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

Posted on Wed, May 30, 2018 at 10:00:00 am


Rector Call
Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Dear Parishioners,


I have great and exciting news! We have a new rector, Fr. Chris Duncan, who is the current rector of St. Paul’s in Katy, Texas. We, the Vestry and Rector Search Committee, believe he is the perfect person to become the 24th Rector of St. James. This announcement is also being made public at St. Paul’s.


The Rector Search Committee reached a unanimous decision to recommend calling Fr. Duncan after months of extensive searching and prayerful discernment. The committee presented their recommendation with supporting documentation to a special, called Vestry meeting on Thursday, May 17, 2018. Fr. Duncan and his wife, Casey, visited Baton Rouge the following week, during which time Fr. Duncan met with the Vestry on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 to allow us to further assess his qualifications and fit with our parish. Following this interview, the Vestry unanimously voted on our first ballot to call Fr. Duncan to be our rector. We issued our call to Fr. Duncan on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 to become our Rector and he enthusiastically accepted. We have, since, been working hard to finalize the details of our agreement and to set an announcement date with due sensitivity to informing St. Paul’s congregation.


Fr. Duncan is a native of Houston, Texas and was ordained into the priesthood on January 20, 2010 at The Episcopal Church of the Good Shephard in Austin, Texas. He was called to be the rector of St. Paul’s in Katy, Texas, in June of 2012 and has been serving there, since. He and Casey have two children, Carolena, age 6, and, Nils, age 4, who will be attending St. James Episcopal Day School in the 2018-2019 school year.


Fr. Duncan has an exemplary record at St. Paul’s which has seen significant growth under his leadership. I have posted Fr. Duncan’s background information to our website and suggest you download and read it, here.


Fr. Duncan’s first day at St. James will be July 16, 2018. He will preach his first sermon on Sunday, July 22, 2018, the day we observe our patron saint’s feast day — fitting symbolism at the start of his ministry, here. Please plan on attending one of our services on July 22 and give Fr. Duncan a warm and enthusiastic St. James welcome.


God Bless,

Gerry's Signature

Gerry Sulzer
Sr. Warden


May 30, 2018


Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.


I am filled with great excitement and joy as I look forward to joining you at St. James Episcopal Church and School to serve as your next Rector. I look forward to formally arriving in the office in mid-July and worshiping with you on Sunday, July 22. I am also excited for you to meet my wife, Casey, and our two children: Carolena (6) and Nils (4).


St. James is a wonderful parish full of faith, hope, and love. During my on-going discussions with the search committee and Vestry, I heard of the love you have for Christ, St. James Church, the Day School, and the Baton Rouge community at large. St. James has a distinguished history of faithful ministry that transforms lives, and together we will build upon that legacy as we look forward to the future God has in store. Together we will step out in faith in the name of and for the sake of Christ so that all might know the love of God.


In this season of transition, I ask for your prayers for my family as we prepare to move and say goodbye to dear friends. I also ask your prayers for the good people of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Katy, Texas as they now begin their own search process. Finally, please know that the St. James parish family remains in my prayers daily.


Yours in Christ,
The Rev. Chris Duncan


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Posted on Sun, May 20, 2018 at 11:07:00 pm


Helen Campbell and Trey Roberts announced at the Parish Meeting on Sunday, May 20, that the Search Committee has submitted a candidate name to the vestry for endorsement as the twenty-fourth rector of St. James Episcopal Church on Thursday, May 17. The candidate had yet to meet with the vestry and receive such endorsement, so due to confidentiality, no name was announced.
Helen did take the opportunity to remind the parish of the selection criteria established by the Search Committee, based on parishioner input from surveys, meetings, and workshops:

  • A talented preacher and spiritual leader
  • A minister for the whole church
  • Communicates well
  • Warm, personable, out-going
  • A unifier
  • A skilled administrator

Trey commended the work of the whole committee, noting he’d spoken with Helen just about daily for the past year, and looks forward to sharing the exciting details of the next chapter in St. James parish life, soon.

Ed. note: You can view the entire Parish Meeting, here. The Search Committee report begins at approximately 1:01:45.



Posted on Mon, April 23, 2018 at 4:04:00 pm


Editor's Note: At the 10:30 service on Sunday, April 22, Helen Campbell and Trey Roberts, Search Committee co-chairs, presented a progress report on the search for a new rector of St. James Episcopal Church. You can listen to Trey's comprehensive report of facts and status, here, and/or read the entirety of their report, below.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support as we move through the process to call our next rector. We want to update you on progress, including a recap of the search process.

