2020 Annual Meeting
St. James’ 204th Annual Meeting was held on Sunday, February 2, 2020
The Vestry Slate approved is:
Susanne Houston-Junior Warden, Laura Abbott, Bill Spalding, Anne Sveen
Bios below for our newest members
Susanne Houston—Jr. Warden:  I am honored to be writing this biography, and grateful for the opportunity to join the current Vestry and fellow nominees in this leadership mission and ministry of faith. My 10+ years with St. James’ have been an absolute blessing. Being a member of the Vestry in the past not only brought me closer to the inner workings of our faith community but it greatly enriched my spiritual life. I carry those teachings with me daily. Over the years I have become co-editor of the Spirit Monthly Newsletter, filled a seat on the finance committee, served as a member of the Capital Campaign, and sing in the Choir at the 9 a.m. service. Witnessing the works of the Spirit in and around St. James’ has been a true honor, and has filled my life with love. As for qualifications, I have held many work titles which lead me to the last 15 years at the Ivystone Group now as Business Analyst. These roles have taught me humility, patience, empathy, honesty, tact, organization, logic, creativity and strength. Combined with an open heart and ears turned towards the Lord, these are the skills and experiences I will continue to draw on as Warden. Finally, what do I envision for St. James’ future? My story has not changed in the least. I still share the vision of continuous growth against all odds. This expansion is not just in reference to the number of families making up our parish or of the building as it stands, but in Spirit, blowing open our doors and encompassing those in our community as well as abroad. In a world where many churches are struggling to reach those at the margins and inspire, this parish family’s solidarity and faith in God’s plan will become contagious and inviting to all wherever they are in their journey of faith.
Laura Abbott:   My name is Laura Abbott, and I have attended St. James’ since 2004. I grew up in Interlaken, N.Y., and was raised in the Baptist faith. I attended Christian schools through my fourth year of college. My family moved to Auburn in 1991, and I attended a few local churches sporadically, never finding the fit that felt like home. I was invited to check out St James’ by my dear friends, Colleen and Jean Gannon. St. James’ was immediately a place I could be exactly where I was on my journey of faith. I kept coming back, and eventually became a member. What has made the difference is that I can worship as well as serve in church ministries. My wife, Kristina, and I were married at St. James’ in 2016. We sing with the worship band at the 10:45 service, and also help with Altar Guild preparations. I currently am the Educator for Sterile Processing at SUNY Upstate University Hospital. When I am not at work, I enjoy doing projects around the house, creating art, adventuring with my wife, cooking, going for a bike ride, and spending time with my parents and friends. As a member of the Vestry, I will continue to support the mission of St. James’ through prayerful consideration and positive collaboration. I look forward to working with the leadership of this Body of Christ. My desire is to encourage growth and prosperity, while maintaining a focus on God, and what His will is for our scope of service.
Bill Spalding:  I was born and raised here in Skaneateles. After a 10-year sojourn in Cortland where I met my wife, Molly, I moved back home. My grandparents and my parents were/are St James’ members. I was christened and confirmed here. Molly and all three of my children were baptized in the lake here at St. James’. My business, Upstate Temperature Control, is based here in Skaneateles servicing HVAC Control systems for larger commercial buildings throughout Upstate. I am excited at the opportunity to give back through service on the Vestry.
Anne Sveen:   I have been a member of St. James’ for more than 18 years. I am married to John Sveen and have three daughters, Sarah (21), Mia (18) and Lily (10). We lived in Camillus for 20 years and moved to Skaneateles about 6 months ago. I am a pediatrician at Upstate Medical University and have been there for over 20 years. My faith has always been a significant part of my life. I was raised a Catholic, but came to the Episcopal Church about 20 years ago and found a welcoming community here at St. James’. I feel it is important to live my faith and participating in the church community is one way I can do this. In the past I have done this through my music or volunteering my time. I am pleased to be asked to be on the Vestry because I feel a calling to participate more. Thank you for considering me for this opportunity.