The Very Rev. J. Mark Holland was installed as the 23rd rector of St. James Episcopal Church in 2003. He thanks his wife, Liz, for introducing him to the Episcopal Church. A graduate of Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, Mark earned his undergraduate degree from Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, and then worked in the oil industry before discerning his call to the priesthood.
Liz and Mark are the parents of three children: son Christian earned his degree in Economics at LSU and now works in banking in New Orleans; daughter Micaela earned her finance degree at Tulane and is in her final year of the 4+1 accounting program, there; and daughter Mallory is thriving at Episcopal School.
Fr. Mark says baptizing babies brings him his greatest joy as a priest. He keeps pictures of all the people he's baptized under glass on his desk. (He's gonna need a bigger desk, soon!)
You'll nearly always find Fr. Mark in cowboy boots; most of the time in his priestly collar and, if in his car, with Handel's "Messiah" blaring. Otherwise, he may be wearing a bandana on his head looking as if he's hoping to get on a Harley-Davidson, all the while singing, from memory, the entire rendition of Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant."
The Rev. John Miller joined the staff of St. James in August, 2006 following service as curate of St. James Episcopal Church, Alexandria, LA. He serves as Associate Rector and Assistant Head of the St. James Episcopal Day School.
A native of Lake Charles, Louisiana, Fr. Miller graduated from McNeese State University in 1987 with a degree in civil engineering. He worked in a family construction business from 1987 until 2001. John's wife, Celene Milburn Miller, introduced him to the Episcopal Church while they dated in high school, and they were married at Good Shepherd Church, Lake Charles, in 1987. (Watch out for those Episcopalian girls -- we're two-for-two, here!)
John attended The University of the South (Sewanee), graduating in 2004 with a Master of Divinity degree. He was ordained to the priesthood on April 2, 2005 in the Diocese of Western Louisiana.
John and Celene have three children: a son, Cameron; and, daughters, McKenzie and Isabella. Celene was graduated from LSU with a degree in zoology and received her medical technologist license in 1987.
John has an infectious grin that might leave you wondering whether he's counseling the young Day School student on the road to righteousness, or in perfecting the ideal spitball technique!
Raised as a Methodist in a small East Texas town near Tyler, Mary Ann fell in love with the liturgy and practice of the Episcopal Church while in high school. She graduated from the Univ. of Texas - Austin in 1976 with a degree in Spanish Literature. After receiving her teaching credentials from The University of North Texas she taught high school in Texas cities near the Mexican border.
Mary Ann completed Education for Ministry (EfM) studies and received a Master of Arts in Religious Studies from The University of Incarnate Word in San Antonio before entering Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, graduating in 2002 with a Master of Divinity degree.
Following graduation she accepted a call to Oaxaca, Mexico, where she started an English congregation, Holy Trinity Church. She was ordained to the diaconate in Chicago, IL in 2004 and to the priesthood in 2005 in the Diocese of South East Mexico. Along with a retired priest, Mtr. Mary Ann began another mission in the neighboring state of Chiapas. A small church was built there with the help of two mission trip teams from St. James, Baton Rouge!
She wed William (Bill) Ashby 2002. His love is the rebuilding of old houses.
Mary Ann+ recently gave the whole of St. James parish a mighty lesson in prayer, love, support and miracles, when her nauseating headache turned out to indicate the presence of brain aneurysms. Mary Ann has not only survived, but thrived through emergency and reparative surgeries, and continues to impress the medical professionals and all those around her with her recovery! We are very thankful for her presence among us.
The Rev. Alina Williams, a native Texan, and cradle Episcopalian, arrived in Baton Rouge in June 2009, immediately after graduating from seminary, getting married and honeymooning in Napa, California. She met her husband at SMU's Perkins School of Theology, where they both obtained Masters of Divinity degrees in May 2009. Although she attended SMU, Mtr. Alina's loyalties lie with her alma mater, TCU. Alina+ was ordained in December 2011 as a transitional deacon, and in June 2012 as a priest.
Alina+ works with the Youth and Young Adults of St. James, focusing on worship, spirituality, service and fellowship.
