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Submit nominations for rector candidates, here.


Updates from the Vestry and/or Search Committee are listed with the most recent, first:

Posted on Sun, September 10, 2017 at 4:57:00 pm



Take me right to the video.

Agenda of September 10, 2017 Parish Update Presentation:

  1. Opening Prayers - Joe Reynolds
  2. The Love of Christ Always report - Gerry Sulzer
  3. Staffing update - Joe Reynolds
  4. Rector Search Committee - Helen Campbell & Trey Roberts
  5. Reorganization of the Vestry - Joe Reynolds
  6. Stewardship & Finances - Joe Reynolds
  7. Closing Prayer - Joe Reynolds



Posted on Tue, August 29, 2017 at 3:15:00 pm



By Helen Campbell, Co-chair

The Search Committee had its first meeting July and will continue to meet regularly in our search for the new rector of St. James Episcopal Church. Trey Roberts and Helen Campbell co-chair the committee and want to introduce the members to the parish.

Trey and his wife, Nancy, are lifelong Episcopalians. They have three children attending our Day School. Trey has served on the Vestry, Associate Vestry, Day School Board of Trustees, and as head of the usher team. He is currently chair of the finance committee and member of the St. James Place board of dirctors.

Helen and her husband, Bill, have been members of St. James for more than 40 years. Helen has served as president of the St. James Day School Parents Guild and the Day School Board of Trustees. She chaired our sesquicentennial celebration in 1994 and was senior warden. She is an active member of St. Joan, St. Martha’s Guild, and Gumbo. She retired from St. James in 2012 as our Director of Lay Ministries where she chaired committees on stewardship and planned giving.

Charlie Frey is a third-generation member of St. James, married to Ashley, and father of three children. He has served on the Vestry, as president of the Associate Vestry, and on the Long-Range Strategic Planning Committee. He continues to enjoy his roles as an usher and member of the Holy Grillers.

Catherine Harrell is another lifelong Episcopalian. She is married to Chris and they have four children. Catherine serves on the Altar Guild, and is a member of the Mission & Vision Steering Committee created as part of our recent Strategic Plan.

Bob Israel and his family have been members of St. James for more than 40 years. Bob has served on the Vestry and Associate Vestry, and for many years he led an adult Bible study on the Gospels. Bob is an usher at the 10:30 services.

Bahin Leonard is a lifelong Episcopalian and married to Frank. Bahin is a graduate of EfM and presently on the lector team, member of the Outreach Committee, Altar Guild, and St. Joan. She has also served as treasurer of Gumbo and works on our Christmas feast for the homeless.

Andy McCall is a lifelong member of St. James and he and his wife, Julie, were married here. Andy has served on the Associate Vestry, the 2015 Stewardship Campaign, and as junior warden.

Jay Noland is a lifelong member of St. James; he and Elizabeth were married at St. James. Jay has served on the Vestry, Associate Vestry and is currently a member of the Day School Board, and the St. James Place Board of Trustees.

Susan Rolfs is a lifelong Episcopalian, married to Emile. Susan has been active in many areas of church life serving on the Altar Guild, the Property Committee and the Vestry. She has served as president of the ECW and as co-chair and chair of Gumbo. Susan is also an active member of St. Joan.

Julia Spaht grew up attending All Saints Episcopal Church in Atlanta. She is married to Carlos and they have two daughters. At St. James she has been involved with the Mom to Mom Ministries and the Newcomer Ministry.  Currently, she serves on the Children’s Council, as a Sunday School teacher, and is secretary of the Associate Vestry.

John Sykes served as co-chair of St. James Gumbo 2017. He is married to John Carpenter. After graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill, John spent two years as an Episcopal missionary teacher for the Church of the Province of Kenya, and has taught confirmation classes at St. James.

Martha Vasquez is a lifelong Episcopalian and has been a member of St. James since 2013. Martha and her husband, Jeremy, have two daughters. Martha currently serves on the Children’s Council, a discernment committee, and as treasurer of the Day School Parents Guild.

The first major task of the Committee is the preparation of a parish-wide survey. The survey will go out to the parish in September. Several forums will be scheduled for parishioners to express their views on the church and qualities of a future rector. From the information received in the survey and the forums, a parish profile will be produced.

The next step will be a meeting with the Canon to the Ordinary, and then the Search Committee can begin gathering names.

There is no fixed deadline for the search for a new rector. Names will be received from interested clergy, from the Office for Transition Ministry (OTM) of The Episcopal Church, and by parishioner nomination.

All nominations must be vetted through the Canon to the Ordinary, and all nominations will be kept confidential.

The committee welcomes hearing from the parish and looks forward to a successful search process. We invite you to follow our progress, and let us hear from you.

Return to this page for updates and reports. Our comment form is available at stjamesbr.org/scmessage.


Posted on Tue, June 20, 2017 at 9:44:00 am


The motion by the warden and search committee chairs for approval of the following parishioners to the 2017 Search Committee was approved at the June 19 meeting of the Vestry:


  • Charlie Frey
  • Catherine Harrell
  • Bob Israel
  • Bahin Leonard
  • Andy McCall
  • Jay Noland
  • Susan Rolfs
  • Julia Spaht
  • John Sykes
  • Martha Vasquez

Committee Co-Chairs:

  • Helen Campbell
  • Trey Roberts

Tthe Junior Warden, Senior Warden, and Search Committee co-chairs considered over 170 names placed in nomination in selecting the group above to bring a variety of gifts and abilities to the search team.



Posted on Mon, June 05, 2017 at 8:50:00 am


Nominations for Search Committee members is now closed. It is anticipated that the vestry will approve a final list at its June 19 meeting.


