St. James’ 2020 Vestry
Each Vestry Member Serves in a Ministry Assisting Volunteers
Below are the Ministry Areas and the Vestry Leadership
B&G: Bill Spalding, Anne Sveen, Cathy Valentine (chair TBD)
Building up the Body: Cathy Buck (chair), Susanne Houston
Finance: Colleen Gannon, Susanne Houston,  Laura Abbott (John Gilly, chair)
Human Resources: Karen Hoyt (chair), and Amy Tuttle
Nominating: Susanne Houston (chair), Cindy Bright, Karen Hoyt, Amy Tuttle
Stewardship: Becky Coerper (chair), Cathy Buck
Chaplain: Cindy Bright
Colleen Gannon-Senior Warden (2019-2021)
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.
Susanne Houston-Junior Warden (2020-2022)
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-Vestry Member (2020-2023)
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 leader-ship 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.
Cindy Bright-Vestry Member (2018-2021)
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 (2019-2022)
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.
Karen Hoyt-Vestry Member (2018-2021)
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.
Bill Spalding-Vestry Member (2020-2023)
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-Vestry Member (2020-2023)
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.

Amy Tuttle-Vestry Member (2018-2021)
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 (2019-2022)
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.