Clergy, Staff and Vestry

Leadership Staff

Rector Della Wager Wells

Our Rector, Della Wager Wells, is a cradle Episcopalian and has been an active layperson from her childhood in Watertown, New York, to her adult years in Atlanta, Georgia, at the large urban parish where she was senior warden and developed and led a training program for laypersons to prepare them for leadership in the church. 

In 2008, Della became involved in the Compass Rose Society, an international mission organization supporting the relational ministry of the Archbishop of Canterbury in the global Anglican Communion.  Meeting and interacting with congregations from all over the Anglican Communion inspired Della to pursue ordained ministry.

Della retired in the fall of 2015 after 30 years of practicing law in Atlanta to begin seminary at

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Debra Venancio

Senior Warden Debra Venancio’s lifetime experience includes 42 years of practice at Newport Hospital as both a staff nurse and an administrator with her main focus in the Intensive Care Unit for eleven years and in Obstetrics for thirty-one years. As an Emmanuelite, Deb was baptized and confirmed at Emmanuel and spent most of her adult life attending Emmanuel Church. She was a member of the search committee at St. Mary’s Church, Portsmouth when they found William Peyton to lead the flock for eleven years. She served several terms on the Vestry at St. Mary’s and was responsible for the building of its playground. Upon her return to Emmanuel, Deb served on the vestry at large and as Junior Warden. …

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Jim Kaull

Jim Kaull is a third-generation parishioner of Emmanuel Church. His beloved late uncle, James T. Kaull, Jr. was Junior warden at Emmanuel for twenty years ending in 1981. Jim and Nina returned to Newport in 2020 after 39-year careers in Boston and Washington DC. Since returning they have been regular volunteers for “Soups On” and Jim has served as one of the four church volunteers who maintain the Emmanuel grounds. Jim is currently a licensed real estate agent with Gustave White Sotheby’s International Realty.

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Elisabeth McCarthy

In 2016, Liz happily moved to Newport after retiring from a career in the hospitality field and joined Emmanuel. She is a graduate of Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration with a Bachelor’s degree and from Champlain College, Burlington VT with a Business Masters Degree. Her career included restaurant ownership, event management, sales and conference planning, living in Boston, Colorado, California, Vermont, Cape Cod before arriving in Newport. Liz is now content with walking around Newport, playing golf and bridge, and helping around the church.

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Carolyn Swiggart

Carolyn C. Swiggart came to Emmanuel Church through The Rev. Della Wells and her husband, Jere. My late husband, John Wayt, and Jere were high school friends in Atlanta, and we had a happy reunion in 2020 after the Wells moved to Newport. Upon meeting Della, I moved my “letter” to Emmanuel Church in 2021. I am a life-long Episcopalian, and I enjoy the mission and history of Emmanuel. I live in Jamestown, and I also have a law practice and a residence in Greenwich, Connecticut. Over the years, I have served on the boards of several organizations, including the Indian Harbor Yacht Club, Rotary, United States Power Squadrons, and the Daughters of the Cincinnati. I am also a “Blue

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Valerie Martin

Valerie Ann (Lynch) Martin was born in Newport, RI, and was baptized and confirmed at Trinity Church. Valerie married Michael Martin in Trinity Church in 1975. They moved to Tiverton RI in 1981 and attended Holy Trinity Church. Upon moving to Middletown in 1987, the Martin family with children Christine and Michael Jr. began attending Emmanuel Church, as her sisters were then members at Emmanuel. She has stayed at Emmanuel since that time, even after moving to Bristol for 12 years and back to Tiverton in 2015.  Valerie has three grandchildren ages 23, 21, and 14.

Valerie has served on the Vestry in multiple roles over the years – Junior Warden X 2, Treasurer X 3, Assistant Treasurer X 1,

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Randy Elkins

Randy Elkins, Emmanuel Newport’s current director of music, was the Director of Music at Virginia-Highland Church (UCC) for six years, served as House Organist at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center for 3 years, and was a staff organist at both the Plaza and Strand Theatres, all in Atlanta, GA.

Randy holds BMus and MMus degrees in organ performance from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, the country’s largest and highest ranked music school. Elkins’ classical organ repertoire is anchored by works of the baroque masters as well as French and German romantic composers. His popular repertoire centers around the American Songbook and transcriptions of great orchestral works for the organ.

As a church musician Elkins has served churches from …

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Fay Gosling

Fay is a native lifelong islander and retired Portsmouth school teacher. She has one married son, Jonathan. Fay and her husband, Ed, came to Emmanuel in 2017. As a born and bred Episcopalian, Fay has worn many hats: altar guild, church trustee, vestry, Sunday school teacher. Her motto: Happy to serve!…

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Ed Gosling

Ed was born in Newport and raised in Middletown. He attended St. Mary’s Church Sunday School in Portsmouth and served as an acolyte. His family moved to Barrington and attended St. John’s where he also served as an acolyte.

After graduating from Worcester Polytechnic Institute with a degree in Electrical Engineering, he returned to Aquidneck Island and began his long career at Newport Electric retiring from Eastern Utilities as Assistant Director of Distribution.
A past President of Middletown Rotary Club, Ed also served on the Board of Directors at People’s Credit Union and Lucy’s Hearth.
While attending St. Mary’s, Ed’s committee work included: community garden, building and grounds and going green. In 2017, Ed transitioned to Emmanuel with his wife, …

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Cindy Larned

Cindy Larned is a lifelong Episcopalian.  She was baptized, and a member until adulthood, at Grace Episcopal Church in North Attleboro, MA.  During her career with Aetna, she joined and served at Episcopal Churches in Michigan (Grace – East Grand Rapids); Vermont (All Saints- South Burlington); Connecticut (St James- West Hartford and Christ Church-Middle Haddam) and Delaware ( Grace – Wilmington). In addition to serving on several vestries over the years, she has also been deeply involved with the University of the South’s Education for Ministry program, first as a student and then as a Mentor of EfM groups for 15 years.    In 2010, Cindy and her husband John moved to Newport from greater Philadelphia in order to be closer …

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Ellen Vadney

Ellen has been a member of Emmanuel since 1998 where she has served in most positions except Altar Guild and Sunday School.  She currently serves as the Virtual Verger livestreaming the Sunday service on Facebook, and posting the edited service and sermon on the Emmanuel Website, and posting the sermon on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.  Ellen also sings in the choir. She was elected to serve a three year term beginning 2022.…

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David Frazier

David Frazier was born and raised in Oklahoma, graduating from Oklahoma State University with a BS in mathematics. After graduation, David moved to Houston to work for Exxon in information technology. In Houston, David met Lorraine (Quinn), and they married in 1979.

David and Lorraine moved to Oklahoma, where David accepted a job with Halliburton Co., and where their daughter, Molly Kathleen, was born. Molly was born with severe mental and physical limitations. Molly lived a happy and peaceful life, but, sadly, passed away in January, 2022.

David and Lorraine traveled internationally with David’s job, residing in Duncan, Oklahoma; London; and Houston. David retired in 2017 as the Sr. Director of Information Security and Risk Management after 38 years of

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Brian Ladley

Brian Ladley moved to Newport with his spouse Andy and their son Jordan in 2020. He has been an active church participant since childhood, first where he grew up in greater Philadelphia, PA and later at churches in places he and Andy have lived, including Santa Fe, NM, Brewster, MA then back in PA before relocating to Newport. He began serving on the Altar Guild at his most recent church in PA and is thrilled to continue to serve in that capacity here at Emmanuel.

Brian works in visitor relations at both the Newport Art Museum and the International Tennis Hall of Fame. He recently joined the Elks Club and enjoys volunteering at the Newport Mansions whenever he has the

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Lil Hargrove Memorial Service - Saturday, December 9, 2023 at 10 am. Wear something colorful!