What Are the Vestry’s Key Responsibilities?
Members of the vestry, along with the rector, serve as spiritual leaders in our congregation. They are entrusted with the mission of the congregation, called to offer their gifts for ministry to the sacred task of fulfilling God’s call. Rather than a representative for a constituency, they are trustees and stewards of the congregation.
The Episcopal Church Foundation identifies four responsibilities of the vestry, shared with the rector:
- Discerning God’s call
- Identifying new leaders
- Stewarding and developing resources
- Special duties in the absence of a rector
The most important of the four responsibilities is discerning God’s call for our congregation as articulated in its mission and vision. Congregations share the common mission of the Church, but every congregation is uniquely called by virtue of its history, its neighborhood, and its people to live that mission in a particular way. And God has equipped our community to fulfill the mission to which it is called. Discerning God’s call requires knowing your congregation’s history, its neighborhood, and its people.
Every congregation and all clergy in the Episcopal Church are bound to abide by the Canons of the Episcopal Church, which set out the following responsibilities:
- Be agents and legal representatives of the congregation in all matters concerning its corporate properties and the relations of the congregation to its clergy (Title I. Canon 14, Section 2, page 52.)
- Ensure that standard business methods, as outlined in The Episcopal Church’s Manual of Business Methods in Church Affairs, will be observed (Title I. Canon 7, Section 1, page 39).
- When a congregation is without a rector, the officers of the vestry are responsible for the continuation of worship, including the calling of a new rector (Title III. Canon 9, Section 3, page 87).
- The vestry has responsibility for nominating persons for holy orders (Title III. Canon 5, Section 2, page 70).
According to the By-Laws of St. John's Episcopal Church:
The Vestry shall consist of the Rector, two Wardens and twelve lay members. Anyone qualified to vote shall be eligible for election to the Vestry. Any member who meets the qualifications for election to the Vestry and has been confirmed or received in The Episcopal Church, shall also be eligible for election as a Warden.
With the exception of the Rector and the Wardens, no person shall hold office as a Vestry person for more than two consecutive three-year terms. The Wardens may serve two consecutive terms of two years each. A Vestry person or a Warden subsequently may be reelected to the Vestry at an Annual Meeting, at least one year after the completion of his/her second consecutive term. The Rector is not limited to terms of service.
The Vestry is led by an executive committee made up of the Rector, Wardens, and Treasurer.
The Vestry of St. John's Church is:
Seamus Mitchell was born and raised in Lee, Massachusetts. He is one of 7 children. He graduated from Heald College in San Francisco, California and then moved to Long Island to work for Beacon Financial Services, Ltd., where he has since become a partner in the financial services firm.
Seamus and his wife, Winn Keaten, reside in Oyster Bay with their three children, Owen (9), Theo (7) and Maeve (5). Seamus and Winn were introduced to St. John’s Church by Seamus’s step-father, Daniel Barbiero, and they’ve been active members since 2008.
The Mitchells are frequent participants in many Outreach and Children, Youth and Family events. Theo and Maeve are singers in our Primary Choir.
Seamus began serving St. John’s Church as a Sunday school teacher and is now an active participant in many aspects of parish life at St. John’s. Seamus has served on the Vestry for nearly 3 years and also serves on the Stewardship Committee, the Curate Search Committee, heads the Grow to Give Garden and co-chairs Hospitality with Winn.
Jon Hatch: Jon and Ellen Hatch joined St. John’s Church in 2018 and have found a spiritual, intellectual and caring community. They were welcomed from their first Sunday and are seeking ways to contribute to the church’s ministries.
Both graduated from Franklin & Marshall College and then ventured to Seattle for several years before returning to Long Island where Jon grew up. They moved to Northport in 1986 and were long time members of Trinity Church in Northport.
Ellen was a supporter of community outreach and coordinated some of those efforts with the church’s youth groups. The Hatches’ now young adult sons were active in youth activities and both were confirmed from Trinity Church. As a congregant at St. John’s, Ellen has found a home on the Outreach Steering Committee.
Jon was a member of the Vestry at Trinity, co-chaired the stewardship campaign, and assisted the treasurer in efforts to manage the operating budget and establish a sound financial foundation. He was also the head usher. Professionally, Jon is a Managing Director at Fiduciary Trust Company, International. As an investment portfolio manager, he has served as asset manager and financial advisor to foundations, religious organizations and families.
Leisure activities include sailing, running and shore walks. Jon had long involvement as a coach, director and treasurer of the Northport Lacrosse Club.
Jon is honored to have been nominated to serve as a member of the Vestry.
Joseph Bonventre: Growing up, I was a parishioner at St. Mary’s in Manhasset and attended Quaker school at Friends Academy. These experiences taught me the importance of religion to individuals, families and communities.
We first came to know St. John’s church through the CSHNS where my sons, Ben and Danny, attended and my wife, Becky, later worked. We joined St. Johns in 2011 and found it very accepting. St. Johns has provided us and our kids with meaningful volunteer opportunities, especially the grow to give garden.
