What is the Vestry?

In Episcopal churches, the Vestry is the elected governing body of the parish. In addition to the Rector, the Vestry is composed of the Senior and Junior Wardens and 12 other members who represent a broad spectrum of the St. James’ community. According to our church canons, the Vestry has responsibility for the “temporal affairs of the parish,” including the stewardship of church money and property, personnel, and program development and oversight.

Vestry Members

Senior Warden

Jennifer Charrington

I am deeply humbled and honored to be asked to continue to serve as (Senior) Warden at St. James’ Church. It has been a role that has been a source of great joy to me. There is no other place, nor group of people, with whom I would rather spend my time and energy. I believe that each one of us has a call to continue to grow spiritually. It has been particularly exciting for me to be witness to the remarkable spiritual growth taking place amongst parishioners through our work together. The enthusiasm and energy is bubbling up all over the place! I look forward to learning, praying, serving, questioning and going further on this journey together, as we deepen our relationships with God, our neighbors and the world.
Junior Warden

Missy Condo

It is an honor to serve as the Junior Warden at St James’. The work the Clergy, Staff, and Vestry undertake is truly a labor of love for the St James’ community. St James’ is a very welcoming church that makes it possible to grow spiritually in many ways as well as to give back to our community and beyond. After being a member of St. James’ for 28 years I am still amazed at all the new opportunities to grow in faith and help our neighbors, those in need, and to make a difference in community organizations.

Sue Bennett

Sue is a mother and freelance Creative Project Director. As a vestry person, Sue believes that it is so important that the doors of St. James’ are open every day. By having the doors open St. James’, parishioners have the opportunity to worship, grow spiritually, deepen their relationship with God, and can spread the Good News of the Gospel outside of the doors of the Church. Sue affirms that we warmly greet all who come in the open doors; St. James’ is a welcoming place to worship, to belong and to grow. We are a strong community with many ways to be involved; from worship services, to the amazing children’s programs for kids of all ages, to adult forums and small groups, to mission and outreach beyond the doors of the Church. All of these elements of St. James’ are essential to our continued growth, as a church and for individual members. It is her hope to continue to support all that we do and also explore new ways to reach out even further. Sue believes we all have a responsibility to keep the doors open with our financial gifts to the Church. By giving financially we receive so much in return. With the doors of St. James’ open we can fulfill our mission statement as a community that actively shares the love of Jesus Christ with each other, our city, and the world.

Ying Garcia-Bory

Born and raised in Shanghai, P. R. China, Ying discovered St. James’ in 2012 when she and her husband were searching for the right church for their family. Since then, St. James’ has been the “home away from home” for the Garcia Bory family, providing them with opportunities to deepen their faith. After participating in the Catechumenate program, Ying was baptized at St. James’ in 2014 and confirmed in 2015. During the past ten years, Ying has served as committee members for the Children’s and Family Ministries, Youth Group and Grants Committee. She has been the Co-Chair of the Grants Committee since 2021. Ying’s career as a Commercial Banker within the Real Estate Banking Industry has allowed her to develop financial, analytical and communication skills to work with diverse groups and projects. Ying is honored to serve as a Vestry Member at St. James’ Church and look forward to contributing to the betterment of the parish and community.

Richard Brown

Richard considers it a privilege to serve on the Vestry after having done so once before for six years during the transformative “Master Plan” years in the late 1990s/early 2000s. Professionally his career has been a mix of twenty years in private banking and more recently in residential real estate. For over three decades, in times of joy and difficulty, St. James, has played a critical, influential and stabilizing role in Richard’s life. He has two grown children, Charlotte and Preston, who were baptized and confirmed at St. James’ and grew up participating in Sunday School, children choirs, and as acolytes. Upon their graduation, he shifted from the 9:10am service to being one of the Usher Captains for the 11:15am. It is however the Candlelight Communion service at 6:00pm, with its contemplative and centering qualities, that has become his mainstay. Richard is grateful for St. James’ participation in Renewal Works and the opportunities for spiritual growth that are available through these rich and varied offerings. It is his hope these programs, often small groups welcoming a blend of newcomers and parishioners of longstanding, will continue to grow in participation. They are sources of inspiration and connection that provide the means and pathways for each of us to strengthen our relationship to and love for God and to one another.