She and her husband, Jared, enjoy weekly outings to the bowling alley, as well as spending time with their daughter, Palmer, and their two boxers. Jared serves as United Methodist elder at Carpenter's Chapel UMC in Prairieville. They hope that Palmer will grow up to be a Christ-centered, faithful young woman, who also loves to bowl!
Deacon Patsy R. Lyle serves as Spiritual Director in Residence for the St. James Center for Spiritual Formation. Her discernment to become a deacon, the servant order of the church, began in 1977. Pat received extensive training in ministry to the aging, ministry to those in transition or grief , and ministry to those facing death and dying. In 1983 she trained in Clinical Pastoral Education at OLOL Hospital. Pat was ordained a Deacon in the Episcopal Church in 1986 by Bishop Brown. She ministers to the elderly at Guest House and Williamsburg.
Pat has been a staff member for the Joy Conference, Women in Recovery, and the Creativity Retreat. She has served at many Cursillo weekends and for six Kairos weekends at the LA Correctional Institute for Women.
Pat is a 1956 graduate of Louisiana State University with a BS degree in business. She is married to N. Donald (Don) Lyle, and they have two children and six grandchildren. Her hobbies include swimming, biking, reading, and the beach.
The Rev. Ralph F. Howe, Jr. grew up at St. James, the son of the late Anne & Ralph Howe. Since his ordination, he has served in various capacities in the Diocese, most recently as rector of Trinity Church, and has been at Episcopal School since 2004 where he is Senior Chaplain & Chair of the Religion Department.
Fr. Howe received his BS from the University of the South, and his Master of Divinity from the General Theological Seminary in New York.
The Rev. Ken Ritter previously served as an Assisting Priest at St. James from 2003-2004 during which time he was received into the Episcopal priesthood from the Roman Catholic Church. He serves as President and Chief Executive Officer at St. James Place. Fr. Ritter also previously served as the organization's President and Chief Executive Officer from 2002-2005. Fr. Ritter has more than 18 years of experience in the long-term care industry, having provided executive leadership, services and consulting for numerous communities across the country to include skilled nursing, dementia care, assisted living, independent living and continuing care retirement communities.
He and his wife, Julie, have two daughters, Adelaide (16) and Elise (14).
The Rt. Rev. Robert C. Witcher serves as Bishop-in-Residence following his retirement as the Bishop of the Diocese of Long Island. Bishop Witcher has a long association with St. James beginning in 1952 as curate and later as rector from 1962 to 1975.
He received a BA degree from Tulane University before entering Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, Evanston, IL. He was ordained a deacon July 6, 1952 and as a priest one year later. Bishop Witcher continued his education at LSU with a master's degree (1960) and a PhD in 1968. He also holds a Doctor of Divinity (1974) from Seabury-Western and a Doctor of Canon Law from Nashotah House (1989). Bishop Witcher is a truly gifted teacher of the Episcopal faith and its history.
He holds the rank of Captain in the U.S. Navy following a career of service including Chair, Armed Forces Commission, Diocese of Louisiana, 1963-75, and Interim Bishop Armed Forces, 1989-90.
Bishop Witcher married Elisabeth Alice Cole on June 4, 1957, and they have two children and six grandchildren.
The Rt. Rev. James M. Coleman returned to St. James as Bishop-in-Residence following retirement as Bishop of West Tennessee. He was previously rector of St. James from 1975-1989.
Bishop Coleman received his BS degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee (1953) where he was a member of Kappa Sigma Fraternity. Coleman holds a Master of Divinity degree from The School of Theology at the University of the South (Sewanee) and a Doctorate of Ministry from Wake Forest University. He was ordained a deacon in 1956 and a priest in 1957 in the Diocese of Tennessee.
As a priest he served several parishes in Tennessee and Virginia before being called to St. James as rector. His long association with Sewanee includes service as President, Alumni Association 1969-71 and Trustee, School of Theology 1986-89.
Bishop Coleman is married to Emily (Douglass) Stewart Coleman, a native of Louisiana. For recreation he has enjoyed back packing; his most notable adventures include trails of the Smokey Mountains and a climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa.