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Senior Warden's Blog

November 1, 2017

A week from this Sunday is our congregation’s annual meeting with an associated covered dish luncheon. The main item on the agenda for the meeting is the election of new vestry
members. Our vestry has twelve members and each year four members rotate off after three-year terms and four new members are elected to replace them and to serve three-year terms.
Some have asked and our corporate bylaws do not allow for voting by proxy or by absentee ballot so attendance at the meeting is important in choosing lay leadership for our church.
Please sign up for the covered dish you plan to bring. At the present time four members of the parish have allowed their names to be put forward – Joyce Doughty, Allen Vital, Teda Williams
and Jeff Foster. Their names will be on the ballot for the meeting next week.

October 24, 2017

Our annual stewardship campaign closes Sunday, October 29 with our special breakfast and the blessing of the pledges for the upcoming year. 2018 looks to be a very special year for our church as we welcome a new bishop for the diocese and a new priest for our parish. There will be special needs during the upcoming year – the need for leadership, the need for support of all kinds and a special need for participation by all members of the church. Participation in worship and in welcoming all who choose to become some part of our church family.

October 19, 2017

The Annual Meeting of St. James Church will be held on Sunday, November 12, 2017 following the 10:30 service along with a pot luck lunch that day. There will be a sign up sheet for food donations posted. We invite every member in good standing to consider his or her willingness to participate in church leadership by putting their own name or that of another member up as a candidate for a vestry position. If putting someone else’s name up you should first speak with them and make sure they are willing to serve. Turn any names into Kathy at the office or to me as soon as possible because per our bylaws we will be publishing those who will be on the ballot.


The ordination/consecration of the new bishop of East Tennessee, The Reverend Brian Cole, will occur on Saturday, December 2, 2017 at Church of the Ascension in Knoxville. All are invited and no reservations need be made. The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, The Most Reverend Michale Curry, will officiate.

October 12, 2017

The annual meeting of the congregation will take place on Sunday November 12, 2017 with an associated covered dish luncheon. All are invited and encouraged to attend to hear reports from various departments and to vote for four new members of the vestry at this important time in our church’s history. Members in good standing of St. James are encouraged to consider serving as vestry members or to nominate others to the job. Our bylaws require that for someone to place another member’s name in nomination he or she should talk to the prospective candidate and make sure of their willingness to serve.

       The 2017 Holy Land Olive Oil Sale is now open. Sign up sheet is on the bulletin board in the parish hall. Prices are unchanged this year. The sale will close before Thanksgiving and the oil will be available at the church for those wishing to gift some or all or their purchases.


August 30, 2017

        As we enter September in the church year the pace picks up somewhat. Beginning
September 3rd Sunday School begins. Adults with children are asked to come to the church
proper with their children and Tina Vital and/or Lisa Cox will take the children over to the parish
hall during the last verse of the opening hymn. The choir will return on September 10th. We will
continue to have supply priests for both services for the time being. The diocese is accepting
new names for our permanent rector and interviews will begin in early October.

July 31, 2017

       We, members of the Episcopal Diocese of East Tennessee, have elected a new bishop, The Rev. Brian Cole. He and his wife are currently living in Lexington, Kentucky where he’s served as rector for the last five years. His consecration will take place in December, 2017 with The Right Rev George Young continuing as our bishop till that time.

            We welcome The Rev David Garrett as our supply priest for the initial period following the departure of our interim, Father Chris Starr. He will be with us only for Sundays but the church office will be open for communication on the regular schedule of mornings, Monday through Thursday each week. Questions and information can also be addressed to Bob Strimer, senior warden (620-0695) or other members of the vestry.

July 23,2017

Today is Father Starr’s last Sunday with us at St. James. On behalf of the vestry I want to express our appreciation for his ability to rapidly become such an integral part of our church family. His obvious joy of life, his welcoming spirit displayed to all who came into contact with him in our church and in the wider community, his love for the liturgy and the greater Episcopal Church and his vast experience both in and outside the church allowed us to flourish during this period between permanent priests.

          We wish him the best in his new ministry in Alabama and beyond that in his retirement that will give him adequate time and opportunity to spoil his new grandson.

          God speed, Chris.

July 09,2017

For those not able to attend church on July 9th, you might have missed the announcement that Father Chris will be leaving St. James at the end of the month, July 23rd being his last Sunday with us. That date corresponds with the St. James Day Picnic and we’re making the picnic the going away celebration of his ministry among us over the last 17 months. Please make every possible attempt to be with us at the Strimer’s home (430 Patricia Lane, one mile out Jones Bridge Road toward the mountains). There is a sign up on the church bulletin board for covered dishes. Swimming for the children (and any brave adults) will begin at 3:00pm and the rest are invited for 4:00pm. Bring a chair and a beverage and your covered dish along with a festive mood.

