St. James' in Transition
St. James' in Transition
The work begins to find the next permanent rector of St. James’ Episcopal Church.
St. James’ is in the process of transitioning to a permanent rector to lead this vibrant parish on its next journey in faith. On this page, you will find information and links to other resources that can help you learn more about St. James’. Should you wish to speak to anyone in person, feel free to contact the Parish Office at 315-685-7600 and we will be happy to connect you with our Vestry Wardens.
Rector Search Committee “Online Office Hours” to be held via Zoom February 5th and 11th
Are you a seasonal resident? Do you worship online? Were you unable to attend the Office Hours held in Parish Hall? Then this message is for you!
Members of the Rector Search Committee will be available via Zoom on Monday February 5th at 7pm and Sunday February 11th at 12:15pm to receive input from parishioners who wish to share their thoughts about St James’ and the skills and characteristics they feel are most important for our next Rector. Your input is important and will help us to develop the “Parish Profile” that will be used in the search process.
If you would like to receive a Zoom link to online Office Hours, please email Marcia Watt at email@example.com by February 4th for the Monday February 5th session and by February 10th for the February 11th session.
Feedback can also be provided by completing the parish-wide Survey sent via email by the Rector Search Committee. Please contact Laura in the Church Office at Laura@stjamesskan.org or Colleen Gannon at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have not received the email link to our Survey.
Search Committee Members: Colleen Gannon and Marcia Watt (Co-Chairs), Nancy Corl, Jeffrey Davis, Susan Rynkiewicz, Erik Samhammer and Bill Spalding.
The Rector Search Committee will be sending out a Parish Survey via email on Jan. 28 to gather input that will be vital to the search for our next Rector. Your Survey will be sent to the email address on file in our directory and only one person can complete the Survey per email address. If there are more than one person in your household wishing to complete a Survey, and they do not individually receive this message, we will need to send a link to the Survey to them directly through a separate email address. Please contact Laura at email@example.com in the Church Office or Colleen Gannon at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to receive the Parish Survey at any other email address.
Rector Search Committee Team Members
Colleen Gannon (Co-Chair) – Colleen and her family have been attending St. James’ since 2002. Colleen is a past member of the Vestry from 2014-2020 and served as Warden from 2017-2020. Colleen has experience serving on the search committee that called Becky Coerper as Rector in 2010 and was a member of the Standing Tall for Generations Building Committee and active member of the Construction Committee overseeing the roof replacement and renovations of the Church. She works as a mechanical engineer at Baxter in Skaneateles and typically attends the Sunday contemporary service
Marcia Watt (Co-Chair) – Marcia and her husband John have been attending St. James’ for 15 years. Marcia has previously served as Chair of the Stewardship Committee and the Standing Tall for Generations Building Committee, leading the Master Planning process that preceded renovations to the Church. Marcia enjoys participating in the St. James’ Knitting Ministry and most recently has served on the Give to Grow Campaign Committee. Marcia has a legal background and has been an active community volunteer and member of various not-for-profit Boards. She attends both traditional and contemporary services at St James’.
Susanne Rynkiewicz – Susanne currently serves on Vestry and as Senior Warden. She has been a member of St. James’ for over 12 years. Susanne is a member of the Chancel Choir and has served for many years on the Church Finance Committee. She was also a member of the Standing Tall for Generations Planning Steering Committee. Professionally, Susanne has held many work titles over the last 17 years at the Ivystone Group in Exton PA (Remotely). She currently serves as Manager of Data Content & Systems Integrity. Susanne says that “the many roles held 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 … a member of St. James’ leadership team.”
Bill Spalding – Bill serves on the Vestry and as a Warden. Bill was born and raised in Skaneateles, and after a 10-year sojourn in Cortland where he met his wife, Molly, he moved back home. Bill’s grandparents and parents were St James’ members, and Bill was christened and confirmed here. Bill and Molly have 3 children who were all baptized in the lake here at St. James’. Bill’s business, Upstate Temperature Control, is based in Skaneateles and provides service for HVAC Control systems for larger commercial buildings throughout Upstate NY. Bill is excited to give back to his community and the parish through service on the Vestry and this committee.
