At-Large Vestry Member Max Ernesto Ballardo was brought up in the Roman Catholic Church in Peru, where he was born and raised. He served as an altar boy for many years and led the group when in high school. He received all three sacraments and was always curious about other religious groups, which he listened to respectfully. His move to the USA in 2005 changed his closeness to the church but opened his chances to hear from other Christian denominations which do not exist in Peru. Max works for an architecture firm, and after moving to Hamden he started assisting on a project at St. Thomas’s Day School. He had heard about the church affiliated with the school, and after finding it on a four-block route on a morning walk with his dog, he decided to join in a mass. He originally did not know what to expect or what the Episcopal Church was all about. His first impressions after seeing a woman priest and a dog by the altar were quite a highlight. After the first mass a couple approached him to join for coffee hour. He had not felt that welcomed in a group in a long time, and after that he kept coming on Sundays. Max is now engaged to Trudi Schultz, and they both enjoy hosting and attending coffee hour with other fellow parishioners.