VESTRY RETREAT 2019
 
 

Jeffrey B. Davis – Senior Warden JBD toast

I am married to Cate Davis for 35 years and we have 3 daughters, all married by our Rector Becky Coerper. Julia and Audric Collignon were married in our yard in the summer of 2013. Julia lives in San Francisco, she is an engineer and works for the car manufacturer Tesla bringing solar energy to their facilities. Julia and Audric have given us grandson Eric. Meryl and Gregg were married at St. James’ on November 8, 2014. They are members at St. James’ and live in the Village of Skaneateles. Meryl is the Director of Food and Beverage for the Inns at Aurora. Carolyn and Alex were married at St. James’ on November 14, 2015. Carolyn is following Alex in his baseball career. Cate and I have lived in Skaneateles on Highland Ave. for 22 years. Cate is an owner of the women’s clothing store in Skaneateles, Cate and Sally. We are truly blessed with a beautiful family.

I have been a member at St. James’ for 4 years and been a member of the Vestry for a year. I am the chairman of the Stewardship program. I feel I have been called to St. James’ and it has been a life changing experience for me.

By day, I practice law – for about 30 years in Syracuse – and more recently closer to home in the Village of Camillus. My work involves real estate, wills, estates and business. I graduated from West Genesee, Syracuse U. and the Syracuse College of Law. I also practice most of the things in my life and religion is at the top of the list these days. I enjoy cooking; photography (…light from light… is my favorite spiritual image); golf; swimming; reading.
 
It is a dynamic time to be involved with St. James’.
 
 
Colleen Gannon-Junior Warden
 
My name is Colleen Gannon, and I have been attending St. James church since 2002.  I grew up here in Skaneateles and was raised Roman Catholic.  Jean and I were both looking for a church we could call home and instantly found it the first time we attended a service at St. James.  Feeling the warmth, friendliness, and welcoming love, we knew we had a place where we could raise our family.  We currently reside in Marcellus with our daughters, Deanna (Dani) and Kelly. We feel truly blessed that they will grow up knowing this wonderful church family we have. After serving 3 years on the vestry and two years as warden and chair of the finance committee, I am pleased to serve as junior warden again and continue as the finance committee chairperson.   I served on the church building committee throughout our extensive renovations and serve as a chalice bearer and usher with my family at the 10:45 service. In the past, I served on the search committee that brought Becky to us. In 2013 I traveled to El Salvador on a Habitat mission with several other members of St. James. I am currently a lead mechanical engineer for Welch Allyn in Skaneateles Falls. When I am not working or being a chauffeur for my children, I enjoy spending time outdoors hiking, hunting, fishing and camping.   I occasionally volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and really enjoy building & construction projects.  We have a modest size garden that I pretend to keep weed free and love to share our extras on the giving table.  As a warden, I will continue to support the mission of St. James and help the church to grow and prosper while always staying focused on God and His will.
 
 
Cindy Bright-Vestry Member 
 
I have been a member of St. James’ Church since 2013. I have been blessed to be married to Jim for almost 30 years. Our family moved from Onondaga Hill to Skaneateles eight years ago and we are still discovering new ways to enjoy the village and lake. Jim and I have four adult children. Joe recently moved back to Syracuse to assume leadership in the family business, Dunk and Bright. Erin is an emergency room resident in New Haven, Conn. Carley is a medical student in Erie, Penn. James works in finance for Deloitte Bank in Charlotte. Professionally, I have been a pediatrician at Pediatric Associates for 28 years. Recently, I have begun to also work at the Developmental Evaluation Center at Upstate which assesses children with developmental and behavioral issues. Spiritually, I have been part of several faith communities. I was raised in the Catholic Church, attended Onondaga Hill Presbyterian Church in Syracuse and landed at St. James’ where we felt so welcomed and comfortable. I am particularly drawn to St. James’ commitment to service and mission. I have participated in several medical mission trips through the Christian Medical and Dental Society. At St. James’, I have served as a lector and acolyte at the 7:30 a.m. service, as a jail minister at the Cayuga County jail, have volunteered at the Rescue Mission, was on the search committee for the Worship Band Leader and have helped in with our kitchen crew. I love participating in the centering prayer held on Tuesday and Friday mornings in the Lakeside Room. These experiences have exposed me to several very faithful and committed members of the congregation who have both enriched my faith walk and become my friends. It is quite an honor and blessing to be nominated for the Vestry at St. James’. I am excited to learn about the many ways our church serves as God’s voice and hands to others.
 
