Ministry Reports

The 2021 Ministry Reports will be posted here as they become available in preparation for this year's Annual Meeting on Zoom on January 31, 2021. As ministry reports are submitted, they are published. If you have questions, email Canon Robert Black.


Vergers & Acolytes          
Submitted by Kevin Godsil, Head Verger
2019 saw the Liturgical Ministry grow with the naming of three new vergers (Arthur Clement, Olivia Elliott, and Randy Pierson), as well as ending in a total number of 16 acolytes and 23 chalice ministers. We held two training sessions for those involved, including a training for all volunteers on Ministry Scheduler Pro. 

2020 promises to be another productive year. We are looking to invite more people to become acolytes and chalice ministers. We are also looking forward to cross training some of our current acolytes for more senior roles. This will add to the richness at the root of our ministry and, hopefully, add to the meaning and power of our liturgies.

Altar Guild          
Submitted by Charles Peterson, Chair
The members of the Altar Guild are blessed to serve the Cathedral every Sunday and at special services of the diocese, weddings, and funerals.  Six members are responsible for the setting the linen, silver, candles, wine, and bread used in Eucharists. Four members are responsible for washing and ironing the linens.  

We appreciate the opportunity to work closely with the pastoral staff in caring for these treasures of the cathedral and are reminded that we are setting the table to celebrate the most important feast of the church, the remembrance of the Last Supper. We are happy to receive more members and would welcome inquiries.  Please talk to any of us before or after services.

Linen Ministry
Submitted by David Briere, Linen Team Head
The Linen Ministry is an offshoot of the Altar Guild Ministry whose focus is on keeping all of the Cathedral's fine linens in impeccably clean and excellent condition.  This involves the weekly gathering up of soiled linens, treating, washing, ironing and folding the linens in a manner that is prescribed for the various services at the Cathedral and chapel.  The linen Team currently is comprised of four dedicated members, Sue Cloud, Jane Marienau, Edith O'Keefe and me. We are always open to and actively encourage new individuals to inquire about and join this very rewarding ministry.       

Readers & Intercessors
Submitted by Lieve Buzard, Coordinator
Readers and intercessors continue to thrive as a liturgical ministry at St. James. These lay leaders proclaim the word of God in the context of our public liturgy, and give voice to petitions for the church, the world, and our community. Involvement in this ministry grew in 2019, and we are grateful to the 35 lay leaders in this ministry who feel called to use their gifts in reading and intercession. Their voices enrich and broaden the diversity of our communal expression.

This fall we held an enrichment workshop that discussed storytelling in the scriptures and corporal prayer composition. If you feel called to explore the ministries of reading and/or intercession, please don’t hesitate to connect with a clergy person or me for more information. 

Submitted by Allen Moye, Head Usher
The Usher ministry is largely one of hospitality. The usher is usually the first person someone (whether new or a “regular”) sees when arriving for worship. Our ministry of welcome and hospitality will begin to set the tone for their worship experience that day. The Usher ministry at St. James Cathedral consists of a mix of 22 new and long-time members of the congregation. Each week usher teams regularly participate in the 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. services, as well as Evensongs, Holiday services, Holy days, and various St. James and Diocesan events, throughout the year.  In 2019, we served at 128 different services and events.

Some of the highlights from this past year include our collaboration with the newly created Invite-Connect-Welcome ministry. Many of our ushers participate in and support this ministry as well. We also participated in the Liturgical training day in November, where our processes and guidelines were reinforced, and we addressed methods for dealing with violent intruders.  Our teams were added to the Ministry Pro Scheduler System to centralize and coordinate the various ministry schedules.  Lastly toward the end of the year, Gary Maus, stepped down as head usher after serving faithfully for 12 years. We are very grateful for Gary’s leadership and his support, since he continues to serve as an usher.

In 2020, we are again asking St. James members to consider participating in this valuable and indispensable ministry. If you have an opportunity to speak with an usher, you will find us to be friendly, good-natured, and dedicated to maintaining the Cathedral as the heart of worship for the Diocese of Chicago, and in the lives of St. James members. To participate as an usher, email

Flower Ministry
Submitted by Nathan Mason, Chair
The Flower Ministry works in cooperation with the Altar Guild to provide and maintain floral arrangements on a set roster of Holy Days and as memorial offerings requested by Cathedral members. Offerings to underwrite the flowers provide the bulk of the annual flower budget. Christmas, Holy Week, and Easter are occasions which require the most hands and the ministry is happy to be joined by two recent volunteers.

Flowers on Sundays are generally commemorations of personally meaningful dates for individual parishioners. This is accomplished by a request to the office two or three weeks in advance and a modest donation for costs. The flower committee uses the Cathedral’s account at a local floral wholesaler for cut flowers and most supplies.


Submitted by Stephen Buzard, Director of Music

We give thanks that 2019 was another year of growth for the Cathedral music program. This year saw expansion in numbers and quality of singing from both the Cathedral Choir and the Choristers. We started a new choir, the Junior Choristers. Evensong and special service attendance has continued to grow, and the Cathedral hosted concerts by ensembles and soloists from across the city.

Our organ scholar is Isaac Drewes, a graduate of the Eastman School of Music. His position is being partially funded through a special grant from the Anglican Association of Musicians (AAM). The AAM selects a host institution each year, and they selected St. James in recognition of our outstanding growth in the past few years. Other host institutions have included Washington National Cathedral and Trinity, Copley Square in Boston. We are thrilled and delighted to have Isaac with us this year and honored by the AAM’s recognition!

