SSJE Announces re-election of Br. James Koester as Superior

The Society of Saint John the Evangelist has announced that Br. James Koester SSJE has been elected to serve a second term as Superior. 

I am honored and delighted to have this trust bestowed upon me by my brothers”, Br. James said. “It is a daunting, but exciting challenge.

The Regina, Saskatchewan native was ordained in the Anglican Church of Canada in 1984. He served in parish ministry for five years prior to making his way to SSJE, where he was life professed in 1995. He had filled a variety of roles within the community prior to his election as Superior in 2016.

During Br. James’ first term, SSJE has continued its innovative online ministry which includes the daily meditation, “Brother Give Us A Word” and partnered with the Virginia Theological Seminary to produce several specially-focused six week study series. 

Simultaneously, Br. James has made the Next Generation of SSJE his primary focus. “Half of my brothers are over the age of 60, while the other half are age 50 and under. It is essential for our future that we properly nurture our younger brothers so that they may confidently and capably assume the leadership roles into which they are now moving. With this broad spectrum of ages, it is also important that our life together in community is nurtured. Just as we rebuilt the physical infrastructure of the monastery ten years ago, we must now ensure our human infrastructure is stable and secure. It is for that reason that we will be working on our community’s foundations and our vision for the future”

Under his leadership, SSJE has launched “Catch the Life”, a website designed to introduce those considering a monastic vocation to SSJE’s history and present. Through text, videos, and direct conversation with SSJE brothers, the site serves as guide for Inquirers while also providing a forum for a personal rapport to develop.

In 2019, SSJE celebrated the life profession of Br. Nicholas Bartoli, SSJE. Two more professions and a clothing are scheduled in the coming months. Addressing members of the Fellowship of Saint John who had gathered to celebrate Saint John’s Day in May, Br. James stated, “We believe that it is now time for a new generation of monks to claim and articulate a new and renewed vision of monastic ministry, one that will sustain us for the years to come while attracting new vocations and being of service to the church.


  1. Chioma Nwaogu on January 7, 2021 at 13:00

    In drafting and using a personal rule of life, I see that my opening and embracing a new way of life, reflects nature a lot in that, the plants when watered, begin to bud and subsequently bring forth shoots and the growth continues, so, using a rule can make my spiritual life un-fold and begin to bear fruit, when I keep at it daily.

  2. Ellen Nelson on June 16, 2019 at 07:44

    I am so happy about your re-election. The way you are moving forward is prophetic
    And something we all need to do.
    Hope to be in Boson before long and reconnect with you
    And the brothers who made so many of my retreats
    Life changing.
    Take good care and prayers
    Ellen Nelson, rscj

    • Karen F on March 30, 2020 at 18:53

      So grateful to be engaging with the Rule of Life at this moment while having been in ny/nj for the past 5 months… and now during these inprecedented times- while a big ‘shutdown’ is happening from C-19…. and amidst the worries and uncertainties — to have the opportunity to think/reflect…. and a gift to ponder and engage myself with the rule of life. Thank you ssje!. Best, Karen F

    • Thomas McGowan on February 24, 2021 at 14:46

      Seated on our porch on an unusually warm and bright February day, hearing the creek running below. Thinking of the power of water to wear and move, but the steady lilt of its run, seeking its place, and running its course. A rule of motion, following a natural course, smoothing rocks, watering the landscape, sound continuing, playing against daily noise. Hiking by Boone Fork, off a closed section of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Lack of traffic allowing no distraction from the stream lilt, allowing a saunter down the centerline.

  3. Peter B. Graham. on June 5, 2019 at 03:24

    Hello James,

    Congrats on run # 2. Any visits back to Victoria in the offing any time soon.

    Peter G.

  4. Anne Schaffter on May 29, 2019 at 21:58

    Brother James,

    Congratulations to you on your election again to serve the Society of ST. John the EVangelist as Superiour.

    The life’s work you chose so many years ago make God’s world a happier and holier place.

    With my very best wishes,

  5. Diane on May 28, 2019 at 10:41

    I’m feeling overwhelmed by so many things coming at me right now: good and wonderful things and I would love to do them all! Then real life hits and I realize I start many things, get overwhelmed and finish very little. I am hoping and trusting that finding and sticking to a rule of life that is manageable would be my saving grace! Thank you so much for offering this to us. May God bless you richly in all your endeavors!

  6. Roland Cantin on May 25, 2019 at 16:29

    Congratulations Brother James! We are very happy to hear this wonderful news. We will be thinking of you on June 11 ,2019, the thirty-four year anniversary of your ordination. How time flies! Cheers! Roland and Andrea.

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