Professionally, after law school, I joined the NY office of an international law firm. In 2004, I left private practice to join what is now Lexington Realty Trust, a publicly traded real estate investment trust (REIT) focused on single-tenant industrial real estate investments across the United States. I currently serve as Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel.
When not working, my favorite place to be is on Lake Winnipesaukee in NH during the summer with my family, where I boat, water ski, and hike.
Nancy has had a diverse and rewarding career and is committed to social good. She is currently working as a consultant with a select group of executive leaders in corporate and not for profit organizations. Nancy’s business background includes co-founding Interactive Marketing Services, a full-service database, direct marketing firm that was acquired by a public company in less than two years, giving Nancy the opportunity to change her career path and discover her professional passion; helping to develop high performing teams within community minded organizations and in the region.
As the former Director of Leadership Huntington and the Founding Director of The Energeia Partnership, an Academy for Regional Stewardship at Molloy College, Nancy helped bring together, influential leaders in the region, providing them with the information and networks necessary to become change agents. Nancy serves on the Board of Pal-O-Mine Equestrian, Inc., the Long Island Community Foundation and the NYS Empire Justice Center. She is a member of the Long Island Regional Planning Council and on the Advisory Board of the Suffolk County Police Commissioners Council. She has been named to Long Island Business News’ “The 50 Most Influential Women” list in 2012 and 2016 and received the Athena Leadership Award in 2015.
Susan Collins is a cradle Episcopalian, lifelong Huntington resident, and member of St. John's since 1999. She and husband Dan are parents to Danny and Julia, both baptized at St. John's. Sue is currently a Christmas Fair Co-Chair, frequent hospitality contributor and in the past served as a pre-k Sunday School teacher, Fall Fest committee member, and Fabulous Friday enthusiast. With a degree in Facility Planning & Management, she has experience in both retail store planning and congregation administration. Devoted to her alma mater, she serves in many volunteer leadership roles including Suffolk County Chair of the Cornell Alumni Admissions Ambassadors Network, VP of the Cornell Club of Long Island, and House Corporation Treasurer for Delta Chapter of Alpha Phi, a national historic registered property in Ithaca.
Sally, her husband Justin, and twin daughters, Violet and Millie, relocated to Lloyd Harbor in the summer of 2020. They were active members of Grace Episcopal in Massapequa before their move.
Currently a stay-at-home mother, Sally taught for ten years as a middle school Spanish teacher in Massapequa.
Since relocating, she has embraced her new town and community. Sally currently sits on the North Shore Holiday House board as Vice President of Program Development. She and her family attend services each week and look forward to being actively involved in such a special parish in this deeper way.
Kristin Dennehy is honored to join the Vestry at St. John’s. She brings eleven years of non-for-profit leadership experience, having served on the Board of East Woods School since 2012, the last four as Co-President.
Kristin and her husband Morgan live in Oyster Bay Cove. They have two daughters; Cate, a junior at Portledge School, and Charlotte, a seventh-grader at East Woods School. Cate was a confirmand in the class of 2017 at St. John’s.
Professionally, for the last 25 years, Kristin has worked at Herbert Mines Associates, an executive search firm focused on the retail and consumer industries. As a Managing Director, she conducts CEO and C-Suite level searches for her clients.
A native of Long Island, Kristin grew up in Northport and earned a B.A. from William Smith College.
Scott Evans first attended St. John’s Cold Spring Harbor in 2004 while living upstate. He met Margaret Rayne that same year at St. John’s in Huntington and they have been together ever since. They became full-time parishioners at St. John’s Cold Spring Harbor in 2009 and were married at the church in 2015. Their granddaughter, Cambria was baptized at St. John’s.
Since becoming a member, Scott has been and continues to be involved with the Haiti Partnership, the Grow to Give Garden and the African American Cemetery Project all since their inceptions, as well as other St. John’s programs.
Scott has three daughters, Heidi, Ashley and Rachel as well as two sons both prematurely deceased, Douglas and Micah.
Recreationally, Scott enjoys backpacking on the Appalachian Trail with his daughters, their friends and his granddaughter. Scott also enjoys traveling with Margaret, coin collecting, antiques, vinyl albums and reptiles. Scott is a self-employed carpenter who appreciates the challenges of maintaining older homes and upgrading newer ones.
James Hoover is Founder and Managing Member at Dauphin Capital Partners and has been a parishioner at St. John's for four years.
Dauphin Capital Partners, Mr. Hoover's family office, is responsible for evaluating a variety of investment opportunities including hedge funds, real estate, private equity, venture capital, direct private company investments and digital assets.
He has been an investor for over 40 years and specialized in the health care industry, specifically medical service companies.
