205 No. Fourth Street | Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70801 | 225-387-5141 | church @ stjamesbr.org |                

Gumbo 2019


Watch for Online Ordering​, soon!

Open EACH FRIDAY IN LENT, the St. James Episcopal Church Workers (ECW) invites you to Bishops Hall, at the corner of Florida and N. Fourth Street for Gumbo 2019!

As they’ve done each Lent for over 60 years, volunteers at St. James will serve fabulous Gumbo lunches of either shrimp, or chicken and sausage gumbo, along with Sensation Salad, bread and a tasty dessert, between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. each Friday. Dine-in customers enjoy water, tea or coffee included with their meal.

Drive-thru pickup of boxed lunches is also available. Ala carte items are great for heat-and-eat meals at home or the office: pints and quarts of gumbo, rice, cole slaw, dessert servings and bread by the loaf are offered. Just phone in your pick-up order to 225-387-5141 on Friday mornings between 8 and 10, and it can be delivered right to your car on our Fourth Street pick-up lane.

St. James’ Friday Lenten Gumbo lunches are the sole fundraiser for the Episcopal Church Workers’ outreach projects. The St. James ECW has offered assistance to numerous local groups and agencies, as well as making significant contributions to hurricane relief as well as foreign mission work involving parishioners and of local interest.


Volunteer! Sign-up for the days and positions that are good for you!

If you're having trouble, please email Mary Boutwell, letting her know the position you'd like to fill, or go to the original Google document, here.

Glory into Glory

Merry Ninth Day of Christmas and Happy New Year!

On the last Sunday after the Epiphany and before the start of Lent, we pray in our collect:

O God, who before the passion of your only-begotten Son revealed his glory upon the holy mountain: Grant to us that we, beholding by faith the light of his countenance, may be strengthened to bear our cross, and be changed into his likeness from glory to glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

We know so many blessings here at St. James. We have a legacy of being a vibrant community, reaching out with new ministries in service of our parish family and out into the world as the hands and feet of Christ. To continue celebrating this rich inheritance of blessing, we at St. James need to continually open ourselves to transformation: clearly not from failure to success, or infidelity to faithfulness, but pray that we might be changed “from Glory to Glory.” 

Beginning Sunday, January 6, we will undertake a deliberate and directed conversation about how God is calling St. James – now – to continue to be transformed “from Glory to Glory.” This three-week program will have two components each week: a short Sunday presentation followed by small group discussion, all during the Sunday School hour starting at 9:15 a.m. in Bishops Hall.

Your participation in this class can have an important impact on the life of the parish as the vestry and staff continuously seek to discern what God has in store for our future, and we need your participation. I ask you to make this three-week commitment – January 6, January 13, and January 20– covenanting to attend Adult Christian Formation at 9:15 a.m. in Bishops Hall. Even if you must miss one or two classes, then I hope you will still participate as you are able. Also, the nursery will be open for your infants and toddlers, and there will be regularly scheduled children’s Sunday School for your youngsters during this program.

Let us build upon our legacy as we continue to be “changed into his likeness from glory to glory.”

Merry Christmas,

The Rev. Chris Duncan, Rector

2019 Vestry Candidates

We present bios of this year’s twelve nominees for the St. James Vestry. To be nominated is a distinct honor, recognizing the considerable gifts each candidate already offers to the parish.

Retiring members are Charlie Frey, Barbin Graham, Catherine Harrell, Buzzy Heroman, Bill Hines, and Sue Larisey, as well as Gerry Sulzer who has served as Senior Warden and non-voting member of the vestry during our transition. We give grateful thanks for their dedicated service.

Incumbent members are (one year remaining): Barbara Irwin Garon, Lee Griffin, Kyle Landrem, Jay Noland, Anna Catherine Soule, and David Warrington; and (two years remaining): Denise Allen, Claudia Black, Patrick Broderick, Bob Israel, Julie McCall, and Craig Rhodes.

