~ OUR STAFF ~
Pastor Kay Bender Braun
Pastor Kay Braun grew up in the Carolinas, and graduated from the University of South Carolina, with a degree in journalism. She and John married in 1984 and relocated to Philadelphia for her to attend seminary and for John to take a sports job with the Inquirer. Before becoming a pastor, she was a newspaper reporter and worked in medical public relations.
Pastor Kay was ordained in 2000. St. James is her third call and she feels blessed to be here! She is with us to administer the sacraments, preach and teach, provide spiritual and emotional support to members and the community, and to help connect the congregation with the Synod and the ELCA.
Pastor and John moved to Pottstown in May 2015. They have two adult sons and two spirited dogs!
Director of Music Ministry
Bruce comes to us after many years at New Hanover Lutheran Church in Gilbertsville and Jerusalem Lutheran Church in Schwenksville. Some will even remember that he served here at St. James many years ago!
For over 30 years, Bruce was a music teacher in Norristown where he was the Choral Director at the high school and previously taught elementary classroom music and music to students with special needs. He is our organist; director of the Adult Chancel Choir, the Handbell Choir and the Children’s Choir. He provides musical opportunities for youth to participate in our worship services and coordinates our Concert Series Program here at St. James. Bruce brings his bountiful and creative music talents to complement and enhance
our worship services and our choir ministry programs.
He is listed as an Associate in Ministry (A.I.M.), meaning, he is a professional lay leader certified and authorized by the ELCA to serve in Lutheran congregations upon receiving a call to ministry.
Bruce and his wife Marcia, who sings in the Chancel Choir, also helps Bruce direct the Children’s Choir for ages 3½ through 6th grade. This choir has tripled in size since its start in late 2010.
Bruce looks forward to involving as many people as possible, especially the children and the youth, in the Music Ministry of St. James and invites EVERYONE to use their talents in our Worship Services.
Director of Discipleship
Sharon Smith was raised in Philadelphia, PA. She is a lifelong Lutheran. Sharon received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Muhlenberg College and a Masters in the Art of Religion from the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. She served as Director of Christian Education at St. John Lutheran Church in the Mayfair section of Philadelphia followed by the same position at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Pottstown. Most recently, she served as Interim Director of Youth and Family at St. John Lutheran Church in Boyertown, PA. Sharon has been active, through various committees, on the synod level. Currently, she serves on the Tanzania Companionship Team.
Sharon has been married for 30 plus years to Harry Smith and they have two daughters,
Michaela and Danielle. The family resides in Boyertown.
Barbara J. Eisenhart
Barbara, who was born in Reading, is a near-life-long member of New Hanover Evangelical Lutheran Church. She was active in the youth groups, served as Sunday School teacher, Sunday School pianist and member of the choir for over 40 years. She has over 40 years of handbell choir experience. She was formerly on the New Hanover Lutheran Church staff as Administrative Assistant for 32 years. She is recently retired from Pottstown Hospital/Tower Health.
Barbara lives in New Berlinville with her husband Carl. They have 2 sons, Steven and Brian and two grandchildren, Erin and Alex. In addition to her love for her work in the church and her passion for handbells, Barbara enjoys planting and nurturing flowers, creating photo books and spending time with her family.
After serving six years as St. James' Treasurer, Sherry joined the staff as Financial Administrator in 2009. In this roll, she is involved in all aspects of financial stewardship including billing, offerings and donations, payroll, monthly reporting to Council, special project financial planning, and drafting the annual budget as part of the Finance Committee.
Sherry is a lifelong Lutheran from the Lehigh Valley: baptized at St John's in Phillipsburg, NJ; spent her early childhood at Trinity Lutheran in Hecktown (between Nazareth & Bethlehem), her family's church dating back to colonial times; confirmed at Good Shepherd in Wilson Borough; and married at St. James in 2001.
She graduated from Moravian College and Lehigh University with degrees in chemistry. She was a research chemist with Occidental Chemical for ten years, and currently teaches as adjunct faculty at Montgomery County Community College, Pottstown. She and husband Don reside in Pottsgrove, and have three children.
Cherub Choir Director
Marcia has been Cherub Choir Director for the past three years at St. James and previously for over 15 years at other churches. She and her husband Bruce work closely together to provide a traditional church music experience for the children of St. James so that they can better understand and enjoy their worship experience. Her goal for the Cherub Choir is a basic exposure to children’s church music songs and hymns that coincide with the seasons of the church year through rhythm instruments and learning different voice pitches. An anthem is presented approximately four times a year during the 10:45 church service.
She is a retired teacher having taught special education for the visually impaired for Montgomery County IU for 30 years. She has had many joyous and rewarding experiences
over the years working with children of all ability levels. When not at St. James you can find her either on the tennis court or creating and sewing in her sewing room at home. She loves to travel and finds her favorite place to be Hawaii. She can be found on the Jersey shore beaches in the summer. The most rewarding chapter in her life has been her adventures as Grandmother to her four year old granddaughter, Aubree. She and Bruce travel to their daughter and son-in-law's home in New Jersey to babysit every Monday and Tuesday. It is truly a blessing to be able to spend so much quality time with the family!
Ray Golden III
Ray lives in Limerick. He works at Rupert Elementary School as a custodian. He has three grown children and two grandchildren. He works at St. James as a part-time custodian. He loves our church family. We have such a great atmosphere here at St. James.