The Cathedral Choir currently comprises 32 members and has never sounded better. In addition to weekly Choral Eucharist, the choir sang nine Choral Evensongs, the Fauré Requiem, the Advent Procession, Nine Lessons and Carols, and other special feasts of the church. They led assembled choirs for Diocesan services including Ordinations and the Requiem Mass for Bishop Montgomery in November. The Rush Hour season finale presented the Cathedral Choir in a concert of English Cathedral Music, broadcast on WFMT radio. This summer, our choir has been invited to sing as choir in residence at Washington National Cathedral on June 28, the eve of their patronal feast of Ss. Peter and Paul.

One of my goals for the Cathedral Choir has been to expand our repertoire to feature more music by women. We have enjoyed giving voice to overlooked works by Elizabeth Poston, Elizabeth Maconchy, Judith Weir, Undine Moore, Imogen Holst, Raffaella Aleotti and others. I am committed to diversifying our music library, so we hear from all the voices creating beautiful art within our choral tradition.

There are thirteen Choristers (grades 3-8) who lead the music primarily at the 9am service and at Evensong on Wednesdays. The Choristers attended RSCM choir camp in Rhode Island this summer and went caroling at the Driehaus Museum in December. Wednesday Evensong attendance has grown to reach 50 people, becoming the backbone for our Wednesday evening formation series. This summer they will attend RSCM choir camp in Charlotte, NC.

This year, we reestablished the annual Treble Festival. Our Choristers were joined by 30 other children from throughout the region under the leadership of Bruce Neswick, providing education and encouragement to young singers across the region as well as our own. In 2020, Walden Moore will be our guest clinician.

The new Junior Choristers are led by Alison Barrington. Comprised of children between Kindergarten and 2nd grade, they meet for 30 minutes of singing and musicianship games every Wednesday before Evensong. The Junior Choristers learn an anthem to sing with the Choristers once every six weeks, and they join Choristers to lead the service music during the 9am liturgy. We hope the Junior Chorister program instills in them an early love of music and inspires them to become Choristers in 3rd grade.

Our partnership with the Music Institute of Chicago continues to bring dozens of students through our doors each week for private music lessons. They have helped us attract new chorister families, and our choristers are able to receive lessons at a special discounted rate through this partnership. Having MIC’s downtown campus based at St. James has further cemented our reputation as a musical center in our city.

In 2020, I plan to form some sort of musical offering to complement our nascent youth program. As Choristers age out of the treble program (or in the case of the boys, their voices transition to lower parts), we need to offer them an opportunity to continue to participate.

This year we will host two prestigious concerts. The first will be March 27 at 7:30pm, presenting the choir of St. John’s College, Cambridge UK, one of the finest liturgical choirs in the world. The second will feature the boys of St. Thomas Choir School, New York City in October (date TBC). Two of the boys in that choir, Harrison Bieschke and David Conrado, started in the St. James Chorister program.

The condition of the Cathedral organ continues to deteriorate, and its inadequacy for service-playing and accompanying becomes more pronounced as the music program grows. The frequency of emergency service calls is increasing as reliability declines. Our organ committee has been working to address this and plans to announce the selection of an organ-builder in the coming months. As part of the upcoming campaign to restore and reorder the Cathedral, the organ project will entail a new instrument that respectfully incorporates the best sounds from the current organ. We are confident that this will result in an instrument that better leads our musical worship, is less expensive to maintain, and offers a musical gift to the city.

Children's Ministries

Submitted by Alison Barrington, Director of Children's Ministries

The children’s ministries continue to grow and develop, and it is a delight that we have more and more programs catering to a wider age range at St. James Cathedral. Most of our activities occur on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings.

Sunday morning 9 a.m. service
On Sunday mornings, choristers gather at 8:15 a.m. to rehearse and prepare for our 9 a.m. service. During the service they lead the singing as well as provide weekly anthems. The 9 a.m. service has become much busier and includes plenty of opportunities to actively engage with the worship. The children are key participants in the serving team – as torchbearers, readers, and leaders in prayer. They process with the Gospel and sit at the feet of the preacher to listen and engage in an age appropriate sermon. The congregation also gathers around the altar for the breaking of the bread and this has helped the children to gain a greater understanding of the liturgy and Word. All are welcome and the developing bonds between the families is a joy to witness.

New Youth Ministry
This year has seen the beginning of our youth ministry for 6th graders and up, led by Andrew Shelton and Maria Price. Their prayerful discernment in this ministry has been supported by a youth committee which began meeting last summer. The development of this ministry has moved faster than we’d anticipated but we realized that the Holy Spirit was at work and we have moved quickly to catch up! Youth ministry groups started in January 202 with great success. We have 7 participants each week with more youth considering joining.

Sunday School programs
At 10 a.m. there are five Sunday School classes offering Christian education for newborns up through the 5th grade.

Godly Play is led by Cathy Koehlinger and offers a spirit led and playful session for children 3 to 6 years old.

Sparkhouse Whirl is led by George Culver and Allison Ortlieb and provides Bible study and craft activities for children 6 to 8 years old.

Weaving God’s Promises is led by Karen Hafstrom and provides Bible study, games, and craft activities for children 8 to 10 years old.

Dean Niedenthal leads our children 10–12 years old in Bible based discussion.

Songs and Stories, our Sunday School class for newborns to 3 year old, has moved to a bigger room as the group has grown. The group works on two levels – a chance for the children to learn, grow and play in their faith, and a chance for the parents to connect to each other and the church. This group tends to include families new to St James and it is a vital opportunity to build our community.

