Our 2023 Vestry Back row: Dan Cox, Linda Spaziani, Linda Harrison, Jim Beschle, Richard Arthur, Perry Downs, Denise Holl Front Row: Ryan Beaudry, Lyn Meyers, Susie Sarkisian, Russ Griemsmann Missing from photo: Jean Hassen, Christine DiMeglio
2023 Vestry For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.Hebrews 10:36
The vestry consists of nine members, elected at the annual meeting for staggered 3-year terms. Also elected at the annual meeting are the senior warden, junior warden, clerk and treasurer for one-year terms, as prescribed by the parish by-laws. The vestry meets monthly from August through June, and during July if conditions warrant. At St. James’, the vestry meeting is chaired by the rector. Each vestry member serves as chairperson or vestry liaison to the various ministries operating at St. James’.
Lyn Meyers - Warden I’ve been a member of St. James' for more than 30 years and I am currently Chairman of the Stewardship and Finance Committee in the Vestry class of 2021. I’m a Choir member, Lector, Intercessor, Chalice Bearer, and flower deliverer. In past years I’ve served on the St James’ Vestry, as Treasurer, and as a Stephen Minister. Service on the Danbury Deanery led to two five year terms on the Standing Committee of the Connecticut Diocese and as a delegate at two Episcopal General Conventions.I’m currently Treasurer of the Danbury Lions Club and a Connecticut Lion past District Governor. Other community service Boards has included the Salvation Army, Danbury Music Centre, Aids Interfaith and Aids Project Danbury.Professionally I’ve been an Accountant for 46 years, ten years with an international accounting firm and opening Meyers & Co, CPAs in 1984. Other vocations have included real estate, retailing , life insurance, and the US Air Force.
Russ Griemsmann- Warden When I first met my wife, Judy, she introduced me to St James. I was active in my church on Long Island, having served as the Church’s Financial Secretary and member of the Finance Committee. I moved to Danbury from Port Jefferson when Judy and I were married at St James in 2008. Judy and I worked together on the Outreach/Missions committee and the Parish Life committee. We worked on raising funds for the Joining Jesus Capital Campaign in 2020. We also took the worship leader training and conducted one service while Father Dustin was on vacation.
I retired from teaching in 2007 at New York City College of Technology (CUNY) where I taught and chaired the Computer Systems Department. Boy Scouts took a great deal of my time on Long Island. I was a Scoutmaster, Committee Chairman, Commissioner and District Chairman and supervised High Adventure Training for Adult Scouters in Suffolk County. Here in Danbury, I serve as President of the Friends of Richter Park. Judy and I have four children between us, a son and daughter-in-law in Bayport, LI with two of our grandchildren, a daughter and son-in-law in Setauket, LI, a son and daughter-in-law in Bethel with the other two grandchildren and a son in Danbury. Skiing, golf, kayaking, hiking, and travel are some of our recreational interests. Spending time in my woodworking shop gives me many happy and satisfying hours. In 2022 I was asked to serve on Vestry where I am the liaison with the Capital Projects Committee and on the Finance Committee.
Ryan Beaudry - Treasurer Ryan is a long-time member of St. James’ Danbury. He and his wife, Katie, worship at the 8am service with their children, Aubree and Nolan. Ryan serves as Chalice Minister and Lector. Over the past several years, Ryan has contributed to the mission of St. James serving as former Vestry Member (2010 – 2013), Chair of St. James’ Global Outreach Committee (2011 – 2013) and Co-Chair, Rector Search Committee (2007 – 2010).
Professionally, Ryan is Senior Vice President, Open Banking Product at Mastercard where he leads fintech, platform and payment solutions to unlock new financial services for consumers and businesses. Prior to his current role, Ryan held roles of increasing responsibility within finance, product management, strategy and commercialization across digital commerce acceptance, digital wallets, person-to-person payments and healthcare initiatives.
