Lay Leadership

In the Episcopal Church, leadership is shared between the clergy and non-ordained lay leaders, which includes a vestry, and its senior and junior wardens. Diocesan delegates and alternates represent the parish at the regional level, including both the Santa Clara Valley Deanery and the Diocese of El Camino Real.

The end of January signals a change in the lay leadership of Saint Thomas. The parish lay leaders who serve as vestry members typically fulfill this role over a three-year cycle. On occasion, there may be special circumstances where intermediary service is needed.

The current slate of lay leaders serving on vestry includes the following individuals in order of their service:

The Vestry

First Year: Chris Schmidt and Susan McVey (term through 2022)
Second Year: Ann Kopischke, Hugo Lopez-Laguna, Marilyn Winans (term through 2021)
Third Year: Dorothy Furgerson, Peg Prior, Bill Rosgen, and Pam Storrer (term through 2020)

The Wardens

Senior (or Rector’s) Warden: Ann Kopischke
Junior (or People’s) Warden: Lou Poulain

The Vestry Clerk position is held by Fran Hostettler.

Special Thanks

We would like to extend our special thanks to all of the vestry members completing their service – we greatly appreciate your leadership and faithful guidance of the parish!

Vestry Committees

In addition to selecting a Junior Warden, every year at the annual Vestry Retreat, a new set of priorities and Commissions or Committees are discerned. This happens in early February shortly after the annual meeting of the parish. This year’s Vestry will undergo a discernment process with the establishment of commissions for the year.

Diocesan Delegates & Alternate to Convention

Stephanie Daugherty, Rita Welsh, Hugo Lopez-Laguna, and Abby O’Connell

Alternates: Joe Gutierrez and Marilyn Winans

If you have questions, or would like to reach the Vestry, Wardens or Commissions, please Contact Us.

Can you tell me more about the Vestry at Saint Thomas?

Can you tell me more about the Vestry at St. Thomas?

At Saint Thomas, the vestry consists of 12 church members in good standing who volunteer to serve alongside the rector as the main governing body—the lay leadership council of the church.

The vestry is responsible for making managerial decisions, overseeing church property and assets, as well as establishing yearly commissions that provide focus and direction for the parish in the coming year. Vestry members generally serve for a 36-month consecutive term. The terms are staggered so that each year, four new members rotate on replacing four who have completed their final year of service.

The Vestry meets the 3rd Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the library. For upcoming schedule, see Parish Calendar.

To learn more about the role of the Vestry, The Vestry Handbook and related materials can be checked out in our lending library.  See Online Catalog for available listings.

What are Vestry Commissions and Special Offices?

Each year in early February, the Vestry participates in a retreat to discern its main focus areas for the year.  Vestry commissions are formed, goals and objectives set, and chairperson(s) are selected to implement commission work. They report their progress on a monthly basis to the entire Vestry.

The Vestry Commissions for 2014 are Family Ministry, Property, and Vitality and Growth.

Special Offices are unique duties that vestry members may hold in addition to or in lieu of commission membership.

The Recording Clerk takes meeting minutes at monthly vestry meetings and manages its archive in addition to participating on a commission.

The Rector Search Committee Liaison is a periodic role that typically replaces commission membership. It is established during an interim period between permanent rectors.

In 2013, Saint Thomas experienced the retirement of a beloved rector resulting in the customary formation of a Rector Search Committee.  A vestry member was appointed to serve as a liaison with non-voting member status on the Rector Search Committee. This liaison role facilitates communications and a smoother transition during the interim period.

What do the Wardens do?

Junior and senior wardens are designated members of the vestry who lead its meetings and facilitate communications between church leadership and the people of the parish. They also serve as lay leaders at regional diocesan events.

The senior or “Rector’s Warden” is chosen by the rector or priest-in-charge to work together to fulfill the mission and vision of the parish. The junior or “People’s Warden” is elected by the vestry to serve as a liaison between the people and the clergy to ensure that everyone has a voice.

What role do Diocesan Delegates and Alternates play in the parish?

Diocesan Delegates (and alternates, in their absence) serve as representatives of Saint Thomas at regional meetings of the Santa Clara Valley Deanery, and participate in the annual convention of the Diocese of El Camino Real. They provide the collective voice of Saint Thomas in matters relating to diocesan governance, which ultimately influence The Episcopal Church at a national level.

The Diocese of El Camino Real’s 35th Annual Diocesan Convention will be held November 6-7th, 2015 in Salinas.

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