Vestry

The Vestry

what is it? who are they?

The term "Vestry" once referred to the room in a church where sacred vessels and vestments were kept. Over time, this term was adopted to identify those persons entrusted by a congregation to conduct church business. At Saint-Esprit, the Vestry is made up of church members in good standing who are elected every year to oversee the parish's finances and activities, and to support the Rector in his work for the spiritual welfare of the congregation.

Vestry members are elected at Saint Esprit's annual meeting each May for periods of three years. The congregation also elects officers, who hold additional responsibilities as legal representatives of the church.

Lynnaia Main, Senior Warden

Lynnaia came to Saint Esprit in 2001, joined the Vestry in 2006 and has been Senior Warden since 2010. Originally from southern New Jersey, she has had a lifelong interest in different cultures and languages, and a love for all things francophone. This led her to study and lecture in international relations and political science in Washington DC, Paris and Durban, South Africa. She currently works at a French bank as an executive assistant and archivist. On Sundays, Lynnaia often leads the Prayers of the People, and serves as a chalice bearer and reader. She is an enthusiastic member of the Bible Study, has taught French classes and sings with the choir and Taizé. She also serves on the Communications Committee and the Diocesan Committee for Reparations for Slavery.

Guillaume Kossivi Ahadji, Junior Warden

Guillaume came to Saint Esprit in 2006 and was elected to the Vestry in 2009, and as Junior Warden in 2011. Originally from Togo in West Africa, he comes from a historically important religious family, as his grandfather was one of Togo's first evangelists. Guillaume completed studies in Togo, Germany and Canada, and is fluent in French, English and German. He is a graphic artist and master printer by trade, trained in Germany to supervise Heidelberg high-speed presses. Guillaume and his wife Philippine have three children, Jonathan, Johan and Josué. On Sundays, Guillaume often serves as a lay reader and leads the Prayers of the People, for Sunday services, and is a choir member. Guillaume has been the driving force behind Saint Esprit's Fête Afrique, an annual celebration every summer whose liturgy and reception celebrate African cultures and spiritual expression.

Stephen Billick

Stephen came to Saint Esprit in the late 1980s and was elected to the Vestry in 2010. He is a descendant of a Huguenot who was forced to flee France in 1610 and is a member of the Huguenot Society of America. Steve was raised an Episcopalian and served on the vestries of his parish churches when he lived in San Francisco and later in Philadelphia. On arriving in New York in 1980, he joined St. Thomas Church, where he is an usher and a lector. Steve is in private practice of clinical child, adolescent and adult psychiatry and he does consultations for the courts. He is a lifelong Francophone and Francophile, having studied French in high school and in college, and is currently writing a play in French. Stephen loves our dear Saint Esprit and is enjoying the added bonus of being able to improve his French.

Makiko Ito

Makiko

Makiko was received into the Episcopal Church in 2005 and joined the Vestry in 2006. After encountering the Taizé community in France, she decided to learn French and joined the church's French lessons. The Rector encouraged her to introduce a weekly Taizé-style prayer at the church, which led her to deeper involvement in the congregation. Makiko came to the U.S. to complete her studies at Columbia University’s graduate School of the Arts. She works for a major Japanese television network's New York office, producing cultural events such as art exhibitions, television programs and Kabuki, including major productions at Lincoln Center. Makiko sings in Saint Esprit's choir and at Taizé prayers every Thursday at 6:30 and on Sunday mornings every three months. She leads the Cemetery Committee and is the Chair of the Altar Guild. She is also active with the Episcopal Church’s Metropolitan Japanese Ministry.

Philip Orawski

Philip came to Saint Esprit in 2008 and was elected to the Vestry in 2011. Born in the UK, his parents both emigrated from France shortly after the Second World War and raised him in a French milieu. He attended the Lycée Français in London and was active throughout his youth at at L’Eglise Protestante Français de Londres, where his Mother was a Sunday School teacher and his Father a Vestry member. At Saint Esprit, Philip helps out during French conversation lessons and has been active with “The Joueurs”, an ad hoc francophone theater group. Formerly a business manager for a Fortune 50 corporation, Philip hopes to contribute some of his marketing and operational skills to the service of the church.

Marjorie Pierre

Marjorie has attended Saint Esprit since 2001 and has served on the Vestry since 2005. She is a native Creole and French speaker from Haiti. She has three children, two boys and a girl. For her and her children, Saint Esprit is a second home. After many years in health, she changed careers and became a surgical assistant in 2006. Presently, she works at Kings County Hospital in the MedSurge Unit and pharmacy. Marjorie loves to be involved in parish life, to organize and plan social events and receptions, and to coordinate volunteers for special events. She has been the driving force behind Saint Esprit's mission initiatives in Haiti, such as organizing financial assistance after natural disasters and shipping supplies to children at a school in Jacmel, Haiti. Marjorie also assists with preparing the altar and serves as a chalice bearer.

Rita Marie Pullium

Rita believes Divine Providence led her to Saint Esprit in mid-2008, after she took early retirement. Initially curious about the French classes, she quickly discovered that Saint Esprit offered much more: spiritual nourishment and a supportive faith community. Rita holds a Ph.D. in Psychology; she was involved in the teaching and research of social psychology for many years in the U.S. and in the Philippines. She left academic life to become the Vice President of the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia (1996-2008). Retirement has given her the freedom to pursue varied interests, including volunteer work. At Saint Esprit, she has been a member of the vestry since 2010, serving in the Altar Guild and Investment Committee. On Sundays she attends the French Conversation Class and serves as usher in the worship service. She is also the President of Board of Morningside Retirement and Health Services, an organization that espouses healthy and productive retirement, aging in place, and aging in community.

Tim Wilkins

Tim joined Saint Esprit in 2003 and the Vestry in 2007. A journalist and editor, Tim writes about both emerging markets and jazz, and speaks French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and German. He works for WBGO-FM in Newark, has worked for Bloomberg News and USAID, jazz.com and Jazz at Lincoln Center, and taught at Rutgers University. The son and grandson of Presbyterian ministers, he was born in Geneva and attended Collège Cévènol in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon. He and his wife Christine have close ties to the Taizé ecumenical community in France and have helped organize Taizé gatherings in several countries. Tim serves as a chalice bearer, in music ministry, on the Building and Communications Committees, and is Saint Esprit's webmaster.

Robert Pine, Treasurer

Bob has been a member of Saint Esprit since 1997, and served on the Vestry from 2003 to 2011, and as and Junior Warden for five years. You may recognize him from his role as lay reader during Sunday services or as the spokesperson for the pledge campaign. He speaks fluent French and is an active member of New York's francophone community. He was instrumental in negotiations to relocate the Lycée Français de New York in Manhattan. He has worked for many years in hospital administration. Bob heads the Stewardship Committee and also directed the successful capital campaign to purchase Saint Esprit's recently installed Allen organ. He also sits on the church's Building and Finance Committees.