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.
Expectations of all Vestry Members
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 and/or Vestry.
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. 9. Listen to each other carefully and respectfully. Ensure everyone has been heard, and is persuaded that the decision-making process is fair. Vestry members are not required to agree with all the decisions of the group or to conceal their disagreement, but they are expected to support the group’s decisions and the integrity of the Vestry and its officers.
- Jessie Eddy, Senior Warden
Email – Jessie has been a member of St. Thomas’ since 2007. She previously has served as the chair of the inclusion and parish life committees and on the vestry from 2013-2015. She has been a greeter and member of the formation committee. She currently is a reader and sings in the choir. For her, serving in the church was a given as she grew up in the Episcopal church singing in choirs and teaching Sunday school through high school and college at St. Paul’s in Salem, Oregon and then at St. Anne’s in Stockton, California. She recognizes the value each adult member of a parish plays in the success of the community and is happy to be a part of St. Thomas’ lively community!
In the rest of her life, Jessie lives in Anacostia, is assistant principal at a charter school in Petworth, a wife to Leti, guardian of Nancy, and cat parent of Adhdison. She loves to read, spend time near the ocean, and take barre classes in her spare time.
- Stephen Schembs, Junior Warden
Email – Stephen is a lifelong member of the Episcopal Church and has been a member of St. Thomas’ Parish since moving to Washington D.C. in 1993. Stephen serves as a greeter and sings in the choir. He has served on the Stewardship and Sacred Space Committee. Stephen previously served on the Vestry from 2014-2017.
Stephen is the Government Affairs Director for the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO and serves on the National Executive Board of Pride at Work, a non-profit organization that represents LGBTQ union members and their allies.
Stephen grew up in the other Washington on Mercer Island, just outside of Seattle. He graduated from the University of Puget Sound in 1987. Stephen currently lives in the Chevy Chase neighborhood of Washington DC with his husband Mark.
- 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.
- Jason Crighton
Jason Crighton – Jason has been a member of St. Thomas’ Parish since 2015, where he serves as a Lay Eucharistic Minister. He is a Lay Alternate Deputy to the 80th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, representing the Diocese of Washington.
Previous experience includes business development for a bespoke industrial thermoplastic design firm, logistical support for the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, and campaign consulting.
A son and grandson of British immigrants to Canada and the United States, Jason was baptized into the Church of England. In 2019, he was confirmed into the Episcopal Church by St Thomas’ Parish Bishop-in-Residence Gene Robinson at Washington National Cathedral.
Jason received degrees in Communications & Sociology, and studied British Politics at the London School of Economics. His free time includes community organising and calligraphy.
- 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.
- Gregory Zitterkob
Gregory has been an active member of St. Thomas’s Parish since 2007. In addition to serving on the vestry, he is a Lay Eucharistic Minister and chair of the Outreach Committee. Originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, he moved to DC from New Orleans where he attended law school. He is an attorney in private practice and lives in Logan Circle with his boyfriend, Ryan, who is also a parishioner. In his free time, Gregory enjoys traveling, listening to cheesy French pop music, and jumping between the news and Instagram when either gets to be too much.
- Brian Crane
Brian started attending St. Thomas’ early in the ministry of Jim Holmes. He served one term on the vestry as the secretary late in Jim Holmes’ ministry, during which time we oversaw the dramatic redesign of the garden. Over the years he has taught Sunday school, chaired the pastoral care committee, been active with adult education, and served on several discernment committees. Last year he started singing with the choir. Brian looks forward to the opportunity to serve my parish community on the vestry again as we continue exploring ministry in our new space.
- Jane Saari