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 7 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
Jorge Casteneda, Senior Warden
Kim Rodekohr, Junior Warden
Heather Healy
Ken Nowinski
Helen Kennedy Lazar
Cathy Cellini
Judy White
Ginny Green
Ann Knight
Art Schipper, InterimTreasurer
Betsy Zampa, Clerk
Giovanna Zampa, Youth Advisor
 

 

 

Jorge Casteneda, Senior Warden

 

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.

 

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. 

 

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.
Judy White
 

My husband, Dave, and I joined St. Paul’s in 1985 when our children were very small. From the beginning, we felt welcomed. St. Paul’s has always seemed like a second home to me. There have been a lot of changes over the years, and my journey has taken me though many different programs and activities, including Altar Guild, teaching Sunday School, coordinating the Sunday Church School program & working with various youth ministers to provide programs for older youth, serving as Vestry member and Vestry Clerk for a year, to starting and coordinating our Health Ministries program.

I have always loved singing, and several years ago I began singing with the Traditional Choir, where (when not in COVID times) you can find me most Sundays.  I love being a part of the choir, and feel very much a part of worship services.  I have also recently been in training to be a Lay Eucharistic Visitor. 

I am a recently retired RN, and was Quality Manager and Education Manager for my home care agency.  Since retirement, I have enjoyed gardening, traveling, reading, singing with the Vallejo Choral Society, and taking care of our year-old Labrador, Colby.   We enjoy visiting our children, and having them visit us, whenever possible—Kyle, who lives in Oregon, and Ashley, who lives in Huntington Beach.   We have 3 grand-dogs, and 1 grand-cat.

Having wanted to get back into being involved more at St. Paul’s, I am committed to working with the Vestry and congregation in looking forward– addressing issues and challenges facing St. Paul’s, and in looking for opportunities that will take our congregation into the next years in a much stronger way.  I believe in whole-person health–health of body, mind, and spirit–for all who chose to make St. Paul’s their place of worship, and for those persons that we care for in our community. 

We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that something deep inside us is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch.  Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.”  (e.e. cummings) What are we being called to do?    And who are we being called to be? 

Ginny Green
 

My name is Ginny Green and I’ve been living in Benicia for about 25 years. My professional life was spent in public education as a teacher, middle school counselor, and elementary school principal. I am a mother of three sons, now all married. I have three grandchildren with two more on the way this year! In 2019, I married the love of my life, Larry Lutz, at St. Paul’s. I now happily have two stepdaughters. Larry and I have been attending this fine church since 2014. Before the pandemic, we traveled a lot both nationally and internationally. We also love to hike, camp and kayak. I’ve rediscovered the joy of knitting due to the pandemic. I practice yoga and do my best to “be the change I wish to see in the world.”

Ann Knight

I was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio and moved to Benicia (after a brief stay in Wheeling, West Virginia) in 2001.  Our family came to Benicia for my husband Dave’s job.  We have two adult daughters, Emily and Alex.  I first became involved with St. Paul’s through the Traditional Choir.  I was invited to participate during the Christmas season and I never really left!  I also volunteer with the Community Meal. 

 

I am happy to have found a church home that wants to reflect Jesus’ love to all and help make the world in His image, just, loving and equitable for all people.  I am enthusiastic to be part of the Vestry and to assist in the work of St. Paul’s.

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 is an excellent and enthusiastic student at San Diego State University (on-line for now), and  a lifeguard for the City of Benicia’s James Lemos Pool.  She is passionate about social justice issues and hopes to work in the field of social work as an adult.