Ryan is a NXT-Gen Fellow for Moral Leadership with the How Institute and actively engaged in career development and advancement of young professionals, currently serving on the President’s Advisory Council at Manhattanville College. He founded Mastercard’s Young Professionals’ Business Resource Group and Young Alumni Society at Manhattanville College, serving as former Chair and now advisor. Ryan holds an executive MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management and graduated with Honors from Manhattanville College where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Finance and International Management.
Susie Sarkisian - Clerk Born and raised Presbyterian in Charlotte, NC, it seems I’ve found my home in the Episcopal church. And even though my husband Mark and I are consistently late to the 10:00 service, we keep coming back, and haven’t been turned away yet. We are the parents to twins, Logan and Leah, who live and work in Boston and Atlanta, respectively. Through a few moves and relocations in their lives, St. James’ has now been the church they’ve been connected to the longest in their 22 years, starting as young acolytes.
My involvement here at St. James’ has lately been in the form of serving on the Parish Life Committee, trying to bring a little fun and fellowship back into this (hopefully) post-pandemic world. Also, I’ve served as Clerk of the Vestry, for the last 4 years, and am willing to give it *one more year* of taking minutes, and trying to keep us on track as we forge ahead into 2023.
Jim Beschle – Class of 2024 - I am a lifelong member at St James Church was born and raised in Danbury. I have been married to Deidra Woodend for 26 years. I retired from the State of Connecticut Department of Energy and Environment Protection after 41 years of service. During my service as Park Supervisor I managed 4 full time employees and 50 part time employees. I previously served on Vestry as Chair of Building and Groups and was a board member for many years. I have helped out with numerous church events.
Jean Hassen – Class of 2024 - Worship I am a lifelong resident of the Danbury area. I grew up in Bethel, graduated from Westconn, did graduate studies at Fairfield U and now live in Brookfield with my furry companion Enzo. I have been a member of Saint James for 30+ years. I sing in the choir, play the handbells, serve as a lector and chalice bearer, and fill in as substitute organist when necessary. I am a member of the Altar Guild, the ECW, and am coordinator for the Prayer Shawl Ministry. In my free time I am a member of the Danbury Music Centre Concert Chorus. Most recently I have been participating in a Virtual Concert of Messiah with members of the music centre and our conductor in Bismark, North Dakota.
Denise Holl – Class of 2024 - Faith Formation I became a member of St. James' in 1991. Over the years I've been a member of Altar Guild, served on the Mission committee, been a lector, intercessor, healing minister, eucharistic visitor, led morning prayer at Glenn Hill. I've served on vestry. I joined St. James' to learn more about myself, who I am and why. I felt I could best accomplish this by studying history and the bible through Kerygma and EFM. Through the years I've participated in many book studies and completed EFM (Education for Ministry) and served as EFM facilitator for 3 years. Not only have I grown in my faith, but have seen others do the same; others who encourage and inspire me. My current ministries include Laundry Love of Greater Danbury, the Dorothy Day meal program, Mission committee, Growing in Faith, Stewardship and Finance, and I also lead Zoom compline and evening prayer services on Thursday and Friday each week. I am encouraged by what I've seen happening at St. James' this past year and am looking forward to becoming a part of our vestry.
Dan Cox – Class of 2025 I have been a member of St. James' for about 20 years when I first moved to Danbury with my family. During this time I have served on many committees including being on the Vestry as Stewardship Chair for 3 years followed by serving as a Warden for six years. Throughout the years I have also served in numerous capacities for Sunday Services and related events. Most recently, I have served as an ECCT Convention Delegate, Chair of the Recruitment Committee for Father Dustin and continue to serve as Co-Chair of the Joining Jesus Capital Campaign with my wife, Beth.
Christine DiMeglio – Class of 2025 - I have been attending Saint James’ since 1996, when my kids, Nick and Grace Kuell, were quite young. St. James’ was, and is, a source of loving support for my family, especially when my husband, Chris Kuell, lost his sight and needed a kidney transplant, nearly 20 years ago. We value contributing to this faith community that has given so much to us. Over the years, I have been involved with Christian Education as a Sunday school teacher and youth group leader, graduated from EFM, and trained as a Stephen Minister. I have been a friendly visitor to shut-ins, and worked with the Stewardship Ministry this past fall. I also raised awareness and funding for our student at El Hogar as part of our Mission Ministry from 2016-2020. I moved on from that just COVID changed our lives. I look forward to serving our Paris.