 
Cathy Buck-Vestry Member 
 
My name is Cathy Buck, and my husband Andy and I have been attending St. James’ since spring of 2015. I grew up on a dairy farm in Gilbertsville, NY where I learned about the love of Jesus at my Presbyterian Church home. During my teen years, I taught Sunday School, sang in the choir and learned to play the church organ. Andy and I live on a beef cattle farm near the hamlet of Owasco, where we have resided for 28 years. Our four children, Carrie, Mary, Joseph and Lyda are all spread out. Carrie is married and lives with her husband Craig Feyerabend in Vestal, NY; Mary is pursuing a masters’ degree in speech pathology at Nazareth (Rochester); Joseph is in his fourth year as a Mechanical Engineering Major at RIT (Rochester); and Lyda is a Senior at Skaneateles and has been accepted to Cornell in the fall. We have truly enjoyed being part of the St James’ family; and Lyda feels at home worshipping and singing praise songs at the 10:45 service. I enjoy reading scripture and prayers at this service, as well as serving as chalice bearer and ushering with my family. I am happy that I was able to help initiate the inter-service brunches that have helped to give our members a time to be fed, unwind and converse. In 2018, I was blessed to be a member of the Learning Communities Initiative team for St. James’; and I am a member of the current Stephen’s Ministry Class, which will be commissioned at the 10:45 service on January 27th. I also had the privilege of facilitating a class on the Beatitudes this past fall. I have been overjoyed to be able to participate in various Rescue Mission projects, events and trips, since St. James’ partnership formed in the spring and summer of 2017. It has been an honor and a pleasure to get to know the families at Merriman Circle and to volunteer alongside my friends at St James’. I am currently a substitute teacher at Skaneateles schools, where I enjoy working with the students of all ages. I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Cornell University. I am also a long-standing Board member of the Owasco Zoning Board of Appeals, and a Board member of the Skaneateles Music Guild. In my spare time, I love to hike, bike, camp, read, and write poems and lyrics. I find great pleasure in working with and teaching young children – I even led a children’s choir for 5 years at my previous church. I am a movie buff, and especially like stories based on real life; enjoy hosting friends and family; and spend most of my time outdoors (preferably by the water) in the summer months. As a member of the vestry, I will uphold the mission of St. James’, share the love of our Lord Jesus Christ, and continue to work diligently for the greater good of the congregation, in accordance with God’s Holy will.
 
 
 
Carrie Chantler-Vestry Member
 
Carrie makes her home in the village and has spent every summer of her life on Skaneateles Lake. She is the Marketing and Communications Director for the Onondaga County Bar Association. Prior to her current position, she wrote about education and environmental issues for The Citizen and the Skaneateles Journal.  Her articles have also appeared online for Edge Media Network.  She returned to CNY in 2007 to pursue a master’s degree in journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, her alma mater. She earned her FBA from SU in theater in 1986.  Previous to her graduate studies, Carrie resided in Chicago where she founded Terrapin Theatre, a non-profit arts agency that thrived for 14 years.  In Chicago, she produced, directed and acted in a variety of productions. Her voice has been heard in numerous commercials, in addition to singing with the St. James’ Church Choir and MasterWorks Chorale. She is a member of Actors’ Equity Association.  

