The staff of St. John’s Episcopal Church welcomes you. We and our congregation have worked hard to provide an environment of support, warmth and most importantly, love. We hope to offer what you are searching for and openly welcome anyone who wishes to help others. Our staff will ensure you feel at home at all times.
If you are unsure about joining our congregation, please feel free to explore or inquire about what we have to offer. If membership with our church is your next step, do not hesitate to contact a member of our staff.
The Reverend Jim Nelson—Rector
Hi, I’m Jim Nelson. I’ll try and set the tone for sermons yet to come and be succinct. I am blessed to introduce myself to you and I am delighted to accept the call to be St. John’s next rector! Linda and I look forward to sharing in the ongoing mission of such a healthy and vibrant parish. The Lord truly has blessed us in life and I pray, will bless our life together. I’m sure God has an adventure in store for both of us as we move forward. Just to let you all know a bit about us. We’re both from northwest Oklahoma. I grew up on a ranch and farm but Linda is from the big city of Woodward (about 10,000 people). The fact that we’ve been married since we were eighteen is my most enduring blessing and further proof that tenacity (on Linda’s part) is indeed a spiritual gift. We have one daughter (Tricia) living in Sparks, Nevada with our son-in-law Kirk and two grandchildren – Cooper (10) and Lucy (4). We also have a wonderful step-grandson, Austin, in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Tricia is a mental health therapist for the state of Nevada and Kirk is an Episcopal priest and rector of St. Paul’s in Sparks. My undergraduate degree, in Communications, is from Oklahoma State University though following that, life took us many different directions including the Navy, the restaurant business, and working as a finance manager of an automobile agency. It’s amazing how God uses every experience of life to prepare us for His purposes and plan. Though called early in life, I finally began to seriously explore the process for ordination in my early thirties and went to the Virginia Theological Seminary at thirty-six and was ordained at thirty-nine. I served Church of the Resurrection in Oklahoma City as rector for almost twelve years and now Good Shepherd for the past eleven. I love what I do can’t imagine doing anything else. As you may have heard, a few weeks ago the Old Testament lesson was the call of Abraham to “go from the land with which you are familiar and go to a land that I will show you.” I know that the most joy and satisfaction in life can only be found in the center of God’s leading. I know that He will be faithful to bless us all if we keep that in our hearts and minds. We look forward to meeting and getting to know you all in the near future.
The Reverend Jennifer Shadle – Assistant Rector
Despite appearances, I am a brand new priest! I graduated from Seminary of the Southwest in May 2016 and was ordained a priest in the Diocese of Colorado on June 18, 2016. About three weeks later I moved to the RGV, and I fell in love immediately. Although I had been living in Colorado for several years, I’m a native Texan and spent my early adult years in Houston. Yes, I do miss mountains and cold weather, but I feel like I’m back among “my people” now.
After allowing me to spend almost 35 years teaching vocal music – and loving every day of it – the Lord said, more or less, “Okay, now it’s time for you to retire from this vocation because I have another one in mind for you.” So at age 65 I found myself starting all over, the student instead of the professor, the beginner instead of the expert. I have grown immeasurably and discovered so many blessings through the journey since then, that I can only marvel at God’s abundant generosity and His sense of humor! I am delighted to become your Assistant Rector, to learn from Father Jim and to work side by side with all of you as we become, a little more each day, the congregation God calls us to be, a blessing and a sanctuary for all.
Carrie Guerra—Youth & Family Ministry
As Lay Associate for Youth & Family Ministries, Carrie coordinates activities directly related to youth ministries and many of the fellowship and mission trip activities designed for families and youth. She is also responsible for coordinating the children and youth Christian Education curriculum. Her other responsibilities include leading youth confirmation classes and coordinating the Wednesday Witness youth program.
Ann Marie Franks – Christian Formation Ministry
Freeman, Nevin and I moved to McAllen in 2005 from Indianapolis, Indiana. I had been a lifelong resident of Indiana, first in Gary, then Indianapolis. We had always said we would retire to The Valley and decided to do it before Nevin got to high school. We left in Indy our two daughters, Lena and Angela, and now, 5 grandchildren.
As many of you may know, I recently retired as a special education teacher at McAllen High School. I worked with learning disabled and life skills students in MISD for 8 years. My first retirement was in 2005. I had been an eligibility caseworker and supervisor for TANF, Food Stamps, Medicaid with the State of Indiana Division of Family and Children for 26 years. Prior to that, in Gary, Indiana I taught Spanish to gifted and talented kindergarten students for one year. When I had to take the Special Education certification test here in Texas, I had to first pass the Spanish certification test since it was my original teaching certification, more than 30 years earlier. At that point I said Texas Spanish is not the same as Indiana Spanish, but I made it. That kind of let me know that if I set my mind to it and ask God’s help, which I did frequently, I could do many things that in my head I thought were impossible.
In comparison with my experience as teacher and eligibility worker, I never felt so excited in a new job as I do here. Having been a “cradle Episcopalian”, that was the church we were looking for when we moved to McAllen. St. John’s captured our attention when we first drove past it in 2005, and we have never considered going to any other church. There is such a friendly, welcoming atmosphere here, that, I knew, if I was going to continue to work and worship, this would be the place to do it. Thank you to Mother Nancy and Father Jim for inviting me to join the staff. I have been truly blessed!
Melissa Galindo—Parish Administrator
I grew in San Juan and have lived in McAllen for over 20 years. I am married and have three children: two daughters, 26 and 14 and a son, 11.
I take care of the day to day accounts receivable and payable for the church as well as keeping track of pledges. I also oversee the care of the facility and manage the office volunteers who assist me in getting the bulletins and church ready each Sunday. If there is anything you need from the church office, please call me. If I can’t answer your question, I can at least point you in the right direction!