Tristan Bultman

Most important to St. James’ is building a sustainable future to ensure all the ministries, community, opportunities, and resources remain available to this generation of parishioners and many to come. The spirited family and youth programs and homeless outreach, such as the Friday Night Dinner Program and Overnight Shelter, is the cornerstone of our community. I believe that our mission ministries are vital locally, nationally, and globally and must continue to be engaging. To do so, I encourage the generosity of each parishioner while nurturing new members to enrich our ministries. I am motivated by my belief that it is important that we take steps now, large and small, to secure a bright future for all who come here to worship, and invest their participation in our mission.

Stephen de Francesco

Stephen’s leadership at St. James’ is motivated by his sense that we are called to live in love, not fear, and to stand as a community. He takes joy in seeing the wide diversity of new faces in the pews every week, the increasing number of baptisms and confirmations, and the growing interest in exploring what scripture really has to say about how we are to live in the world and to treat each other. Now more than ever, he believes we must strengthen these commitments, stand with all “the others” who are unjustly persecuted, and declare unequivocally that in Christ — and in our nation — there is no division and we are all created equal. Stephen proclaims St. James’ admirable history as a “mission” church, a progressive leader in expanding God’s domain, through feeding the hungry, caring for the poor, sick and elderly, and advocating for social justice in our city and our world, to name just some of our programs and activities. He pledges to continue that mission in his service on the Vestry.

Dolly Bross Geary

Dolly is honored to serve on the Vestry and is excited to serve as the liaison to the New Member and Evangelism committee and the Youth Council. Dolly and her husband, Jack, have two daughters, Eloise and Hilary, and have been active members of St. James’ since 2002. St. James’ is their spiritual home and a place where they have grown as a family and individually through the vibrant and beautiful services, Christian formation, volunteer opportunities, and just by being a part of the community for many years. In the past, Dolly served on the Mission Committee, Adult Education, and Parents of Young Children committees and led a small group Bible study. Outside of St. James’, Dolly runs a contemporary art gallery with her husband and volunteers with Student Sponsor Partners, Art21, and the Lehman College Art Gallery.

Susanna Guffey

St. James’ has been Susanna’s home through both hard times and joy. She considers it an absolute privilege to serve and be a part this church family in a myriad of ways so far, and has especially loved getting to know our “next gen” by teaching middle and high school Sunday School, bonding with her peers in the St. Jamesians 20s & 30s group, and having opportunities to share with parishioners of all ages through the Catechumenate and other small groups. Growing up as a preacher’s kid, church has always been a constant for Susanna. However, she believes there is something about St. James’ that is truly special, whole-hardheartedly welcoming and dedicated to spiritual growth in Christ. Susanna looks forward to continuing our Christian journey together, as we challenge ourselves to grow both as individual followers of God and as a community. Susanna works as an attorney.

Nina Huffman

I am excited and honored to serve on the Vestry of our vibrant church, which happily has been my family’s spiritual home for more than 20 years. I am a strong advocate for our outreach ministries, which provide opportunities for participants to deepen our relationships with God, the St. James’ clergy and staff and fellow parishioners. This energizing work demonstrates the extraordinary gifts of St. James’ – the collective spiritual gifts of the institution – drawn from generations of devoted and impactful parishioners and leaders. I believe our Christian duty calls us to engage with the broader community and share these gifts to promote the common good, now more than ever.

Justine Keithline

When she signed up John for a toddler playgroup at St. James’ in 2009, Justine never anticipated becoming actively involved in the parish or having her dormant Christian faith revitalized. Her life is enhanced and her soul is nourished from volunteering with other parishioners on committees such as Children’s and Family Ministries, Parish Life, and Parish Weekend Away and from teaching Sunday School. She relishes the many opportunities to learn and grow her faith through weekly Bible Study, special courses like Revive and Sacred Ground, and Sunday Eucharist in the sanctuary. By becoming a Vestry member, Justine is committed to faithfully serving St. James’ in old and new capacities as it shares God’s love with parishioners, neighbors, and the world.