June 26, 2017

St. James Day will be celebrated on Sunday, July 23rd with our annual picnic and swimming party at the Strimer's home. Save the date on your calendars. At a time closer to the event there will be a sign up sheet on the bulletin board. We’ll have hot dogs and/or burgers on the barbie and let others sign up for the other items of their desire.

June 22,2017

Libby Hodges condition has improved sufficiently that she’s been moved from the ICU to Room 4335 at Laughlin Hospital. She will remain in the hospital an estimated 3-4 days for management of her medications before discharge. Thanks to all the St. James family for their prayers and support.

June 21, 2017

Libby Hodges had a really good day yesterday with much less labored breathing. She was sitting up in a chair and her color had returned to a healthy normal. She hopes to be moved out to a room on the regular floor within the next several days.

June 19,2017

Libby Hodges remains in the Intensive Care Unit but seems to be stable and resting better.  Pete has returned from Canada and is with her most of each day.  Keep her and the entire family in your prayers.

May 15,2017

The operative word of the moment seems to be CHANGE. What tough word for us Episcopalians. We’re approaching a change in our diocesan leadership as the five candidates to become our new bishop have been formally announced. There will be a “meet and greet” at St. Paul’s Church in Kingsport on Friday, July 14th at 4:00pm and all church members are invited to attend. The actual election of the bishop will be held two weeks later. Delegates from St. James for that election are Jeff Irvine, Diane and Bob Strimer. In our own search for our new priest, the deadline for applications has closed as of May 10th and names will soon be forwarded to our search committee for their consideration. With the birth of Grayson Logan Puerta, our interim may now want to be known as Grandfather Chris instead of Father Chris.

March 30, 2017

The St. James Parish Profile has been submitted to the diocese and with the bishop’s blessing has been posted on the national church’s registry for parishes seeking new leadership. For those who are computer literate the profile can be viewed on our church website (http://www.st-james-episcopal.com/) and for others a copy can be produced in our church office for you to look at. Names of candidates will be received through May 10th at the diocesan office and at that point the new work of the search committee will begin.

February 28, 2017

The search committee has completed its work in creating the profile of St. James Church that will soon be published on the Internet along with opening the process of accepting names for our next priest. Once the profile is published there will be a six-week window for names to be submitted through the diocese and eventually our committee will have a list of names to review, a narrower list to interview electronically and then a smaller number to actually meet in person. Once a candidate is selected by consensus by the search committee, the full vestry will accept or decline the recommendation of that person and a call may be issued. The next few months are the “silent” period where names that come to us are considered confidentially. I will do my best to keep members of the congregation informed in general of the progress as it occurs.

January 7, 2017

The search committee reports that the parish profile is essentially finished following a final meeting of the committee to review it scheduled for Wednesday the 11th of January. It then goes to the diocese for review by the Canon Pat Grace before it is put online for review by priests considering looking for a new church to serve. Anyone in the congregation who knows of a priest that they feel would be a good fit for St. James and that priest may still refer him or her to our search committee. The priest should be contacted to make sure he or she is interested in being considered before placing the referral with the committee.

Our new vestry persons, elected at the parish annual meeting begin their duties on Monday, January 16th at the first vestry meeting of the year. Donna Reid, Cal Doty, Steve Harbison and Bill Smith will have important roles to play in 2017 as we choose and then welcome our new priest.

Father Chris’s Epiphany sermon to the 26 strong attending spoke to this being a new year and that Jesus’ baptism represented a new beginning for his ministry. Let each of us consider our being called to our ministry in God’s name, whatever that ministry might be or become.

October 13, 2016 

At the annual meeting of the congregation thanks were expressed for the service of those going off the vestry after serving their three years of service to our church – Janice Hayes, Jocelyn Long, Tom Leach and Phil Thwing. In the meeting four new vestry members were chosen to serve three year terms – Steve Harbison, Donna Reid, Bill Smith and Cal Doty. We appreciate their willingness to serve and the willingness of others willing to have their names placed in nomination.

The search committee has gathered the information from the surveys and is creating a parish profile to go online with the compensation package for the new priest created by the finance committee pending vestry approval.

Anyone interested in contributing to the Community Thanksgiving Outreach meal can make checks out to Cedar Hill Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The address for the church is 4170 Newport Highway, 37743.

October 19, 2016    

The Parish Annual Meeting is rapidly approaching. We will meet immediately following the 10:30 service on Sunday, November 13th to receive reports from the various groups doing the day to day activities of our church and to choose four new vestry members to replace the four people rotating off the vestry at the end of this year. We encourage all adult members of the congregation in good standing to prayerfully consider serving on the vestry. Additionally we ask our members to consider choosing someone else who they feel would best represent them as vestry members. Before putting someone’s name in nomination please ask him or her if they’re willing to serve. Turn you own or someone else’s name into the church office or a vestry member. We will report to the congregation before the election the names of those put forward for their consideration.

