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3903 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90010
(213) 388-3417
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Vestry Nominations 2021

Dear St. James’ folks,

I am writing to you because, with the church year almost over, the time has come to discuss election of new members of the vestry. In January, at the annual meeting of the parish, you will need to vote in six new vestry members. Five of these slots will be empty because five people will go off of the vestry as their three-year terms end. One is empty because a current member of the vestry is resigning.

First, I want to give you a bit of background about how these elections work. Under the St. James’ bylaws (the legal rules that govern various aspects of the way the vestry and church do business), in October the vestry must elect a Nominating Committee. The committee must have five members and must include the senior and junior wardens and at least one other vestry member; the other two members must be parishioners. The committee is responsible for supplying the vestry with a suggested nominee for each slot that will be open the next year. The committee presents its nominations at the November vestry meeting. The whole vestry votes to approve or disapprove each of the nominations. At the end of the November meeting, the vestry should have one vestry-approved nominee for each position open. The slate of candidates that the vestry has approved must be announced to the parish as a whole by December 10. After that, any parishioner in good standing (which means a person who has attended services at St. James’ at least three times in the previous year) may nominate another parishioner in good standing who is willing to serve on the vestry. A parishioner in good standing may also nominate himself or herself. All parishioners in good standing who attend the annual meeting in January may vote for a candidate to fill each of the vacancies. The new members’ vestry terms will start immediately.

In the case of this year, the Nominating Committee’s members were me and Jack Pitts (the senior and junior wardens), Kathalina Hwang (a current vestry member), and two other parishioners, Jeff Bryan and Marsha Vargas. Five members of the vestry will be leaving in January at the end of their three-year terms (Spencer Hong, Kathalina Hwang, Stephanie Reynolds, David Shaw, and me). Vestry member Stephen Bedikian has decided to resign, effective at the annual meeting, because of increased family obligations. Those are the six spots for which the Nominations Committee, after several discussions and rounds of e-mails, suggested names.

At the November 22 vestry meeting, the vestry nominated to the six open slots the six people whom the Nominating Committee had suggested: 

  1. Arnold Blanshard (currently president of African Christian Fellowship)
  2. Vielka Casanova (lifetime member of St. James’; former acolyte and former head of Sunday School program)
  3. Chris Lee (attendee at Korean language service; former member of St. James’ school board; two sons who were acolytes for many years)
  4. Vanessa Mesia Ullrich (newer member of St. James’; has a young son)
  5. Donna Mills (longtime parishioner; former school board member; daughter attended St. James’ School; finance background)
  6. Joanne O’Donnell (longtime parishioner; lawyer and judge; former school board member and school parent, head of rector search committee for last rector)

Each of these nominees will write up a brief “St. James’ biography,” describing what he or she has done at St. James’ over the years and providing any other information that seems relevant. Those biographical notes will be included in the written materials for the annual meeting. 

If any parishioner wishes to nominate himself, herself, or another parishioner, he or she must make the nomination before a date two weeks before the annual meeting. The annual meeting will be on January 31, so any additional nominations are due by January 16, 2021. To make a nomination, e-mail me at catherinehelm2424@gmail.com.

Meanwhile, please put the January 31 annual meeting on your calendars. Of course, it will have to be a virtual meeting, but I’m told there are excellent ways to hold votes on Zoom or other platforms. We will figure all that out and get back to you to give you an opportunity to attend the meeting. Hope everyone can come!

One other reminder, if not nag: if you haven’t yet pledged, please do so right away! You can do it online at stjla.org/pledge , or call Lauren in the office (213-388-3417, ext. 102), or send your pledge by mail to Lauren Azeltine, St. James’ Church, 3903 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90010.

Many thanks!

Best,

Cathy Helm