 

 
John Gilly-Vestry Member
I am the proud husband of Jane McMahon-Gilly for 32 years and counting and proud father of two sons, Ian and Quinn, who both live in Pennsylvania.  I was raised in Eastern Pennsylvania and educated in Pennsylvania with my terminal degree of a PhD in molecular biology from Lehigh University.  My professional career has been in biotechnology drug and vaccine development and managing businesses and NIH programs in cancer and infectious disease research starting in 1980 until I stopped working full time in 2014.  After spending much time and serious thought, Jane and I moved to Skaneateles in 2014 for the purpose of retiring here and I feel the change has been a healthy one for me.
I was baptized in the Presbyterian faith and was active in the church in my youth.  That changed once I started my first job at age 14 and I did not return to being active in a church until after I met Jane in 1983.  I enjoyed attending mass with her, was married in the Catholic church and as we raised a family I converted to Roman Catholic faith as the result of a desire to feel more fully part of the family.  In our move to Skaneateles we were seeking a church community that had kinship to our liturgy experience as Catholics and also was warm and welcoming. I strongly feel we’ve found that at St. James’.  Some of my fundamental beliefs are that God’s greatest gift to us is each other and that faith without works is dead.  I’ve had the chance at St. James’ to participate more fully with the church; more than I ever had the time or opportunity to in my life before, including the choir, the 2015 Habitat for Humanity trip to El Salvador and a range of other activities that St. James’ offers. When asked to consider being nominated for the Vestry, I felt that it was my time to commit to an obligation of service to a community that has offered me so much in such a short time.
 
Brian Hidy-Vestry Member
I’ve been connected to St. James’ in one way, shape or form since I was in High School. Back then I was involved in diocesan youth events like Happening and made friends with young people from all over our diocese, including St. James’  My faith has been a critical part of my journey since that time.  
Later, when I met my wife Beckie who grew up in Skaneateles and was baptized here, we decided to be married at St. James’. We soon moved west to live and work in Colorado where we were part of a church family while we were there.  Once our daughter, Danae, was born we decided to move back to Central New York to be closer to family.  We eventually settled back in the Skaneateles area and became members of St. James’ when our daughter developed a close relationship with the daughters of then Rector, Robert de Wetter. We soon found ourselves in the role of high school youth ministers and served for several years in that capacity.  We’ve also been strong advocates for youth ministry at the Diocesan level, serving in many capacities to preserve those opportunities for future youth.
My wife is part of the worship band and has been since its inception, and you’ll often see me playing conga and singing as a part of the band at 10:30 as well.
Outside of church I have worked in education as both a middle school science teacher and most recently as a coordinator and software implementation project manager for WFL BOCES in Newark, New York.  I am also an avid outdoorsman, focused primarily on cycling, but I also love to ski, sail, swim, hike, and climb.  We have long felt that St. James’ is where God has called us to be at this point in our journey in faith.
 
Karen Hoyt-Vestry Member 
Karen Hoyt I welcome the opportunity to be part of the St. James’ Church’s vestry. I joined St. James’ just prior to Becky becoming our Rector. Born and raised Roman Catholic, I yearned for something more aligned with my beliefs while also maintaining a strong Christian focus. My first introduction to an Episcopalian church service was during my son and daughter-in-law’s wedding at St. John’s Church in Washington, D.C. Then, the first Sunday I attended St. James’, I left the 7:30 a.m. service knowing my prayers were answered. Genuine warm welcomes and interactions, truly meaningful sermons, and a structure of liturgical and personal activity anyone can mutually benefit from … truly I (we) am (are) blessed. I enjoy volunteering in the kitchen and during coffee hours. I have the pleasure of being part of the Human Resources Committee. Also, I serve as lector at the 7:30 service. I grew up and spent most of my life in Central New York. I live in a 175-year-old farm house in the “middle of nowhere” (ever see the movie The Money Pit?). I enjoy vacations and weekends on Fourth Lake in the Adirondacks. I was educated at St. John’s, Syracuse University and Cornell. My work experience as a self-employed management consultant and in-house human resources/training/compliance employee addressed the needs of health care organizations, manufacturing, non-profits, churches, financial institutions, EMS, law enforcement, fire service and government municipalities. I have one son, Jeffery, and daughter-in-law, Natalie, who are both attorneys. My son is a colonel in Air Force Reserves and has his own law firm in downtown D.C. Three of the most precious gifts I ever received are my grandchildren: John Brandon, Elizabeth and Caroline. They re-side in Bethesda, Maryland. My husband passed in 2003 but the positive legacy of life lessons continues on. St. James’ has provided me with enhanced faith, renewed hope and a wealth of gratitude. I am truly honored to be asked to be a part of the Vestry.
Erica Olson-Bang-Vestry Member
 

