The rev jim sell


Jim Sell served as Rector of Christ & St. Luke’s from 1990 to 2005. This service was bookended by his earlier work with Episcopal communities in West Virginia and New Jersey in the 1970s and 1980s and his “retirement” career as an interim rector, consultant, and mentor at parishes in Maryland, New Jersey, Connecticut, and back home in Virginia.

Jim lived a long, full life that was enriched by the people in his “community.” This included his family, friends, colleagues, and parishioners, as well as neighbors, community leaders, and really anyone else with whom he may have crossed paths. On the eve of his 80th birthday, he passed away peacefully in his sleep. Earlier in the day, he shared his reasons for being an Episcopalian. You can read the full document here.

“I rely on my fellow worshipers to honor me with their tolerance, kindness and generosity of spirit. I trust that they are engaging in the same interior dialogue with God that I am. We may end up with different answers to our most pivotal questions and, surprise of surprises, we can affirm the validity of all of our quests.”


The Jim Sell Community Conversations Fund supports Jim’s legacy of tolerance, kindness and generosity of spirit. It seeks to empower our community, in the broadest sense, to engage in meaningful, productive conversations that will inspire us to be the best version of ourselves. We are intentionally using the word “community” to embrace the Christ & St. Luke’s congregation, the city of Norfolk, and beyond. Like Jim, our hope is that these inclusive conversations will bring together people, ideas, cultures, and religions from varying viewpoints and yield learning, empathy, courage, and positive community action.

We believe in the idea that small actions can have large effects, and so we hope that these community conversations inspire other conversations to flourish. All are invited to the table, to sit together, to learn from one another, and to “go forth into the world, rejoicing in the power of the Spirit.”

Learning to live jim sell

Click here to purchase a copy of Jim Sell’s memoir, Learning to Live.

Your Invitation to Join the Conversation

In honor of Jim Sell’s memory, we invite you to join the conversation and share in bringing this mission to life. Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to this fund. You can give online here. You will need to select Jim Sell Community Conversations Fund from the drop down menu (see the image below).

A check can also be mailed to Christ & St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, PO Box 11499, Norfolk, VA 23517 and include “Jim Sell Community Conversations Fund” in the memo line.

Jim sell fund dropdown

Setting up your online pledge

When you click the button below, be sure to select "Pledge Income" from the Funds dropdown list. You can then choose whether to make a one-time pledge gift or a recurring pledge gift. Feel free to contact the church office with any questions.