Staff and Vestry


Rector (Retired)

The Rev. Susan E. Bentley

The Rev. Susan E. Bentley retired on June 11, 2023, as Rector after 23 years of service with the Saints of James, and 33 years of ordained ministry. 
The Rev. Susan E. Bentley began serving as the 8th Rector of St. James in November 2000, and has served as the Pastor for the Roanoke South Sudanese refugee community for 13 years.  She is a native of Chicago, Illinois, graduated from Hollins College, Roanoke, Virginia, and prior to ordination served as Director of Christian Education in three parishes in North Carolina & Virginia.  Sponsored by the Diocese of Southwestern Virginia for ordination, she graduated from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, Evanston, Illinois, and was ordained in 1990.  She was the Associate Rector at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Evanston, Ill for 5 years and upon returning to the Diocese of Southwestern Virginia, served as long term interim priest in three separate parishes before being called to St. James.  As Rector of a pastoral size parish,  Susan is engaged in nearly all aspects of life at St. James from leading worship, preaching, pastoral care, spiritual direction, teaching, leadership development, Christian formation, to administration, responding to financial emergencies needs in the neighborhood, refugee ministries locally and globally, and ecumenical partnerships within NW Roanoke, as she seeks to support the mission of St. James, “to seek and serve Christ in all persons.”  She is passionate about the Episcopal liturgy, the care of souls, the process of formation for all ages, and cultivating spiritually and emotionally healthy parishioners and institutional systems.  She has been a mentor for the Education for Ministry program, is a trained Catechist for the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, has served on numerous committees and commissions of the Diocese of Southwestern Va, and is a three time Deputy to the Episcopal Church’s General Convention.  Susan is married to Dr. Michael L. Bentley, retired professor of science & environmental education; they have three young adult children and a rescued Golden Retriever. For balance in her daily life, Susan enjoys needlework, hiking, canoeing, traveling to new places, silent retreats, walks with friends and front porch nature watching while reading a novel.
Mrs. Connie Bierly

Mrs. Connie Bierly


Connie Bierly has been our part time Church Secretary since June 2007.  She came to us after retiring from a professional 20-year career in non-profit management. Over those years, she served several non-profits here in the Roanoke Valley:  American Lung Association of Virginia, American Diabetes Association, The Salvation Army, and Girl Scouts of Virginia Skyline Council. Connie holds a Bachelors in Business Administration from Averett University along with an Associates in Secretarial Science from Virginia Western Community College. Connie is a lifetime member of the Church of the Brethren currently serving as Board Chair/Assistant Moderator of her local congregation as well as on the core team for a new church plant.  She enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, knitting scarves for our winter clothes line, and serving her two cats — Noah and Sheba.

J. Andrew Cochran

J. Andrew Cochran

Choir Director and Organist

Mrs. Donna Parks


Mr. Marshall Hudson


The St. James Vestry

The St. James Vestry assists the Rector in parish leadership. Members are elected each year for three-year terms at the annual parish meeting. Men, women, and youth who are 16-18 years old, have the chance to serve the parish in this manner and help make decisions which affect the present life and future of the church.

Committees and Chairs

Property: Tim Buchholtz
Hospitality: Kim Laxton
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Episcopal Church Women: Dorothy Herndon
Daughters of the King: Carla Spencer
Little Church Social Group: Kim Laxton & Gina Wellford