The Vestry

Duties of the Vestry

The Vestry at Emmanuel Church serves as the church’s fiscal administration, manages real estate and property and promotes leadership. The Vestry elections are held every year at the Annual Meeting in January. The Senior Warden and Junior Warden serve three year terms. The Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer and Clerk are elected annually.  These positions form the Executive Committee that meet weekly with the Rector to discuss church matters.  The Vestry at Large are six parishioners who serve terms of three years on alternating years. The Vestry meets monthly to confirm the work of the many church ministries and make decisions on financial and administrative issues. For more information about the work of the Vestry, please contact the Rector.

Vestry Meeting Summaries:

Vestry meetings are open meetings, the third Tuesday of the month. The minutes of all Vestry meetings are available to parishioners, they are in the Office and can be printed on request.


Vestry Meeting Summary, July 2021

Mission statement – Discussion centered around statement revision.
Pastoral Care – Prayer Chain group has been organized.
Readers and Intercessors – We need more folks.
Music Program – Rector mentioned possibility of a chapter of the ME2/Orchestra
coming to Emmanuel.  This might offer a way to stimulate our community outreach around music.
Stewardship Committee – Would like to organize discussion around spiritual gifts and how that translates into action.  September 12 is tentative date for this parish wide meeting…….to be held between 8:00 and 10:00 services.
Worship Committee – Working on All Saints Day celebration.
Rector’s Installation – September 16, 2021     5:30pm
Property Commission – Fire Inspector added even more requirements to the list.
Harvest Tea – Committee decided this will be a scaled down evet this year due to COVID-19.
Vestry Retreat – Five goals were established and the vestry will now define necessary tasks along with the shared ministry required to accomplish them.  Follow up meeting set for 9/18/21. Comments were made that retreat was a less than satisfying experience.  Signing of Letter of Agreement – This agreement allows The Reverend Della Wager Wells to become Rector of Emmanuel Church.  This was signed during the retreat by the Rector, Senior warden and Junior Warden.
Sexton – Junior warden asked for motion to increase sexton hours from 19-26 weekly and to cover   the required pension costs for an employee working over 20 hours per week. A proposal was suggested that an additional person be hired to cover the additional weekly hours so that the parish could save the pension costs.  Discussion and vote followed with majority approving additional hours as well as the pension costs.  There was one dissenting vote.


Vestry Meeting Summary, June 15, 2021

Hydroponics – All units have met requirements of Fire Inspector as well as Newport Health Inspector.
Weddings – A suggestion has been made that we survey couples, following their wedding, to see what Emmanuel is doing well and what we could do better.
Worship Committee – Bible study has resumed and is being lead by a variety of folks who take turns weekly.
RPG – The group has agreed to move slowly in lifting COVID-19 restrictions.
Property Commission – A list has been established that will focus on necessary repairs: leaky roof, door varnishing, masonry work, fire inspector tour, etc.  Reports are written and items are being checked off the list as work in completed.
Vestry Retreat – July 10, 2021 – A vestry/rector survey will be discussed at that time.
Communications Committee – Vestry members have been asked to establish their REALM account.
Parishioners will be asked to answer survey questions in regard to their communication style and preferences.
Rector’s Report – A variety of music will be offered at Sunday morning services this summer.
Rector’s installation is set for September 16 at 4:00pm.
Sexton– Hourly salary amount was increased.  It was mentioned that building cleanliness had declined.  Rector asked for list of housekeeping duties to be established.
Soup’s On – May start back up in September.

