St. James Presbyterian Church

Pastor and Staff

The Rev. Dr. Steven R. Smith joined St. James on July 1, 2006. The Reverend Smith brings to St. James 30 years of experience having been ordained in 1982 and earning his doctorate in the summer of 2006. Steve is a native Californian who spent his early years in the Orange County area. Please see his full Biographical Information page elsewhere on this site. Email Rev Smith



The Office Manager is Jan Bruszak. When you call St. James, it is likely that she will be the first one to help you. Jan became a St. James member in 1979 and joined the office staff in 1988. She is a lifelong Presbyterian. Jan has a strong working knowledge of St. James and is the information source for most questions relating to the operation and scheduling of the church. Email Jan


TheDirector of Christian Education and Youth Ministries Shari Bates joined St. James on October 1, 2012. She is a lifelong resident of the San Fernando Valley, graduated from UCLA and has been involved in Children's Ministry for more than 25 years. She has been an active volunteer and on staff as the Director of Christian Education with Bel Air Presbyterian for a combined total of 16 years. She also served at Faith Presbyterian Church - Valley Village to develop their Christian Education Department. She currently serves on the Christian Formation Committee for the Presbytery of San Fernando. Email Shari

The Music Director, Claire Rydell, is a professional musician and well known music director. Her innovative style and skills bring a new dimension to the worship service. Claire is responsible for the entire St. James music program including five voice and instrumental choirs. She holds a Master's degree in conducting and has sung with major choral groups in the area. Email Claire if you would like to join in one of the many choirs or groups bringing warmth and light to our Sunday worship service. Email Claire


The Keyboards, Roger Wright has joined the St. James music department as our accompanist bringing his considerable talent and experience to our sanctuary each Sunday. He has put his piano virtuosity on display throughout the U.S., Europe and Australia and has been a frequent award winner having received first place awards in numerous piano competitions. Roger enjoys interacting with children and young performers. During this last year he worked with and coached children with special needs.


The Bookkeeper is Kathy Arft. Kathy joined the St. James family in June, 2011. Somehow she manages to keep all the debits and credits under control and watches over our budgets. Kathy has 25+ years of bookkeeping experience with various local churches and currently is the bookkeeper for two other local churches.




The Custodian at St. James is Luis Chaidez. Luis has been our helper and friend since 1990. He can be seen at every St. James function from Worship Service to weddings attending to the needs of members and visitors with a warm "hello" and a friendly smile. Luis is married with three children and two grandchildren. He enjoys his work at St. James during the Worship Service and other church events.


The Nursery Attendant at St. James is Ella Ronquillo. Ella has been at St. James for 14 years and has been there for generations of St. James members and visitors attending to the needs of infants during the Adult Sunday School and Worship Service. Ella has one daughter, Sofia, who attends UC Santa Barbara. She lives in the San Fernando Valley and enjoys caring for children while members and visitors are attending St. James.