April 2017: The Search Committee was created by appointment of co-chairs Trey Roberts and Helen Campbell. The membership was formed with the input of names from the parish, then selection of members by the Senior Warden, Junior Warden, and the committee co-chairs. Members named were: Andy McCall, Bahin Leonard, Bob Israel, Catherine Harrell, Charlie Frey, Jay Noland, John Sykes, Julia Spaht, Martha Vasquez, Susan Rolfs.

Summer 2017:  With the assistance of The Rev. Canon Shannon Manning on behalf of Bishop Thompson, the committee’s organizational work began with many hours of research on our parish, as well as potential candidates in order to best align our parish needs with a future rector. In other words, "Where are we and what do we prioritize as St. James, and how does that match individual priests who are open to a new calling?"

A parish survey was created and more than 300 people participated. The high number of responses assure good, accurate information. You care greatly about St. James and your responses give the committee comprehensive input on all aspects of our church and church family.

With an open invitation to the entire parish, listening forums were held for parishioners to discuss any and all issues considered important for the Search Committee to address in the church profile.

Stakeholder meetings were held with clergy, selected church staff, as well as key ministries, to gain input about the workings of the church.

October-December 2017: The Search Committee prepared, and the Vestry approved, our St. James profile which is available on our website or hard copy in the church office.

The parish family was invited to nominate potential rector candidates for consideration. Clergy also submitted nominations.

An Office of Transitional Ministry profile was prepared for The Episcopal Church (national office) and candidates from around the country put their names into our search.  

Mid-March 2018: Candidate nominations were closed with an initial pool of about 50 candidates. All candidates’ names were sent to our Diocesan office for approval, a requirement before the Search Committee can take any action.

January-March 2018: Candidates were individually researched and then presented to the full Search Committee for discussion and consideration. The list of candidates was narrowed, and continued with Skype interviews. Candidate references were contacted by telephone.

April 2018: The committee members began to travel for confidential face-to-face meetings and to attend services in the candidates' home parishes. Out of respect for the candidate and their current ministries, the committee members do not identify as such at the parish visited. Visits are expected to conclude by mid-May.

The Search Committee will prayerfully discern its recommendation of a new rector to the Vestry. The candidate will be invited to Baton Rouge to meet with the Vestry and visit St. James. If the Vestry concurs with the Committee’s recommendation, the call for a new rector will be made.

This process is designed to be prayerfully undertaken, listening to God throughout each step of consideration. The process also involves envisioning the life of our congregation under the leadership of each candidate. St. James has grown and changed in positive ways over the course of these many months and the Search Committee is encouraged and supported by our parish’s confidence and respect for this unique process. The call of a new rector moves on God’s time and we know God is at work in our midst.

The Search Committee will continue to provide updates in the eMessenger, The Messenger (monthly), service leaflets, and through reports during services, and we invite you to pray daily for St. James and this important discernment:

Loving God of unchangeable light, we thank you for our St. James family. For generations, you have guided us to this holy place, our cornerstone of faith.  Grant us patience, strength and wisdom as we walk together to discern your will.  Bless us and bless our journey.  We ask this in Jesus’ name by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.


Posted on Mon, April 16, 2018 at 10:36:00 am


The St. James Search Committee is pleased to update our St. James family as we progress in the calling of a new rector.

Here is where we are in the process:

  • Phase 1: Review of candidate packets
  • Phase 2: Skype interview discussions
  • Phase 3: Face to face meetings at priests’s home parishes

We are committed to having a comprehensive, inclusive search to find our next rector. We have been open to reviewing every candidate that we've been introduced to, which has created a melding of the interview phases.  

The candidates and their families have been flexible and open to working with us to coordinate the interviews and visits around full church and school calendars. We are now traveling and meeting with our candidates in their home parishes. This has put us on the road and in the air to meet our priests and their families. We have made good friends with our candidates and their families, and we actively support each other in prayer as we all discern God’s calling for us at St. James.

We appreciate our families’ and the parish’s support and patience during this search process. We ask for your continued prayers for the committee as we continue our journey to meet our candidates.


Posted on Wed, March 21, 2018 at 12:54:00 pm


The Search Committee has narrowed the candidate applicants to a group of finalists. We are excited about moving into this next stage of the process!

Calls are being made to the candidates' references, and visits to personally interview the candidates in their home parishes will follow.

Please continue to keep the committee in your prayers.


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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


Download our Parish Profile, here.



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