Vestry Meeting Summary – May 18, 2021

The Worship Committee planned for Pentecost Sunday and continuation for Bible Study gatherings.
The Stewardship Committee established a calendar and goals for the coming year.
Stewardship Sunday 10/24/21 and speakers 10/10/21 + 10/17/21. Discussed campaign logo. Committee wants vestry to work on Mission Statement.
Vestry Retreat  is scheduled for July 10, 2021.
Administration Job description for Parish administrator should be completed soon.
Property Committee South Baptist Street tenant will begin June 2021-2022 lease. Leaky roof will be evaluated.
Fire Marshall will make June inspection.
Newport Music Festival.  Will submit grant for floor refinishing.
Lawn Care  Looking for folks on rotating schedule to mow the lawn.
Summer Service Location for 10:00  Survey results: 15 wanted INSIDE and 14 wanted OUTSIDE
Compromise was made to go outside on the first Sunday of June, July and August. Otherwise, services will be indoors.
Parking Passes have been sold to non-Emmanuelites which has proven to be quite lucrative.
Executive Committee   COVID-19 Plan changes regularly due to adjustments with State regulations.
Assistant Treasurer  Kitchen rehab came in under budget.
Communication committee will look into how we communicate online and in print.


Vestry Meeting Summary – April 20, 2021

Report on Vestry members as liaisons to the various ministries. The Executive Committee members have partnered with the Vestry members to share information. The Worship Committee is working on the hymns for Sundays to match with the readings, using hymn favorites sent in by the parishioners.

Property Committee notes: Fire Marshall will do an inspection for the building with the NMF’s participation. We will be looking for grants for future projects with a grant writer. Stain Glass repair is one such project. Work on the Hydroponics electricity and kitchen remodel work is out to bid and a grant from the Diocese has been applied for. The Vestry approved the electrical work for the hydroponics and the kitchen renovation project. One of the apartments will be available for rent in June. More work needs to be done on the stucco and door entrance; these costs were approved using the funds from the Van Beuren grant from 2020. More decisions to be made on the HVAC systems.

The RPG will continue to revise the plan based on the changes in the Diocese rules.  Vestry approved second draw on the Payroll Protection Program loan. Stewardship Committee is led by Susan Barnes again and has started work for this year. Quarterly giving reports were sent out using the Realm program.

Rectors report: NMF will sign the CUA this week. Episcopal Charities NOW donated funds for the hydroponics program. Della+ is taking a much-earned vacation in May.

Annual Meeting on January 31, 2021

The Emmanuel Church Annual Meeting was held on Zoom with over 40 participants.                           The Annual Reports

October 20, 2020

The October 2020 Vestry meeting included discussion of the budget deficit, hopes for the stewardship campaign, and consideration of the transition from the relative ease of outdoor worship to the rigor of winter quarantine requirements.

The budget deficit hovers around $30,000.  And while Treasurer Dave Monroe said he is hopeful that pledges will offset that number, it is important to remember that the deficit is is a lot less than it might have been had Emmanuel not applied for and received the federal PPP grant.

Valerie Martin discussed the stewardship campaign and was happy to report that a little more than half of the pledgers were noting the results of their Spiritual Gifts Inventory on the reverse side of  their pledge cards.  She also noted that one of the aims of this campaign was to turn regular givers into pledgers because it makes budget planning so much easier.

With a view to human capital, the Vestry approved nominees to the Nominating Committee to fill vacancies left by Phil Schmitt, Kevin Venancio and Janet Park on the Vestry, and Maggie Martin’s completion of Deb Venancio’s unexpired term as Junior Warden.

Taking on one of her last tasks in that role, Maggie Martin called a meeting of the Reopening Planning Group for this week to discuss how Emmanuel parishioners can worship safely, balancing, for example, state and diocesan mandates with worshippers’ requests for Communion.

The time has come to raise up leadership for the vestry! Please consider offering your own gifts in leadership for vestry service, or nominating someone whose gifts you know by contacting Deb Venancio or any member of the vestry. The vestry voted to form the Nominating Committee at its regular meeting on October 20th.


