Some of our Professional Staff

Becky Page

Director of Children's Ministries

Becky joined the St. James’s staff in 2012 after tens of volunteering as a Sunday School teacher. Becky graduated from the University of Virginia with a BA in History and the University of Richmond with a Masters in Business Administration. Becky participated in several Bible studies through her child’s school, church, and on-line. She enjoys reading and running. She has been married to Frank since 1997. They have a college aged daughter and a high school aged son.

Becky is responsible for most things related to children from birth to 5th grade. She helps to coordinate baptisms, nursery care, Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, and the Christmas Pageant.

Mary Beth Abplanalp

Director of Youth Ministry

Mary Beth joined the staff at St. James’s in 2014. Mary Beth has always had a special place in her heart for young people and helping them find their identity in the Body of Christ. She started out teaching first and third grades before realizing her true calling to youth ministry. In 2011 she became the Children & Youth Minister at Christ Church Episcopal in Alexandria. Mary Beth graduated from the University of Mary Washington with a B.S. in psychology and an M.S. in elementary special education. She served for over a decade at Shrine Mont Camps of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, working as a counselor and camping director at St. George’s Camp and as the director the St. Elizabeth’s Camp for youth and young adults with disabilities. She has served on the Shrine Mont Board of Directors and is a consultant for Ministry Architects. In her free time, Mary Beth loves to make homemade pizza, go on road trips, and play in the yard. Her husband Chris is a registered nurse in the surgical ICU at a local hospital and an integral partner in youth ministry. They have two sons, Andrew and Benjamin, and a dog, Bella.

Nancy Warman

Director of Servant Ministry

Nancy joined the staff as Director of Servant Ministry and Social Worker in 2006. Her passion is servant ministry, calling forth faith-based people and congregations to understand ministry in the context of serving as the hands and feet of Christ, and helping to build community service systems and congregational partnerships that serve those in need. She is a graduate of the Presbyterian School of Christian Education (Union Presbyterian Seminary) where she received her M.A. in Christian education. She earned her undergraduate degree in social work from Virginia Commonwealth University and served as Director of Christian Education and then Pastoral Associate for 27 years at Grace and Holy Trinity Episcopal Church before coming to St. James’s. Nancy has been a leader in the formation of the Richmond regional homeless services system, helping especially to connect faith-based communities and non-profit agencies. She helped found Area Congregations Together in Service (ACTS) in Richmond in 2006 and received their highest volunteer recognition in 2016. Nancy is a graduate of Leadership Metro Richmond and is the recipient of the Pagnoni Award and the YWCA Outstanding Woman award in the area of religion. Nancy loves to read books on theology and, for fun, mysteries and detective stories. She enjoys cooking and her greatest joy is spending time with the children in her family.

Blake Singer

Lay Assistant and Chaplain for Community Life, Discipleship, and Service

Blake Singer joined St. James’s in the fall of 2020. Blake grew up just outside of Chattanooga, TN. He graduated from Furman University and went on to earn a Master of Divinity from Duke Divinity School with a certificate in Anglican Studies. Prior to joining the staff of St. James’s, Blake served as the Youth Minister at St. Stephen’s in Richmond, and he is in the ordination process in the Diocese of Virginia. Blake’s primary areas of responsibility include the community life and outreach of the parish. Blake is married to Kilpy Singer, who also received her Master of Divinity from Duke Divinity and is in the ordination process. Blake and Kilpy have one crazy dog named Milo.

Dr. Mark Whitmire

Director of Music

Dr. Whitmire has been Director of Music at St. James’s Church since 1995. In addition to training the choristers of the Cherub Choir and Children’s Choir, he directs the Parish Choir which is made up of 25 parishioners and 10 professional singers. The Choir has sung in England, France and Italy, including Gloucester Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Canterbury Cathedral, Worcester Cathedral, St. Peter’s Basilica (Rome), St. Mark’s Basilica (Venice), and Notre Dame Cathedral (Paris). Dr. Whitmire attended Abilene Christian University (BMed), the University of Texas (MM), and the University of Maryland (DMA), where he was a student of James McDonald and George Shirley. He has received numerous grants and awards, including a scholarship for post-graduate studies at the Britten-Pears School in England (where he studied with Sir Peter Pears), and a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for research and writing on the music of Benjamin Britten. Dr. Whitmire served as Adjunct Professor of Music and Liturgy at Virginia Theological Seminary for 28 years, until his retirement in 2017.

