. Since 2021, he has been at the helm, orchestrating the efforts of St. John the Divine team of parishioners in their commitment to education. They successfully launched the Strong Start initiative as part of A Lighted Path.

The Strong Start initiative’s focus on early childhood development in Houston’s neighborhoods facing childcare shortages resonates deeply with Jeff’s profound dedication to children. His extensive passion includes child sponsorship through World Vision, engagement with Amistad Mission in Bolivia, and leadership roles in scouting, amount other notable contributions. 

Furthermore, Jeff serves as a board member of the Episcopal High School Endowment Fund and holds the position of vice-chair on the board of Vision Fund Rwanda. He is also an active member of the Campaign Advisory Committee for World Vision US. Jeff’s illustrious career spans four decades in the energy sector, culminating in his retirement from Targa Resource Corp, in late 2019. His journey began with various finance and engineering roles, and he ultimately assumed the role of CFO in the management team that founded the company in 2003. In the realm of education and child advocacy, Jeff is an influential figure known for his dedication, strategic leadership, and unwavering commitment to making a difference.


Scroll to Top