• The Rt. Rev. Jacob W. Owensby, PhD, DD

    Bishop, The Episcopal Church in Western Louisiana
    The Rt. Rev. Jacob W. Owensby, Ph.D., D.D. was consecrated and seated as the 4th Bishop of The Episcopal Church in Western Louisiana on Saturday, July 21, 2012, in St. Mark’s Cathedral, Shreveport. At the time of his election in April of 2012, he was serving as Dean of St. Mark’s Cathedral.

    A graduate of the School of Theology at Sewanee, Bishop Jake, as we call him, was ordained to the diaconate and then to the priesthood in 1997, in the Diocese of Florida. He served on staff at St. Mark’s, Jacksonville, as assistant rector for Christian Formation until accepting a call to be the rector of St. Stephen’s in Huntsville, Alabama. In 2003, Bishop Jake became rector of Emmanuel Episcopal Church in metropolitan St. Louis and served there until coming to St. Mark’s, Shreveport, in the fall of 2008.

    Before ordination, Bishop Jake earned a Ph.D. in philosophy from Emory University, where he also received both bachelor's and master's degrees. At Jacksonville University, he served on the philosophy faculty and taught a range of both advanced and introductory courses.

    Bishop Jake is the author of
    Finding God in Messy Places (Abingdon Press, 2021),  A Resurrection Shaped Life (Abingdon Press, 2018),  Your Untold Story (Church Publishing, 2018), and  Gospel Memories (Morehouse, 2016). He has three adult children and lives in Alexandria, Louisiana, with his wife Joy and rescue pup, Gracie.
  • The Rev. Canon John D. Bedingfield


    The Rev. Canon John Bedingfield came to St. James in November of 2021.  He carries the title of “Canon” because he serves as +Bishop Jake’s Canon to the Ordinary on a part-time basis.  You can call him Canon John or Father John, he will answer to either.
    Canon John+ was ordained in the Diocese of Texas, after having received a Masters of Divinity degree from The Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest – what is now Seminary of the Southwest.  He also earned a liberal arts B.A. from the University of Texas at Dallas, and a law degree (Juris Doctor) from the University of Texas School of Law. 
    Canon John+ practiced law for a number of years before being ordained to the priesthood.  He has served congregations in Houston and Silsbee, Texas; and Lafayette, Opelousas, St. Joseph, and Alexandria, Louisiana. 
    Canon John+ is married to Donna.  They have two grown children and nine grandchildren in Florida and Texas.  You will see them with Taylor, their youngest, on Sundays.  Taylor has Down Syndrome and is very proud of having graduated from high school in 2020.  The Bedingfield family also has a dog and a cat (who are very close to each other in size, and who run the household).  Canon John+ appreciates most genres of music and loves playing the guitar.

  • The Rev. Michael Parham

    The Rev. Michael Parham was ordained a permanent deacon at St. James in October of 2019, and later joined the staff at St. James, coincidentally or with the work of God's Spirit, in December of 2019. Click here to learn a bit more about deacons in the Episcopal Church.

    Michael brings to St. James a very fresh and authentic expression about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. He shoots from the hip, as it were, yet in a very loving way.

    Michael grew up in LaSalle Parish and was a member of the Baptist faith. After a long absence from organized religion, he found his way to the Episcopal Church in 2012, having been invited to services at St. James by a friend. It was just a few years later that he discerned a call to ordained ministry.

    Deacon Michael's passion for ministry involves those who live with hunger, the unhoused, those living with HIV /AIDS, addiction/ recovery, and visiting those in prison. He believes that his calling involves extending the healing love of Jesus Christ to all people. One of his favorite experiences since ordination was participating with Fr. Tim and other parishioners in the Martin Luther King, Jr. parade in Alexandria, a small yet significant way to be visible to the larger community.

    Michael currently serves as Chair of the Bishop’s Commission on Addiction and Recovery, and he is a member of Diocesan Council, a group that offers regular counsel to Bishop Jake and continues the work of the diocese between annual conventions.

    In his "other life", Michael works as a Chief Nursing Officer for a local hospital. Michael's hobbies include travel and photography. He resides in Alexandria with two dogs, Booda and Henry. 
  • Lisa Harp

    Parish Administrator
    Lisa began her ministry as Parish Administrator in September of 2021, and in this role she maintains the financial records of the church, which includes accounts payable and receivable, and payroll. In addition, she works with Canon John and the Treasurer to present the Vestry and other lay committees, such as both the Finance and Investment Oversight Committees, the most up to date financial information for budget forecasting and stewardship decisions.

    Lisa works with the Treasurer, Canon John, and the vestry in both developing and reporting the church's budget, as approved and overseen by the vestry. She also assists Canon John with decisions on the daily/weekly use of church property, oversees the manager of Mt. Olivet Cemetery, maintains congregational membership data, and is the point of contact with contractors and vendors.

    Lisa worked for 26 years as the Office Manager/Controller for Brittain & White Construction in Alexandria, and has been an active community member throughout CENLA.



  • Rita Klock

    Administrative Assistant
    Rita is one of the first voices you may hear when calling St. James. She has been the parish, Administrative Assistant, since 2011, after retiring from 33 years of teaching in the local Alexandria school system. She spent a good bit of her career teaching children with special needs. 

    Rita is the coordinator of our
    After School Tutoring Program - an outreach effort in which a small number of children from a local elementary school come to St. James twice a week during the school year to be paired with adult parishioners/mentors for developing reading skills. Rita also coordinates our Ministry Fund, an outreach effort in which we meet monthly with local residents to determine assistance for rent, utility assistance, overnight housing, or food. 

    According to Rita, being "a mother and grandmother is my most fulfilling role by far."
  • Michael Sterne

    Music Director

    Michael has served as Music & Choir Director since 2012, and he has been very active as both an accompanist and choral director for community theatre and music productions around Alexandria. Michael has 30 years of music teaching experience, especially piano. 

    Michael has served as the accompanist for the
    Louisiana College Chorale for 15 years, which toured extensively throughout the United States and Europe. He has been the Musical Director and/or accompanist for more than 50 productions for the CENLA (Central Louisiana) area, working with LBM Productions, City Park Players, Lagniappe Theatre, and Hallelujah (sponsored by the Alexandria Museum of Art). Michael has also performed with the Rapides Symphony Orchestra and has composed original scores for several local productions. 

    Michael lives in Alexandria with his daughter, Emma. 


  • Melva Villard


    A Central Louisiana resident for most of her life, Melva has enjoyed a fulfilling career in music education as well as in church music ministry. She holds both national and state certification as a teacher of piano through the Music Teachers National Association and the Louisiana Music Teachers Association. In 2021 she was honored to be named as the LMTA Outstanding Teacher of the Year, and currently serves as the Vice President of Certification for LMTA.

    Melva holds a Bachelor of Music degree as well as a B.S. in Public Administration from Louisiana Christian University (formerly Louisiana College) and a Master of Music degree from Northwestern State University. She recently retired as Director of Music and Liturgy from St. Rita Catholic Church.

    Melva and her husband Marty have an adult daughter, Morgan, who is a student in the SPERO program at LSUA. The family pets include Diamond Doves, House Sparrows, a green-cheeked conure, and a calico cat.


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