Parishioners qualified to vote shall select six (6) members from the candidates below to serve three-year terms on the vestry. "Those entitled to vote at an Annual Parish Meeting shall be adult communicants of at least sixteen (16) years of age in good standing who have been Members of the Parish for at least one year and contributors of record to the Church for a period of six (6) months prior to any meeting at which a Member may vote (“Voting Member”).

Annual Meeting Sunday Schedule:

• 8:00 a.m. service with ballots for voting 
• 9:00-10:15 a.m. Parish  Breakfast in the Day School cafeteria, sponsored by the Associate Vestry 
• 10:30 a.m. services with ballots distributed for voting 
• 11:30 a.m. - Business meeting and voting results, in Bishops Hall



Martha Vasquez and her husband, Jeremy, are the parents of seven-year-old Amelia and four-year-old Margot. Martha is self-employed using her finance and law degrees to help manage several businesses.  Jeremy is a General Contractor, and they are involved in multifamily real estate. Martha enjoys pilates, yoga, and barre classes, and their children. She holds a B.S. in finance from LSU and a J.D. from Loyola Law. She has been involved with the St. James Children’s Council, served on the Search Committee, and is currently the Parents Guild treasurer at the Day School. Martha shares that, “St. James has a bright future. My hope is that we continue to grow in our faith and challenge ourselves to be the best St. James we can be. I want my children to remember their childhood church as one full of love and praise.”



Catherine Maraist Van Hook is married to James Van Hook, and parent to James (15), a freshman at Catholic High, and Olivia (12), a seventh-grader at Episcopal. Catherine was Assistant U.S. Attorney 1999-2017, and is a partner at Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson. She was a teacher of English as a foreign language, in Italy, 1988-1993. She enjoys painting, cooking, traveling, teaching, and community activism. Catherine holds a B.A. from the University of Texas - Austin; and a J.D. from the Paul M. Hebert School of Law at LSU.  At St. James and in the diocese, she has been a member of the diocesan Constitutions and Canons Board; served on the Associate Vestry; Center for Spiritual Formation board; and, served as a lector and various social activities. In the community, she serves as president of the Baton Rouge Chapter of the Federal Bar Association; LSU Trial Advocacy Planning Committee; LSU Law School Alumni Board of Trustees; Junior League of Baton Rouge; and, the Symphony League of Baton Rouge. Catherine says, “I envision St. James as a place of worship, education, support, and nurture for our parishioners at all stages of their spiritual life, and a church life grounded in serving Christ and all his children.”



Stewart Tharp and his spouse, Gina, are the parents of Eliza Douglass, Eloise, and Maxwell. Stewart is the current owner of Southeastern Overhead Door, Inc. He was previously a partner at Taylor, Porter, Brooks, and Phillips LLP. Stewart is an outdoors enthusiast, and enjoys soccer and reading. He holds a B.A. from Millsaps College, and a J.D. from the University of Mississippi. At St. James, Stewart has been active as a Vestry member, Associate Vestry member, Vestry Nominating Committee member, Stewardship Committee member, and usher. In the community, he is involved with coaching children’s sports, Volunteer in Public Schools (VIPS), Junior Achievement, and Big Brother. Stewart describes, “My vision is that St. James prospers as a welcoming and spiritual home for its parishioners, and its ministries lead us to the most complete vision of Christian life: His Kingdom come in the hearts of all people and His will be done.”



John Sykes is married to John K. Carpenter and has served as the director, Magnolia Mound Historic Site since 2011. He was formerly the Education Manager at the Louisiana State Museum, and a Missionary Teacher, (Anglican) Church of the Province of Kenya, East Africa. John enjoys local history, gardening, and cooking. He holds a B.A. in English Literature & Honors in Creative Writing from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the M.A. in American History from the University of Alabama. At St. James, John has served as a Sunday School Teacher in grades 3-5; on the Newcomer’s/Welcome Committee; Gumbo co-chair in 2017 and 2018; and, on the 2018 Search Committee. John shares that, “Inspired by our history, I have a vision of St. James as a Parish of joyous inclusion with open doors and open hearts to all who seek the Gospel. I see a church that ministers to its members and is also actively engaged in the broader community as a source of hope and support. For me, the promise of St. James is embodied at Gumbo every year: that all can serve and all are welcome at God’s table.”