Prior to founding Dauphin Capital Partners in 1998, he was a General Partner of Welsh, Carson, Anderson and Stowe, (WCAS). Prior to joining WCAS in November of 1992, Mr. Hoover was a General Partner of Robertson, Stephens & Co. and a Vice President of the Investment Management Group at Citibank N.A
Jim has been a director of over 20 private and 5 public health care companies and served as a director of American Farmland Company. He is a member of the Special Projects Committee of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center which raises funds and evaluates funding proposals from physicians interested in pursuing early-stage cancer research projects.
Jim received his MBA in Finance from the Graduate School of Business at Indiana University. He holds a BS degree in Business Administration from Elizabethtown College (Pennsylvania) where he presently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees and for a six year term, was responsible for the management of the College's endowment as its outsourced CIO.
He is the father of three grown children and a very proud grandfather and lives in the village of Muttontown.
Matt and Libby O’Connell moved to Lloyd Harbor in 1984, when their second child, Lucy, was born. The O’Connell’s joined St. John’s church at that time and are regulars at the 8 am service on Sundays. Matt has worked in the satellite and space industry for the last twenty years. He works at Seraphim, a London-based venture capital firm focused on the space industry. Matt founded GeoEye, a pioneer in the use of satellite imagery to make digital maps. One of its biggest clients was Google Earth. Matt served for several years on the U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation's Board of Directors and The National Trust for the Humanities.
Matt has worked in communications management and finance for most of his career. Early on, he was the lawyer in charge of corporate transactions for Cablevision Systems Corporation. He began his career as a mergers and acquisitions attorney on Wall Street.
In recent years, Matt has taken an active part in Blue Green Theology, St. John’s effort to raise awareness of the need to protect our maritime environment. He also plays music at occasional services at St. Johns with Blake Hanson and the Rev. Jesse Lebus. In his free time, he enjoys kayaking and tennis.
James Sanna and his family have been members of St. John’s for seven years. He is founder and President of Running Subway Productions, a live entertainment production company with its office in New York City. Running Subway conceives and executes theatrical and exhibit events globally. He has his undergraduate degree from Boston College and received an MBA from Northwestern University. James was raised in Westchester County, NY and has lived in NYC and, since 2001, on Long Island, first in Brookhaven Hamlet before moving to the north shore in 2010.
He and his wife Malinda have raised their two sons, Raffi and Luca (junior and freshman, respectively, at Cold Spring Harbor High School) in the church. James was raised in the Catholic faith and has found the Episcopalian Church a good meeting ground for him and his wife who was raised Mennonite. St. John’s has been the foundation for his family’s involvement in the community, from his children’s participation in the children’s choirs through confirmation class, and his wife’s involvement with St. John’s Singers, the Haiti committee and the engagement committee. This is James’ first committee responsibility within St. John’s and he is honored to be asked for his involvement with the important work of the Vestry. He considers himself an “explorer” of faith, having been raised Catholic then studying at Jesuit Boston College, but he doesn’t feel wed to any dogmas. He enjoys the people of St. John’s, its work in the community, the beautiful setting, the open-mindedness of the Episcopalian religion. Serving on the Vestry James hopes his experience running a production business is to be able to contribute to the meaningful role St. John’s plays in the community.
Mary Gay Townsend
Mary Gay Townsend has been a part of the St. John’s community since her marriage to Jamie Townsend in 1985. She has four beautiful children: Teddie, Zoe, JB and Faith, all of whom have been christened at St. John’s and participated in all of the wonderful activists St.Johns has to offer. From the Christmas pageant, to choir, and confirmation, Mary Gay has watched on with pure joy as her children grew into adults all within a blink of an eye. Currently she serves as a LEM and reader for Sunday services and has also participated in Sunday School, The Hunger Outreach Committee and The Christmas Fair.
For her day job Mary Gay is Managing Partner and founder of Norgay Partners; a retained executive search firm focused on the financial industry. She graduated from George Washington University and The French Culinary Institute. Her family, friends, gardening, Yoga, tennis, golf and entertaining are all of the things she loves when she is not in the office!
Jack was raised in Oyster Bay and has been attending St. John’s Church since 1982 when his parents joined the Parish. Confirmed at the Church in 1985, he was married to Julia Tiernan at St. John’s in 2005 (with Carleton Lee officiating), and all three of his children have been baptized here. Julia was also baptized at St. John’s as a child and has had an equally long connection with the Church. Their children, Hugh V (12), William (9), and Eliza (6) are enrolled in Sunday School and St. John’s is an important part of their life as they raise their family in the community. Jack is on the Stewardship Committee and was actively involved in the 2019 Stewardship effort.
Jack attended St. Mark’s School, Southborough, Massachusetts, then got a BS in Finance from Lehigh University and an MBA from Columbia University. He is the third generation (81 years) owner of North Bay Cadillac Buick GMC, in Great Neck and Jaguar Land Rover Freeport, of Freeport, with 180 employees. Jack is a Board Member of the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association and the Glen Cove Boys and Girls Club. Jack and his family live in Locust Valley.