Cynthia is a native of Columbus, Ohio and a graduate of Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston IL. She was ordained a priest in January 2001 at St. Lawrence Church in Libertyville IL, where she served as Associate Rector. She was called to lead St. Giles in January, 2004. Prior to attending seminary, Cynthia worked in a variety of settings, including church administration and Christian education. She is a classically trained mezzo soprano who has sung professionally. Her interests include music of (almost) all genres, theatre (she's a Sondheim fan), sewing, reading, and Ohio State football. She is also the Ecumenical/Interreligious Officer for the Diocese of Chicago, and as such is committed to fostering fuller relationships between and among people of different faith traditions. Cynthia is married to Jon Hallas, a land use planner. They have two adult children, both of whom are active in the church. Cynthia blogs at www.fourthwallpriest.blogspot.com. Follow her on Twitter: @revcynhall.
James Russell Brown deeply enjoys his ministry at St. Giles, which has a long tradition of musical and liturgical richness. Jim has served the parish as Director of Music and Organist since 1985. A graduate of Oberlin and New England Conservatory, he has performed in such major venues as National Cathedral and Harvard University; in August 2010 he served as organist for a week at Canterbury Cathedral along with the Northern Illinois University (NIU) Chamber Choir.
In 2008, Jim joined the faculty at NIU, teaching both organ and harpsichord, and is now also the Coordinator of Undergraduate Advising for the School of Music. He continues as the Chair of the Organ and Harpsichord Program at the Music Institute of Chicago.
I live in Buffalo Grove with my husband, Mark, and we have a son and daughter, Alex and Kristi, currently in college. I am a lifelong Episcopalian, having grown up in Deerfield at St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church. My family and I are active members there today. I enjoy spending time with family and friends, volunteering, reading, singing, shopping, and keeping up with my home, including our two dogs.
After graduating from college, and for approximately 30 years, I worked at Underwriters Labs in Northbrook doing various levels of support work for Conformity Assessment engineers. In fact, that is where I met my husband who still works there. After leaving UL in 2011, I began doing some of the office administration at St. Gregory’s as a part-time volunteer.
I am or have been involved with many other activities at St. Gregory’s including Altar Guild, Flower Chairman, Vestry, Stewardship, and I recently joined the Choir.