Trey Roberts is married to Nancy Benton Roberts and they have three children, all baptized at St. James and attending the Day School: Laurel (11), Frances (9), and William (7). Trey is currently the Assistant General Manager of the Baton Rouge plant for Lamar Advertising. When not shuffling kids to practices and activities, Trey is an avid runner. He is a graduate of TCU, where he earned a degree in Marketing. Trey is currently the chair of the Church Finance Committee. He has previously served on the Vestry and on the Associate Vestry where he was elected vice president and president. He has also served as the head of the ushers and, most recently, was co-chair of the Search Committee. In addition to his service to the church, Trey has been active in leadership roles at the Day School where he has served on the Day School Board of Trustees and was Board president for a two-year term In the community, Trey is a member of the Baton Rouge Rotary Club and serves on the Board of the Ecumenical House and the Board of St. James Place. Having been involved in the search for our new Rector, Trey is very excited about what the future holds for St. James. He is confident that the energy and enthusiasm that Fr. Duncan brings will continue to resonate throughout all aspects of our church community.



Amy Rabalais and husband, Mike, are the parents of Pace (9), and Marjorie (7), who are students at the Day School. Amy is an ENT physician at Ochsner Baton Rouge. She enjoys gardening, traveling, spending time with their children, hiking, and skiing. Amy holds a B.A. in French from the University of Texas in Austin, and earned her M.D. at the LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans. At St. James, Amy was a founding member of the Children’s Council, and is completing a term on the Associate Vestry where she is president. She has been a Sunday School teacher, and organized the Adult Sunday School fall series on “Power Parenting.” In the community, Amy is a volunteer at Thrive School, a public boarding school with EBR Parish Schools, and is a St. James Boy Scout Troop leader Amy shares, “Our family has been active members of St. James for almost nine years, and I have loved watching our church grow and develop to meet the needs of our parish. I am very excited about the increased educational options on Sunday mornings, something which we should continue to nurture in the future. St. James also has unique outreach opportunities with our location in a developing downtown, and we can be a powerful agent for change in our neighborhood.”



Harriett Pooler is the mother of two adult children who were Episcopal graduates: Meg Coady Willett, living in Iowa; and, Matthew Coady, living in Shreveport, and the blessed grandmother of four granddaughters! Harriett was born in Lafayette and baptized at Church of the Ascension. She is a professional fundraiser for Ducks Unlimited, Inc. as the Director of Foundation Relations for the U.S. Southern and Western Regions. She previously worked in fundraising for Audubon Louisiana, The Nature Conservancy, LSU Foundation and United Way. She says, “I am an avid birdwatcher and gardener, using native plants for hummingbirds and butterflies. I am on the LSU Hilltop Arboretum board and past President/board member of the Baton Rouge Audubon Society. Other hobbies include hiking, traveling and reading.” Harriett holds a B.S. from ULL. At St. James, she has been involved with the stewardship drive for many years and was a member of the Associate Vestry, and at previous parishes was involved with Sunday school, Bible study and Vacation Bible School. Harriett says, “It is so easy and natural for me to see God and his awesomeness in nature, in the birds, trees, butterflies, etc. I’d like to see St. James grow in membership, especially attracting young families. I would like to encourage our children to get outside into nature more (away from electronics) to see God’s handiwork and to learn to be stewards of this good earth. As for St. James’ adults being good stewards, I think we could make small changes, like discontinuing the use of Styrofoam cups.



