Meet the Shepherds of St. John’s Cathedral
The Shepherds provide a caring presence through e-mail, postal mail, phone calls, and visits and coordinate the services of the Cathedral’s pastoral care ministries to the congregation. During the next months we will present profiles and photos of them.
Beth joined St. John’s Cathedral almost five years ago. She considers Jacksonville her home after living here for ten years.
Beth was born in the Marietta, GA and quickly moved to Northwest Alabama. She spent the first 15 years of her life in Florence and attended Trinity Episcopal Church. She attended Sunday school, youth group outings, mission trips, and was an acolyte. She then moved to Montgomery, AL for high school and attended Church of the Ascension where she further defined her faith by actively participating in the youth group and regularly serving as an acolyte.
Following high school, Beth attended Samford University. After college, she moved to Savannah, GA for a year of residency and then moved to Jacksonville. Being a Cradle Episcopalian, Beth has grown up with the traditions of the Episcopal church, especially enjoying the Advent and Easter seasons.
Beth found St. John’s upon searching for a strong Episcopal church with a friendly congregation, a strong music program, and a meaningful message. One of her co-workers attended the Cathedral and encouraged her to attend a few of the services. The late Christmas Eve service is her favorite to celebrate at the Cathedral each year. At St. John’s Cathedral, Beth has been actively involved in the 8 a.m. service by being a lector and acolyte, as well as the Shepherd Ministry.
Beth works as a Clinical Pharmacist at Baptist Jacksonville and a Clinical Associate Professor for the University of Florida. She is a member of the South Jacksonville Rotary Club, a local Pharmaceutical Fraternity, and serves as the chapter president of her local Daughters of the American Revolution chapter. In her spare time, Beth enjoys traveling, learning languages, reading, photography, crafting, volunteering, and working out.
The Shepherd ministry continues to be a very important part of Beth’s journey at St. John’s. She enjoys working with the other Shepherds and the various services that the Cathedral offers its parishioners. She was asked a few years ago and started under Carl Saxton’s leadership. Beth has continued to be available to her “flock” of sheep in order to help connect them with whatever needs or services that are desired at a particular time.
The Shepherd Ministry is proud to have Beth as part of its goal to help others.
Judy G. Martin
Judy and Tom have been attending St. John’s Cathedral since December 2004, transferring from St. James, Goshen, NY and Grace Church, Middletown, NY. Before moving from New York, they made a list of 15 Episcopal churches in Jacksonville, then crossed them off one by one for various reasons. Further research narrowed the list to one, and after a visit during the summer of 2004, St. John’s had won them over.
Judy was born in Nebraska, is an almost lifelong-New Yorker, but made some short stops along the way, living in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Manhattan.
At St. John’s, Judy has been an Usher, a Chalice Minister Substitute, Treasurer for the Daughters of the King, a member of Alpha, and a former Acolyte. In 2008, with Rolland, David, and Tom, she organized the Maundy Thursday All-Night Vigil, was in charge of Coffee Hour Angels for four years, is a Hearing Loss Advocate, and more.
In New York, Judy was a member of the Lions Club, Grange, Ambulance Corps, a 4-H Leader, Editor and Founder of a community newspaper, a 20-year volunteer at Grace Church Soup Kitchen, Parish Secretary for two Episcopal Churches–Grace, Nyack, NY and Grace, Middletown, NY, and Copy Editor for the Times-Herald Record, Middletown, NY.
In Florida, she is the founder of the Hearing Loss Association of Jacksonville, member of the State Hearing Loss Association, the State Council for the Deaf and and Hard of Hearing, Founder and Editor of Hear Ye, Hear Ye, the State Newsletter, a member of the Advisory Board for the State DCF, and, in case you’ve forgotten, a Hearing Loss Advocate.
Actually, Judy volunteered and didn’t wait to be asked to join the Shepherd ministry. She’s always been busy as a volunteer, and really enjoys helping others. It certainly benefits her as much as those she helps. As time goes by, it becomes more difficult to physically aid others, so she thought being a Shepherd was something useful she could manage.
