2021 Nominations

The Annual Meeting on January 31 elected the following members of the vestry.

Listen in to the rector’s conversation with our new vestry members (recorded the week before the electing meeting)”

Fran Caradonna

Elected for a first term

I come from a long line of Episcopalians on both sides, and the church has always been a central part of my immediate and extended family’s life.  We sing the doxology before large family meals, and I’m related to a number of active and retired priests and vestry folk.  

When I moved to St. Louis in the early 80s, my new “raised Catholic” husband and I were regulars at the 8:00 a.m. service at St. Michael and St. George.  When our children were little, we attended Emmanuel in Webster and became active at Transfiguration when we moved to O’Fallon.  I grew up knowing that if (when?) the going got tough, my church family would be there for me.

And it was.  When my world fell apart, I could always find my place in the sanctuary, hear the comfortable words and be surrounded by people who knew me and could love me back to some kind of new normal.

But over time my connection to the church began to unravel.  I had a meaningful spiritual awakening in entirely different context and found myself drifting away from my Episcopal roots.  My children grew up, my 30-year marriage ended, and my career languished.  In 2016 I pulled up stakes in O’Fallon, moved to University City and started over.  

Still…I felt the need to find a church home.  Even with ties that were tenuous, the connection seemed important.  So I visited the Episcopal church closest to my house and, before we celebrated the Eucharist, I knew that I’d found a new place at Holy Communion.  

What I find so attractive at HoCo is that together we walk the talk, we do the work, and we show up…not just on Sunday morning, either! We make a difference — to each other, but also to our neighbors and the community at large.  

I am so grateful for this renewed appreciation of our church traditions, and I’m happy for the new relationships and opportunities to serve that I’ve found here.  I look forward to our shared journey and trust that God is with us every step of the way. 

Courtney Dula

Elected for a first term

In 1984 Courtney Dula-Pearson was baptized in Oakland, California at St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church. Her family moved to St. Louis in 1989 and began attending All Saints Episcopal church with other family members. After spending nine years out of state for school, she began regularly attending services at Holy Communion in 2010. At Holy Communion, Courtney has acted as lay co-organizer of the Holy Communion Parents And Caregivers of Kids (HoCo PACK), joined the Grant Committee and in 2020 was a lay delegate for the parish at the 181st Convention of The Episcopal Diocese of Missouri.

Outside Church, Courtney works as a research coordinator in the Department of Neurology at Washington University School of Medicine. When not working or learning a new hobby, she enjoys spending time with her husband (Adam), daughter (Vivi) and son (Phin). She is delighted to have been nominated to Vestry.

Rudy Nickens

Elected for a second term

I wasn’t looking for a church home when I first visited Holy Communion in 1998. I was happy to be an occasional visitor. But it did not take many visits to recognize that this is the parish for me.

I was raised in a family that was faithfully Christian, and unchurched.  Seeking something more, I  started attending church as a young adult and was confirmed at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, where I served in a variety of roles there, including cook, vestry, Junior Warden, and representative on the diocesan task force on AIDS.  Since joining Holy Communion, I have also served on a variety of committees including the Diocesan Search Committee for Bishop.

My vocation is in the field of diversity and inclusion.  Currently I serve as Chief Diversity Officer for the Missouri Department of Transportation and as Executive Coach and head of Equity for the California based consulting firm, Evolution. I am fortunate to work locally, nationally and internationally on a variety of programs especially in the areas of racism and sexism.  In my volunteer roles, I serve as chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Deaconess Foundation, board member of David Dorfman Dance and I lead the equity committee of the Missouri Historical Society’s tribute to the LGBTQ+ community, Gateway to Pride.

It has been my privilege to serve as a member of the vestry and I am honored to serve a second term.

A Reflection from SSJE

I recently had an opportunity to visit the brothers at the Society of St. John the Evangelist (SSJE), the authors of the Growing  a Rule of Life video series that our Adult Series explored last Lent.  Over the years many have recommended to me monastic retreats, but typically with Catholic Orders. But after learning of SSJE, I was intrigued to experience the discipline of the Episcopal tradition, especially the daily offices, as practiced within their walls and according to their rule of life.

Needless to say, it was a remarkable experience.  To witness the focus, the passion, and the collective will to bring alive every word of worship, despite the constant repetition was inspirational, and, admittedly, quite daunting!  However, as the brothers might say, it is an experience that is not meant to be instantly transformative but part of a lifetime of dedicated and devotional transfiguration.

If I might share one reflection….

At the monastery I started a book by the late Brother Thomas Shaw, who had served 20 years as the Bishop of Massachusetts, entitled Conversation with Scriptures and Each Other.  Admittedly, I was captivated by the coincidence of reading the following quote immediately after seeing several emails about an issue with our sewer at Holy Communion:

As much as you care about your congregation, you also remind me that forming and nurturing a congregation are often hard and depleting work, tending to the inevitable conflict of parish life can seem far removed from the unfolding of the kingdom of God and the spiritual renewal we desire and cherish.  I remember one meeting with a vestry after a long summer of dealing with an expensive and complicated sewer project, when the rector remarked, “There has to be more to life together in leadership than this.”  Sometimes when we are caught up in a project like this, we lose sight of why we are doing any of it in the first place.

What I admire about his approach to the subject of church leadership and its challenges is his focus on the timeless connection between the disparate communities to whom Paul’s letters and the Gospels were addressed and the gathered communities of today.  It is a conversation that reminds us we are not alone, most especially when it seems that the business of worship is impacting our desire to worship, when sewer lines form crosses of a different, more disturbing kind.  It is a conversation that draws us into community with those who were closest historically to Jesus and defines how we listen and respond to God’s purpose for us.  And it is a conversation in which, I believe, our community is uniquely prepared to engage ever more deeply.

Annual Meeting 2016

Download the : 2016 Annual Meeting Report

Sunday, January 31st is our annual meeting. We will have a single worship service at 9:30am and will transition directly into the meeting at 10:30am. Our annual meeting is traditionally a potluck brunch. Email us to let us know what you’re able to bring. A program will also be available for children and youth during the meeting.

The Annual Meeting is an important moment in the life of an Episcopal Church. As a denomination, we are governed by our members. At the Annual Meeting we make important decisions together. We elect our representatives to the wider church governance body: the diocesan convention. We elect members of our vestry, the board which governs the parish throughout the year. You can see the list of nominees for these positions here. We make decisions about our parish bylaws, and our vestry has proposed some minor changes to our bylaws this year which will come before the meeting for a vote. During the annual meeting, the parish receives reports from ministries, the vestry, the treasurer, and a “State of the Church” report from the rector.

This year, we will be engaging in a discussion of our Mission and Vision. We are asking members to fill out our Mission and Vision Questionnaire ahead of the meeting.