Posted on Tue, May 16, 2017 at 5:58:00 pm


Dear St. James Parishioners:

We reported at our May 7 Town Hall meeting that we would be starting an eight-step process to call a new rector. In case you missed this meeting, an outline of the eight steps, with an approximate time line, is provided.

Your Wardens are now happy to announce we, in consultation with Fr. Joe, have selected the co-chairs for our search committee. The co-chairs we selected are Helen Campbell and Trey Roberts. We believe they have demonstrated outstanding leadership in their service to St. James and are widely recognized by a broad cross-section of our membership for their dedicated service. We informed the Vestry of our choices at our May 15 Vestry meeting and received their vote of confidence in our selections. This completes step one.

Now, we are in step two. The Search Committee will have a total of 12 members including the co-chairs. We are now asking parishioners to nominate people they would like to have on the Search Committee. You may nominate as many people as you want, including yourself. The following members of St. James are not eligible to serve on the Search Committee:

  • any employee of the church or Day School;
  • Gerry Sulzer, Senior Warden;
  • Bill Hines, Junior Warden; and,
  • members of the prior search committee, who were: Patrick Broderick, Kent Caldwell, Don Capron, Judy Foil, Michael Fontenot, Lee Griffin, Lolly Martin, Marsha Wade, and Dan West.

All other voting members of the parish are eligible to serve.

Nominations can be made in one of five ways:

  • Nominating slips will be included in Sunday leaflets which can be filled out prior to or during the service and placed in the collection basket.
  • Nominating slips will also be placed on the table located in the Parish Hall foyer for completion and deposit in a collection box located on the same table.
  • Alternately, you can fill out a form included in the mail going out via U.S. Postal Service and mail it to the address on the form. (P.O. Box 126, Baton Rouge LA 70821-0126.)
  • You may also make your nominations by calling Sylvia Rabalais at 225-421-3549.
  • Finally, you can go online to submit your nominations. Simply click on About Us in the menu at the top of the page and select "Rector Search" in the drop-down menu. There will be a form on the page that appears. Fill in the form and click submit.

Completed forms may be submitted anonymously. The last day to make your nomination(s) will be Sunday, June 4.

In the next step, the Junior Warden, Senior Warden, and co-chairs will meet as required to select the remaining 10 members of the Search Committee from the parishioners' nominations list. The Wardens and co-chairs plan to present selected names for Vestry approval at the June 19 Vestry meeting. Expect another update on our rector search once we have achieved this milestone.

We are also happy to give another update on the restoration of our historic church. We have signed the contract with Durable Slate to perform the exterior work. The rear and front walls will be repaired first. Expect to see scaffolding at the rear of the church starting June 5, weather permitting. Scaffolding will not be used in the work on the front of the church. Work on the rear of the church should be completed by the time the Day School opens in the fall. Work on the side walls will also be performed using scaffolding. The entire project is expected to take 210 days to complete.

These are exciting times in many ways for our parish.

New Rector Search Process

The process outlined below comes from a preliminary meeting on May 4 with Canon Shannon Manning. Canon Manning will be providing guidance and assistance to our Search Committee throughout the search process. Broadly, this is an eight-step process. The suggested timeline is only approximate and subject to change.   

  1. The wardens select the committee co-chairs.
    1. It is recommended the chairs be of the opposite sex.
    2. Target: inform the Vestry of co-chair selections at the May 2017 meeting.
  2. Parish members are invited to submit the names of members they would like to have considered for committee membership.
    1. Certain parishioners otherwise qualified are not eligible to serve on the search committee:
      1. The junior and senior wardens of the parish
      2. Employees of the church or Day School
      3. Parishioners serving on the most recent Search Committee
    2. Committee members must be voting members of the parish and capable of making a significant time commitment for the duration of the search process, approximately one year.
    3. Target: submission of committee member nominations to close on Sunday, June 4, 2017.
  3. The remaining Committee members are selected by the wardens and the co-chairs from the compiled list of nominees submitted by the congregation.
    1. A total committee membership of nine-12 persons is recommended. 
    2. When completed, the Wardens present the Committee member selections to the Vestry for approval.
    3. Target: obtain Vestry approval of the Committee at the June Vestry meeting. Canon Shannon Manning will  attend the Vestry meeting to further describe the process in detail and answer any questions.
  4. The Committee spends the summer doing background preparation work with consultation from Canon Shannon Manning. Canon Manning will supply all the tools, material, and help needed to complete the search process.
  5. The Committee will conduct a parish survey and meet with parish focus groups to gain input to use in developing parish and candidate profiles. Target: early September start with early November completion.
  6. Solicit names for potential rector candidates from the diocese and the congregation.
    1. Candidates will be vetted by Canon Manning as the names are received.
    2. Target: Nominations will be received through December 2017.
  7. The Committee starts the selection process in early January 2018.
    1. Narrow the new rector list to 15-20 candidates based on their profile information provided by the diocese or reports by people familiar with the candidate.
    2. Conduct Skype interviews to winnow the list to 10-12 candidates for possible visitation.
    3. The Committee selects the top two-four remaining candidates for an onsite visit at their current location. These candidates must be vetted by the Bishop prior to the Committee’s visit.
    4. The Committee selects two-three of these candidates to make a visit to St James.
  8. The Committee, based on the all the information they have gathered including feedback by parishioners from the candidates’ St. James visit,  makes a recommendation to the Vestry of their choice for a new rector. Target: obtain the Vestry’s approval to call the Committee’s choice at the June 2018 Vestry meeting.


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A Prayer for our Search

Almighty God, giver of every good gift: look graciously on your Church, and so guide the minds of those who shall choose a rector for this parish, that we may receive a faithful pastor, who will care for your people and equip us for our ministries; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. BCP, p. 818


  St. James Episcopal Church

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St. James Episcopal Church
Baton Rouge, Louisiana USA