Clergy at St. James
Dawn Frankfurt – Rector
Mother Dawn Frankfurt was called to St. James in March 2011. Mother Dawn grew up in Oklahoma City and Edmond, Okla. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English at Oklahoma University and undertook a career in marketing after a few years of graduate study in creative writing. In a dozen years as a marketing professional,
she held positions in Oklahoma City; Wilmington, N.C.; and Honolulu, Hawaii.
The only thing important enough to take her away from the paradise of island life was her call to ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church. More than 10 years ago, she was sponsored by the Diocese of Hawaii and attended the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale for seminary training. There she served two parishes in Connecticut: Christ Church Tashua in Trumbull and The Church of the Holy Trinity in Middletown. Historic Trinity Church, in Staunton, Va., was her first church home and where she was ordained to the priesthood. She served Trinity as Associate Rector for three years and
stayed to serve as Interim Rector for another year before returning to Oklahoma to be close to family.
Mother Dawn has led two congregations in Oklahoma; she served as interim rector at St. Philip’s in Ardmore,
and subsequently as interim rector at All Saints’ in Duncan.
Sam Criss – Associated Priest
A retired priest with 50 years of service associated with St. James as volunteer priest-missioner,
Sam Criss makes hospital calls and is an occasional teacher and lecturer.
He is married to Beth Criss, and they have three children and five grandchildren.
He is an oil painter, violinist, and weaver. He and his wife, a retired social worker,
are having lots of fun traveling, and enjoying their youngest grandchildren.
Deedee Evans – Deacon Emerita
Deacon Deedee Evans was born in Washington State, reared in Oklahoma, moved to Wichita from Texas, and graduated from Friends University. She has two children and five grandchildren. For several years, she was director of the volunteer center at United Way of the Plains and is retired after nearly 15 years as a staff chaplain with Hynes Memorial Hospice. She has sung in community and church choirs, played flute in community bands, and has been a singer with the 60-member Wichita Broadway Singers. An ordained deacon for more than 20 years, Deedee focuses on pastoral care, and facilitates two grief support groups, one at St. James and one at a Larksfield, a large local retirement community.
Jeff Roper – Deacon
Deacon Jeff Roper graduated from The University of The South School of Theology (Education for Ministry) in May 2009; the Kansas School for Ministry in July 2010; and was ordained as an Episcopal Deacon on Jan. 8, 2011. Besides being a deacon at St James, Jeff has been involved as a campus minister for Episcopal Campus Ministry of Wichita, a lay Eucharistic visitor and Vacation Bible School teacher at St. James, and previously, a youth sponsor and chalice bearer at St. John’s.
Jeff graduated from the University of Kansas with a BA in English and political science and from Wichita State University with a BA in education and a master’s in English. He teaches junior and senior English (AP literature and composition) at Andover High School. In addition to teaching, over the years Jeff has coached football and girls and boys soccer.
Jeff and his wife, Vicky, have two adult children — Jonathan and Megan, and one furry chocolate lab child named Charlie Brown.
Dillon Green – Curate
Dillon Green grew up in Alabama and earned his bachelor’s degree in foreign languages
from the University of Northern Alabama with a minor in international studies. Dillon received his Master of Divinity from Virginia Theological Seminary. He served as a youth ministry intern and campus ministry intern
in Manhattan for the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas.
He will be serving as a curate for the Wichita minster for two years. Most of his time will be at
St. James and St. John’s. He’ll be starting a group for young adults for the minster.
Dillon loves movies and awards shows, enjoys reading, singing and traveling. He’s been to
France, Costa Rica, England, Haiti and Ireland.
Staff at St. James
Marlene Hallstrom – Music Director
Marlene Hallstrom has been the music director at St. James since the summer of 2012, serving as organist and directing the choir, Choristers and handbell choir. She is rostered as a Deacon by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and serves St. James by call from the ELCA. Marlene has a master’s degree in organ performance from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as well as a master’s degree in music education from the University of South Carolina. She also received training in the leadership program for Musicians and the Royal School of Church Music. Marlene is a member of the American Guild of Organists and former member of the National Council. In addition to her work at St. James, Marlene teaches piano and organ to children and adults and has served as the president of the Wichita Metropolitan Music Teachers Association. Her strong knowledge of liturgy and worship music is a valuable asset to St. James.
Marlene is married to the Rev. Dr. Thomas Hallstrom, an ELCA pastor. They have three grown children,
a foster daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren.
Chelsea Whipple – Director of Programs
Chelsea Whipple joined St. James as the Christian formation director in September 2016 and then as the program director in 2019. She coordinates the children, youth and adult education ministries as well as oversees the various programs that are run in and out of the church. Chelsea has a master’s degree in New Testament studies from Bangor Theological Seminary and a bachelor’s degree in education from Wichita State University. She is working on a doctor of ministry at Fuller Theological Seminary. She has served as a missionary in Monterrey, Mexico, and the hurricane-ravaged areas of Mississippi and Louisiana. She serves as treasurer for Global Faith in Action. She is the co-host of The Contemplative Motherhood podcast.
Chelsea is married to Brandon Whipple and has three young boys.
In her spare time, she enjoys reading, running, and anything outdoors.
Susie Stallings – Bookkeeper
Susie was baptized at St. James. She grew up in Wichita and has two sons. She has served as our bookkeeper since July 2020. She also is co-chair of the 100th Anniversary Committee, chaired the Olde English Tea for two years
and has served St. James in other capacities.
She worked as a volunteer treasurer/bookkeeper at St. Stephen’s, a volunteer financial consultant/bookkeeper at Episcopal Migration Ministries and helped establish her sons’ businesses. She also was the custodian of records for the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office. She is a past president of the Junior League of Wichita and has served on many nonprofit boards.
Susie enjoys reading, handwork such as knitting and needlepoint, baking and cooking.
Deb Gruver – Administrative/ Communications Assistant
Deb Gruver worked as a newspaper reporter and editor for 26 years in Lawrence, Kansas (two stints); Jackson Hole, Wyoming; and Terre Haute, Indiana. She reported for The Wichita Eagle for 16 years, covering crime, consumer news, the Kansas Legislature and Sedgwick County government. She wrote two columns, “Eagle Eye” and “You Oughta Know,” for many years.
She won multiple national, regional and state reporting awards during her journalism career, but the award most important to her was the Liberty Bell Award that the Young Lawyers Section of the Wichita Bar Association gave her for her work shedding light on child abuse and neglect in our community. She chose to leave journalism, her first love, in 2015. Since then, she’s worked as a lead strategist at a marketing firm, director of communications for Trust Women Foundation
and as a public affairs manager for the state. She founded Word Scout Communications Solutions in 2019. She is married to the son of a retired Episcopal priest. She and her husband have two rescue dogs, Boo Radley and Harper Lee.
Jose Alonso – Church Sexton
Jose was born and raised in Chicago and moved to Wichita in 2009. He then started working at Wichita State University.
In 2016, Jose took on a part-time position as our church sexton, which grew into a full-time job. Jose and his wife, Maribel; son, Jose; and daughter, Jackey; take excellent care of our church.
Jose and his family are responsible for all sexton duties at St. James including cleaning
and setting up for services and special events.
Jose says he and his family seek to provide a “clean and welcoming place for all guests, staff and parishioners”
and feel blessed to be a part of our parish.