St. James' 2023 Vestry
Buildings & Grounds: Margie Amberge (chair)
Chaplain: Mike Brown
Children and Youth Commission: Amy Allyn, Judy Holmes
Finance: Bill Spalding, Susanne Rynkiewicz, Diane Steckel
HR: Nancy Corl (chair), Margie Amberge
Nominating: Bill Spalding (chair), Amy Allyn, Barb Burton, Nancy Corl
Planned Giving: Nancy Corl, Diane Steckel
Rep to the Thrift Shop Board: Marie Hughes
Rep to RJRC: Judy Holmes
Give to Grow Campaign: Amy Allyn
Stewardship: Barb Burton (chair), Mike Brown, Marie Hughes
Susanne Rynkiewicz – Senior Warden (2023-2025)
I am both honored and grateful for the opportunity to continue serving on the Vestry as Jr. Warden. I have been absolutely amazed at the faithful leadership and incredible generous works that are born of this ministry and all the team members’ efforts over the years. This has been especially wondrous in today’s unpredictable climate. For those who may not know me yet, I have been a member of St. James’ for over 12 years, and a member of the Chancel Choir and Finance Committee for around 8 years. Being a part of the St. James’ family and having the ability to sing and share any talents when called has been a frequent highlight of my life. Another highlight was the zoom wedding in 2020 to my wonderful husband David. I think we may have been the first of many to come. Thank you, Becky! As for professional qualifications, I have held many work titles which continued to expand over the last 17 years at the Ivystone Group in Exton PA (Remotely). I am now the Manager of Data Content & Systems Integrity. 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 Jr. Warden and a member of St. James’ leadership team. Finally, what do I envision for St. James’ future? Through careful leadership and receptiveness to flexibility and creative handling of everything life and this pandemic present to us, I foresee continued growth and expansive missionary efforts that will witness the Spirit moving among us and well beyond the walls of this church.Susan
Bill Spalding-Junior Warden (2023-2025)
I am grateful for the opportunity to serve St. James for another 2-year term as Warden. The past 3 years on the Vestry and then as Warden have been quite different than I imagined they would be. Who knew the world would turn upside down in 2020. Thankfully, I have received support from the rest of the Vestry, our Rector, our Staff, the many committee members and most important the Holy Spirit. 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 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.
Amy Allyn Vestry Member (2021-2024)
I have been a member of St James’ for almost 25 years. My husband Dave and I had attended each other’s churches while dating, but began a search for our own family church almost immediately after our wedding. Father Skip was a real spiritual guide at that time of transition for us both. Every time I hear the welcome, “Know that whoever you are, wherever
you find yourself on your journey of faith . . . there is a place for you at St. James,” I am filled with gratefulness at our decision. Our family grew quickly and I ended my teaching career to focus on our busy 4 children ; Dave was traveling a great deal with Welch Allyn at this time. In these early years of our membership, I enjoyed teaching Sunday school and volunteering in the nursery. My involvement in the community has taught me so much and given me so many opportunities to witness the good and grace in so many people. It was insightful to be part of the grassroots organization that is now Matthew House, home for the terminally ill in Auburn. I spent 9 years on their board and a term as President and I feel I was part of the fundraising and planning team that set the home up for financial stability. For seven years I had the distinct honor of serving on the National Down syndrome Society. Though my responsibilities were numerous on the board, most notable was being part of the team during the execution of the TIME ACT on Capitol Hill. In 2015 this piece of legislation amended a previous act from 1938 which allowed people with disabilities to be paid cents per hour! I am most recently serving on an advisory board with InclusiveU bringing students with disabilities who want to experience college life in a fully inclusive setting to Syracuse
University. Together, Dave and I are currently co-chairs for the Finger Lakes Land Trust in their capital campaign. I have been so grateful to be able to help promote and preserve local lands that, especially during this pandemic, have become such a a safe outlet for so many! As I look back toward home, I cherish the greatest gift that is my family. My happiest days are in the
summer when everyone is at home and we have dinner together on the porch, sharing our love of food and the lake with extended family and close friends. ( and always a couple of dogs!) I have recently volunteered to read for services and to complete some small outreach projects with one of my daughters. It is such an honor to be nominated for the Vestry at St James’. I look forward to discovering how I can serve and support others and our mission, with your blessing.
Margie Amberge Vestry Member (2022-2025)
When I first moved to Skaneateles 16 years ago, the first thing I asked God when I got the key to my house was…“Where is Your house? He led me to St. James’. I loved the mantra of, “Whoever you are, where ever you are at, you are welcomed here”. I was a part of the worship team for many years, and currently volunteer at the St James’ thrift store, and making soup with the Martha‘s. I currently work at the Vermont Green Mountain coffee shop downtown, and absolutely love being a part of this community. I have one Son who was a Sgt. in the Army, served 2 tours of Afghanistan, and is now a police officer in Washington. We all need each other, and I love being a part of this wonderful St James’ family!
