Virginia Seminary Celebrates the Ministry of Jim and Tay Cooper



Media Contact: Curtis Prather
Tel: 703-461-1782 
Email: cprather@vts.edu 

Alexandria, Va. - Last evening, during a special dinner at the Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parishes (CEEP) in Atlanta, Ga., Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) honored the ministry of the Rev. Dr. James H. Cooper (VTS M.Div. 1970, D.Min. 1993) and his wife Octavia "Tay" Cooper, recipient of the Dean's Cross for Servant Leadership in 2009.

"I am proud to celebrate the ministry of Jim and Tay," said the Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, dean and president of Virginia Theological Seminary. "With gratitude we acknowledge their hard work and dedication."

Dr. Cooper is the 17th rector of Trinity Wall Street, which was founded in 1697. As rector and CEO, Dr. Cooper oversees Trinity’s extensive ministries, locally and globally, which are in part sustained by the church’s real estate holdings. Trinity’s ministries and enterprises include: St. Paul’s Chapel and Trinity Church with a diverse congregation of 1,200 and where 54,000 people a week visit; Trinity Institute; St. Margaret’s House subsidized housing; Trinity Pre-School; and local and international grantmaking. Under his leadership, the parish has played a vital and dynamic role in the revitalization of Lower Manhattan. Cooper will retire from Trinity in 2015.

Previously, Cooper spent 32 years as rector of Christ Church Ponte Vedra, Florida, where the parish grew in membership to become one of the largest in the Episcopal Church.  

In 2012 Cooper returned to the VTS campus to participate with Bishop George Packard (VTS '74) for a special forum "Occupy Faith: Leadership for the 100%." Recognizing the importance of theological education and the attendant desperate needs in Anglican Seminaries worldwide, Tay Cooper has tirelessly promoted theological education through The Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK), which provides book and other resources to seminaries in the Anglican Communion.

“I am deeply grateful for the formative years Tay and I had here at Virginia Theological Seminary , and for this honor given tonight to Tay and me ,” said Cooper. “This award represents the spirit of mutual partnership found in countless examples throughout the Church. Partnership in ministry is at the essence of the transformational Church we all share.”


Founded in 1823, Virginia Theological Seminary is the largest of the 11 accredited seminaries of the Episcopal Church. The school prepares men and women, representing more than 40 different dioceses and nine different countries, for service in the Church, both as ordained and lay ministers, and offers a number of professional degree programs and diplomas. Visit us online at www.vts.edu.