Bahin Hootsell Leonard and her husband, Frank, are the parents of two adult sons, Harwood and John. Bahin is a licensed Residential Contractor, licensed Real Estate Broker, having been involved in many commercial and community projects in the area. She enjoys her church work, gardening (master gardener), walks in the country, reading, genealogy, traveling, art and music. Bahin holds a B.A. from LSU. At St. James, Bahin recently served on the Search Committee and Outreach Grants Committee; and, is involved as a lector, on the Altar Guild, and participates in Joan of Arc, Gumbo, St. Martha’s Guild, St. James Christmas Feast for the homeless. She is a graduate of Education for Ministry. In the community, Bahin serves (in many instances has or currently serves as president) with the Lakeside Oaks Homeowners Association; Fais Do Do; the “Reviewers,” Bal Societe, and the National Society of the Colonial Dames in America in the State of Louisiana. Bahin describes, “My vision for St James is that through the Holy Spirit and Grace the hearts of each of us will be transformed, filled with God’s Spirit to love one another as Christ loves us. To paraphrase our mission statement: May we continue to proclaim Christ crucified and risen and to seek new ways to invite all to join with us in ministry together in his name.”



Amy McBride Kurtz is a life-long Episcopalian and member of St. James church. Amy and her husband, Christian, were married at St. James in 2000. They have two daughters, Anna Grace, who graduated from the Day School, and Mary Beth, who currently attends the Day School.  Amy graduated from LSU with a B.S. in Environmental Management and works for Ramboll US Corporation as a consultant. At St. James, she has served on the Associate Vestry, Stewardship Committee, and Welcome Committee, and has volunteered with Vacation Bible School and Gumbo. Amy says, “St. James holds a special place in my heart, as my family has been active in the church for over 100 years.  I see an exciting future for St. James, and I think it’s important to focus on the growth of the church right now. I would be honored to serve my church and fellow parishioners.”



Randal Johnson is originally from west central Louisiana, raised in a small town as a Roman Catholic with a little Baptist mixed in, but that’s the way the communities are where he was raised. He studied at Northeast Louisiana University and did graduate studies at McNeese.  When in Lake Charles, he had the good fortune of living across the street from the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, and attended there as well the Catholic parish. Randal moved to Baton Rouge in 1990 to work the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, where he succeeded John Compton in the role of Deputy Commissioner. He was also introduced to St. James where he was received into the Episcopal Church.  Volunteering in several roles and ever-ready to help, Randal now can be seen typically at the 10:30 service and other church activities next to his son, Jacob, who is an acolyte.  Many of you have seen Jacob grow from the little one he was to a tall, strong, eleven-year-old who is a fifth-grader at Episcopal. In his professional career, Randal has served a lifetime of involvement in government and public service in Louisiana, keeping him attentive to issues affecting our state and nation.  Particularly in healthcare policy and emergency preparedness and response, Randal has honed leadership skills and developed a keen understanding of people and processes. Randal says, “I have found a sense of community and belonging at St. James. I appreciate the opportunity and nomination and look forward to serving if chosen by the parishioners.”



Wendell H. Holmes has been married to Ann Sumner Holmes for 44 years, and they have two sons, Sumner and George, and a grandson Russell. He is currently a Professor at the LSU Law School; having previously been on the faculty of the University of Mississippi Law School, and an attorney and partner at the law firm of Butler, Snow, O’Mara, Stevens & Cannada in Jackson, Mississippi. His interests include running, cooking, traveling, and playing the guitar. Wendell earned a B.A. in history from Millsaps College, and his J.D. from Tulane University. At St. James, Wendell serves as a lector and as an usher, and he has served on the Outreach Committee. Wendell says, “I hope that St. James can continue to grow by offering engaging programs and classes for people of all ages.”


  Tony Carter is married to Elizabeth McCool Carter, and has two grown children, two grandchildren and a step-daughter. He retired in 2017 as co-founder and Executive vice president of Reliant Rehabilitation. Since his retirement, he has worked as a Licensed Legal Investigator for Asmussen & Associates. Tony enjoys golf, racquetball, snow skiing, attending LSU football games, traveling and daily morning workouts at the gym. He holds a B.A. from Northwestern State University with post-graduate studies at LSU and Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia.  Tony is a lifelong Episcopalian, having been baptized and confirmed in 1963 at St. James Episcopal Church in Alexandria. He began serving as a Eucharistic Minister at the early service soon after joining St. James in 2007, enjoying the uniqueness of this congregation. He has participated in stewardship campaigns and volunteers at St. James Place for their annual Senior Games and other events. In the community, Tony is past president and board member of his Home Owners Association, representing the association on City Council committees. Tony says, “I am both humbled and honored to have been nominated for the Vestry and would welcome the privilege of serving on this important leadership role in our church. In the future, I would like to see St. James grow with more attendance and participation, not necessarily with new members, but rather with existing members who have chosen to be less active in the past but now with a renewed commitment. 



