The vestry is the governing board within any Episcopal Church. In the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, it consists of the rector, two wardens, and a number of vestry members who, together with the wardens, are elected at the parish’s annual meeting. According to the Canons and Constitution of the Episcopal Church, the vestry manages the temporal affairs and property of the parish, which includes approving the parish budget.
Additionally, the vestry is committed to the spiritual life and growth of the congregation. Together with the rector, they have a responsibility to model the mission of the parish as they lead them in fulfilling that mission.
The vestry at St. Thomas’ Parish consists of the rector, two wardens, and nine vestry members. A clerk and a treasurer also serve.
1. Pray for St. Thomas and regularly attend worship services and activities.
2. Model the Christian life by proclaiming the good news in word and deed.
3. Practice faithful stewardship of finances by making and paying a responsible annual
pledge, and supporting the stewardship ministries of the parish.
4. Prepare for and actively participate in monthly Vestry meetings and additional
meetings as required. This means missing no more than two regular meetings per year. Baring extreme circumstances, it is expected a member will resign from vestry after missing more than two meetings.
5. Serve as vestry teller and/or vestry host at least every other month).
6. Lean in when required (e.g., helping with various tasks that arise or committees that
may need to be formed).
7. Listen to and deal with views of parishioners, especially their questions, suggestions,
complaints, and compliments. As appropriate, share these views with the clergy, staff
8. Speak the truth in love for the building up of the body of Christ in the church. Do not participate in gossip, hidden agendas or negative after-meeting “parking lot” discussions.
Catherine Manhardt, Senior Warden – Catherine has been an active member of St Thomas’ Parish since the fall of 2011. In addition to her vestry service, Catherine is also a Lay Eucharistic Minister and a member of the Offertory Guild and preaching rota. Catherine previously served on the vestry of St.Thomas’ Parish from 2013-2016. Catherine is employed as the Parish Administrator at the Church of the Epiphany and serves as the Central DC lay representative to Diocesan Council for the Episcopal Diocese of Washington.
Catherine originally hails from the state of Washington and made the move to Washington, DC to attend American University, where she received a BA in International Relations. Catherine currently resides in the Petworth neighborhood of DC. In her free time, Catherine enjoys knitting, science fiction, and losing herself in a good book.
Dennis Hobb, Junior Warden – Dennis has been a member of St. Thomas’ parish since 2007. He has, and is currently, an usher at St. Thomas’, and for many years was the leader of the Altar Guild. Prior to being elected as Junior Warden, Dennis served on the vestry from 2014 to 2016. Dennis is the Executive Director of the McClendon Center, a behavioral health agency serving disadvantaged District residents. He is a transplant from Missouri, having moved to DC from Kansas City in 2000. Dennis has a partner, Gary, who lives in the Logan Circle neighborhood. Dennis has been a happy Capitol Hill resident since 2001, and shares his home with two cat companions, Sophia and Annie.
Jennie Allison – Jennie moved to Washington DC in 2014 after growing up in metro Atlanta and attending the University of Georgia. As an life-long Episcopalian from a strong church community, it was important to find a church home in the city. After touring various parishes for the first two years, Jennie found St. Thomas’ on a Wednesday night during Lent in 2016. She is proud to call St. Thomas’ home and enjoys being an active member by going to foyer dinner groups, serving as usher or coffee hour host, and various small groups.
Jennie works for an economic development non-profit and serves as a volunteer tutor at The Next Step Public Charter School helping students work towards their GED, bringing her policy work by day on the ground. When not working or serving the church, Jennie enjoys exploring new spots around the city, hiking, pampering her cat, and spending time with friends.
Karen Garlick – Karen is a long-time resident of Washington, attending college and graduate school in the city and then, staying for a career in the city’s museum, library, and archives community. Her journey to St. Thomas’ did not begin with the intentional “church shopping” that bring many to a new place of worship, but rather with the spontaneous (and surprising) decision to walk into a 5:00 Sunday service five years ago, after decades of passing by the church on her way from here to there. It felt like home from the start.
