, St. Paul’s Vestry

 

St. Paul’s Vestry manages the affairs and conducts the secular business of our parish.  The Vestry also supports the rector in promoting the spiritual welfare and growth of our church.  Comprised of the rector, treasurer and nine (9) lay members of the congregation, St. Paul’s vestry meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 6:30 pm. Three (3) members of the congregation are elected at the annual general meeting to serve three (3) year vestry terms.   

Our current Vestry consists of the following members:
 
The Rev. Annie Pierpoint Mertz
Yann Jouvenot Sells, Senior Warden
David White
Charlie Kilbourne
Kim Rodekohr, Junior Warden
Heather Healy
Ken Nowinski
Helen Kennedy Lazar
Jorge Casteneda
Cathy Cellini
Del Baker Medlock, Treasurer
Betsy Zampa, Clerk
Giovanna Zampa, Youth Advisor
 

Yann Jouvenot Sells, Senior Warden

I have been a member of St. Paul’s since 2009, when my husband Dave and our two sons, Albert and Thomas, moved to Benicia. St Paul has welcomed and embraced us since, and it has become an extension of our family. Our youngest son James was brought to St Paul as soon as he was in our care (three weeks old), and our three boys have been baptized and welcomed to the Episcopal Church by Rev Jeanne.                                                                                                                           My functions in St. Paul’s have mainly revolved around the choir and as an usher. We have also participated in a variety of family activities such as KVA and family weekends. As my sons grow older, I look forward to getting involved in the Sierra Service Project. In 2015, I started my path in the Cursillo community, and it has had a profound effect in my spiritual life. I am currently the Cub Master for Pack 128 of the Benicia Cub Scouts and was a Volunteer Firefighter in this town for five years (until 2016). 
                                                                                                                                                              I look forward to bringing my skills to the vestry, in particular around the areas of communication, leadership and financial planning, as well as my perspective as the father of young children and a gay man.  I am committed to working with the rest of the Vestry members to ensure St. Paul’s future as the welcoming and inspiring community that we all know it to be.
Charlie Kilbourne  
I was raised in the Episcopal Church and my wife Dale and I have been members of St. Paul’s since 1990.  I served on the Vestry during the mid-1990s and helped coordinate the Lay Eucharistic Visitor ministry under Father Harold.   I served as the spiritual advisor for the Rector search in 2000 and was a member of the search committee that brought Rev. Jeanne to St. Paul’s.  I currently serve as a Lay Eucharistic Minister, Usher and am a member of St. Paul’s Parish Commission on Ministry.                                                                                                                                                                                                                         I retired from California state service last year, having worked 29 years as a public policy manager and analyst in job training programs for the Employment Development Department.  I am a passionate advocate for people with epilepsy and serve as a board member and volunteer educator for the Epilepsy Foundation of Northern California.  I subscribe to Jackie Robinson’s observation that, “A life is not important except for the impact it has on other lives.”  I bring this philosophy and passion to my work as a Vestry member.  
David White
 
 I have been coming to St. Paul’s since the mid to late 80s, first sporadically, then regularly in the 90s. I was recruited into the choir and found that my involvement made me more centered in the messages and liturgy.  I was asked to serve on the vestry and was senior warden for a two-year term, while a rector search was underway, eventually calling Jeanne Forte (after a trial rector didn’t work out) to our midst.
 
I have seen quite a few changes in this wonderful congregation, and I look forward to being able to serve God and the wonderful people here, and those yet to come. My mission will be to understand what will be the best for St. Paul’s and the people of the community. 
 
Kimberly Rodekohr, Junior Warden
 
It was 23 years ago when my husband Steve and I were riding bicycles on First Street with our daughters that we began noticing St. Paul’s.  With both of us being Episcopalians as young children, we decided to begin attending. We loved the quaint and historic look of this church and had always wanted to attend a service.  When we walked into St. Paul’s, it was like coming home. I had never felt such love and acceptance from a community as I did with St. Paul’s. We became members of the church and dove in, feet first, with serving the church in any capacity we could.  I became passionate about St. Paul’s  I am currently serving on the Altar Guild and the Flower Guild.  I was the Peddlers’ Fair chair and the Co-chair in 2003.  Throughout the years, I have taught Godly Play as well as the high school Sunday School.  I am an usher and a LEM and love serving my community of St. Paul’s. 
I retired at the rank of  sergeant with the Alameda Police Department after 18 years due to injuries sustained on the job. My retirement was a blessing in disguise as I was able to be a stay-at-home mom for our daughters Shelby and Haley.  
 
