The Vestry at Emmanuel Church serves as the church’s fiscal administration, manages real estate and property and promotes leadership. For more information about the work of the Vestry, please contact the Rector.
Lil Hargrove was born in Glen Cove, Long Island, New York and baptized at Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City. She resides in Newport, she has five children, twelve grandchildren, and two great granddaughters affectionately named Lillian and Mabel. Lil’s commitment to and love of Emmanuel began with her teaching Sunday School. Her undying vitality and vigor have led her to serve on every committee and position here at Emmanuel with the exceptions of Altar Guild and treasurer. Lil broke ground and became the first female Junior Warden, and later becoming the first female Senior Warden to serve the Church. Lil’s heartfelt and warm manner makes new and old parishioners have a sense of being welcomed and loved at Emmanuel. Lil was a school nurse/teacher for thirty one years and presently is a part time funeral employee at Memorial Funeral Home. Just as a baseball team had utility infielders etc., Lil likens her familiar role as Senior Warden to being the utility warden and looks forward to her one year position.
Edith Anne Sherman (Annie) was born right here in Newport, and was baptized and confirmed at Trinity Church. In her younger years, she operated an infant and toddler day-care licensed under what is now DCYF. Then, in 1979 she discovered what she believes to be her ministry when she became Parish Administrator at St. Columba’s Chapel in Middletown, where she served until 1991. When she left St. Columba’s she transferred her membership to Emmanuel, which was only three blocks from her home. For the next three years she worked at MDS Printing in Portsmouth, but that just ‘paid the bills’ and she finally left that job in 1993. She went back to serving in the church, which she thoroughly enjoys and looks forward to each day. On January 4, 1994, she became Parish Administrator at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Newport, a position she still holds. Since coming to Emmanuel, she has served in various positions on the vestry over the twenty-five years she has been a member here. She is also the parish bookkeeper. Anne will be serving her third year as Junior Warden.
Ron Fleming and his wife Pam, live in Newport and have been parishioners at Emmanuel Church since April 2013. Ron was born into a Northern Baptist tradition, changing to a Methodist Church in his teens. In the 1990’s Pam and Ron began worshipping at an Episcopalian Church, Christ Church, in Needham, MA. Ron was confirmed at Christ Church in 1999, where he served as a youth group advisor. Ron has participated in many missionary home rebuilding trips, including three to Biloxi, Mississippi following Hurricane Katrina. Ron retired from a forty year career in behavioral health, where he devoted much of his time and effort to securing high quality services for persons experiencing an addiction to alcohol or drugs.
Sarah Whitehouse Atkins moved to live full time in a family home in Newport five years ago, with her husband and three teenage children. She has been involved with the Episcopal Church since her days at the National Cathedral School, serving as a school acolyte at the Washington National Cathedral, and later as a member of the Altar Guild at St. Thomas’ Church in Owings Mills, MD. She worked for two years as Newport Program Director for Social Enterprise Greenhouse, a network of business and community leaders who support positive change through social enterprise. Through her involvement in promoting social enterprise in the state, she met Mother Anita, who encouraged her involvement at Emmanuel. Sarah is involved in the chanting group, choir, and is a member of the Environment Committee. She is the as the Grant Advisor for the City of Newport Department of Civic Investment. Sarah is honored to serve on the Vestry at Emmanuel and support the church’s congregation and its involvement with the wider Newport community. Sarah will be serving her fourth year as Clerk/Secretary.
Courtney grew up on Long Island and her first arrival to Rhode Island was during Architecture School at Roger Williams University in 1987. Upon graduation she pursued her career for two years in San Francisco and then for 20 years in Manhattan. During her Manhattan time she was continually drawn to Newport and frequently spent weekends in Newport. She became a full time resident in Newport four years ago. She was fortunate to have two friends who introduced her to Emmanuel. She felt right at home immediately and wanted to make Emmanuel a prominent part of her life. Courtney was confirmed an Episcopalian by the Bishop on October 30, 2016. One of her favorite activities at Emmanuel is Bible study. She has been able to get to know some of her Emmanuel family intimately through this practice. She also enjoys being part of the Altar Guild and a co-chair of Episcopal Charities. She is honored to be considered to fill Vestry at Large, and looks forward to becoming of service to Emmanuel Church and to be a team player with all the parishioners!