We are truly blessed by our dedicated leaders and a team of about 20 amazing helpers – both parents and non-parents – who are so generous in their time and talents. Thank you to all.

Junior Choristers
Programming on Wednesday evenings has also grown beyond our expectations. Our 13 choristers continue to rehearse and lead evensong every week. In September, 10 children joined our new Junior Choristers program, which also rehearses on Wednesday evenings and are starting to sing with the choristers on Sunday mornings. This has made for a bigger group at evensong, our community supper, and play time. Given that there are other new adult programs being offered on Wednesday evenings this multi-generational community is offering a chance for congregations to grow in new relationships. Many thanks to Maureen Zeller and Jennifer Marr for leading the Junior Choristers with me.

Growth and Development
We have linked with Loyola University this year and have offered a contextual education placement. Maureen Zeller has been an invaluable part of our team this year. She has brought wisdom and experience primarily to the leadership of Sunday Schools and supporting the children in our meal ministries. However, she has done so much more, and we are very grateful. We intend to continue this link next year.

This year has been full of growth both in terms of numbers and in terms of depths of relationships. How have we done this? Through parties (on Palm Sunday, Pentecost and Rediscover Sunday), a new nativity play (enormous thanks to Dean Niedenthal – a triumph), larger group involvement with ReVive baskets, social outings, and a great sense of support for each other.

This year is the time to reach out to other churches, and I’ve already started making links at local, national and international levels. All these connections nurture our children’s ministries as we continue to move forward. My thanks to all.

Young Adults

Submitted by The Rev. Anna Broadbent, Curate

The young adult ministry has continued to grow as a vibrate group within the St. James Community. The group roughly targets those who are in their twenties and thirties and are looking for a church home. The majority of participates in the young adult ministry are transplants to the Chicago area and appreciate the sense of family that has formed within the group. During 2019, we are thrilled to have supported two of our members who participated in the Sacrament of Baptism and an additional thirteen seek to be Confirmed or Received in the Episcopal Church. This ministry often serves as a doorway for many young adults to join St. James Cathedral and leads to participation in worship ministries, outreach ministries and the music ministries here at St. James.

Second Sunday Supper
Second Sunday Suppers, the staple of the young adult ministry here at St. James, is a monthly family style dinner that usually takes place Sunday evenings in Kyle’s Place. Members of the group take turns providing a meal, most often cooking together in the kitchen here on site or coordinating to have food delivered. In 2019 there were several Second Sunday Suppers that were on the move including cookouts at Curate Anna Broadbent’s home as well as a house blessing for the new home of active members, Lieve & Stephen Buzard. An average 15-20 young adults attend each meal with a regular rotation and newcomers.

The meal typically begins with a time of gathering and hospitality in the welcome center and then transitions to Kyle’s Place for the meal where members sit in small groups. Second Sunday Suppers conclude with a candlelit Compline service (part of the Daily Office) in the cathedral. In 2019, our prayer was enhanced by the presence of Organ Scholar, Isaac Drews, who incorporated some basic music into the service. The service is officiated by a different member of the group each month. Members appreciate the consistency and simplicity of the meal each month.

Turn Up Tuesdays
Submitted by Karen D'Angelo, Member of the Young Adults
2019 was a great year for bringing young adults at St. James together for a wide variety of activities to build community and connection. Each event was suggested by a member to our leader, Curate Anna Broadbent, who supported event planning and distributed information via newsletter. 

Springtime saw us gathering for trivia nights at local pubs and celebrating those young adults who had been baptized, confirmed, or received at the Easter Vigil with a festive, joyful party. Summer with its consistently better weather drew the St. James Young Adults outside to movies and outdoor concerts at Grant Park, a White Sox baseball game, and cookouts, for some true Chicago experiences. Game nights allowed us to learn and strategize together while enhancing individual prayer practice, though mainly aimed at praying for the ‘win’ those nights.

To round out the year, movie nights, bonfires, and the group Advent Party were held at members’ homes, allowing us to relax in different spaces with the same beautiful community. This year will continue to see the St. James Young Adults invite community, connection, and compassion into our shared time.

Serving Together with St. James Meals
Submitted by Dorian Abbot, Member of the Young Adults
and an active volunteer with St. James Meals
One Sunday each month the St. James community hosts a brunch for our siblings in need. We provide a hearty meal including multiple types of meat and fresh-cracked eggs for about 150 people. In March 2019, the St. James Young Adults group began helping this effort by performing food-prep work, setting up the dining room, and preparing take-home bagged lunches for three hours the Saturday before a brunch. This frees up precious prep-time on Sunday morning so that we can make sure to deliver a great meal to our guests by 10:30 a.m. Working hard together has also strengthened the relationships among the young adults and increased our sense of community. 

Adult Faith Formation

Submitted by the Rev. Canon Lisa Hackney-James
Formation for Christians is a life-long endeavor, and in 2019 our cathedral clergy and lay leadership team worked hard to expand the opportunities for St James members to grow in wisdom and connection to God and one another.  In 2019, our Sunday morning Dean's Forums, focused primarily on group study of the Gospel of Luke. We enjoyed lectures from our distinguished visiting preachers and heard presentations from selected parish ministries.  In addition to forming the members of our St. James community, the Cathedral lived into its diocesan convening role by hosting two major faith leaders for lecture and conversation. With standing room only crowds in the cathedral, we hosted an evening with author and public theologian, Nadia Bolz-Weber. In a separate sold out event, our Dean, Dominic Barrington hosted the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Most Rev. Michael Curry for an evening of conversation with the wider diocesan community gathered.