September 27, 2020

Our Rector Della Wager Wells and a majority of the Executive Committee reported back to the Vestry on a successful week after Labor Day spent as part of the 2020 Congregational Leadership Initiative, exploring problems and possibilities with similar groups from a dozen other congregations around the country. CLI was meant to meet in person at Episcopal camp Kanuga in Hendersonville, North Carolina, but thanks to the pandemic, the meeting took place via Zoom.  Participants gained an appreciation for the wide range of problems facing leadership around the country; from dealing with Biblical language that is racially charged and challenging for parishes of color to trying to worship without a church. The meeting helped put Emmanuel’s challenges and opportunities in perspective. The group anticipates the identification of their coach who will help our leadership team over the next 12 months with its goal of “realizing Emmanuel’s mission through faithful stewardship in service to the greater community, reaching a life of mutual abundance through the creation of a vibrant shared space.”
The next step is working with our coach to develop a strategic plan to help realize Emmanuel’s desire to find non-profit synergistic partner(s) to share our space and our mission of lifting up the human spirit to welcome the community, for all people, from all places, and in all seasons. Vestry members are excited by this direction and by the help the church leadership is receiving from the Episcopal Church Foundation.
What cheer! The Vestry was treated to a welcome change from the usual trials of budget issues in the form of a virtual visit from Posy Jackson who agreed to look over and assess Vestry members’ individual responses to a Spiritual Gift Inventory, a 76 question survey that members were asked to complete and forward to her. Jackson is an Episcopal Priest and relatively new communicant at Emmanuel who has worked extensively with the Guide and says it’s a way to assess “talents, interests and passions to help you see what you can best put forth into the world.”
She told the Vestry that we have exactly the right gifts to deal with the challenges facing us.
Based on the results of the survey, Emmanuel’s Vestry is especially gifted in the areas of administration and research/education. Those gifts have been critical in helping the vestry navigate the numerous health and bureaucratic challenges that the the last 6 months have presented. And then there is the fact that we have three nurses and a doctor on the body. Jackson offered to help anyone talk about and review their Inventory.
“We are very good at test taking but here there is a difference,” she said. “The answers need to come from the heart and not the mind.”
Susan Barnes, head of the Stewardship Committee, gave the Vestry details of and a timeline for this year’s stewardship campaign: “Forward Together: Celebrating our Gifts”.
The Vestry also approved a number of necessary expenditures, some for repairs, among them: repair of on of the clerestory windows broken during a heavy wind storm in late August and repair of a blower in the organ.

September 6, 2020

In addition to our regular August vestry meeting, we had several special called vestry meetings this month. With sadness and regret, we met to suspend Emmanuel Day School’s operations as a result of rapidly diminishing enrollment due to COVID. We give our heartfelt thanks to the director and the teachers — Carissa Perkowski, Kate Frantz, Terri Traeger, and Sarah Evans for their years of dedicated, loving care to make EDS the amazing preschool it has been for many years.
The Vestry also voted to go ahead with a comprehensive assessment of the church’s heating and ventilation system in order to develop an efficient staged approach to our heating and energy needs. The Stewardship Campaign is taking shape this year, and the vestry helped to shape the exciting plans that make the campaign unique. In the ongoing search for funding, the group discussed ways to maximize returns from the parking lot. A Spiritual Gifts Inventory was distributed to the Vestry to help members better define ways they may be of service. We also have prepared for and discussed the Congregational Leadership Initiative (CLI) program. Our team is Della+, Deb Venancio, Dave Monroe, Val Martin, and Vickie Hicks, and we begin our three-day intensive training workshop on Tuesday of this week. Finally, the vestry voted in its special meeting held August 24, 2020 to call Della+ as the 19th Rector of Emmanuel Church, Newport, and Della+ answered that it is her enormous honor and privilege to serve.


Currently, the Nominating committee is working on renaming and expanding its role at Emmanuel, under the new title, the Leadership Development Committee. This committee works to identify gifts of parishioners to expand candidates for leadership positions, invites parishioners with identified gifts to become involved in Emmanuel programs, and mentors new leaders for succession planning. For more information about this ministry, please contact the Junior or Senior Warden.