Clergy, Staff and Vestry
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 …Read Biography
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. …Read Biography
Valerie Ann (Lynch) Martin was born in Newport, RI and was a member of 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 six years ago. Emmanuel is her church home.
Valerie has served on the Vestry in multiple roles over the years. She originally joined the Vestry as an At- Large member and within 6 months was asked
David is a lifelong active Episcopalian. He and his wife Marcia met and were married at Grace Church Providence more than 50 years ago. They have 4 children, 8 grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren. They moved from CT to RI in 1982 and migrated from St. Mary’s Portsmouth to Emmanuel 2 years ago. David is a retired naval officer and educator both high school and naval school. He has been a vestryman and warden many times and has considerable property management and maintenance experience.…Read Biography
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 Bachelors 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.…Read Biography
Catherine Curtis moved to Newport in 2012 and began attending services at Emmanuel Church in 2017. She was baptized at Good Samaritan in Paoli Pa but grew up in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. She was educated at Phillips Exeter and Yale University where she received a BA in Near Eastern Studies. Catherine has worked as a radio and print journalist, and arts educator and a gardener. She is also an artist whose work has been shown in galleries in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Her work is in the collection of the Rhode Island School of Design Museum. She raised her two boys, Nathaniel and Amory, in Providence, R.I. They both live in Cambridge Massachusetts. She is a member of the Emmanuel …Read Biography
Lori loves animals. When she is not bookkeeping at Emmanuel, or doing Sexton duties too, she spends her time and monies caring for rescued large animals from neglect or abuse. She currently cares for 6 animals, including twins in her photo. She co-founded PawsWatch, a now state wide effort to spay and neuter feral cats.…Read Biography
Jean is the Wedding Coordinator at Emmanuel Church. Prior to joining us she spent five years working for the Newport Bridal Show, Newport Wedding Magazine, and Newport Life Magazine. Jean received her Master’s Degree in Communications Management from Simmons University and Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Salem State University. She lives in Newport with her husband. Please contact Jean for information regarding scheduling your wedding ceremony at the beautiful, historic Emmanuel Church in the heart of Newport, Rhode Island at Weddings2@EmmanuelNewport.org.…Read Biography
Vestry At Large
Margaret Keiran grew up in Connecticut where she attended church at the United Church of Christ, Congregational. After becoming a nurse, she lived in New Hampshire and eventually Massachusetts. She attended Simmons College and has been a Nurse Practitioner for the past 30 years. She met her husband Steve in Boston, and they enjoy a happy marriage. The beauty of the Newport area appealed to both of them and they moved here permanently in 2015. When visiting churches, Margaret “found” Emmanuel and it has been a wonderful experience. She is serving the second year of a three year term in a Vestry At Large position.…Read Biography
Vestry at Large
Glenna is honored to be nominated as a member of the Vestry at Emmanuel Church. The following is a brief description of my life experiences which I believe best captures where my interests have taken me over the years. In turn, I look forward to getting to know the members of the Vestry and the parish atlarge, better.
I have lived in California, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Whereas my daughter Christina was born at Newport Hospital, my son Willis was born in Pasadena, California where I lived for 18 years and was a member of the Pasadena Art Workshop Council. As a member, we taught art classes, free of charge, once a week to neighborhood children as well as planning …Read Biography
Vestry at Large
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, …
Vestry at Large
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 …Read Biography
Vestry at Large
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 2 1/2 years ago. As a born and bred Episcopalian, Fay has worn many hats: altar guild, church trustee, vestry, Sunday school teacher. Her motto: Happy to serve!…Read Biography
Vestry at Large
Jackie has been a member of Emmanuel Church since January 1951. Her family had been active members for many years. She was baptized and confirmed, attended Sunday school, sang in the girl’s choir, and was a member of GFS (Girl’s Friendly Society). In her adult year’s she was a volunteer for the annual Lawn Fete, the chairperson for 3 year’s, which was a very big fund raiser for the church. Jackie’s most recent volunteer program has been the Chef for the monthly Soup’s On community dinner, for over 9 years. She plans to return to that position once the Covid-19 is under control and the church can resume this outreach program.
Jackie worked at Newport Hospital on the Medical Surgical …Read Biography