Nancy Corl – Nancy has been a member of St. James’ for about 15 years, since her husband, Jim, retired as rector of Christ Church in Manlius. Nancy and Jim first met as students at Syracuse University through the Episcopal Student Fellowship on campus. Nancy graduated from the SU School of Nursing and has worked as a registered nurse and later as a nurse practitioner after getting an MSN from Binghamton University. Before her retirement, she worked largely with the medically underserved. At St. James’, Nancy is on the Vestry and serves as one of our parish nurses. She has also volunteered at the Rescue Mission and St. John’s Soup Kitchen in Auburn. As part of a clergy household, Nancy brings a unique perspective to the search committee, having had experience in various churches, large and small, rural and suburban, throughout the Central NY Diocese. Nancy says “I know about the sense of call that ministers receive on their journeys, and I am excited to take part in this effort, and to remain open to God’s call to us, as we seek our next Rector at St. James’.”
Jeffrey Davis – Jeff is an attorney practicing law at Bousquet Holstein PLLC in Syracuse. Jeff and his wife, Cate, have lived in Skaneateles for over 30 years. All three of their daughters were married at St. James’. Jeff has been worshiping at St. James’ for approximately 12 years. He is a past member of the Vestry and served as a Warden for two years. Jeff also served as a member of the Standing Tall for Generations Campaign Committee and is currently President of the St. James’ Foundation.
Erik Samhammer – Erik first joined St. James’ as a member of the worship band in 2009. He and his wife Liz were married at St. James’ in 2012, and their two sons (John, age 10 and Nathan, age 8) were both baptized here and participate in children’s ministry programs. Erik says that “it is an honor to be asked to serve in this capacity, and I am looking forward to hearing from the congregation about the things they are most looking for in the next rector of our parish.”
Rector Search Committee Update
A message to the Parish from Colleen Gannon and Marcia Watt, Co-Chairs
We are honored to have been asked by the Vestry to Co-Chair the Rector Search Committee and to be engaged in the important work of selecting our next Rector. The search committee is committed to engaging in a thorough, thoughtful and prayerful process of discerning our next Rector.
In November, the committee met with Canon Tom Ferguson, our Diocesan Transition Minister, to review the Diocesan Guidelines for conducting the search for our new Rector and to gain a clear understanding of the committee’s role in this process. The committee’s work is divided into three phases:
PHASE 1: Data gathering and assessment of the parish to develop a comprehensive “Parish Profile” that clearly communicates who we are as a parish, our various styles of worship, our ministries and mission, and the characteristics and skills that we seek in our next rector;
PHASE 2: Development and planning for the search process; and
PHASE 3: Discernment through evaluation and assessment of the candidates.
The committee is meeting regularly (usually twice a month) to carry out this important work. As we begin the Phase I period of self-study, we will be gathering historic and current data as well as reflecting on our future ministry goals and mission. Receiving input from the parish is vitally important to this task and to the development of our Parish Profile.
Please watch for opportunities to provide input to the search committee in the beginning of the New Year. In the meantime, during this Advent period of waiting and preparation, please keep our Rector Search Committee in your prayers as we begin this important work on behalf of St. James’.
Colleen and Marcia, Co-Chairs
Rector Search Committee Members
Parish Representatives: Colleen Gannon, Co-Chair Marcia Watt, Co-Chair Jeffrey Davis Erik Samhammer
Susan Rynkiewicz (Senior Warden)
Bill Spalding (Warden)
RSC Update 12/20/23 – Phase 1: Self-Study and Parish Profile
The first task of the Rector Search Committee (“RSC”) is to engage in a period of self-study, during which we gather historic and current data and reflect on the future ministry goals and mission of St. James’. Input from the parish is vitally important to this task. The information gathered will be used to create a “Parish Profile” to be used in the search for our next Rector. It is essential that this Profile clearly communicates:
- who we are as a parish;
- our various styles of worship;
- our ministries and mission; and
- the characteristics and skills that we seek in our next rector.