In 2019 we expanded our adult faith formation offerings with the addition of several new program offerings. Details are in the reports below, but perhaps the most significant growth this year came in the development of our lay leadership team who have risen the challenge of helping fellow parishioners to grow in their faith and understanding.

Way of Love Series
Submitted by Lieve Buzard, Adult Formation Planning Team
The Way of Love adult education series was a special 7-week initiative in the fall of 2019. Following the summer visit of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, the curriculum explored seven practices in The Way of Love: turn, learn, pray, worship, go, bless and rest. A planning team comprised of Lieve Buzard, Arthur Clement, The Rev. Lisa Hackney-James, and Paul Steinbrecher, designed and facilitated The Way of Love discussion based on the Bishop’s podcast and complementary resources from the national church. Listening sessions with the Young Adult group and with other parishioners informed the content and format of this pilot program.

The two goals of The Way of Love program were (1) to provide education on Christian spiritual practices within and beyond Sunday worship and (2) to deepen relationships within our community through a meal and discussion groups. Table groups were truly diverse and reflected the multiplicity of perspectives within our congregation. Before each teaching and conversation, there was an opportunity for worship at the Wednesday 5:45 p.m. Chorister Choral Evensong service and for fellowship over dinner.

We are truly grateful to the 30 to 40 participants in The Way of Love adult education series. At the end of the 7 weeks, we asked for feedback from participants in order to plan for future offerings. Participants scored the series as 4.9 on a scale of 1 (low) to 5 (high) that they would recommend the series to other parishioners/friends. Feedback from the course survey informed the emergence of the Wednesday night Centering Prayer offering, which was the most frequent suggestion for continued adult formation.

Starting January 2020, more Wednesday evening series begin under the banner of Table Talk.  The first, starting Wednesday, January 22, is a five week series called “Table Talk: Breaking Bread Together - A Study of the Eucharist.”

Pathways to Reconciliation Series
Submitted by Diane Shalda, Member of St. James Cathedral and Co-Chair of the Diocese of Chicago Anti-Racism Commission
During Lent of 2019, congregants of St. James were invited to participate in “Pathway to Reconciliation”. Pathway is a study guide that was created by the Antiracism Commission (at the request of the Bishop) so that a congregation can be in conversation “on the impact of the legacy of slavery and segregation and discrimination in its local context" based on the Legacy of Slavery Taskforce Report (2013). St. James has been one of the early adopters of this conversation.

Throughout the seven sessions, participants (numbering approximately 10 per session) focused on: Our baptismal covenant and Beloved Community; America’s, Diocesan and St. James’ legacy of slavery; what does faith require of us; interrupting privilege; re-imagining our diocese and within St. James if white supremacy was eliminated and true equality was embraced; and next steps.

Some of the next steps that participants suggested: offer the program again for those who were unable to attend; welcome everyone to worship (we spoke directly about our meals ministry guests); try to have a fully shared meal between or after services; develop a committee within St. James to continue work focused on racism. The participants expressed deep appreciation for the opportunity to participate in the program. As a result, several participants participated in a 2.5-day anti-racism training through Chicago Regional Organizing for Anti-Racism. We look forward to our continued growth in this work.

Adult Confirmation
Submitted by The Rev. Canon Lisa Hackney-James
Since the earliest centuries of the church, Christians have gathered for an extensive time of preparation in order to receive the sacrament of baptism. At St James, adults who wish to make a mature affirmation of their faith, or those who wish to formalize their membership in the Episcopal Church, gather during the Sundays in Lent to prepare for the sacrament of Confirmation -- an adult affirmation of the promises made at our baptism. The five-week, clergy-led course covers the Episcopal/Anglican approach to scripture, sacramental life, church polity, and history.

At the 2019 Easter Vigil service (the Saturday evening before Easter Sunday), 17 St. James members were presented to Bishop Lee for Confirmation, Reception or Reaffirmation in the Episcopal Church.

If you are interested in learning more or exploring this option for yourself, contact Sub-Dean Lisa Hackney-James.

Centering Prayer
Submitted by Greg Gerber, Co-Leader, Centering Prayer Group
Centering Prayer is a Christian form of meditation and contemplation that supports participants in practicing deep quiet in order to connect more closely and to become more aware of God’s presence. The St. James Centering Prayer group, under the direction of The Rev. Canon Lisa Hackney-James and parishioner Greg Gerber, started informally on Wednesday evenings during Advent. The practice group will continue through 2020 on Wednesday evenings in St. Andrew's Chapel from 6:45-7:45 p.m.

Centering Prayer, as offered at St. James, teaches the simple “method” of Centering Prayer and includes a period of silent prayer in community. The emphasis of our gathering is on experiential practice. Each session concludes with a short discussion and opportunity to fine tune our practice. Centering Prayer leaves participants feeling more grounded, at peace, and closer to the Divine. Centering Prayer can be practiced at home and the practice of stillness has proven to have on-going health and well-being benefits.

During 2020 we will jointly read “Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening” by Cynthia Bourgeault. All are encouraged to join!

Pastoral Care

Submitted by the Rev. Canon Lisa Hackney-James
Pastoral care is a team effort. Cathedral clergy and dedicated lay leaders coordinate to extend an outward and visible sign of God’s presence in all human conditions, especially in times of personal challenge. We join our prayer life and the concerns of our community members by offering intercessory prayer in Sunday worship, and through our printed prayer lists that enable community members to pray for one another.