Michael Brown Vestry Member (2022-2025)
I am a cradle Episcopalian who took several detours into various other denominations over the years. I am grateful to have learned many things throughout this journey, and most importantly that Christ is the head of the Church. I am a retired school librarian from the Marcellus School District. I have degrees in Music, Librarianship, Educational Leadership, and a 2 year seminary degree in Theology and Social Justice. Like my experience with various denominations, I am grateful for my assorted studies, and what they each contributed to my life. I have been married to Janet Brown for 42 years. Janet teaches voice at Syracuse University Setnor School of Music. We have two grown children who live in the greater Syracuse area. Janet attends Marcellus United Methodist Church where she is involved with music and various committees. We visit each others’ churches from time to time. Janet has sung at St. James, and I have preached at Marcellus United Methodist. I have been a member of St. James for 6 or 7 years, since just before the most recent renovation project began. I have volunteered with refugees for 8 years through a local agency called Hopeprint. At St. James I serve as a Spiritual Director, a Stephen Minister, and as the team leader of our in-person prayer team. This will be the first time I have served on a vestry.
Barbara Burton Vestry Member (2021-2024)
Hi, I’m Barb Burton have been a member of St. James’ for the last 10 years. I was raised in Camillus and married my husband Rick at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Syracuse in 1981. Rick and I spent the next 39 years attending Episcopal or Anglican churches in WI, CT, OR, CO and NSW, Australia before arriving back in Camillus in late 2009. I’ve been a member of both the
Praise Band and choir, served on the Altar Guild and am currently active with the St. James’ Thrift Shop, serving as board secretary. In the past I’ve served on the vestry and as Sr. Warden at St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church in Eugene Oregon. I attended Keuka College and my professional career has included working as a medical social worker, veterinarian
nurse and medical receptionist. Rick and I have three grown, married children, one beautiful granddaughter and a second grandchild due in February 2021. I love to travel, enjoy outdoor adventures and reading. I’m very humbled and excited to serve on the vestry. I believe I can learn a great deal from those presently serving. As a vestry member, I will be able to give back to my church, the community and beyond Skaneateles. I look forward to this next adventure in my Christian walk.
Nancy Corl Vestry Member (2021-2024)
My name is Nancy Corl and I have been attending St. James’ with my husband, Jim, for the past twelve years. Many of you know that Jim is a retired priest, who spent his active ministry years entirely in the diocese of Central New York, which has given me a wide ranging perspective on the workings of our diocese. As you can imagine, when you are married to a priest, the workings of the church in the world are never very far from your mind, even as you pursue your own profession. In my case, that meant working as nurse and then as a Family Nurse Practitioner until my own retirement. We chose to come to St. James’ because my father’s family has longstanding connections with the parish. In fact, my father was an acolyte here MANY years ago and some of you may be familiar with Ducketts who still live in the area and are related to me. Over the years, it has always been interesting to discern what I felt God wanted me to do next, both within the church and outside in the world, especially in these trying times when we are largely at home. I never served on a vestry until I came to St. James, but I have taken part in many other church roles over the years. While some of my preparation for what I do is a bit different (for example, I doubt that many of you who have a spouse who reads Katherine Sondenegger’s excellent book Systematic Theology in bed and shares some insights with you), much is also the same. Through prayer and the daily
offices we do here at home, plus opportunities that are presented through email, social media and extra readings that we do together and separately, I try to remain open to God’s voice. I am currently one of the parish nurses and I hope to find new opportunities to make His will be more clearly seen in our world, in our church and in our personal and shared lives, going forward.
