Clergy and Staff

Dawn Frankfurt


Mother Dawn Frankfurt was called to St. James in March of 2011. Mother Dawn grew up in Oklahoma City and Edmond, OK. 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, NC and Honolulu, HI.

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. Over ten 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 service associated with St. James as volunteer priest-missioner, Sam Criss preaches and celebrates once a month at St. James, does hospital calls and is a 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 Beth, a retired social worker, are having lots of fun traveling, and enjoying their youngest grandchildren.

Deedee Evans


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 fifteen 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 60 member Wichita Broadway Singers. Ordained deacon over 20 years, Deedee focuses on pastoral care, and facilitates a two Grief Support Groups, one at St. James and one at a Larksfield, a large local retirement community.

Jeff Roper


Deacon Jeff Roper graduated from The University of The South School of Theology (Education for Ministry) in May, 2009, the Kansas School for Ministry July, 2010, and was ordained as Episcopal Deacon January 8, 2011. Besides being a deacon at St James, Jeff has been involved as a Campus Minister-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; from Wichita State University with a BA in Education and a Masters in English. He currently teaches Junior and Senior English (AP Lit & Comp) 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 11-year-old chocolate lab child named Charlie Brown.

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 and has 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 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 of 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 currently working on a Doctorate 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 currently serves as treasurer for Global Faith in Action.
Chelsea is married to Brandon Whipple and has three young boys, Adrian, Tristan and Julian. In her spare time she enjoys reading, running, and anything outdoors.