Judy met the love of her life, Tom Martin, at Grace Church, Nyack — he, a devout Cradle Episcopalian and she, a casual Lutheran. Opposites attract, as they say, and they were married in 1978. She brought with her a son from her previous marriage, and the three were joined a year later by a daughter/sister and still later, three grandchildren. Judy and her son were confirmed in the Episcopal Church in 1981.
Judy mentioned twice that she is a hearing loss advocate. She notes that 20 percent of Americans have some degree of hearing loss — 176,000 in Jacksonville/Duval alone! She welcomes non-medical questions about this invisible disability and if she doesn’t have the answers, she knows where to find them. Her fondest wish is to have a good set of working hearing assistive devices at St. John’s for anyone and everyone who has a need. She knows the clergy want everyone to hear their sermons.
Donna Meyers-Perry joined St. John’s Cathedral in 1989. She considers it her home.
Donna was born in the small town of Anniston, Alabama. Her family built the first Episcopal Church there, St. Michael and All Angels in 1888. She describes it as a beautiful stone, gothic church that houses the only remaining set of lithographs of the history of the Anglican Church. Her father would herd sheep on the lawn as a child. A Cradle Episcopalian, she moved with her family to Atlanta, GA when she was five. Donna spent her formative years under the Rev. Austin Ford, at St. Bartholomew’s, Emory University area. It was, and still is, a very progressive environment and she attributes her love of people, the church and outreach to this liberal parish. She became a member of the Daughters of the King there when she was twelve! Those of us who work with Donna can vouch for her single-minded devotion to reaching out to all. How she does so much in each 24 hours, is known only to her.
At St. John’s Cathedral, Donna has been actively involved in Prison Ministry since 1982; has taught Sunday School for 13 years; is a Docent, Lay Eucharistic Visitor, Bookstore Volunteer, Member and Secretary of the Daughters of the King, Cursillo, Family Promise, Heart to Heart, Food Ministry, Discovery, EFM, Immigrant Ministry and the Arts Council. And last, but not least, she is supporting Parish Life as the Interim Director. It is a multi-faceted position that works between the ministries of the Cathedral, our members, clergy and staff. Donna says it is wonderful and we say, she is a nearly perfect person for this spot!
Donna says the Shepherd’s ministry is core to building relationships within the Cathedral. It is about people helping people. What could be more Christ-like? It is within these relationships that she finds our Lord, and herself.
At home, Donna has a busy household with four generations under one roof, ranging in ages from 9 to 93! She’s been part of very diverse life experiences and looks forward to knowing and loving her sheep. We know they will love her back.
Erin has been attending St. John’s Cathedral for ten years and always been an Episcopalian.
Erin was born in Texas, but raised in Rhode Island. Her father was retired Navy and working Civil Service at NARF at Quonset Point, RI when that base was closed in 1973. The family moved to Jacksonville where he worked at NARF at NAS Jacksonville on the Westside. At that time she attended the Church of the Epiphany, but when they moved to Arlington she started attending St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church. Following that she briefly attended St. George Episcopal Church, then found herself a new home at St. John’s Cathedral. The music is what drew her to the Cathedral. She has auditioned and has been waiting years for an opening to sing in the choir.
At the Cathedral, Erin has been a Lector, a member of the Celebration Singers, and the Shepherd's Ministry. She joined the Celebration Singers as an opportunity to get back into music until such time that, hopefully, an opening in the soprano section might come about so that she can join the choir. They rehearse weekly and sing a few times per year, usually at the 9 a.m. service.
Erin works as a Neonatal Intensive Care nurse at UF Health Jacksonville, known to some as Shands. She is a member of the Planning Committee for the First Coast Neonatal Symposium which is an annual continuing education event. Experts in the field of neonatology are invited to lecture on the latest advances and research in neonatal care to enable health care professionals to be always up to date in their practice.
Erin was encouraged by Fr. Carl Saxton to join the Shepherds when he was still at the Cathedral. He appealed to her sense of caring for others, a common trait which nurses often share.