Judy Holmes Vestry Member (2023-2026)
I would like to thank those who have placed their faith and trust in me by nominating me to a seat on the St. James’ Vestry. It was a surprise to be asked since I am a relative newcomer to St. James, having pretty much arrived here virtually during the COVID pandemic. Pre-pandemic, I was at a crossroads in my spiritual life. It’s funny how we seem to categorize events these day as happening pre-or-post-pandemic. I am Lutheran and spent most of the last 20 years as a member of Atonement Lutheran Church in the Valley section of Syracuse. During the summers of 2018 and 2019, I attended Lakeside services at St. James. During the fall and winter, I attended services at Holy Trinity Lutheran in Skaneateles. When COVID hit in March 2020, churches closed their doors and I was reeling. St. James’ online worship carried me through Lent and Easter. I hung around virtually; emailed Becky, asking whether a wayward Lutheran could join St. James’ Racial Justice and Reconciliation Commission—the answer was yes; and Kip invited me to participate in St. James’ virtual church choir. I knew Kip via MasterWorks Chorale, where I was participating in its virtual choir projects. Long story short, I am still here post-COVID. I sing in the real-time choir and I am learning how to be an Altar Guild person. I am still at a crossroads in both my faith life and in finding my way after “retiring” from full-time work at the end of June 2022. I am a dual-career person, having spent half of my working career in healthcare as a registered nurse and the other half of my working career as a journalist, working for newspapers and as a communications manager at Syracuse University. I am here at St. James because of the simple statement on the website: “Whoever you are, wherever you find yourself in your journey of faith, you’re always welcome at St. James’!” In my journey, I have always struggled with the question—how do we know we are using our spiritual gifts in the ways in which God intended? Ten years ago, I had this philosophical conversation with a past mentor, Pastor Rick Bair, former chaplain at SU’s Lutheran Campus Ministry. In an email exchange, he wrote these words: You are a gifted child of God and you are utilizing the gifts God has placed in you for the benefit and service of the world God so loves. Your basic call or vocation is to be a baptized, loved child of God; your station(s) is/are all the roles through which you enact that vocation — i.e., as daughter, wife, mother, journalist, volunteer, etc.” The Spirit works in funny ways. I am here at St. James, embarking on a new adventure as a member of the Vestry. I have much to learn. I look forward to many Spirit-led adventures as a member of this faith community and discovering together how to use our gifts in the ways in which God intends.
Marie Hughes Vestry Member (2023-2026)
From the moment I walked into St. James’ on the third Sunday in October 2014, I felt at home. The ushers greeted me, some of the parishioners welcomed me, and our priest, Becky, asked in her sermon, “Are you where God wants you to be?” That alone would have been enough, but at Communion I was asked, “What is your name?” and from that day on, I have found my spiritual home and family at this amazing church on the Lake. At my meeting with Becky the next week, I told her it was very important for me to become an active part of St. James’. I had just moved back to New York after living 41 years in Northern New Hampshire, where I was very involved in my Episcopal Church and headed towards becoming a Deacon at the request of the Bishop and my priest because there were so few priests in the North Country, and I was already responsible for leading Morning prayer one Sunday a month. It did not take long for Becky to ask me if I would become Clerk of the Vestry. I accepted, and have held that position for the past seven years. Therefore, I must admit, when I received the phone call asking if I would serve on Vestry, I was literally “blown away.” I never dreamed I would be given such an honor. Not only does it make me feel honored, but so humbled to serve in the church I love and feel at home.
I grew up as the oldest of 10 children with parents who were very committed to both service to God and their country. We learned at an early age what it meant to help others whether working at our local church functions or helping our elderly neighbors. Therefore, I have always felt a strong sense of giving. As a teacher and having been an educator for 50 years in mostly poor, rural areas, there was also plenty of opportunity to practice what I had been taught. At St. James’, besides being Clerk of the Vestry, I am a licensed Prayer Minister, and help regularly at the 6 PM service. I am a Lector and Communion Minister. Thanks to Nancy Graham, I am a Stephen Minister, and because Kip said “yes” when I asked, I am a choir member as well. Serving occasionally as an acolyte is one of the greatest honors for me. Helping with the Rescue Mission and serving on the Board of Habitat are also important parts of my service. Presently, I am also preparing to take first vows as a Benedictine nun in the dispersed Order of St. Luke. That will occur this June after my three years of preparation, and with the encouragement and support of everyone at St. James’.
My seven years as Clerk of the Vestry has given me an historical perspective on what has happened in those years, and it will help me as I reflect on what happened and what was learned during various issues and decisions. As Clerk, I had no input in any Vestry matters, but because I had to record everything at each meeting, that will help me immensely as we go forth this year and make some very important decisions about the future of our parish. I am deeply honored and grateful for this opportunity to serve at St. James’ in a way I never dreamed possible.
Diane Steckel Vestry Member (2022-2025)
What a wonderful way to start the New Year being asked to serve on Vestry! My name is Diane and I am a long-time parishioner of St. James’. In my 30+ years at St James’, I have volunteered for many ministries at church. Each ministry, including Sunday School teaching, Outreach efforts, Altar Guild and Stephen Ministry has enriched my life and allowed me to meet great people. I live in Skaneateles and am married to Chad Steckel. We have 2 grown children Peter and Allison. A retired nurse, I currently work per diem at the VA Clinic in Auburn and volunteer at Matthew House. I love to keep busy so in my free time I am a member of the Junior League of Syracuse and the Skaneateles Garden Club. It would be an honor to serve on the St. James’ Vestry.