Leadership

Clergy Staff

The Rev. Christopher R. Duncan
Rector
225-421-3538
cduncan@stjamesbr.org

The Rev. Chris Duncan was called as the 24th rector of St. James Episcopal Church in 2018. Fr. Chris is a native Houstonian. Before coming to St. James, he served as rector of St. Paul’s in Katy, Texas.

Fr. Chris was ordained a deacon in June 2009 and a priest in January 2010. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Texas A&M University, graduating cum laude, and the Master of Divinity from Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia, in 2009.

He is married to Casey and they have two children, Carolena and Nils.

The Rev. Dr. Andrew Harmon
Senior Associate
225-421-3539
dharmon@stjamesbr.org

The Rev. Dr. Andrew Harmon began his ministry as Senior Associate Rector at St. James on August 2, 2020. Prior to coming to St. James, Fr. Drew served as Assistant Rector of St. Francis in Greensboro, North Carolina. 

Having grown up in Baton Rouge, Fr. Drew studied Classics at Millsaps College, obtained master’s degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary, and completed a Ph.D. in Historical Theology at Marquette University. In addition to parish ministry, Fr. Drew has worked in university ministries (Clemson University), retirement community chaplaincy, and as undergraduate theology instructor. 

He and his wife, Anna, have three daughters: Frances, Bonnie, and Rose.

Lay Staff

Cheryl Olinde
Church Bookkeeper
225-421-3547
colinde@stjamesbr.org

Cheryl Olinde posts gifts and payments, coordinates receipts and statements, and while bombarded with constant paperwork, still manages to keep one of the neatest desks you’ll ever see. Cheryl holds the title for longest commute to the church, but she still arrives with a smile!

Mary Hunt Boutwell
Parish Life Coordinator
225-421-3543
mboutwell@stjamesbr.org

Mary Hunt Boutwell joined the staff at St. James in June 2014, jumping right into the deep end!

Mary and Steve Boutwell, along with their daughter Rosemary, have been members of St. James since 2006. Mary served on the Day School Board of Trustees for three years, and also served as Board President. She served as Director of Development of the Day School in 2010. Mary, also, has been active in several of St. James lay ministries including Altar Guild and Gumbo.

Jacques Pourciau
Business Manager
225-421-3550
jpourciau@stjamesbr.org

Jacques Pourciau joined the staff at St. James as Business Manager in January 2018. Jacques grew up in Baton Rouge, where he graduated from Catholic High School in 1990. He is a very active member of St. Thomas More Catholic Church, where he serves as cantor. He served as president of the STM Men’s Club and scoutmaster of the parish’s Boy Scout troop.

He is married to Anne Scott Bahlinger Pourciau and they have two children, Jacob, 21, who attends LSU, and Mary Scott, 18, a senior at St. Joseph’s Academy. Both he and his son are Eagle Scouts.

Jacques most recently served as Director of Liturgy at St. Thomas More since 2008, and was previously in management at Kornmeyer Furniture Store in Baton Rouge. He keeps very busy as a Financial and Insurance Broker with MassMutual Louisiana, a public-address announcer for LSU Soccer and Swimming and Diving, visitor locker room security with LSU sports, and his own voiceover business, Voicesbyjacques.

He studied Business Management at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where he graduated in 1994. He was very active in music there and also studied voice. He enjoys going to Manresa Retreat House in Convent, Louisiana, music of almost all types, cooking, and sports. If you are a fan of any of his favorite teams — Astros, Tigers, Cajuns, and Saints — you are already his friend.

Haley Schroeck
Family Ministry Coordinator
225-421-3540
hschroeck@stjamesbr.org

Haley Schroeck is a Baton Rouge native, having attended The Dunham School, and then, LSU. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in theatre, with a concentration in theatre studies, in 2014; and, has been an active member of the Southeast Louisiana theatre scene since 2011.

Haley began her work with young actors in 2014 through Theatre Baton Rouge and Playmakers of Baton Rouge and has actively worked with them since. In 2016, she joined Missoula Children’s Theatre, a national educational children’s theatre, touring with them for seven months throughout the Pacific Northwest. After the tour, Haley returned to Baton Rouge, becoming the Assistant Education Director of Theatre Baton Rouge, and the drama teacher at St. George Catholic School.

“Since the first moment I stepped into St. James, it has felt like a well of love and potential. I’m so honored to join this community and to have my passion for children and youth mix with your passion for the St. James church family. Together, I truly believe we will grow to be bigger and brighter than we already are. I look forward to becoming a part of this community, learning your hopes for these programs, and beginning our work toward making them a reality,” says Haley.

Shannon Gallier
Director of Music
225-421-3546
sgallier@stjamesbr.org

Shannon Gallier, a native of southeast Texas, comes to us having served as Organist-Choirmaster at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta, Georgia since 2014.

At St. Bartholomew’s, Shannon has overseen a vibrant music program comprised of over seventy voices spread over four choirs. Before 2014, Shannon served as Organist-Choirmaster at The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Jacksonville, Florida, where he revitalized that church’s historic music program. He is an active member of the Royal School of Church Music in America, which seeks to foster the training of young singers in the Anglican choral tradition.

Shannon has served as Director, Co-Director, and Housemaster at several RSCM Summer Training Courses, and is a Mentor for RSCM America. He holds degrees in music performance and literature from Centenary College of Louisiana, and from The Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Shannon has performed as an organ recitalist throughout the United States. In his free time, Shannon likes to sail, read sci-fi and history, study French, brag about the excellent cooking of his husband, Austin, and dote on his tuxedo cat, Fanny.

In describing his calling as a church musician, Shannon said he seeks to, “…help build God’s Kingdom through quality sacred music and to foster a love of the liturgy, music, and worship which leads us closer to our Creator. I look forward to meeting you all and delving deeper into the mysteries of our faith through the incredible musical tradition we have inherited.”

Sylvia Rabalais
Membership Coordinator
225-421-3549
srabalais@stjamesbr.org

Sylvia has retired from her roll of Administrative Secretary following 25 years of church service.  She is now assisting on a part time basis on Mondays and Tuesdays during a transition period.

She and Craig are now moving into retirement. Craig is still busy with his many works of art displayed on their website madebytof.com. They are both looking forward to enjoying more time with family, especially their grandson Hunter.

Monica Dugas
Office Administrator
mdugas@stjamesbr.org

Monica Dugas joined us in December 2020 as Office Administrator. Monica is a life-long Episcopalian, baptized at St. James and grew-up at Trinity with Fr. Ralph as her Rector. Monica is now a Zachary resident, and a vestry member at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church. She comes to us equipped with a plethora of organizational experience from entities such as the Knock Knock Children’s Museum, BREC, and USS KIDD Veterans Memorial & Museum. In addition to joining the team at St. James, she just started her own business, Dugas Consulting, building online merchandising platforms for small businesses. She earned a Bachelor of Arts from Louisiana State University, as well as a Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. Her husband Ken, is employed at LSU and they have two daughters, Kaitlyn (17) and Madelyn (9).

Chelsea Borruano
Director of Communications
cborruano@stjamesbr.org

Chelsea Borruano is an LSU graduate and Baton Rouge native. Chelsea has over 10 years of experience in marketing, and has worked with agencies, corporations, small businesses, and non-profits alike. She also founded and runs the You Aren’t Alone Project, a local nonprofit for mental health awareness and support, is pursing her masters in mental health counseling, and proudly serves as an advocate for mental health in our community. She joined the St. James staff December of 2020.

Caleb Kent
Communications Intern

Caleb Kent is a native of the area and comes highly recommended as both a current student at the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication, and as a stellar volunteer at Camp Hardtner, Louisiana’s only Episcopal summer camp, located in Pollock, Louisiana.
 
Caleb joined us on a part-time schedule in August of 2020, and will be learning the ins and outs of the communications department, to gain professional experience as well as to deepen his understanding of the Episcopal faith.

Mary Davis-Palms
Dietician, St. James Episcopal Church & Day School
225-344-0805
mpalms@stjamesbr.org

Mary Davis-Palms is the St. James dietician and food service manager. She joined the St. James parish staff in August 2009.

“I took on this new challenge at St. James to enhance what is in place; the goal is to build on the past,” says Mary. She spent 35 years in the East Baton Rouge Parish School system and was supervisor for 25 schools in the Child Nutrition Program. This is where she met the St. James Head of School Linda Chauviere, former principal at Magnolia Woods.

Mary is a graduate of LSU with a degree in Food Service Management & Hospital Dietetics. She worked for Baton Rouge General before joining the school system. Her husband, Robert, is retired. They have two grown children.

Assisting Clergy

Deacon Patsy R. Lyle

Deacon Patsy R. Lyle serves as Spiritual Director in Residence. Her discernment to become a deacon, the servant order of the church, began in 1977. Pat received extensive training in ministry to the aging, ministry to those in transition or grief, and ministry to those facing death and dying. In 1983 she trained in Clinical Pastoral Education at OLOL Hospital. Pat was ordained a Deacon in the Episcopal Church in 1986 by Bishop Brown. She ministers to the elderly at Guest House and Williamsburg.

Pat has been a staff member for the Joy Conference, Women in Recovery, and the Creativity Retreat. She has served at many Cursillo weekends and for six Kairos weekends at the LA Correctional Institute for Women.

Pat is a 1956 graduate of Louisiana State University with a BS degree in business. She is married to N. Donald (Don) Lyle, and they have two children and six grandchildren. Her hobbies include swimming, biking, reading, and the beach.

The Rt. Rev. Robert C. Witcher

The Rt. Rev. Robert C. Witcher serves as Bishop-in-Residence following his retirement as the Bishop of the Diocese of Long Island. Bishop Witcher has a long association with St. James beginning in 1952 as curate and later as rector from 1962 to 1975.

He received a BA degree from Tulane University before entering Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, Evanston, IL. He was ordained a deacon July 6, 1952 and as a priest one year later. Bishop Witcher continued his education at LSU with a master’s degree (1960) and a PhD in 1968. He also holds a Doctor of Divinity (1974) from Seabury-Western and a Doctor of Canon Law from Nashotah House (1989). Bishop Witcher is a truly gifted teacher of the Episcopal faith and its history.

He holds the rank of Captain in the U.S. Navy following a career of service including Chair, Armed Forces Commission, Diocese of Louisiana, 1963-75, and Interim Bishop Armed Forces, 1989-90.

Bishop Witcher married Elisabeth Alice Cole on June 4, 1957.

Vestry

Within the Episcopal Church, the Vestry is an elected governing body considered an integral and legal representative of a parish, overseeing all matters of corporate property. At St. James Episcopal Church, the Vestry is composed of the Senior and Junior Wardens, the clerk, and — particular to St. James — 15 other elected positions (six elected each year for a three-year term). The presiding officer of the vestry is the rector. They are confirmed communicants in good standing over the age of 18, who are entitled to vote at the Parish Meeting at which they are elected.

Overall, they support the workings of the church through the following:

  • Discerning the vision toward which God is drawing St. James
  • Articulating and communicating that vision;
  • Holding the St. James community accountable for its realization of the vision;
  • Keeping the mission of the church and that of the individual congregation clearly before the parish community.
  • Individually, vestry members are expected to “… further his/her spiritual growth, be regular in attendance at meetings of the Vestry, serve on one or more committees or ministries of the church and/or Vestry, participate in the annual stewardship drive, abide by and support Vestry decisions in a positive way, and attend church-sponsored events and programs.”

Elected Vestry

Third Year Term Ending 2022

Amy Kurtz
Bahin Leonard
Amy Rabalais
Trey Roberts
John Sykes
Stewart Tharp

Second Year Term Ending 2023
Bob Bowsher
Ashley Frey
Robert Heroman
Bettsie Miller
Chrissie Olsson
Martha Richard

First Year Term Ending 2024
Anita Byrne
Michael Fontenot
Laura Martin
William “B” Phillips
Robin Richards
John Soule

Associate Vestry

The Associate Vestry, which is also an elected governing body, is dedicated to the development of fellowship activities within the parish. Members of this group work hand-in-hand with St. James staff members to produce such events as the St. James Pancake Breakfast, the Summer Sounds Concert Series and more, in addition to special, one-time events such as the 175th Anniversary Dinner & Dance (2019).