Clergy and Lay Eucharistic Minsters (LEMs) make regular visits with our parishioners who are homebound. On behalf of the St. James community, cathedral clergy make hospital visits with parishioners who are undergoing medical and other crises, and clergy maintain a pastoral emergency phone number for after hours crises. 2019 has been a year of steadfast and faithful ministry offered by our Lay Eucharistic Ministers, clergy, and prayer providers. 

Since their earliest days, Christians have prayed for one another and offered support in tangible ways. At St. James, we welcome new members in our pastoral ministries. Those interested in exploring participation in our pastoral care and prayer teams should reach out to the Sub-Dean Lisa Hackney-James ( for more information. 

Intercessory Prayer
Submitted by The Rev. Anna Broadbent, Curate 
The St. James Intercessory Prayer Ministry is the primary way that we communicate prayer needs from within the St. James community. Members of St. James are always welcome to reach out and request prayer for themselves or their friends and family. Community members are invited to bring our needs and the needs of others before God. Currently, prayer requests are sent to Curate Anna Broadbent who manages the prayer list. The prayer list is distributed in two ways, one in the e-news which is typically sent out on Thursdays and is printed in all the service bulletins. The community is invited to use the prayer list to guide their personal prayers on a regular basis.           

St. James also has a team of those who write and lead the intercessory prayers, or the prayers of the people, offered in the 11:00 a.m. Sunday service on behalf of the congregation. This is a dynamic ministry that many members deeply appreciate, which includes praying for those on the prayer list throughout the week, paying attention to and praying for local and worldwide needs, to be incorporated in the prayers. 

Lay Eucharistic Ministers
Submitted by Laura Jenkins, Chair
Lay Eucharistic Ministers (LEMs) share the sacrament with members of the congregation who are unable to be present at the celebration of the Eucharist because of illness or infirmity. In 2019, St. James had a team of five LEMs who made monthly pastoral care visits to three members of the congregation. The Lay Eucharistic Ministers were Mary Jo Barton, Kitty Beecken, Judy Bross, Mike Hess and Laura Jenkins.

Invite Welcome Connect Ministry

Submitted by The Rev. Canon Lisa Hackney-James
At the 2019 Annual Meeting, the newly formed Invite Welcome Connect leadership team introduced themselves and then led our annual gathering participants through a lightning round of introductions, engaging our neighbors at table. And with that, our leadership team kicked off a remarkable year of growth in our membership ministry and in expanding our culture of welcome.

In June, St James Cathedral hosted a full day training workshop led by Mary Parmer, the founder of Invite Welcome and Connect. We welcomed over 100 Episcopalians from 15 congregations across the Diocese of Chicago, establishing the cathedral community as a Midwestern home base for Invite Welcome Connect training.  The evening prior to the workshop, our St James Invite Welcome Connect leadership team, joined by members of Cathedral Chapter, was privileged to enjoy dinner and a conversation with Mary Parmer, who reflected with us on this essential ministry as it is developing in our own cathedral community. Parts of that executive leadership conversation are reflected in the video interviews of St. James leaders that are now featured on the Invite Welcome Connect home website and in workshops across the national church.

Following our June event, I have since been invited to serve on the Advisory Board for Invite Welcome Connect at the national level, and am working with colleagues from the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada developing a model for Invite Welcome Connect coach training for implementation across the Episcopal and internationally. In March 2020 St. James will host the pilot coach training for Episcopal leaders from three dioceses.

The Invite Welcome Connect movement continues to gather momentum churchwide as members of faith communities hunger for connection and belonging. I remain grateful for the tireless dedication of our St. James Invite Welcome Connect leadership team: Beau Butts, Noel Morris, Lieve Buzard, Laura Jenkins, Lisa Rogers Lee and Anthony Jackel as they are building the culture of Invite Welcome and Connect in this place. At St. James we are finding it a helpful framework for building our community, but we recognize that we still have much ground to cover. All St James parishioners are welcome in this work, and I invite you to read the reports below and consider how you might be called to contribute to the building up of this community. You can explore joining one of the Invite Welcome Connect teams by reaching out directly to one our team leaders or to me personally. 

Invite Team
Submitted by Noel Morris, Invite Ministry Leader
On behalf of the Invite Team, I am happy to report a program that is growing, changing, and deepening its roots in the St. James community. We’ve identified and based our work upon two principles: (1) being present—inviting outsiders into our community and (2) cultivating a spirit of invitation among the St. James parishioners themselves.

With the first of these, the ministry’s work meant being on-hand for public events—that is programs that draw outsiders into our space. On such occasions, we were there to serve as host and answer questions ranging from facilities, the building’s architecture, to who we are as Episcopalians.

In February, St. James hosted an event with the popular theologian Nadia Bolz-Weber, which drew a large crowd of folks from outside our parish. Members of the committee volunteered as ushers and support staff. The same was true during the July 31 visit from presiding bishop Michael Curry, and the retreat with Mary Parmer on June 29.

The Rush Hour Concerts were one of our big successes. In past years, the public face of these concerts had come from the outside (musicians, volunteer ushers, organizers, etc.) or least, had been composed of people wearing a different hat than “member of St. James.” In 2019, we organized a team of parishioners to maintain a St. James presence at every concert. SJC volunteers wore badges and stood by to engage with this lively throng of visitors.