After several visits, Karen started going to the 11:00 service and experiencing that welcoming embrace that marks St Thomas as a wholly inclusive, vibrant, and nourishing faith community. She was confirmed in 2014, and is a member of the choir.
Karen has a daughter, Kay, who attends Pomona College and a feline “fur-baby,” Felix.
Reggie Greer – Reggie works as the Constituent Engagement Director at Victory Institute, where he engages and coordinates activities for LGBTQ elected officials across the country. Greer previously served as Dep. Director of Public Engagement at the US Dept. of Transportation. Appointed by Pres. Obama and Sec. Foxx in 2014, he served as DOT’s liaison to the White House Business Council, engaging business leaders across the country on a wide range of programs and issues. In 2016, Reggie was appointed to Washington, DC Mayor Bowser’s LGBTQ Advisory Committee. He received his BA from Georgetown Univ. in 2009.
Bettina Hagar -Bettina is the DC Director and COO of the ERA Coalition and Fund for Women’s Equality. She served as the co-chair of the Equal Rights Amendment Task Force of the National Council of Women’s Organizations from 2012-2016. Bettina has conducted focused lobby training workshops on the issue of Constitutional equality and oversaw the creation of a widely used ERA advocacy packet with information on how to contact elected officials, reach out to media and encourage constituency outreach. She has organized and moderated briefings on the Equal Rights Amendment in both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate. Bettina also writes for the The Hill as an opinion contributor on gender issues. Prior to joining the ERA Coalition, she worked as Programs Director and Interim Executive Director at the National Women’s Political Caucus (NWPC), advocating for the necessity of women’s political participation at all levels of government. Bettina graduated from St. Olaf College with a degree in Biology and concentration in Women’s Studies.
Bob McDonald – Bob grew up in the Chicago area and moved to Washington in 1989. His professional career has been in ministry and behavioral healthcare management. For seven years he served as Director of Membership for Foundry United Methodist Church, where he was responsible for pastoral care, pre-marriage ministry, outreach, fundraising, and LGBT advocacy. In 2013 he became the founding Executive Director of the Foggy Bottom West End Village, a non-profit membership / volunteer organization that provides services, health programs, and social activities to help residents of the neighborhood live independently for the long term. Bob and his husband, David Insinga, have lived together in the Dupont neighborhood since 1993 and were married in the Episcopal Church in 2011. They started coming to St. Thomas’ Parish in 2012 and officially became members in January, 2014.
Bob Moluf -Bob and his wife Lynn have been attending St. Thomas’ Parish for the past seven years, during which time he has served as the chair of the Communications Team, a lay volunteer preacher, an adult education leader, and as a member of the Building Committee. A longtime Lutheran, he received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Pacific Lutheran University and a divinity degree from Luther Seminary. He worked for 17 years as an editor and editorial director for the ELCA Publishing House in Minneapolis, followed by several years as a freelance editor and stay-at-home dad. He is now a senior director and enterprise data architect for a local IT consulting company. In his spare time he enjoys cooking, doing research for several books he would like to write, and traveling with Lynn to visit their two adult children who live on the west coast.
Ariel Vaagen is a career Foreign Service Officer at the U.S. Department of State with extensive experience in public affairs and press operations working on global issues including Iran nuclear negotiations, Russia and Ukraine, the Ebola crisis, and Countering Violent Extremism. As a U.S. Army veteran and a diplomat, Ariel is passionate about serving her country to advance understanding, tolerance, respect, and shared prosperity at home and abroad.
At the State Department, Ariel has served in embassies in London and Bangladesh and in the Bureau of Public Affairs in Washington, DC. In her most recent position as the Deputy Director for International Media Engagement, Ariel was responsible for leading a team in Washington and in five regional media hubs around the world to explain U.S. policies and positions to foreign audiences. Her next assignment is Cultural Attaché in Jerusalem.
Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Ariel was a program officer for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and served as an Arabic linguist in the Army. She has a Master’s degree in International Relations from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio and a Bachelor’s degree from Stanford. Ariel currently lives in Washington, DC with her husband and their two children who are busy preparing for their next adventure abroad.