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, who is now 12. 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.
Introducing our Interim Music Director and Organist Jim Douglas
James Douglas (Jim) enjoys an active career as a church musician, professional singer, keyboardist, conductor, composer, teacher and arranger. Prior to coming to St. Matthew’s, Jim was Director of Music and Organist at St. James’ Church, Long Branch, NJ.
A New Jersey native, Jim received his initial musical training at Saint Thomas Choir School in New York City, where he became head treble chorister in the Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys. He performed with the likes of Carly Simon and Jessye Norman and can be heard as a treble soloist on the choir’s recording "Christ The Fair Glory". He attended Saint James School, Hagerstown, MD, an Episcopal boarding school founded during the Oxford Movement, where he studied piano, organ, voice, trumpet, and often played for chapel services and conducted the school's Chapel Choir. He attended Westminster Choir College, Princeton, NJ, where he studied sacred music, piano, organ, voice and conducting, and was a tenor/baritone and soloist in the Westminster Symphonic Choir and Westminster Choir.
He has sung under the world's leading orchestral and choral conductors and has performed and recorded with such ensembles as the Saint Thomas Choir, Trinity Church Wall Street Choir, Vox Vocal Ensemble, Westminster Choir and Kinnara Ensemble. He has also performed in American premieres of choral compositions by Sir John Tavener and Tarik O'Regan.
Involved in the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey, Jim has served on the Bishop's Advisory Commission on Music and was organist for two recent diocesan conventions. He is also a member of the Royal School of Church Music in America (RSCM America) and the Association of Anglican Musicians (AAM). Since 2010, he has served on the music faculty of the RSCM America’s King’s College Summer Training Course in Wilkes-Barre, PA, working alongside leading American and British church musicians, including Barry Rose, Richard Tanner, David Briggs, Walden Moore and Scott Hanoian.
Jim and his wife Abbie reside in Robbinsville, 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.
Pattie Lee Curtiss, Parish Administrator, has been a member of St. Matthew’s for 27 years. She is a native of Titusville, and a proud “Class of ‘73” graduate of Hopewell Valley Central High School. She was previously employed as a clerk stenographer for the New Jersey State Police, secretary for Bearings Incorporated and finally as a Purchasing Agent before deciding to take a few years off to attend to her growing family. She lives in a refurbished 1750’s farmhouse with her husband in Ringoes, NJ, along with her five cats and dog. Pattie has two grown sons, a daughter and one granddaughter. She is a huge Yankees baseball fan and also enjoys spending afternoons at Trenton Thunder games. When her teams aren’t in town, she also enjoys the thrill of NASCAR racing! When Pattie is not working on the church newsletter and all of the other “happenings” around the parish, she enjoys exercising, weightlifting, and gardening. Her greatest passion is spending quality time with her Dad and family.
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