The second aspect of the Invite Team’s ministry involves engaging our fellow parishioners to internalize the spirit of invitation. In 2019, we continued our email template campaign, that is crafting a personal invitation to choral concerts and special events that could be shared with friends. There were many reports of people taking advantage of the emails to bring guests to our services.

In 2019, the cathedral staff organized a Season of Invitation, which was supported through social media, video, from the pulpit, and during Sunday announcements. Lieve Buzard made a compelling appeal during the 11 o’clock service. Noel Morris and Laura Jenkins performed little skits about how to invite someone to church for the 9 o’clock and 11 o’clock services. And we distributed print materials—with chocolate—via the Welcome Team's tote bags, urging parishioners to write Yelp reviews for St. James, a campaign which helped to increase our online footprint.

Last, but not least, we pulled out all the stops for the Pet Blessing (everyone’s favorite service): Anna Broadbent and I shot a promotional video with Stella, a very large draft horse, who also made an appearance at the Pet Blessing. And the Invite Team organized doggie yogurt treats, pet goodie bags and a pet portrait photographer to make the annual feast of St. Francis one of our most welcoming, most inviting events of the year.

In closing, it’s important to say that the Invite Team is more than the number of cookies distributed or fliers generated; it is a way of life. In 2019, members of the Invite Team were present and engaging with non-parishioners throughout the church experience: at coffee hour, in the welcome center and in other capacities. Lieve Buzard helped organize the popular Wednesday night gathering The Way of Love. She is active with the Young Adults. Timm Holt was an organizer for an Interfaith organization supporting the LGBTQ community. Our Meal Ministry volunteers have been building a more explicit culture of invitation to engage our guests at our community meals. Noel Morris gave Summer in the City campers a backstage tour of the Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park. In all this, members of the Invite Team, model the fullness of being part of the inclusive and welcoming place that is St. James Cathedral.

Welcome Team
“You’re not just welcome, you belong!”
Submitted by Welcome Team Co-Chairs Laura Jenkins and Lisa Rogers Lee
The Welcome Team works in concert with the Invite and Connect Teams as part of the parish-wide Invite Welcome Connect initiative. The Welcome Team has a fluid membership of about 35 people, including 29 greeters, who have been active in strengthening and deepening the culture of welcome at St. James this year. In June, team leaders Laura Jenkins and Lisa Rogers Lee attended a two day training with Mary Parmer, founder of Invite, Welcome, Connect (

Team visioning and training in 2019, led by Lisa and Laura, resulted in:

  • Clergy presence at Welcome Center exit after services and consistent announcing of Coffee Hour
  • Implementation of a structured cadre of greeters
  • Development of designated welcome tables in the narthex and in the Welcome Center stocked with brochures, “mood” cards and other information, and creation of welcome gift bags. The gift bags (reusable shopping bags) served a dual purpose as they were introduced during the intensive “Invite” campaign at the beginning of the program year. Stuffed with cards featuring the highlighted fall services and a recommendation to post reviews on social media. They were distributed to parishioners during services over several weeks. These bags and other Welcome components showcased the tag line created by Communications Associate Alan Taylor: “You’re not just welcome, you belong.”
  • Continued quarterly Newcomer Lunches, including on average 25 people. (guests and hosts) The formula for the lunches was enhanced with refinements such as catering by Chef Jackie and more intentional follow-up with guests by table hosts.
  • New awareness among team to encourage parishioners to introduce themselves and invite people to Coffee Hour. Coffee Hour has become an active, bustling part of Sundays, particularly after the 11:00 service.

We look forward to new and developing initiatives in 2020:

  • Strengthening the ranks of Coffee Hour “connectors” who accompany newcomers to Coffee Hour after services and make introductions
  • Developing a systematic way to include families from the 9:00 service into regular welcome events like newcomer lunches
  • Better “way finding” signage
  • Regularly incorporating handwritten notes into the parishioner contact with newcomer pathways
  • Encouraging welcoming behavior in the pews from all parishioners
  • Use of welcome materials in our Meals Minsitry

2019 was an exciting year in the life of St. James’ efforts to welcome every person who walks in the doors of St. James. We are excited about our future as a radically hospitable church!

Connect Team
Submitted by Anthony Jackel, Connect Team Leader
The Connect Team within the Invite Welcome Connect Ministry helps members of our St. James community figure out how they can enjoy a deeper connection with the church and other members.  Being more connected allows everyone to discover their own spiritual gifts and learn how they can use them to become more involved in the church.

Since starting to incorporate the Invite Welcome Connect ministry into St. James, we recently compiled a directory of all the existing ministries and how to get involved.  In 2020, we will organize a new series of an “Ongoers Lunches”, where those who have previously attended Newcomer Lunches can gather with long-standing St. James members to build relationships with each other and the clergy, and find a place where they feel they belong and can serve based on their interests.  

The Connect group is excited to continue our work to create an environment where everyone can create deeper connections and find a place to become more involved.


Submitted by The Rev. Anna Broadbent, Curate
The passion for the outreach and social justice ministries at St. James stem directly from our community worship and our baptismal covenant. All members of St. James aspire to “seek and serve Christ in all persons, and to strive for justice, peace, and dignity among all people.” Our outreach and social justice ministries provide a very tangible way to live a life that reflects Jesus Christ in our community. 