Linda Harrison – Class of 2025 - I was born, raised and educated in Danbury. I was baptized at St James' and worshiped here until my marriage. I returned to regular worship in 1999. I regularly attend our 8 o'clock service where I serve as a lector and chalice bearer (beginning in 2000) as scheduled. I previously served on the Faith Formation Committee. I am now a member and chair of the Mission Committee. I have been a Convention delegate 4 previous times. My parents, George and Doris Morgan, set a wonderful example for me. I am the divorced mother of two grown children (Jessica and Mark). I have a daughter-in-law Kate and 2 grandchildren (Ben 6 and Nolan 2). I feel so very blessed. I live in Woodbury, CT and currently commute by Zoom or Facebook to St James'. I look forward to serving as a Convention delegate for our parish.
Richard Arthur – Class of 2026 Fellow brothers and sisters in Christ my name is Richard J Arthur. I was born and raised from a small country on the West coast of Africa called Ghana. The population is about 33.4 million. Dominating religions are Christianity and Islam with the Anglican Communion holding about 5 percent of the population. I grew up in a very active Christian household with a father (The late Rt. Rev. J.B Arthur)who happened to be the first bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Kumasi (the second largest city in Ghana). My upbringing was unique to an extent, because of the numerous church activities I participated in. First it was me as the altar server from an early age of three, then encouraged to get more involved in church activities like the Youth group, ushering and the all important faith based prayer group. During my teenage years, l had the privilege to accompany my parents to the Lambeth conference (A ten year event for Bishops of both the Anglican and Episcopal churches). The Anglican church of Ghana has a very conservative approach to theological dogma not allowing women to be ordained priests. With significant progress the church has evolved, with women participating in the offering of communion. After a period of studying in the States. I achieved degrees in accounting and an MBA in Global Management. l ended up living in Danbury, whilst working in the corporate world in Stamford. I have been a member of St. James' church for about twenty plus years. Unfortunately my work schedule full of travels has hindered me from being as active as wished. However, my recent retirement has allowed me to free up some time and the opportunity to participate more in the church and community activities..
Perry Downs – Class of 2026 - Perry Downs married Suzanne Carley in 2020 and moved to New Fairfield and joined St. James'. He lived in Illinois for forty five years and taught at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He retired as Dean of Doctoral Education. Perry was raised in Fairfield, so moving back to Connecticut feels like coming home. His undergraduate degree is in Bible and theology and his graduate degrees are in Religious Education from New York University. He has three adult daughters and he and his first wife Sandra were foster parents to thirty children. Sandra passed away in 2019 from a form of dementia. He and Suzanne share common history from their high school days at Black Rock Congregational Church, where he was ordained to Christian Ministry in 1968. He is eager to contribute to St. James' through service on the vestry.
Linda Spaziani – Class of 2026 I have been a lifelong member of St. James'. As my mother often said, St. James’ is my second home. I was the 1st girl acolyte, the 1st girl to carry the small cross that my grandfather was the 1st to ever carry. I was on the calling committee that called the Coburns to be rector in 1981. I was then Bookkeeper for 20+ years and was Treasurer for 10 years. I was involved with the youth group as a youth and then as a leader when my son was of that age, and initiated the relationship with St. James’ and the Appalachia Service Project with the Methodist Church. I have sung in the choir, been a chalice bearer, altar server, and a member of many committees as well as co-ordinate the Thanksgiving Dinner for 20+ years with help from many others. I am the Controller at Amphenol RF in Danbury. I am excited to be coming on vestry again and doing communications work, as I love to create digital content. I count among the many blessings in my life, our St. James' Family and the witness we proclaim in the world.