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St. James Episcopal Church


May 16, 2016



Dear Parishioners,

I would like to update you on your Vestry’s latest efforts to find an interim rector. After an initial consultation with Canon Shannon Manning, and a favorable phone interview with him, we invited Fr. Joe Reynolds and his wife, Elizabeth, to visit St. James on the weekend of our Associate Vestry crawfish boil. The crawfish boil provided a perfect opportunity for Fr. Joe to meet some of our parishioners, Vestry and Associate Vestry members, and clergy. I hope you were one of the many who had an opportunity to greet Fr. Joe and Elizabeth.

Fr. Joe spent the following Saturday morning with your Vestry in discussions on several topics that allowed us to assess his qualifications and fit with our parish. During the morning, Elizabeth was entertained with a visit to the Farmers Market, a tour of the Rural Life Museum, and lunch. In the afternoon, Fr. Joe and Elizabeth were given a tour of St. James’ campus, including the Day School. Their visit ended with dinner hosted by parishioners. Fr. Joe and Elizabeth left with very favorable impressions of our congregation, facilities, and opportunities.

After a two-week period of discernment, Vestry members met just prior to our scheduled monthly meeting on May 9, 2016. During this pre-meeting, each member shared their individual views on Fr. Joe’s skills and potential fit as an interim rector for St. James. During the subsequent Vestry meeting, a vote was held to decide whether or not to call Fr. Joe to St. James. The result of this vote was overwhelmingly in favor of asking him to be our interim rector. I spoke to Fr. Joe on Tuesday, May 10, and he agreed to accept the call. He will begin his rectorship on July 1, 2016.

Fr. Joe is a native of Atlanta, GA and was ordained into the priesthood on May 28, 1975. He retired in 2012 as Dean of Christ Church Cathedral in Houston, TX, where he served in that capacity for 12 years. Christ Church mirrors St. James in many ways – downtown location, size, and average Sunday church attendance. A prior rectorship of 10 years at Holy Innocents Church in Atlanta, GA, gave him experience in managing an Episcopal school. While there, he also led the school’s expansion from PreK – eighth grade up through grade 12.

Your Vestry believes Fr. Joe’s pastoral and administrative skills along with his maturity make him well qualified to be our interim rector. We hope you will feel the same as you get to know Fr. Joe and that you will offer your support as he leads us through the process of finding a new permanent rector for St. James.

God Bless,

Gerry Sulzer

Gerry Sulzer
Sr. Warden



St. James Episcopal Church | PO Box 126 | Baton Rouge LA 70821

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