In 2019 we experienced exciting growth particularly with St. James Meals and Summer in the City. Our Sunday brunch with St. James meals has experienced significant growth, both with the number of guests we serve as well as with the number of Sunday School youth who participate. We also implemented the first annual St. James Meals Volunteer Appreciation Dinner to ensure that all of our dedicated volunteers had the experience to sit in the dining room and be served.

Summer in the City 2019,  began one-day off-shoots of SITC with “Winter in the City”, “Spring in the City” and a “family night” in June before camp began to share a taste of the SITC experience with the St. James Cathedral community as well as prospective campers and their families. Our “Fall in the City” served as a reunion for campers, staff and volunteers. These off-shoot events provide an opportunity for the SITC community to stay connected year-round.

St. James Meals
Submitted by Judith Tribbett, Meals Ministry Volunteer Coordinator
Member of the St. James Meals Steering Committee
2019 was a busy, challenging year as we served over 3,500 diners at 24 meals. St. James Meals has reached a mature stage where the primary challenge is ensuring that we are prepared to welcome and feed all who arrive at our doors.  At many meals, we have more diners than capacity (147 seats); the overflow ranges from a handful of individuals to 45 extra diners.   During the year we tested several methods for handling the overflow to be sure we fed everyone and have adopted a re-seating method that is welcoming and easily managed. 

In addition to the continued partnership with the Sunday School youth, the young adults of St. James began regularly volunteering the Saturday morning prior to the Sunday meal.  This partnership provides the young adults an opportunity to contribute to St. James Meals by doing prep work that eases the Sunday morning stress and facilitates the switch from commercially prepared soups and desserts to homemade items. 

St. James Meals continues to supply items for guests to take with them – new socks and hotel-sized toiletries.  In 2019 we received a donation from Bombas of 1,000 high-quality socks and we are on the donation list again for 2020.  We also continued our partnership with a CPS school that provides the dry goods leftovers from its weekly food bank to our guests. 

To continue to support the growth and sustainability of the ministry, the St. James Meals Steering Committee, made up of staff and volunteers, was started to assist with creating policies/procedures of ongoing management and supporting any new issues that arise.  

The ministry continues to thrive because of its volunteers from both the St. James community and the neighborhood. In 2020 an orientation program for volunteers will be introduced to support the onboarding of new volunteers as well as promote adherence to kitchen safety as well as St. James Cathedral’s current policies of working with children or vulnerable adults.  

Summer in the City
Submitted by Nicole Spencer, SITC Committee Member and proud SITC volunteer
As a community, St. James Cathedral honors the arts that enhance our lives and all of creation. Summer in the City (SITC) at St. James Cathedral is a ministry that extends our mission beyond the physical confines of the Cathedral.  SITC is a collaboration of the St. James Cathedral community, artists, and campers from the south, west, and near north sides of our city. Through arts and physical activities, SITC invites campers (ages 8-13) into deep engagement with their whole self. SITC enriches our congregation and the lives of campers and their families from across the city of Chicago. 

In 2019, SITC evolved while maintaining its focus on providing the best possible camper and volunteer experiences.  SITC summer programming moved away from primarily museum focused activities to programming that took advantage of Chicago’s outdoor offerings. There was strong diversity in the activities offered and the parts of the city visited including screen printing in Hyde Park, paddling at Skokie Lagoon, pottery and photography in Pilsen, Millennium Park, back stage tour of Grant Park, rock climbing, visit to the downtown farmer’s market and a water taxi to Chinatown. One of the most popular adventures was a visit to the Federal Reserve Bank. 

There was also a programmatic shift to fewer contracted artists in order to allow campers and artists more in-depth experiences.  SITC served 24 campers - 11 returning and 13 new - predominantly from the southside and River North. (21 campers participated in 2018.) Feedback was positive. 

“I had so much fun and wish it was longer” (St. James Camper)

“I like the adventures and the exposure the kids got. To introduce them to new and brighter horizons” (Parent)

There was also evolution in the volunteer experience.  SITC 2019 included volunteer training prior to the start of camp; a Volunteer Coordinator responsible for emailing reminders about schedules and responsibilities the night before volunteer shifts and day-of briefings by the Assistant Camp Manager to ensure that volunteers were prepared for the day. 36 members of the St. James community volunteered for SitC 2019, which is 6 more than in 2018. Feedback from volunteering included the following, “It was FUN, satisfying and time well spent in service to others, particularly children. Thank you for the opportunity!” (Volunteer) 

SITC Goals for 2020 include planning for the sustainability of SITC by further developing relationships and resources as well as documenting policies and procedures. In 2020, SITC will recruit a new Camp Manager. SITC will also continue to focus on the recruitment and retention of campers.  The one-day SITC event “Fall in the City” will be designed as a “reunion” of community and the Winter and Spring in the City events as recruitment efforts. SITC will also reach out to fellow members of the South Deanery to reach potential campers and volunteers. Our goal for SITC 2020 is 35 campers. 

Submitted by The Rev. Anna Broadbent, Curate
In 2019, St. James Cathedral partnered with the ReVive Center for Housing and Healing to provide Christmas Baskets for 60 families throughout the City of Chicago. ReVive, which has its roots in the Episcopal Church, works with love and compassion to end homelessness and provide affordable housing for a better Chicago. 