Virginia Ewing Whitmire

Organist and Choirmaster

Virginia recently celebrated her 25th year as Organist and Choirmaster at St. James’s Church. In addition to playing for weekly services, she directs the West Gallery Choir that sings at the 9:00 am service and the Youth Choir, made up of young people grades 6 through12. She oversees the church’s 61-stop C. B. Fisk pipe organ and the Organ Recital Series. She has previously served churches in Texas, Maryland, and most recently was organist at Immanuel Church-on-the-Hill, Alexandria, Virginia –the parish church of Virginia Theological Seminary. She studied organ with Dr. Bess Hieronymus at the University of Texas at San Antonio and Donald Sutherland, Professor of Organ at Peabody Conservatory, and  piano with Dr. Ronald Rathbun at Abilene Christian University and Dr. Michael Guiltinan at UTSA.

Michael Smith

Director of Operations

Michael joined the church staff in 2019 after several years in the pews and in volunteer roles at St. James’s, including vestry and ministry service.

Professional experience includes many years of executive leadership in mid-size and large businesses as CEO, COO, and CFO and professional practices in Executive Leadership Coaching and Mergers & Acquisitions.  Michael holds a Masters of Business Administration degree from Emory University and a Bachelor of Science degree from Northwestern University with a double major in Economics and Economic Geography.

Life experience includes so much more – marriage to Gloria, a wonderful soulmate who is a stellar creator of peace and comfort; 4 great “children” and 6 great “grandkids”; a place to escape to during COVID (and any other time we can manage it); the joy of being in God’s creation in many different environments; gardening; kayaking; learning; growing. Gratitude!

Michael has overall responsibility, on behalf of the vestry and Rector, for the “business” operations of the church, comprising most functions not associated with Worship, Pastoral Care, Music or Programs, except for facilities and technology infrastructure support for those ministries. During 2020, a primary focus has been the Health Safety of our people during the season of COVID-19.

Suzanne Hall

Director of Stewardship and Development

Suzanne began at St. James as Director of Stewardship and Development in July 2015, and oversees annual giving, planned giving, major gifts, and memorials. Before joining our staff, Suzanne spent 30 years directing communications and marketing at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. She has been an active parishioner for 45 years, having served on the vestry, strategic planning committees, the missions committee, Mardi Gras for Missions, WomanKind, as a lay eucharistic minister, and on the Video Squad, among numerous other ministries. Suzanne completed the four-year Education for Ministry program in 2009, and has been a missioner to domestic and international mission trips for more than 25 years. Suzanne has always been active in the arts, community, historic preservation, and social justice. She currently serves on the boards of the Woman’s Club of Richmond, Bus Rapid Transit RVA, Historic Monument Avenue and Fan District Foundation, and the 1708 Gallery Emeritus Council. She is a graduate of Leadership Metro Richmond, past national board member of the American Alliance for Museums, and active with the Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parishes, and the Virginia Society of Fundraising Executives. Suzanne earned her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from VCU and has an M.S. in marketing and communications. She and her husband Joe Willis have four children and five grandchildren.

Lois Wallenhorst

Database & Administrative Assistant - Stewardship Program

Lois works with the Stewardship and Giving program at St. James’s. Her responsibilities include database support and information management for the program, as well as production of all electronic and print media for mailings and messages. She has worked in a number of non-profit settings with focused expertise in database management and general organizational operations, with some creative and design experience added in for good measure. She is very gratified to support the worship, outreach and fellowship that St. James’s doers bring to our world.

A native of Minneapolis and graduate of the University of Minnesota, she and her husband Syd are relatively new to Richmond after 30 years in Charlottesville.  They have two grown daughters and love all things involving family time and being outdoors, particularly gardening, hiking and running in and around Richmond and Virginia.

Gene Roland

Facilities Manager

A native of Newport News, Gene has worked as a facilities and property manager in Richmond since 1994. Gene joined St. James’s in October 2018.

Poconna Thiel

Financial Secretary

Poconna is in charge of payables and receivables with the guidance of the Finance Chair. She reports to the Vestry.

Mary Brown

Executive Assistant to the Clergy

Mary Brown joined the St. James’s staff in the fall of 2020 as the Executive Assistant to the Clergy. In her position, Mary directly supports John McCard, works closely with our lay ministry, and assists in the planning and coordination of worship services and other priestly duties.

Mary recently moved to the Richmond area from St. Louis, Missouri, and has an extensive background in the not-for-profit sector, including in the areas of fundraising, engagement, and administrative coordination, among others. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from Colorado College, and a J.D. from the Indiana University Mauer School of Law. The real loves of Mary’s life, however, are her wonderful husband and young son, as well as her two wild, but adorable young pups.

Donna Horizon

Administrative Manager

Kilpy Singer

Church Virtual School Coordinator

Kilpy came on board to run St. James’s Church Virtual School in Fall 2020. She attended Furman University for her undergraduate degree and received a Master of Divinity from Duke Divinity School in 2019. Kilpy grew up in Richmond and moved back in early 2020 with her husband, Blake. In her free time she enjoys biking, hiking, and spending time with her dog.