With Fr. Jim away for 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 are recently celebrating their twenty-second 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 Nurse Practitioner working at a clinic in Elgin. Their three children are Valerie, soon to be 20, Emily, 18, and Melanie, 15. Fr. Jim attended a Lutheran elementary school and credits his early education in this Christian environment as formative of his faith in God. It was there 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 from the Lutheran Church of his childhood, he looked up “Church” in the white pages of the phone book. There he found a local Church of Christ congregation listed and began attending worship services. It was at this congregation that he was blessed to meet Lee Elena Mathis, his wife-to-be.