She is a Cursillista having attended Cursillo in the late-1990's. She doesn’t recall the actual year, but it was after her divorce. Erin LOVES music. As well as singing, she enjoys playing guitar, piano, harp, and recorder.She has sung in church choirs since she was thirteen as well as the Concert Chorale in High School. All of her training was in school and choir. She still loves to learn and often attends the Sewanee Church Music Conference at The University of the South, Sewanee, TN in order to continually improve her skills.
She is the proud grandmother (Grammie) to two wonderful children. Erin’s son has a ten-year-old daughter, Alexia and her daughter has a son, Liam, three years old. They are the joy of her life.
We know Erin will be a great addition to our Shepherd Ministry with her kind-hearted and compassionate ways.
Joyce has been a member of St. John’s Cathedral for six years. She was born and raised in Lansing, Michigan and moved down to Jacksonville eight years ago. In Lansing, Joyce was a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church.
At St. John’s, Joyce serves as an Usher and Greeter at the 11 a.m. Service. She also assists in the Cathedral Book Store when needed. But wait, there’s more. On the first Monday of the month, you’ll find her helping to prepare dinner at the Sulzbacher Center for hundreds of hungry people.
Joyce is a member of the Order of the Daughters of the King and like others, has pledged herself to a life-long program of prayer, service and evangelism. The Daughters are an integral part of the Family Promise program, purchase gifts for St. Mary’s Christmas Store, and are involved in other outreach activities. Joyce also joined with others this last year to participate in the eleven-week Alpha course, during which members have a chance to explore the Christian faith through lively discussion.
Helping others is important to Joyce and is a major reason for becoming a Shepherd. She was a cashier for many years and we all know how many different kinds of personalities are involved in that job. Such a talent will serve her well.
Welcome, Joyce, to the Shepherds, where your loving skills will be put to good use.
Chuck has been a member at St. John's Cathedral since the fall of 2010 and is originally from Nashville, Tennessee where he grew up at St. David's Episcopal Church. He is a Cradle Episcopalian from a long line several generations back! Chuck lived in Cookeville, TN where he graduated from Tennessee Tech University in 1986. He has also called Baton Rouge, Key West, Atlanta, and San Francisco home!
Since joining St. John’s, Chuck has mostly volunteered as an Acolyte and Eucharistic Minister. He has done sleepovers with the Family Promise program and attended Cursillo at Camp Weed. He is currently Co-Facilitating "Church on the Mat" yoga with Megan Cochran for Summer 2017.
Outside of St. John’s, Chuck is married to Paul Hines. They recently had a small private ceremony with close friends in June and will have a larger Celebration of Marriage in November with tons of friends and family! They have two dogs and live in Jax Beach. Professionally, Chuck is a Kitchen and Bath Designer and manages R Cabinet Studio in Jacksonville Beach. They have ten employees and do fantastic kitchens, baths, and interior design! He is also the VP of Professional Development for the North Florida Kitchen and Bath Association. In this volunteer role, he prepares other designers for taking a national test to get their certifications. He finds it an amazing thing to train his peers and potential competitors!
Chuck is also a licensed Realtor with First Coast Sotheby's International Realty! Aside from that, you can usually find him practicing yoga – a lot ! He loves to cook and is quite a foodie, so a good restaurant is always a treat!
Chuck became a Shepherd because he was asked! He has a belief that if he is asked to do something important that he should be a "yes" and step into that role, no matter how challenging. He has remained a Shepherd because he sees value in creating a community and even though the group has not yet been widely-accessed by the parish, it is good to know that they are here and available.
Is there anything else he’d like to share? Hmmm, Chuck could write a book! Most importantly, he feels that everyone has an important story to tell. His is a story rooted in recovery! He is seven years sober. He gives God thanks every day for another day of sobriety and freedom from drugs and alcohol. He grew up in an alcoholic family, so his personal journey has been very rewarding. Chuck tends to look at life with a positive attitude and an energetic enthusiasm. He works too much and is happily grateful when a friend pulls him away from his work to play and enjoy life – otherwise, he would probably just keep “doing"!
Welcome, Chuck, to the Shepherds, where you will surely be busy tending to many Cathedral sheep.
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