Our Rector, Staff & Vestry
Meet Rev. Barbara, our Staff and Vestry
The Rev. Barbara King Briggs, Rector
Barbara is passionate about creating an open, non-judgmental space for an encounter with the living God manifested in Jesus Christ and experienced in community. She loves to sing and be silent; laugh with the joyful and shed tears with those who are hurting. For her, the most amazing thing in the whole world is to witness the transformation of individuals and entire communities when God’s Spirit comes to reign—to see the shift from fear to trust, from anger to joy, from pessimism to enthusiasm and to know how truly, deeply we are loved by Jesus Christ.
After having spent twelve years living in an international Christian community in France and working with the community of Taizé, (eleven of those as a nun), she yearned to collaborate with Episcopal parishes in leading them to discover a meaningful, vibrant, and joy-filled walk with Jesus Christ as a way of life together. She moved back to the United States in 2000, met Paul, fell in love, married him, and had a son, Caleb. She also received three amazing step children, Meghan, Josh and Matt and now their three wonderful spouses, Marty, Carol and Victoria!
Barbara enjoys sailing, swimming, snorkeling, skiing, walking, hiking, biking, singing, photography, contemplative prayer, Bible study, and pilgrimage.
She and her family moved to Pennington on September 1, 2015, and Barbara was installed as St. Matthew's Rector on January 30th, 2016.
Jim Douglas, Director of Music Ministry
A New Jersey native, Jim Douglas enjoys an active career as a church musician, professional singer, keyboardist, conductor and composer/arranger. He was recently appointed Director of Music Ministry at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, Pennington, NJ, where he serves as parish organist, director of three choirs and will continue to oversee the development of a graded chorister program for children and youth, an expansion of regular liturgical offerings and a sacred music internship.
Prior to his appointment at St. Matthew’s, Jim was Director of Music and Organist at St. James’ Church, Long Branch, NJ, where he served as parish organist, choirmaster and cantor. There he established a high school choral scholar program, reestablished a children’s choir and coordinated a highly-regarded recital and concert series.
Jim received his initial musical training at Saint Thomas Choir School in New York City and he became head treble chorister in the Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys under Gerre Hancock, singing five weekly services and more than 400 choral pieces each season. He performed with the likes of Carly Simon and Jessye Norman, and can be heard as a treble soloist on the recording “Christ the Fair Glory.” He studied multiple instruments and played and conducted for weekly chapel services while in high school at Saint James School, Hagerstown, MD, studying voice with Corey Rotz and keyboard with Susan Gable and Barbara Wischmeier. He studied sacred music, organ, piano, voice and conducting at Westminster Choir College, Princeton, NJ, and was a soloist in several of the school’s renowned ensembles. Conducting, vocal and keyboard studies were with James Jordan, Thomas Faracco and Eric Plutz.
Jim has performed under such renowned conductors as Robert Spano, Neeme Järvi, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Lorin Maazel, Harry Bicket, Joseph Flummerfelt, Joe Miller, Andrew Megill and John Scott, among others, and has performed, recorded and toured with numerous ensembles, including the Saint Thomas Choir, Trinity Wall Street Choir, Vox Vocal Ensemble, Kinnara Ensemble and the Westminster Choir, among others. He has also performed in American premieres of choral works by John Tavener and Tarik O’Regan.
He has served on the Bishop’s Advisory Commission on Music for the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey and is an active member of the Association of Anglican Musicians (AAM) and the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) in America. He has served on the music facutly of the RSCM America King’s College Course since 2010 and will serve as Director of the 2018 Diocese of New Jersey Summer Choir Camp in Cape May, NJ
Lori Cooper, Director of Children’s and Family Ministry, has been a member of St. Matthew’s since 1997 when she and her family relocated to the area. She has been involved with children’s ministry, literally, since her second Sunday of attendance - fulfilling the roles of teacher, family service coordinator, then as volunteer coordinator for the program prior to being employed as our Director in 2007. She is a certified Godly Play Instructor. Lori was born and raised in Santa Monica, CA and graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a B.S. in Zoology. She worked in the field of Human Resources before “retiring” to start a family. She has held many volunteer positions in our Hopewell Schools, coordinated a natural foods co-op, worked for the Hopewell Borough Library and is a NASM certified personal trainer. Lori and her family reside in Titusville.
Pam Worthington, Parish Administrator, began in July 2017 at St. Matthew's.
The vestry is the legal representative of the parish with regard to all matters pertaining to its corporate property. The number of vestry members and the term of office varies from parish to parish. Vestry members are usually elected at the annual parish meeting. The presiding officer of the vestry is the rector. There are usually two wardens. The senior warden leads the parish between rectors and is a support person for the rector. The junior warden often has responsibility for church property and buildings. A treasurer and a secretary or clerk may be chosen. These officers may or may not be vestry members.
The basic responsibilities of the vestry are to help define and articulate the mission of the congregation; to support the church's mission by word and deed, to select the rector, to ensure effective organization and planning, and to manage resources and finances.
Colleen Bell: Senior Warden
William Compton: Junior Warden
Jim Benton: Parish Health Co-Chair
Tom DiMuzio: Christian Education
Gary Driscoll: Parish Health Co-Chair
Mitch Friedman: Communications
Matthew Hill: Music and Worship
Al Krokowski: Property
Mark Lederer: Mission/Clerk
Lynn Lorenz: Stewardship
Amanda Morrison: Parish Life Guild (PLG)
Joan Verplanck: Adult Education
Bruce Weise: Finance