2020 Chapter Candidates
The St. James Cathedral Chapter is pleased to announce the slate of four candidates to fill the available four spots for three-year terms beginning January 2021. Candidate statements are below.
At the end of October, the Cathedral congregation will vote on the slate. Due to the pandemic and the suspension of public gatherings, voting this year will take place electronically. Upcoming issues of the Midweek Missive will outline the voting process.
Pending the Congregational vote outcome, either the entire slate or individual candidates will be submitted to the Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin. Per the Cathedral’s Constitution and the Diocese’s Canons, Convention is the Cathedral Chapter’s electing body. New members of the Chapter are officially installed during the Annual Meeting in January.
As members of the Cathedral’s governance body, Chapter Members are charged with shaping St. James’ vision for the future. Those called to serve on Chapter are expected to attend monthly meetings, actively participate in the life and leadership of the congregation, and prayerfully share their gifts and talents for the betterment of the whole Cathedral community.
Candidates were ask to write a statement (250 words or less) discussing their vision for St. James Cathedral in the next three years. Candidates were also invited to briefly share their qualifications and leadership experience. Candidates are listed in alphabetical order.
Although I do have ideas, I believe one of my strengths is listening to other people’s visions and helping them realize them. The Chapter has clearly been working to assess the needs of our congregation and the community surrounding the campus. I would like to see that continue.
Short term needs:
• Contact service attendees personally through phone or video calls to assess their spiritual needs and comfort level for worship activities.
• Emphasize the importance of getting along with our brothers and sisters who hold different opinions on political and social issues.
• Develop a “safe church” plan that provides clear instructions for how to deal with specific scenarios.
• Continue our online/distance worship presence for those who do not feel safe worshiping in person. (This includes live-casting services, and virtual participation during in-person activities.)
• Create or identify an existing self-paced/asynchronous spiritual formation curriculum.
Having served as a member of the Vestry and warden of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Gloucester, Mass., prior to my moving to Clovis, I am familiar with the issues facing an individual parish, especially financial issues including increasing our pledging. I spearheaded the effort to bring solar energy to St. John’s in order to reduce our electrical costs and to lower our environmental impact.
I also served as a city councilor in Gloucester, as such I was active in environmental and housing planning for a working class city of 30,000 on Massachusetts’ North Shore.
At St. James, I have been a member of the Altar Guild and volunteered at the weekly feeding program. I hope to bring my experience and skills to the chapter and enlarge our mission to the Fresno/Clovis community. I would focus on stewardship and outreach, particularly helping Fresno’s homeless and combating rapid climate change.
KAREN SIMMONS GILLIAN
I am a cradle Episcopalian. I believe the future of the denomination lies with outreach and service to the larger community. I believe through service we grow as Christians. I want to see St. James grow and I think there is fertile ground within our reach. The Food Pantry is certainly testimony to that. As an African American it is particularly meaningful to me that St. James is connected to social justice work. Through St. James I learned about the work of Faith in the Valley.
I do have experience serving in various capacities in the Episcopal church. I was a preschool Sunday School teacher at St. Columba's for 18 years. I learned a great deal from experiencing the faith of children. I served on vestry of St. Columba's. That was an eye-opening experience. I have also been a delegate to Diocesan Convention. However, I still consider myself a novice in terms of understanding church administration and governance.
My passion is Youth ministry and Sunday School. I believe this is the life blood of a congregation. I love the beauty of music ministry. I think that St. James is deeply blessed to have not just the professionals in our music program but also the wonderful "amateurs."
Finally, I love the gatherings that we have had at St. James. I would hope that if I were to become a Chapter member I could champion the gatherings and be part of the volunteer force.
St. James has been in a transition period for the last few years, and we have seen many wonderful transitions change the church for the better. My vision for the church would be to work on continuing t he positive changes to help the church grow. With such a large church and a relatively (to the church size) small congregation, as a member of chapter I would be interested in sound ﬁscal responsibility to be stewards of our funds while at the same time working to help the church grow in size. In my opinion the best way to do this is by seeking a charismatic dean (such as Dean Ryan, who unfortunately is leaving us) that will draw people to church. The Episcopal church has such a welcoming message, I think when people hear that message with the right delivery, our cathedral can grow. As a chapter member I would be very interested in recruiting the best dean we can to lead us in that growth.
My experience on boards has been a bit sporadic and wide ranged, both as a part of my job as a Fresno State professor of electrical and computer engineering, and externally. I currently am chair of three committees in my department, and I serve on 2 other university/college wide committees. I am a den leader for my daughter’s cub scouts den, and faculty chapter advisor to a student honor’s society. I was a board member, and then president of my HoA when I lived in West Sacramento. I was an elected student senator, USU board member, and student chief justice, as well as president of two student clubs in my time as an undergraduate at Fresno State. Through this I am decently well versed i n Robert’s Rules of Order. I would be happy to serve on the chapter if it is determined that I could be of service.