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 the former Casey Rush, and they have two children, Carolena and Nils.
The Rev. Ralph F. Howe, Jr. returned to St. James in August 2014 to serve as Senior Associate Rector and Day School Chaplain. St. James is the church where Fr. Ralph was baptized; he is the son of the late Anne & Ralph Howe.
Since his ordination, he has served in various capacities in the Diocese of Louisiana and Western Louisiana, including 12 years as rector of Trinity Church, Baton Rouge, and, from 2004-2014 at Episcopal School of Baton Rouge where he was Senior Chaplain & Chair of the Religion Department.
Fr. Howe received his BS from the University of the South, and his Master of Divinity from the General Theological Seminary in New York.
He and his wife, Suzette, have four grown children and two grandchildren.
Sylvia Rabalais is likely to be one of the first faces you see in the office, or the first voice you hear over the phone (and surely will be if you get the answering machine!). She joined the St. James staff as Administrative Secretary back in the olden days, when we were just moving to computers, and has a handle on everything St. James. If you have a question, want to schedule an appointment with one of the clergy, need to schedule a room for an activity, she is the go-to person. And, if she can’t answer it or do it, she knows who can!
Sylvia adopted Baton Rouge as home years ago when she and Craig married and settled here. Craig is retired and devoting time to his many works of art. They both look forward to enjoying as much time as possible with their grandson, Hunter.
Sylvia and Craig also own Made by TOF, creating one-of-a-kind home and beauty items that are also works of art!
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.
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, 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.”
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.
He has a background as a social studies educator and technology specialist, receiving his BS in history from LSU and the M.Ed. in technology integration from SELU, and joined the St. James staff in August 2017 after several years at Episcopal School, Baton Rouge.
James grew up in north Louisiana and moved to Baton Rouge after meeting his wife, Sarah, in 1998. They have two children, Jackson and Laney.
“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.
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.
James M Coleman
The Rt. Rev. James M. Coleman returned to St. James as Bishop-in-Residence following retirement as Bishop of West Tennessee. He was previously rector of St. James from 1975-1989.
Bishop Coleman received his BS degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee (1953) where he was a member of Kappa Sigma Fraternity. Coleman holds a Master of Divinity degree from The School of Theology at the University of the South (Sewanee) and a Doctorate of Ministry from Wake Forest University. He was ordained a deacon in 1956 and a priest in 1957 in the Diocese of Tennessee.
As a priest he served several parishes in Tennessee and Virginia before being called to St. James as rector. His long association with Sewanee includes service as President, Alumni Association 1969-71 and Trustee, School of Theology 1986-89.
Bishop Coleman is married to Emily (Douglass) Stewart Coleman, a native of Louisiana.
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.”
Third Year Term Ending 2021
Second Year Term Ending 2022
First Year Term Ending 2023
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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).