My husband, Dan, and I have attended St. James for a little over two years. We had relocated to Camillus from the NYC area about a year before, and, after visiting a number of Episcopal Churches in the Syracuse area, we landed at St. James, drawn in particular by the warmth of the leadership here. I grew up as a church planter’s kid in the Evangelical Covenant Church, bouncing around from Minnesota to Wisconsin to Florida to California, and later chose to study theology as a young adult (like my father and grandfather). It was while I was working on my PhD in Theology at Fordham University that I started attending Episcopal churches (in 2007) and met Dan (in 2009). We married two years later at our home parish at the time, Saint Thomas Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, which I attended for 6 years, Dan for longer. After graduating from Fordham, I was a professor of Religious Studies at the College of New Rochelle, in New Rochelle, NY, for five years (from 2012 to 2017). During which time, Dan took a position at SU, and we relocated to Central New York. We had our daughter Anna (3) shortly after, and our second daughter Miriam this summer (7 months). Currently, I’m staying home with our girls, and when I get any free time from/with our girls, I also enjoy photography, cooking, biking, hiking, and reading. At St. James, I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to attend and offer adult formation classes, and most of the rest of the time you can find me chasing down my daughters at the back of the church.
 
 
Amy Tuttle-Vestry Member
 
I have been a member of St. James’ Church since I was born and was both baptized and confirmed at St. James’. I have been involved with multiple ministries at St. James’ starting with the children’s choir when I was 9 years old. Currently, I am an usher at the 9 a.m. service. Also, I volunteer at the Samaritan Center, the soup kitchen at SS Peter and John church, the annual Jumble Sale and help organize the school supply, food and toy drives for Meacham Elementary School. I am the St. James’ Team Captain for the CROP Walk for Hunger and have participated in the walk for 25 years. My background includes a B.S. degree in Nutrition and Dietetics and a M.S. degree in Community Health. I am employed as a Nutritionist for the Onondaga County Health Department. I attend church with my parents, Earl and Connie Tuttle. I am single and do not have any children. I have always loved being a member of St. James’. I feel that St. James is a welcoming community with a strong commitment to outreach both locally and globally. I am honored to be invited to be a member of the vestry and hope that I can do my best to serve the St. James’ congregation.
 
Cathy Valentine-Vestry Member
My name is Cathy Valentine. I was baptized at Christ Episcopal Church in Jordan and confirmed at St. Patrick’s church in Jordan. I am married to Russell and have 3 grown children, Jennifer, Elizabeth and Michael. My mother passed away in 2012 and I was searching for a church that I felt comfortable with, aligned with my own Christian beliefs and I could call home. I had attended a couple of churches in Jordan, Skaneateles and Camillus. I did not feel real welcome and they did not match with what I was looking for. When I attended St. James’ and Becky said “All are welcome to the Lord’s table…”, I felt that was what I was looking for. Also, during the peace everyone was so welcoming and friendly. You can feel God’s presence during every outside service. I received my Associate’s degree in nursing in 1983 and my Bachelor’s degree in nursing from Upstate University in 2006. I have been an RN for 35 years most recently as an administrative nursing supervisor at Upstate University Hospital. I went out on disability retirement in June 2018 and felt very lost. My whole life has been helping and serving people. I am currently in the Stephen Ministry training and soon will be starting the volunteer training for hospice. I realized that my salvation was in St. James’ ministries. My vision for a church is to be welcoming to everyone regardless of age, gender, sexuality, or financial status. In addition, I like the idea of reaching out to all the many people that are in need of resources, an ear to listen or assistance in any way. I look forward to assisting St. James to continue with their mission.