My Three Years on Vestry

Weekly Reflection, Friday, January 28

By: Danny Williams, Jr., Member of Vestry Class of 2022

Ashley Cameron asked me to reflect on my three years on Vestry which have now come to an end. I hope I can speak for Ann Ramsey, Christy Gurkin and Harry Baldwin, my vestry classmates. The highlights were the new friends I made and the old friendships that grew.

By just about any measure, St. Mary’s is in better shape than it was in January of 2019. We have more members, more children, and more money than we had back then. I feel very privileged to have had a front row seat to witness the steady hand of David May as we made our way through a couple of world changing events.

The COVID-19 pandemic began to disrupt St. Mary’s and churches everywhere in March of 2020. Fourteen vestry meetings through April of 2021 were held by Zoom. In person services were suspended. Every aspect of church life was affected. Livestreaming, outside services, and masks are gradually helping us return to normal but we now must consider whether some of the changes might be with us from now on.

As a means to keep people connected, David came up with the innovative idea to assign each vestry member a mini congregation of 40 to 50 households. The idea was to communicate with them by e-mail every other month to bring them up to date with life at church as a supplement to the weekly eNunciation communications.

Then there was the racial reckoning brought on by the events at the end of May 2020 and the local unrest that followed. David asked each of us to compose a collect to help us seek God’s will for ourselves and St. Mary’s. This was a first for most of us and it led to very thoughtful discussions.

All of these issues are still with us but we are facing up to them thanks largely to the leadership of Harry Baldwin, our 2021 Senior Warden. He initiated a council of former Senior Wardens, he formed a task force to consider the long term effects of the pandemic, and has proposed an adult education course to foster racial harmony and reconciliation.

Thank you for giving me this wonderful experience.