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Vestry Reflections by Debbie Wiegand

Has it been 3 years since I joined the vestry? Almost and that means it’s time to reflect on the experience.

Numerous times before I had been asked to consider being on the vestry but only once in my 32 years at Emmanuel did I say yes and that was to serve for only 18 months to complete my husband’s term. Three years ago I finally ran out of reasons not to serve and signed on for a full 3-year term beginning in the middle of the lockdown. I am glad I said yes.

What changed that made me willing to serve? A belief that I needed to take my turn in leadership to help sustain the community that nurtures me. As I reflect on my Vestry time, I see the challenges we’ve faced and the difficult decisions we have made. But I also see how much I have gained from the experience.

First, learning about and from Elizabeth and the parishioners who served with me has been a pleasure. We each bring our own talents, insights, and priorities which lead to decisions that keep our vision for Emmanuel alive. Our discussions have, at times,

been lively and not always easy but our spirit of compassion and dedication to our community has been a constant. To my fellow vestry members, I value all that I have learned from each of you and marvel at all you contribute to Emmanuel.

Second, I cherish the opportunities to interact with the entire Emmanuel community whether informally after church, over the phone, or during one of our events. Whatever the topic - space use, outreach, parking, grounds maintenance, women’s programming – you shared with me how much you care about the Emmanuel community. I appreciate that you trusted me to share your vision with Elizabeth and the vestry. My hope is that I did an effective job of communicating your thoughts and desires.

As I close out my term, I feel good about my contributions to sustaining Emmanuel during the lockdown as well as reinvigorating our community the past two years. I take pride in being part, along with Polly Ogden and Lee Stiles, in initiating this blog as a way to improve our web communications and in contributing to other post-lockdown activities.

If and when you feel called to step into a vestry role, I would enjoy discussing how the experience has enriched my life and what it might mean for you.

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