The RSC will be providing multiple opportunities to provide input during this time, including:
- “Office Hours” in the Parish Hall – RSC members will host coffee hour and be available in between services to listen to parishioners who wish to share their experiences at St. James’ and the characteristics they feel are vital in a new settled rector. These “Office Hours” will be held on Sunday, January 14 and Sunday, January 28 AFTER EACH Worship Service in the parish hall.
- “Office Hours” to be held via Zoom – RSC members will provide this opportunity for our “seasonal” residents and online worshippers to share their input – Date and time TBD.
- Parish Survey – This Survey is being developed and will be similar to the parish-wide survey used in our search in 2010 that resulted in the calling of Becky Coerper. The RSC anticipates sending this out to all members of St James’ in January 2024.
Watch for updates to this Transition page and the Weekly newsletter for more information on these opportunities to provide input to the Search Committee.
Father Joe T. Mitchell joined St. James’ September 1, 2023 as Interim Rector. He has begun preaching, listening and introducing new worship and programming along with administrative choices. The St. James’ Staff also have transitioned with the addition of Justin Oei as Organist/Choirmaster and Mo Allyn as Interim Children’s Ministry Team Leader and as of September 25, Nicole Bova will take over as Parish Administrator. Michael Larkin has taken an amazing opportunity in the Syracuse City School District. He will remain as Director of Contemporary Music & Technology.
Father Joe has begun his work of preaching, listening and introducing new liturgy styles, worship services, and programming. Over the course of his time here at St. James’, he will help the congregation get a solid feel for who we are and where we want to go, to determine the right candidates for permanent rector.
The bulk of the work has been completed at the rectory. Father Joe and Kristen Mitchell are settling in. Construction for the major repair to fix the structure over the garage will begin soon. It is a blessing that this was discovered before additional damage could occur.
The Search for a New Settled Rector
What happens next in our search of a settled Rector?
The Vestry has chosen a search committee and will be sharing more communications in the upcoming weeks.
If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to Susanne Rynkiewicz or Bill Spalding, St. James’ Wardens.
St. James' Liturgical Style
St. James’ enjoys 4 intentionally different weekly worship services. Sunday at 7:30 is Rite I Eucharist with a little bit of organ music. This congregation is small but so warm and loving of one another. Sunday at 9:00 is Rite II Eucharist with organ and choir, mostly traditional hymnody but willing to branch out to include gospel and some more contemporary songs. This service has some formal ritual, but is still very down-to-earth in feel. Sunday at 10:45 is Rite II or III Eucharist with a band (guitar, piano, drums, harmonica). This liturgy uses resources from other traditions (Lutheran and Celtic for instance). Four months of the summer, this late morning service moves outdoors beside the lake in a public park. This is the most casual of the services, but all are somewhat informal. Though Wednesday evening at 6 PM is spoken Evening Prayer with a brief homily. All but the Sunday service at 7:30 are regularly live-streamed. The worship staff is committed to creativity and excellence and spends significant time planning for Christmas, Easter, and Holy Week to offer services that are accessible, engaging, and transcendent.
New Leadership Teams
Leadership team for Wednesday Evening Prayer: Sharon Arliss, Nancy Graham, Marie Hughes, Carol Murphy
Leadership team for Centering Prayer: Pam Stewart: point person, Cindy Bright, Dan Fisher, Terry Major, Mary McGrath
Leadership team for Racial Justice and Reconciliation Commission: Debra Rose Brillati and Meg Osborne: co-chairs; Corinne Buterbaugh: secretary; Carolyn Legg: office liaison.
Secretary for the Memorials: Judy Bettis
St. James’ is committed to meeting families where they are instead of offering the “traditional” Sunday school programs. In 2023, the Year of the Child was created with the formation of a children’s commission. This commission has been researching and developing more new programming for all ages. Story-time, free play, interactive Sunday School with music & movement, and non-pressure middle & high school youth events such as movie night will begin in the fall. Kid’s communion learning series and a confirmation program will also be offered as there is interest. This ministry is a mix of volunteers and paid staff. All people who work with children must complete the Episcopal Safe Church Online Training modules. Exciting times are ahead and we encourage you to stay tuned by visiting this website. Below is a link to see some of our children’s activities and resources for parents.