Included in the families supported by St. James were roughly 75 adults, including parents and senior citizens and 173 children. This year, several members of St. James Cathedral joined ReVive in June to help interview and sign up families for Christmas Baskets, which is a new opportunity to remained involved with ReVive throughout the year. St. James members spent an estimated total of $9,920 on Christmas gifts and $3,720 on Jewel gift cards to support families in providing dinner on Christmas Day totaling $13,640. The joy and generosity of the St. James Cathedral towards ReVive Christmas Baskets was clear, with all the families being supported and immediate requests for more. For 2020, the goal for St. James Cathedral will be to support 75 families through ReVive. Based upon the interest and excitement it should be a very achievable goal. Thank you to all those who supported ReVive this year!  




Number of Families



Total Individuals Served



Estimated Spent



Pride Parade
Submitted by The Rev. Anna Broadbent, Curate
On June 30, 2019 a proud group of parishioners, representing all three St. James worship communities - 8, 9 and 11, gathered at the 9:00 a.m. service to be blessed and commissioned to join Bishop Jeffrey Lee and other Episcopalians from around the diocese to march in the Chicago Pride parade. For many it was their first pride parade while others have been marching since Chicago’s first pride parade in 1970. Unfortunately, the parade was cut short by a severe thunderstorm. Despite the weather, one young adult who participated said, “walking with Bishop Lee was very memorable for me and obviously the parade itself was extremely vibrant.” 

Charitable Giving
Submitted by Robert Black, Canon for Finance & Administration
In 2019, the cathedral received $97,121 in special offerings and appeals from 207 donors to support the following St. James ministries and other organizations:

  • Holy Family Ministries (Lenten Charity)
  • La Creche Orphanage in Bethlehem (Christmas Eve offering)
  • Province of Jerusalem (Good Friday offering)
  • Episcopal Volunteers in Mission
  • Revive Center for Housing and Healing (Advent)
  • Kids4Peace
  • Summer in the City
  • St. James Meals
  • Clergy Discretionary Fund


Finance Commission
Submitted by Paul W. Thompson, Treasurer
In 2019, the Finance Commission consisted of members Anya Kleymenova and George Culver, with ex officio members Erin Maus (Warden), Craig Elder (Warden), Randy Pierson (Assistant Treasurer) and Paul Thompson (Treasurer), the Treasurer serving as Chair. The Commission invited Dean Dominic Barrington, Director of Finance and Administration Canon Robert Black and Accountant Christine Price to join in the Commission’s meetings. At mid-year, the Cathedral Chapter transferred responsibility for investment management to the Finance Commission and  named former Finance Commission Chair Alan Gunn as Investment Officer and an ex officio member as well. 

Nine meetings were held during the year, typically on the fourth Thursday morning of the month on the second floor of the St. James Commons. The Commission advises the Treasurer and staff on financial, investment, accounting, budgeting and auditing matters, from planning, implementation and review perspectives. 

Gala Committee
Submitted by Jilliann Smith, Chair of the Gala Committee
The 10th annual Cathedral Gala in support of outreach ministries took place Friday, October 11, 2019 and was attended by about 100 people. The event raised $28,913 after expenses for the work of Summer in the City and St. James Meals, through the generosity of 22 generous sponsors, ticket sales, “wine pull”, sermon word raffle, and a paddle raise.   

Count Ministry
Submitted by Marianne Culver, Chair of the Count Ministry
The Count Ministry handles all the various items that appear in the collection plates and drop boxes at St. James Cathedral. The team counts and tabulates all cash collected at services and deposits it in the Cathedral bank account each week. We count special collections, too, like the Lenten Pence Can collection and the Christmas Eve collections for La Crêche Orphanage in Bethlehem. Our merry band of human calculators includes Susan Barsy, Mary Jo Barton, David Briere, Sue Cloud, David DuPre, Fran Horn, Tom Patterson, Alexis Reese, and George Culver. All perform a demanding job with accuracy and good cheer. We welcome new members.  If you would like to join us, please email Robert Black.                                                           

Sacramental Events

Baptism  (10)

Dorian Schulyer Abbot
Bradley Michael Fraser
Isaac Antonio Gonzalez
Soumava Gangopadhyay
Fiona Mae Iverson
Tristan Alexander Julius
Jonathan Leslie Muchow
Hines William Saltenberger
Felix Alan Snart
Betsy Ellen Wade

Funeral (6)

Elsie Dickson Barks
Raymond Hall
Laura N. Hicks Ellis
The Rt. Rev. James Winchester Montgomery
Sandra Traback
Elsa Vaintzettel

Confirmation/Reception/Renewal (19)

Dorian Schuyler Abbot
Samuel George Debush
Ryan Scott Dillman
Lilian Joyce Drake
Soumava Gangopadhyay
Lillian Smith Gunn
Yoadi Hu
Elliot Alexander Martin
Kiran Manapurathu Mathew
Kyra Mariamma Mathew
Peter Abraham Seddon
Avery Smith
Eric Strait
James Matthew Strait
Paul Steinbrecher
Lance Patrick Sy
Lesli Vaughan
Jeremiah Walter Vipond
John Preston Winstead

Wedding (11)

Iliana Elias Sweis & Bryan Charles Cressey
Carolyn Leeann Price & Adam Daniel Johnson
Tatiana Thanh Thuy Craine & Peter Hackney Walters
Lauren Kerr & Anthony Jackel
Katherine C. Spellman & Ellen M. Koucky
Antonio Beltran & Jeffrey Kline Jackson
Caroline Tyler Quazzo & Thomas Bruce Elnick
Laura Sleeman & Vincent Flaska
Olivia Marilyn Elliott & Michael Jessup Paik
Kaelin Tauber Sweeney & John Franklin Melbourne
Adele Lee Cornwall & Philip Harwell Brady