With Fr. Jim away on vacation, this edition of the Radiant Cross provides a good opportunity to help our members and friends know a little more about our rector. Here is an updated biography of Fr. Jim.
Fr. Jim and his wife Lee Elena recently celebrated their twentieth year together. They met in St. Louis, Missouri where Jim was born and raised, and near Lee Elena’s hometown of Monticello, Illinois. Lee Elena is a Registered Nurse working at St. David’s Hospital in the Emergency Department. She graduated from Texas Tech this month with her MSN and will soon begin working as a Nurse Practitioner. Their three children are Valerie, 17, Emily, 15, and Melanie, 12. Fr. Jim attended a Lutheran elementary school and credits his early education in a Christian environment as formative of his faith in God. It was there and then that he began to sense a vocation from God to Holy Orders.
Before attending college, Jim worked variously as a self-defense instructor (earning a black belt in Chinese Kenpo), as a carpenter building custom homes, then as a laborer and/or department supervisor at a variety of manufacturing companies. Responding to a re-emerging sense of call, Fr. Jim returned to church life in his mid-twenties. Having drifted away from the Church of his childhood, the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, he simply looked up ‘”Church” in the white pages of the phone book. There he found a local Church of Christ listed and began attending worship services. It was at this congregation that he was blessed to meet Lee Elena Mathis, his wife-to-be. The two were married in 1988, and headed off to Abilene, Texas were Jim attended Abilene Christian University. Jim earned Bachelor of Arts degree in Biblical Studies.