Elizabeth Littlejohn

Elizabeth is a wife, mother, and independent art appraiser. She is honored and humbled to have been elected to St. James’ Vestry. Elizabeth and her family are extremely grateful to be part of this special community, and Elizabeth is proud to have contributed in numerous capacities over the years. In her role as vestry member, she looks forward to serving our congregation in an even more meaningful way. Spiritual growth — as individuals and as a community — is a priority for Elizabeth, as is continuing to make St. James’ a welcoming place for all newcomers, particularly families and the newly baptized. Although she currently a regular attendee of the 9:10 a.m. service, Elizabeth values St. James’ broad reach via its multiple services, liturgies and music programs — all of which allow the greater congregation to feel connected to God and to each other.

Aaron Simpson

Aaron P. Simpson is an attorney, husband and father, and an active member of the St. James’ community. In fact, all the members of the Simpson family are active in the life of the parish, serving in liturgical roles during worship and in Children’s and Family Ministries. “Like the city itself, what we love about St. James is that it is a Church for everyone. All are graciously welcomed through those doors on Madison Avenue by our wonderful clergy and invited to grow in their Christian faith, participate in a diverse array of programs and ministries, and develop authentic relationships with their fellow parishioners.”
Prior to coming to St. James’, Aaron served on the Vestry of St. John’s Church in Larchmont. He is on the Advisory Council for the College of Liberal Arts at his alma mater, the University of Texas at Austin.

Robert Stinson

Bob is an architect, husband, father, and grandfather, not necessarily in that order. St. James has been a very important part of his and his wife Mimi’s move to New York several years ago. It has provided a place of welcome and support, and a place of service as well. He is very honored to be a part of the vestry. Bob serves on the adult formation committee, the newcomer’s committee, the usher team, the grants committee and the property committee. Especially meaningful has been his participation in the men’s group on Friday mornings. St. James’ unique combination of welcome to all, spiritual growth in Christ, and outreach to the New York community makes it a very special place. Part of the church’s ministry has been to raise money through the second time around sale, and then donate this money to the grants committee to distribute. Visiting the charities which we support and seeing the difference we make has shown how very important St. James’ is not only to our local community but to the city as a whole. Bob looks forward to working with the Vestry as we grow inwardly in Christ and use the strength that gives to reach out to our families, neighborhood, city, and beyond.

EXPECTATIONS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF A VESTRY MEMBER

Now there are a variety of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 

– 1 Corinthians 12:4-7 

Congregational Participation
  • Regular Sunday worship
  • Attend forums, special events and programs of the church in order to come to know and be known by the wider parish community
  • Serve as a Vestry Liaison to one or two standing committees or guilds
    • Attend committee meetings and events
    • Participate in planning for each meeting with chair and staff liaison
Parish Leadership & Representation
  • Demonstrate leadership in stewardship
    • Pledge to St. James’ at the start of the annual stewardship program with tithing as a goal
    • Take a leadership role as needed in annual stewardship program
    • Participate in stewardship calling throughout the year
    • Prayerfully consider making a planned gift to St. James’, becoming a member of The Kinsolving Society
    • Count the Sunday collection at least once each month
  • Support and encourage the ministry of the Rector
  • Support and encourage the staff in carrying out the mission of the church
  • Communicate responsibly with the congregation, the Vestry, the Rector, the staff and the community
Responsibility & Activity as a Vestry Member
  • Attend all Vestry Meetings (normally 10 each year)
  • Participate in Vestry subgroups as required by the current work of the Vestry
  • Take part in budget development and review
  • Attend the annual Diocesan Convention at least once every three years
  • Participate in periodic mutual ministry review with the Rector and the rest of the Vestry
  • Attend annual Vestry retreat
  • Act as Vestry Greeter before Sunday Services at least once each month