January 29, 2023
The following report was prepared for the 2022 Annual Meeting of St. James' Church, held on Jan. 29, 2023. View or download the full 2022 Annual Report here.
Without a doubt, the year 2022 at St. James' has been one of change and transition. There is a difference between these two terms. Change is an event; a retirement, an ordination, a birth, a death. Transition is a longer process, in which we adjust to the changes that have occurred. Things can feel topsy-turvy and anxiety can feel pressing. This is normal. St. James' is experiencing both change and transition, and I am so grateful to our Vestry and Staff for all the ways that they have come together to faithfully and prayerfully move through this time.
In February, Rev. Anne informed us that she would be retiring on June 1st, which began a season of discernment for the church through which we continue to travel. As a community we walked through Lent and the Triduum particularly mindful of our need to draw upon the faithfulness of Christ, knowing that He is loving, patient, and present to His disciples in times of uncertainty. As we remembered God's deeds of salvation throughout history and the hope of Christ's resurrection, I was encouraged that these are the enduring foundations upon which our church rests.
During the season of Easter, and into the summer months, we celebrated the good work of ministry and growth at St. James' that occurred under Rev. Anne's leadership, and we honored her for her faithful service to our community at a parish reception in April. Later in June, at a beautiful celebration, on the eve of Pentecost, hosted by Lori and Sean Hunter at their home, we conferred to Rev. Anne the honorary title of rector emerita.
In a convergence of important milestones, we also celebrated Rev. Susanne Wright-Nava's ordination to the diaconate. We began the morning at St. John's Cathedral for Susanne's ordination, and concluded the evening at the Hunter's. It was a day full of joy and tears as we recognized the work of the Spirit among us, thanked God for all that has been, and blessed Rev. Anne and Rev. Susanne in their lives and ministries.
In September, the Wardens and Vestry voted to call me as Priest-in-Charge. It has been a privilege to step into this new role, and I thank Deno Kidde, Senior Warden, Brian Wallace, Junior Warden, the Vestry, Treasurer Kim Besen and Clerk Monica Schaffer for their counsel and wisdom as we continue to work together in new ways.
In October, Rev. Susanne was called to St. Edmund's in San Marino as a Curate (which is a priest who is serving at their first parish after ordination). We celebrated Susanne's ministry and her many years of service to St. James', especially in her role as Director of St. James' Youth Center. Shortly afterwards, we were pleased to welcome Oscar Madrigal to the staff team as our new Youth Center Director. Oscar comes to us with a wealth of educational experience and expertise; please see his report to learn more about what is happening at the Youth Center.
This summer, Judy Felton, our Parish Administrator, also announced her intention to retire as of this February; we are so deeply grateful for the multiple ways that she has served the life of this community for over seventeen years. Please stay tuned for more information about how we will honor her on the occasion of her retirement!
In the midst of all these changes, it's been a time to reflect upon the goodness of God that we regularly experience in one another at St. James'. It's been a year of remembering and telling stories, and a time to realize what gifts we are to one another. Change is never easy, but it does bring to the foreground all of the ways that St. James' as a community continues to make a difference in the lives of so many.
— Rev. Dr. Michelle Baker-Wright