I was am honored to serve as a vestry member at St. Paul’s.
 
 
Heather Healy
 
I moved to Benicia in 2008 with my family and have been attending St. Paul’s since 2009.  I am mother to Colin, Evan, and Elizabeth and wife to John Healy.  I work part-time as an occupational therapist at John Muir Health in Concord.
 
I have been involved in Cub Scouts, elementary school volunteering, and youth and family ministries here at St. Paul’s.  I also enjoy running, yoga, and reading when I can catch a moment to myself.  I am excited and honored to serve as a Vestry person at St. Paul’s.
Ken Nowinski
 
I was born in Tacoma, WA, and grew up in San Jose, CA, and Chicago, IL. I graduated from Cupertino High School in 1986 and joined the Air Force in 1987. I was stationed at Biloxi, MS, Moreno Valley, CA, Fairfield, CA, Guam, England, and Robins, GA. I retired from active duty in 2013 and moved back to Fairfield in 2014.
 
Brigitte and I were married in 2001 and our son Robert was born in 2006. Although I am mostly focused on SCUBA diving and am training to become a Dive Master, our family also cycles, hikes, and camps as frequently as we can manage.
 
We first attended St. Paul’s in 2006, and I became more active in the church when we returned in 2014.  I have assisted with and participated in KVA and Peddlers’ Fair every year since our return, and I am also a LEM and Lector, usually at the 11 am service. This year I am becoming involved with the Peddlers’ Fair Committee.  We are living in Fairfield but renovating a house in Benicia and hope to be able to move in by the summer.
Helen Kennedy Lazar
 

I am a Financial Advisor and Tax Consultant in the San Francisco Bay Area. I am a Registered Representative and licensed tax preparer in the state of California. I completed a successful Corporate Management career at the University of California. I graduated from Southern University with a BA in Economics and a minor in Accounting. I received my MBA in Business Management from San Francisco State University. I have been a resident of Benicia for 14 years and am a member of St Paul’s Episcopal Church for many years. I usher at the 11 a.m. service, have participated in Grateful Glad and Giving activities, and in many of the Party of Parties. I enjoy travel, music, ballet, theater and spectator sports. 

 

Jorge Casteneda

 

My wife Jenny and I were married at Saint Paul’s in 2005. We have three daughters: Alexandria, Julia and Grace. I started attending Saint Paul’s because of my involvement with the Sierra Service Project. I realized how much I enjoy service work and being a counselor to the youth. I have been involved with the Sierra Service Project for over 10 years. I enjoy teaching and started an after-school coding academy working with 3rd thru 5th graders to help promote computer science in earlier ages throughout our community. We are now members of Saint Paul’s doing all we can to continue making this church an inviting place to attend and worship.

 

 

Cathy Cellini
 
I came to St. Paul’s about five years ago. One of the first things I remember is the celebrant saying “wherever you are in your spiritual journey, you are welcomed here. All are welcomed here.” My goal for all newcomers is to experience the same warm, sincere welcome I did.
 
I was encouraged to try different ministries to find my niche. I have worked with Community Meal, Usher, Godly Play, Kids’ Vacation Academy, Sierra Service Project, Second Saturday, Grateful-Glad-and Giving, and, of course, Peddlers’ Fair. And I enjoy them all.
 
My years of managing in the hospitality industry has given me the opportunity to work with a widely diverse work force. The more diverse the group, the more enjoyment I experienced. I have experience in problem solving or “crisis management” as we called it. I focus on the issue at hand and work diligently for an efficient and positive outcome. My dream for St. Paul’s is more time devoted to kids and young adult programs. My hope for them is to have a strong, comfortable, and active relationship with a loving God they can lean on to help them navigate through this “crazy” and ever-changing world. We are very active in the community today. We have an opportunity and responsibility to expand our activities, making our world a better place. Together we can get this done as we begin this new decade.

 

 

Giovanna Zampa, Youth Advisor
 
Giovanna has been attending St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Benicia since her birth.  Over the years she has been a lay reader, a KVA camper, a KVA counselor, a preacher, an acolyte, a thurifer, as well as a mentor and teacher to younger acolytes.  She serves as a child care provider to our youngest friends in St. Paul’s nursery. 
 
On a diocesan level, Giovanna has been involved in the Pathways Program both as a participant a youth leader.  
 
Giovanna has been chosen by the National Church to serve as a leader for the Episcopal Youth Event which will take place in July 2020 in Washington, DC.
 
Giovanna is an excellent and enthusiastic student, a lifeguard, and a competitive swimmer.  She is passionate about social justice issues and hopes to work in the field of social work as an adult.