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Ministry & Worship Team

Ashlee Ligon
Interim Director of Children’s Ministries

Ashlee Ligon joined the St. James’s staff in the fall of 2021 as Interim Director of Children’s Ministry. Ashlee started attending St. James’s in 2007 and was confirmed in 2008 after taking Pilgrim’s Path. Since then, she has been part of the Wine, Women & Wonder Bible study, active in young adults and youth ministries, sang in the West Gallery Choir, and taught Sunday school, among other activities. She is currently in her first year of EfM (Education for Ministry). She met her husband, Grey, through St. James’s, and they were married here in 2014. They have two sons, William and Henry, both of whom were baptized at St. James’s.

Ashlee graduated from Hollins University with a B.A. in International Studies. She has enjoyed careers as a litigation paralegal and working in a non-profit/educational setting, where she was a school office manager and capital campaign manager.

In her role, Ashlee is responsible for coordinating Sunday School, baptisms, and all other children’s ministry offerings. She is thrilled be on staff and support the children and families of St James’s.

Email Ashlee |  ext. 314

Katie Ricard
Interim Director of Youth Ministries

Katie has worked in secondary education for the past fourteen years, beginning as a high school history teacher and later moving into administration, first as a Dean of Students and then as an Assistant Principal.  Katie and her family moved from Boston to Richmond seven years ago and began attending St. James soon after. For the past six years, Katie has served as a leader for Junior Youth Fellowship and loves spending time with these youth, watching them grow.   Katie is married to Darryl Ricard and together they have three children: Luke, Grant , and Nora.  Luke was born in Boston, while Grant and Nora were both born in Richmond and baptized at St. James.  In her spare time, Katie loves running, reading, and taking Luke, Grant, and Nora to the playground.

Email Katie |  ext. 334

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.
Email Mark  |  ext. 323

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 am service and the Youth Choir, made up of young people grades 6 –12. 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, VA–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.
Email Virginia  |  ext. 324

Diahann Whittington
Executive Director – St. James’s Children’s Center

Diahann began as a teacher here at St. James’s and has never looked back. She believes in the importance of providing a high-quality Early Childhood Education program for children, regardless of their socioeconomic standing, race, religion, ethnicity, gender, or family dynamic.  Before coming to the children’s center she was a teacher in her local school district for 5 years, and holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland and an Early Childhood Teaching Certificate.

Diahann is committed to preparing young hearts and minds for life. She is honored to support the teachers and staff who actively provide our young learners with a high quality, supportive and nurturing environment filled with active learning opportunities.

Operations & Leadership Team

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 COVID-19.
Email Michael  |  ext. 317

Jay Sandusky
Director of Communications

Jay is a former journalist, one-time cartoonist, occasional cyclist, and a long-time copywriter and creative director at ad agencies in New York City. He moved to Richmond in 2012, and he and his family quickly joined St. James’s. Since then, he’s been a LEM, a member of the communications advisory team, a student in EfM, a contributor to our stewardship marketing efforts and the lay leader of SelfStarters. He joined the St. James’s staff as director of communications in January 2021. He is responsible for overseeing—with the aid and wisdom of a terrific staff—everything from the eChimes and the website to our social media presence and banners outside the church.

Email Jay | ext. 344

Ryan Corrigan
Director of Development

Email Ryan  |  ext. 335

Poconna Thiel
Financial Manager

Poconna is in charge of payables and receivables with the guidance of the Treasurer. She reports to the Vestry.
Email Poconna   |  ext. 311

Administrative Team

Weezie Beckley
Communications Coordinator

Weezie joined St. James’s staff in April 2019, after being a front desk volunteer for six months prior. She lived out of state for several years and welcomed the opportunity to come home to be a part of a vibrant church. As Communications Coordinator, Weezie works on St. James’s eChimes and parish-wide digital communication, social media platforms and various communication campaigns. She is always taking photos of church gatherings and around the church. You could say Weezie is the church paparazzo.

Professionally, Weezie might be called a-jack-of-all-trades, roll-up-her-sleeves, and dive-right-in gal. She holds a B.A. in art history/studio art, completed a two-year program in commercial photography after college; worked for a non-profit art organization; worked as a freelance project coordinator and stylist for photo shoots and catalogs; was a catalog coordinator for a major furniture company; has been a school portrait photographer and even an on-site inventory specialist for a national company. The most unusual jobs Weezie’s had are as a Senate proofreader during the Virginia General Assembly and project manager/inventory control for Exumas – a  privately owned Bahamas resort.
Email Weezie  |  ext. 312

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 The Reverend Dr. 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.
Email Mary  |  ext. 313

Lois Wallenhorst
Development Manager

Lois manages all day-to-day operations of the Development office at St. James’s. She has worked in a variety of non-profit settings, with focused expertise in database creation and maintenance, grants management and membership and major giving programs.  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 recently relocated to Richmond.  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.
Email Lois  |  ext. 365

Gina Young
Administrative Assistant

Gina serves as Administrative Assistant at St. James’s. She has been on staff for 21 years.
Email Gina  |  ext. 315

Facilities Team

Jan Pro Crew

Raymond McCoy
Facilities Team Leader

Sunil Dutt
Facilities Team Member

Cavalier Alston
Facilities Team Member

Andrew Horton
Facilities Team Member

Antonio Stevens
Facilities Team Member

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