James Ploeser

Associate Director of Children and Youth Religious Education

James Ploeser



James has been working with young people at All Souls since 2013. At first working exclusively with the high school Youth Group, his responsibilities have expanded to working with souls of all ages, as well. A Wisconsin native, James’ Midwest pride and demeanor shine through. He’s the proud son of public employee parents and stayed in-state to graduate with honors in both international relations and Latin American sStudies at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. James has worked extensively with unions and spent several years on staff with the Service Employees International Union, organizing with primarily immigrant cleaning workers. He feels honored to have been among the first arrested in civil disobedience actions that helped win the 2006 Houston janitors’ strike, one of the biggest labor victories in recent memory. James has devoted most his professional career thus far to advancing fair trade global trade policies that benefit working people, small farmers, and the environment. This work brought him into partnerships with fair trade coffee and banana cooperatives in Latin America, to issue campaigning along the 2008 Presidential campaign trail, and to non-profit advocacy in Washington, DC. Both a Unitarian Universalist and a Buddhist, James took his refuge vows at the DC Shambhala meditation center. He is also a certified yoga instructor (RYT-200) and has been teaching classes through Yoga District, a local non-profit studio, since 2012. Additionally, James is in the process of completing his Master of Divinity Studies at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC, and is exploring a future career in pastoral care and social justice ministry.