Dear St. John’s,
Last month, at both the Candidates Forum and the Annual Parish Meeting, we informed you of our continued efforts to identify the next junior warden. To allow additional time for this important search, former Senior Warden Roxy Wolfe, graciously agreed to run for election for this position at the Annual Parish Meeting, with the understanding that once the right person was found, she would tender her resignation, which would create a vacancy that, in accordance with our parish bylaws, may be filled by the Vestry’s appointment of a successor junior warden who will serve for the remainder of the one-year term.
We and the Vestry of St. John’s are excited to announce that parishioner Becky Neal has graciously accepted our invitation to become the next junior warden, and will be appointed to replace Roxy Wolfe at our upcoming vestry meeting on May 21st. The following bio will introduce you to Becky, and give you a sense of how blessed we are to have her serve in this leadership position at St. John’s. Grace and Peace, Sari Ateek and John Stewart, Senior Warden _______________________________________________________________
I have been a member of St. John’s for eight years. When I came to my first service in mid-September 2011, I had not been to church since I was a child. I was looking for spiritual support and guidance during some personal upheaval and I kept thinking that perhaps going to church might help. I live three blocks from St. John’s, and had passed the “come as you are” sign lots of times. I finally realized that if I wasn’t willing to try a service that was only a few blocks away from my house and one that I could wear jeans to – then I never would. So I attended the 5 pm service, heard Sari preach, and kept coming back. I found more comfort, community, and joy than I could have imagined.
That first year, I was part of the spiritual practices group headed by the associate rector. We offered a weekly book discussion that focused on disciplines and practices that support our faith. We also offered a weekly Centering Prayer opportunity and inaugurated the first women’s retreat, which has continued over the years. My second year at St. John’s, I joined the handbell choir. I had not played an instrument as an adult and yet here I was, ringing with the handbell choir! It challenged me mentally – learning to read music and ring a bell on time – and it has brought me great joy to play music with others and for others.
Within the first couple of years, I joined the vestry. I had a steep learning curve that first year. I was impressed by the dedication, talent, and thoughtfulness of the vestry members and the heartfelt leadership of the junior and senior wardens. I will echo Johnna’s sentiments in her comments at the parish meeting – I was enriched by my time on the vestry with new friendships, personal development working through difficult issues amidst conflict, learning to listen more carefully to others, and seeing collaborative decision-making at work.
I have also served on two committees. I was a member of the personnel committee for a couple of years where I gained insight into the importance of approaching employment concerns in the context of a spiritual community. At times we wrestled to identify the best path forward, recognizing the obligations to treat staff fairly as members of our family and maintain faithful stewardship of parish resources. I also helped lead the St. John’s Vision Process from its inception through its conclusion. Through this process, I gained a greater understanding of St. John’s community historically, from its original formation through the years as it developed into its current strengths and interests.
During the day, I am an attorney at the D.C. Bar where I investigate and prosecute unethical attorneys. I have been committed to serving the public my entire legal career. I first served as a public defender in Seattle, Washington and have been in my current job for the past 12 years. I am passionate about my work, and I bring the same commitment to fair and transparent process to my service to St. John’s as well as my heart-felt desire to follow Christ’s demonstration of love and leadership in community.
In the past couple of years, I have been struck by St. John’s resilience as it weathered the transition of changing three key staff members within a short time. I am excited by the enthusiasm for outreach and internal development and the new initiatives and programs that have begun. I am delighted to be part of the continued unfolding of God’s work and to be of service as part of the vestry.