Celtic Pilgrimage 2019


Pilgrimage Into the West: Dingle Peninsula and Aran Islands

September 29 through October 9, 2019

Leaders: the Rev. Marcus Losack and Marsha Wade



Day 1:  Sunday, September 29. Depart USA (Overnight on Board)
Day 2: Monday, September 30. Arrive Dublin Airport, Ireland.

  • 9am Meet at the Arrivals Hall in Terminal 2 no later than 9am.  (Please note that there are two Terminals at Dublin Airport. All USA Flights arrive at Terminal 2)  
  • When our group is collected, we board our private coach and travel to Kildare for a visit to St Brigid’s Cathedral and Holy Well.
  • Lunch will be at 1pm in the Silken Thomas Inn.
  • Rest time until 5pm Meeting for Introductions and Welcome with Evening Prayers before dinner.
  • 6.30pm Dinner O/N Silken Thomas Inn, Kildare. (LD)

Day 3: Tuesday, October 1. INTO THE WEST.

  • We check out of our hotel and transfer to Cashel for 11 am visit to the Rock of Cashel with lunch in Cashel.
  • We then travel to Killarney via Adare. Check in to our hotel, with Prayers before dinner.
  • 7pm Dinner O/N The Lake Hotel, Killarney, Co Kerry (BD)

Day 4: Wednesday, October  2. 

  • Breakfast, followed by a 9am departure for a morning visit to Ardfert.
  • We will meet our local guide at 10 am for a guided tour of the ruins of Ardfert Cathedral and Abbey.
  • Lunch in Ardfert at Kate Brown’s Restaurant.
  • After lunch we return to Killarney to visit Killarney National Park and a scenic ride on the jaunting cars, followed by a short boat crossing (10 mins) across the lake known as ‘The Lake of Wisdom’ or ‘Lake of Learning’, to visit Inisfallon Island and its ancient monastic site (weather permitting).
  • 7pm Dinner followed by Reflections on the Day and evening prayers. O/N The Lake Hotel, Killarney (BLD)

Day 5: Thursday October 3.

  • Depart for full day excursion to the Dingle Peninsula including Dingle, Gallerus Oratory, view of Skellig Michael, Blasket islands and the Sleeping Giant.
  • Lunch on your own and shopping in Dingle.
  • 4pm Return to Killarney for 6pm Reflections on the Day and evening prayers.
  • 7pm Dinner. O/N The Lake Hotel, Killarney, Co Kerry (BD)


  • Following breakfast, we check out of our hotel and depart for our journey along the west coast of Ireland.
  • We travel through The Burren via Galway with lunch en route to Rossaveel for the
  • 6pm Ferry to Inismor, Aran Islands. Transfer to Kilmurvey House for check in and
  • 7.30 pm Dinner. Evening Prayers after dinner. O/N Kilmurvey House,  Inismor, Aran Islands (BD)

Day 7: Saturday, October 5. ARAN ISLANDS (1).

  • Breakfast, then depart for a visit to Dun Aengus (pre-Christian fort and settlement circa 850 BCE). We meet our guide and pilgrimage mentor Dara Molloy (author and Celtic monk), who will share his knowledge and love of Aran.
  • After Dun Aengus we will visit remains of the ancient Seven Churches and St Kieran's Church and Holy Well.
  • Afternoon free. Reflections on the Day.
  • 7pm Dinner and optional Social Evening with traditional music in the village (subject to availability) O/N Kilmurney House, Inismor, Aran islands (BD)

Day 8: Sunday, October 6. ARAN ISLANDS (2).

