The Leadership of an Episcopal Church is shared between paid Clergy and Staff and an elected Vestry.
Our Clergy and Staff are:
The Rev. Mark Abdelnour became the 5th Rector of St. Simon & St. Jude in 2008. He is a graduate of the General Theological Seminary in New York. He also studied at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Columbia, SC.
Father Mark and his wife, Rindy, have been married for 39 years and have two grown daughters. A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Father Mark worked for 27 years in the computer industry prior to becoming a priest.
Reverend Jim Neuburger serves as Assisting Priest at St. Simon & St. Jude; he and his wife, Carol, were both raised in the upper Midwest. A graduate of Notre Dame University, Father Jim comes to St. Simon and St. Jude after a long and successful career first with State Farm Insurance Company, then Policy Management Systems Corporation, which brought he and Carol to Columbia.
Fr. Jim and Carol raised three children and are blessed to have their daughter and granddaughter, Beth and Caroline, and their son and grandson, Paul and T. J., living in Columbia. Their youngest daughter, Sarah, lives nearby in Atlanta.
Fr. Jim thanks everyone at St. Simon & St. Jude for the warm and gracious welcome that he and his wife, Carol, have received. They believe themselves to be very blessed to be a part of a vibrant Christian community.
“God’s love has brought us to His community at St. Simon & St. Jude, and we are the more blessed for it. We look forward to our journey together as we travel deeper into the heart of God.”
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 803.479.2340
Our Parish Secretary is long-time member of St. Simon & St. Jude, Ms. Carol Buck, who is active in many small groups as well as the Adult Choir and pastoral care. Mrs. Buck provides administrative services to the Rector and the parish.
If you have a question, just ask Carol!
SSSJ is blessed in our Choir Director and Organist, Mrs. Beth Johnson, who also directs our Children’s Choir . (Bio coming soon!)
Our Vestry members are:
Senior Warden – David Law
David is a graduate of Vanderbilt University, taking a degree in Civil Engineering, and is currently retired. He and his wife of 36 years, Patty, have two children, Jeremy and Corey. A 25-year member of SSSJ, David is active with our thriving Boy Scout troop. David and Patty have made SSSJ their church home as they take great reward in the fellowship and having many opportunities to participate in a variety of appealing activities.
Junior Warden & Stewardship – Bill Head
Bill has been an Episcopalian for 30 years and attending SSSJ with his wife, Judith, since the summer of 2014. Bill and Judith have two grown children, both cradle Episcopalians. Bill graduated from Georgia Southern University and has worked for Motion Industries, Inc. for 25 years in several capacities, and for the past 6 years as a Corporate Account Manager. As well as serving on SSSJ’s Vestry, Bill is active in the choir and the Stewardship and Evangelism Committees. The Episcopal church has been a happy middle-ground for Bill and Judith, having grown up in the Methodist and Roman Catholic traditions respectively and in Bill’s words, “SSSJ has welcomed Judith and me warmly and has quickly turned in to our church home. We’re both thankful to everyone at SSSJ for their hospitality and kind spirit that is so prevalent from Mark, the leadership and the entire congregation.”
Adult Formation – Larry Newton
With a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Siena College in Loudanville, NY, Larry is a happily retired Quality Manager from Standard Products’ Winnsboro Division. He and Donna, his wife of 46 years, raised two daughters and are proud grandparents of five grandchildren. Larry and Donna have been members of SSSJ for 12 years. Larry is active in Adult Formation as well as our wonderful Choir, crediting Dr. Sandi Teel and organist Beth Johnson for the talent and devotion they provide to our music program. Active in choirs since grade school, music of all sorts – Taize, Classical, Contemporary, and ancient chants nourish his soul and are found here at SSSJ.
Christian Formation – Sandi Teel
Bio on its way. Contact: email@example.com
Fellowship – Judy Gallagher
I graduated with a History degree from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia and worked for many years as a real estate paralegal. Now I spend my time volunteering for Lexington County with two organizations that service needy children.
I’ve been married 33 years to my husband, Dan and we have three grown children. I was raised Presbyterian and Dan was raised Roman Catholic so we joined the Episcopal Church in 1993 as a compromise. We moved to Lexington in 2001 after moving five times in ten years up and down the East Coast. Since we have no family here, I looked for a church home that felt like family. I found it in 2004 at SSSJ and have loved being part of the church community. I’ve had various duties at the church since then and this is my second time on the vestry.
Outreach – Arthur Strudwick
Arthur Strudwick holds an Associate of Science degree from Art Institute of Atlanta and works for the City of Columbia as the City Arborist. His wife of 11 years, Jennifer, brought him to the Episcopal Church and SSSJ 15 years ago; together they are raising three beautiful daughters: Emily, Abigail, and Hannah. Until leaving for University, Abby was an acolyte and you’ll see (and hear) Hannah in our Children’s Choir. As well as serving on our Vestry, Arthur is active as an usher, all things Outreach related, and says what he loves about SSSJ is “… the love of everyone, the comfort of everyone, the happiness of everyone…”.
Pastoral Care – Marie Rubiez
Marie Willis Rubeiz, baptized a Methodist, grew up in Holly Hill, SC on a cotton and tobacco farm. She happily left the farm to enroll in the University of South Carolina where she graduated with a degree in English. Marie likely would not have met her Greek Orthodox husband, Ralph, had they not been in the same freshman English class. They decided to become a blended family and became Episcopalian.
After graduating from Carolina, Marie’s work history was brief and varied, working for Social Services, USC, and DOC, with her primary focus being her two sons. Marie’s passions are family, organic gardening, book clubs, tennis, and spin classes.
A member of SSSJ some years previously, Marie returned to us in 2014, and feels, “After a long absence, I have come Home.”
Property – Ronnie Johnson
Ronnie Johnson is currently serving as Building and Grounds Administrator. Ronnie is a retired Band Director. He has taught in SC Public Schools for 27 years and continues to serve as a substitute teacher. He did undergraduate work at University of South Carolina (Columbia) and at Lander University (Greenwood). Ronnie holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education. Ronnie currently sings in ECSSSJ choir and is a member of the Carolina Wind Symphony. Ronnie has been married to Beth Johnson for 27 years. Ronnie enjoys reading, music, attending concerts, yard work, fishing, movies, eating out and traveling.
Treasurer – Jim Dent
Jim holds a degree in Accounting from the University of Wisconsin, and currently works as the Plant Controller of Kraft Heinz foods at the Newberry location. He and Marsha, his wife of 31 years, raised three children. Jim is a “cradle Episcopalian” and he and Marsha have been at SSSJ for fourteen years, and both are active in ministry. Jim and Marsha are drawn to SSSJ by the beauty of the worship services, particularly the music, as well as the friendly, caring atmosphere found here. We at SSSJ are thankful Jim serves on our Finance committee as well as being our parish Treasurer.