The olive oil sale will be closed in mid-November. Please sign up on the bulletin board before that time if you would like to have this year’s Palestinian olive oil for the holidays.

September 28, 2016


The Search Committee and the Vestry met with Bishop Young and our search consultant, The Rev. Maggie Zeller on Monday evening, September 26. The bishop pointed out how dedicated he and his entire staff were to seeing that we choose a priest that can lead us in years to come. He explained how the diocese works behind the scenes in helping solicit candidates for us to study, how communications between him and other bishops and between Canon Grace and others doing her job in other dioceses help the process and how they will do the necessary background checks when the number of candidates is reduced to 3 -4 possibilities. The finance committee met the following night to rough out a compensation package for the new priest that will go on the website alongside the parish profile created by the search committee.

You’ve heard that the stewardship committee has plans for the month of October preparing us for the ingathering of pledges for 2017. Keep in mind as you consider your pledge the extra costs that will be involved in bringing our new leader into our midst and pledge generously.

          At the vestry meeting on September 20th Bill Moss’s financial report appeared promising in terms of income in and expenses out in the first two-thirds of 2016. We are anticipating increased outlays in the next year relating to bringing a new rector on board.

          To that end the vestry heard a presentation from Bill Smith, who along with LeAnn Thwing will be leading the stewardship campaign that will kick off at the beginning of October.

          The annual meeting of the parish will occur on Sunday, November 13th.

          At the October meeting of the vestry delegates to the annual diocesan convention and the bishop election convention will be chosen. Persons chosen will serve as delegates to both conventions.

          The vestry voted unanimously to a proposal from Tina Vital to begin a Sunday School program in the near future. Tentative plans are of activities with the children from 10:30 till about 11:15 allowing the children to come into the adult service to receive communion with their families.

          St. James has been at the forefront of a movement by area churches to provide the overdose antidote, Narcan, for area first responders. A fund will be established in the church and donations are encouraged.

          Father Chris has begun a program of lay Eucharistic visitors who will be taking communion to house bound church members on Sundays.

      The vestry has agreed to have the church open to the public during hours of church office operation after installing a security camera allowing monitoring of those entering. In order to aid members of the congregation with hearing impairment, the vestry will enlist the help of those involved to investigate their specific hearing difficulties and look for possible ways to help. Remember St. James Day picnic this Sunday, July 24th at the Strimers 3:00-7:00pm at 430 Patricia Lane (one mile out Jones Bridge Road from the McKee street split).

      The vestry held its retreat on Saturday, July 9th beginning the search process. Led by our consultant, The Rev. Maggie Zeller, members discussed at length the strengths of the St. James congregation and the challenges facing us as we look for a new clergy leader for our church. The vestry then, by consensus, chose 8 members of the search committee: Tom Beckner, Jane Bell, Charlene Cureton, Hunter Paris, Conan Rudd, Pat Russo, Phil Thwing and Tina Vital. They all have accepted the honor and responsibility of leading the search for our new priest.

          The St. James Day Picnic will be held at the Strimers home, 430 Patricia Lane (one mile out Jones Bridge Road from the traffic light at Bernard and McKee). Hot dogs, iced tea and water will be provided and attendees are encouraged to bring a covered dish, chairs, drinks of choice and swim suits for those so disposed.


          At its meeting on June 21, 2016 the vestry ok’d the compensation proposal from our search consultant, The Reverend Maggie Zeller. She will lead a vestry retreat on Saturday, July 9, 2016 the aim of which will be the selection of a search committee to begin our search process.

          The vestry is considering a plan to open the doors to the church allowing members of the congregation or visitors to enter our historic sanctuary from 9:00am to noon four days a week when someone is present in the church office. Some surveillance system will allow monitoring of persons entering the nave.

          St. James Day picnic will be held at the Strimer's home on Sunday afternoon, July 24th from 3:00pm to 7:00pm. Bring your swimming suits, chairs, beverage of choice and folding chairs for a fun get together.

          Efforts are ongoing to fully communicate church activities. The website now has updated server Rota and calendar sections along with a place for this blog. We encourage members of the congregation to visit the website and to forward suggestions for making communication as complete as possible during this important time in our church’s life.

                At the meeting on May 17 th the responsibilities of the vestry in the search process were discussed. We now have our search consultant, The Reverend Maggie Zeller, rector of St. Christopher’s Church in Kingsport and former assistant then interim at St. John’s Church, Johnson City. The congregation is currently in a period of reflection and discernment regarding who we are as a church and who we hope to be in the future. We are blessed to have the leadership of Father Chris as we work toward calling a new rector. Toward the end of the summer things will begin to happen – the vestry will choose a search committee and its chair, the vestry through its finance committee will create a compensation package for the new priest. The vestry welcomes input from the congregation as we approach our work and will attempt to keep everyone informed.

Bob Strimer