Hi! I'm Jim, let's get acquainted...
A little more about my experience and skills
Since my first seminary internship when I hosted a “bowl-a-thon” to raise funds to repair a broken furnace, I have been problem solving and learning ways that churches can use entrepreneurship and creativity to grow and sustain both resources and a robust, attractive, outward-looking mission. I have practiced this in my own call and continue learning by participation in conferences such as “Buildings for a New Tomorrow“.
I have learned that convincing people to “drop in” and give church a try is a matter of listening for the needs of the surrounding community and then offering opportunities to have those needs met. This is a simple matter compared to the ongoing process of building a parish culture that is ready to welcome newcomers and adjust to the new gifts and needs they will bring.
For almost fifteen years I have worked with young people, primarily high school and college ages, helping them to build their own unique relationships with God, and to experience God in community with others. Outside of the church I have produced a theatre program that connected high school age artists with emerging professionals, supervised student-run organizations for a residential arts program at Michigan State University, led alternative spring trips in the United States and Canada, and provided health services and special needs counseling at a YMCA camp. Within the church I have mentored youth delegates at diocesan conventions, been on staff for various camps, led a contingent at Episcopal Youth Event, and worked several years on staff as a youth minister at a large urban parish.
I began working behind the scenes in theatrical production when I was nine years old and have since carried a passion for the performing and creative arts that has added to my ministry in countless ways. While my call to ordained ministry came from many sources in my life, one of the most informative was the satisfaction I received from building a safe, supportive, loving, and creative community as the producer of a small theatre company. Over the years I have acted, run pyrotechnics, designed and implemented lighting, sung with a Capella groups, and directed; but the majority of my adult work has been in stage management and producing. The skills I have developed from this background have enabled me to create liturgy that makes up a cohesive, meaningful, narrative experience and to gently train participants to bring their best to worship. Beyond simple skits with youth groups, I have used improv games based on the work of Viola Spolin to build connections between people of all ages, and have even used such exercises at leadership meetings to maintain a creative and playful environment.
Since my first time running a production as a Stage Manager I have been building a repertoire of intentional leadership skills. As an educator and pastor I have worked to learn ways to help parishioners of all ages to develop into healthy leaders in their own right. I began the study of leadership taking two years of Army ROTC, and by running operations for ASMSU, one of the largest student governments in the United States. I continued in seminary, participating in faculty governance, ecumenical worship, and the Canadian Theological Student Association. Prior to my ordination and call as priest-in-charge of a parish, the greatest opportunity I have had to learn about leadership has been my five years serving as a paramedic with the Baltimore County Fire Department, leading small teams responding to medical emergencies, teaching students in the Emergency Medical Services, and acting as part of a large team with a common mission. Through lessons easy and hard I have learned that leaders must be authentic while maintaining strong boundaries, follow through on commitments, and always remember that while a mission may come first, it is always built upon the healthy relationships of those involved.