Janet Conroy Park was born in Newport, and lived in Connecticut for most of her life. In 2014, she realized her dream of moving to Newport. Janet has continued her career in Special Education and works as a teacher assistant. Janet loves living here, and enjoys welcoming friends and family, especially her children and grandchildren. Janet’s grandmother and mother were members of Emmanuel. Janet is honored to serve as a Eucharistic minister and on the Altar Guild. She is on the Advisory Board for EDS, the Stewardship Committee, and the Outreach Committee. Janet enjoys helping with Soup’s On, and participating in the Book Group. Janet will be serving her second year as Vestry at Large.
Doug Poskitt is relatively new to Rhode Island and Emmanuel, although he is a lifelong Episcopalian. He and his wife Krista Haskell (plus their four children) live in Portsmouth and have been coming to Emmanuel for more than two years. Previously, Doug served on the vestry at St. Columba’s in Middletown. He and his family feel at home here at Emmanuel Church, thanks in large part to Mother Anita’s outreach. Doug currently serves as a member of the Upper School faculty at Rocky Hill School in East Greenwich. Doug is serving his third year in a Vestry at-large position.
Karen Sironen was born and raised in North Kingstown, RI, and is a 1997 graduate of URI. Karen worked an an AmeriCorps*VISTA member where she worked at a homeless shelter in Westerly, RI shortly after graduation. She met her husband, John Florez, in San Francisco in 2000, and moved back to RI with John in 2004. Together they founded Drupal Connect, a web development company, which quickly became one of the fastest growing companies in America, according to Inc. Magazine. They are headquartered in Newport, where John serves as a City Councilor. Karen and John have two children, Martha, 12, and Nefi, 9. Nefi is an EDS alumnus and both children currently attend All Saints Academy in Middletown. Karen was baptized and confirmed in St. Paul’s of Wickford. She has been an active, pledging member of Emmanuel Church for over two years now. She’s involved in her community as a volunteer member at Pell Elementary’s mentoring program. On a personal note, Karen’s hobbies are crocheting and attempting to play guitar. She also enjoys contemporary folk music as well as horror movies and novels. Karen will be serving her second year as Vestry at Large.
Ellen Vadney has been a member of Emmanuel since 1998. She is currently a member of the choir and serves as a Eucharistic minister. She has served on the vestry once or twice, and has served as Junior Warden and Treasurer. She serves at the diocese on the board of Episcopal Charities, and has served as a member of Diocesan Council. She is a mentor for Education for Ministry with a group that meets at St Peter’s-by-the-Sea in Narragansett. Ellen welcomes and invites everyone to join her in these activities. Ellen will be serving her first year of a three year term.
Vestry At Large: Debra Venancio
Debra Venancio joins the Vestry to fulfill a vacated seat. Her lifetime experience includes 42 years of practice at Newport Hospital as both a staff nurse and an administrator with her main focus in the Intensive care Unit for eleven years and in Obstetrics for thirty-one years. As an Emmanuelite, Deb was baptized and confirmed at Emmanuel and spent most of her adult life attending Emmanuel Church. She was a member of the search committee at St. Mary’s Church, Portsmouth when they found William Peyton to lead the flock for eleven years. She served several terms on the Vestry at St. Mary’s and was responsible for the building of its playground. Upon her return to Emmanuel, Deb served on the vestry at large and As Junior Warden. Deb loves Emmanuel as her religious home and has recently worked with Mother Anita to recreate the Founder’s Room, and sorting the archival material that will be stored at the University of Rhode Island.
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.