  • Breakfast, then meet Dara Molloy for
  • 10am Celtic Eucharist outside at St Enda’s Church (weather permitting) followed by Pilgrimage Walk and hiking via Cromwell's Fort and St Benan's Church to the Black Fort. This journey involves a challenging walk/hike across limestone rocks along the coastal cliffs. It is not for those who have any difficulty walking on rough terrain for about four hours.
  • Alternative options for those who come to the Eucharist and Cromwell’s Fort will be walks beside the shore on smoother paths or quiet/free time in the village of Kilronan.
  • Picnic lunches will be provided for this day.
  • 5pm All meet at the Aran Islands Hotel (in the bar) for gathering and refreshment/Happy Hour.
  • 7pm Dinner at the Aran Islands Hotel (subject to availability) or alternatively
  • 6.30pm Transfer to Kilmurvey House for 7pm Dinner.
  • Meeting after dinner for Reflection on the Day with Compline/Night Prayers. O/N Kilmurvey House, Inismor, Aran Islands (BLD)

Day 9: Monday, October 7. ARAN ISLANDS (3).

  • Today we will tour places on the island that we have not previously visited including old stone forts/stone circles from the pre-Christian period, and travel ‘the road across the centre of the island’ to appreciate the stunning beauty and wildness of Inismor and the Aran Islands.
  • In the afternoon there will be free time for reflection with optional walks or bicycle hires for those who wish to explore further.
  • At 5pm we gather at Kilmurvey House for reflections with
  • Farewell Dinner at 7pm followed by Compline/Night Prayers. O/N Kilmurvey House, Inismor, Aran Islands (BD)

DAY 10: Tuesday, October  8.

  • 7am Early Breakfast,
  • 8am Check Out and transfer to Kilronan Village for
  • 8:45 ferry to Rossaveel, where we meet our private coach for travel via Wicklow Town to Bray, Co Wicklow.
  • Lunch en route and visit to Wicklow Harbour where St Patrick arrived in 432 CE to be an Apostle in Ireland. We learn more about his voyage and have a short walk beside the harbour wall to see the mural of St Patrick.
  • 4pm Transfer to our hotel in Bray for check in.
  • 7pm Farewell Dinner at the Esplanade Hotel O/N Esplanade Hotel, Bray Co Wicklow (BD)

Day 11: Wednesday, October 9.

  • Early Breakfast before
  • Transfer to Dublin Airport for departures and same day return to USA.


  • Registration is $ 2,950 per person sharing a double or twin room. The Single Room Supplement is an additional $750 per person (subject to limited availability).
  • Price includes accommodations for nine nights, all land transportation by private coach, baggage handling, as well as local transportation on the Aran Islands as needed for our group’s itinerary, entrance to all sites as scheduled and any fees for local guides or lecturers.
  • Breakfast and dinner daily are included. In addition, lunch is provided at Kildare and at Ardfert, with a picnic lunch on Inis Mor when we hike to the Black Fort. (B/L/D in the itinerary denotes Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
  • Registration also includes all Ceile De management fees and the services of Marcus Losack, author, teacher, pilgrimage leader and St. Patrick scholar, who will introduce us to the rich spiritual and cultural heritage of Ireland.  
  • Air travel to Ireland is NOT included in the registration fee.
  • The maximum size of the group is 24 (including leaders) due to the limited number of rooms at Kilmurvey House where we will stay on the Aran Island of Inis Mor.
  • An initial deposit of $300 per person secures your place.
  • One-half of the registration fee is due by March 17, 2019, with the balance due by July 1, 2019. A $150 Discount will be given for payment in full before December 31, 2018.
  • No refunds will be made after the final balance is paid.
  • We strongly advise that you purchase private Trip Cancellation and Medical Travel Insurance to cover emergencies while traveling or cancellation for medical reasons.

Marcus Losack,  
Ceile De Pilgrimages
Tel: + 353 87 2542284

Marsha Wade
Baton Rouge, LA 70808

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