Vestry

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John Wood
Senior Warden

I am thankful for this opportunity to serve Grace Church, in the capacity for which I have been nominated, as senior warden. My background of service at Grace includes being an Acolyte, a Eucharistic Minister and Usher at the early service, volunteering at the Food Pantry (long ago, with my young children), serving on building and grounds, vestry member, junior warden, and senior warden (2014, 2015). My family was drawn to Grace Church on arrival to Madison in autumn of 1978. My father enjoyed the early service, and my mother, like so many, and was drawn to the music program. I have definitely followed in my father’s footsteps and will be found most Sundays at the early service. Some Sundays, I stay just a bit longer to catch the choir warming up. Beautiful! The feeling of community at Grace is powerful, and is the greatest reason for my willingness to volunteer my time. Not only are we caring for one another in service and ministry, we also open our doors to a broader community that surrounds us, both near and far. I am inspired by your examples of passion, leadership, kindness and generosity. To that end, I gladly lend a hand in service.

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Sarah Messer
Member, I of III

I grew up in a Baptist church, attended a Jesuit university for my undergraduate degree, and spent a few years extremely confused about what denomination I should join as an adult. I found a faith home in August 2014 at Grace, where I found myself not only welcomed at coffee hour my first week but also immediately recruited to the choir. I was confirmed in the Episcopal Church the following spring. I have enjoyed getting to know many of you over the past few years through the music program, foyers, and Women’s Mini Week. I am excited about the opportunity to encounter the church in a new way and from a different perspective through serving on the vestry. Outside of church and my job with the state, my hobbies include reading, sewing and knitting projects, and airing my deeply held opinions about Star Wars.

Kabura Mukasa
Member, II of III

I have been a Grace Church member for 22 years, in which I have served as a Personnel Committee member, Healing Prayer Team member, Lector, Food Pantry volunteer, and Sunday school teacher. I am a spouse, parent, freelance writer, storyteller and HR professional working for the State of Wisconsin. My education includes a Bachelor’s degree in French Literature & Language, and a Master’s in Industrial Relations – HR Management. Grace Church is the fountain of faith that has sustained my family and helped my husband Roger, and I, raise our three daughters. I now hope to serve as a Grace Church Vestry member.

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Geri Nemick
Member, III of III

I’ve been a member of Grace church since 1998 when I moved to Madison. I’m originally from Chicago but have lived in West Virginia and Alabama. For six years after I became a member, I volunteered in the Men’s Shelter breakfasts every month. I’ve been an active supporter of the Foyers Group since 2008. Last year, I participated in the Capital Campaign as member of the Special Events group. Since moving to Wisconsin, I worked as a clinical pharmacist at St. Mary’s Hospital. My last position was as the Antibiotic Stewardship pharmacist. In this role, I designed antibiotic selection treatment flowcharts. This position really suited my skills: I have a strong background in evidence based treatment yet am able to conceptualize patient care in a creative manner. In June, instead of announcing that I was retiring, I said that I was “graduating.” I see this period in my life as graduating or moving into a new creative phase in my life. I would like to get more involved in the dynamic changes that are happening at Grace. With the organizational and developmental skills that I have learned in the workplace, I hope that I can contribute to the leadership at Grace. I would also like to expand my skills by learning from others on the vestry.

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Greg Rodgers
Junior Warden

I have been a member of the Grace Church community for about 6 years. I was confirmed as an Episcopalian prior to my wife Jan and I being married over 35 years ago. Our journey has taken us from St. Louis, to Chicago, and finally to Madison. We have been blessed with two children, now married, and one grandson. My hobbies are gardening, travel, cooking, photography and (poor) golf. I spent my 40+ year career in the medical diagnostic community, in charge of manufacturing and operations, as well as designing and building facilities for a number of companies, large and small. I currently have the privilege of serving on the Vestry, being part of the Food Pantry team, a member of the MPSC, a member of the Building and Grounds committee, a member of the Personnel Committee, and organized the Garden Committee as we continue to enhance the grounds surrounding Grace Church.

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Pat Pollock
Member, I of III

Pat Pollock has been a member at Grace since 1991. He was raised Roman Catholic in Virginia, moved to Madison to attend UW, and didn't want to leave. He met and married Joyce, has a son named Matthew, a daughter-in-law named Emily, and is a retired Inventory Manager at Webcrafters. He has previously served on Vestry, as Clerk thereof, as Warden, as Treasurer, and Diocesan Representative. He also formerly served as Convocation President, and on Diocesan Executive Council. He is currently an Acolyte and reader at the eight o'clock service, a member of the Altar Guild and Building and Grounds Committee, and volunteers at the reception desk weekly.

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Jarrod Irwin
Member, II of III

I began attending Grace shortly after moving here from Grand Rapids, Michigan in 2014. I was confirmed at Grace in April 2015 and began singing in the choir that fall. Over the last two years, I've also been involved in foyers and parish work days during our renovations.

Paula Bloodsaw
Member, II of III

I began attending Episcopal Bible School and Sunday Service as a child, when I spent my summers with my aunt and her family. I became a member of Grace Episcopal Church on November 1, 2015. What I know is that my grandmother, the mother of my mother, raised me and my brother in a loving and caring home. The reason why I speak of my grandmother is that knowing about who raised me, you would know me. At any time of the day, other than times that she was in the kitchen cooking and baking for us from scratch—a quality I did not pick-up, a Bible was near her reach. She was not vocal about her faith, but she did talk about the scriptures with her sisters and some others from the town where she was from. You did not hear her talk about faith, she lived in faith. She was the vessel for the life of faith to me. Later, my brother and his partner continued as a vessel for the life of faith for me. I have lived in faith all my life — it’s all I know. I moved to Madison on October 31, 2006. I have a background in accounting. I enjoy bicycling and classical music.

David Lyon
Treasurer,
Member, III of III

My wife, Kathy, and I chose to make Madison our retirement home and moved here in March 2014. This allowed us to be close to our son Jeremy, a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School, and his wife Briony. Jeremy and Bree were recently married by Father Jonathan. Kathy is a medical social worker and I am retired from hospital administration.
Kathy and I joined Grace Episcopal Church in the fall of 2014. We were attracted to Grace Episcopal because of the liturgy and music. Prior to that, we had been active in the life of St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church in Fort Smith, Arkansas since 2001. I served on the Vestry at St. Bartholomew’s from 2003 through 2005. I was then appointed to serve as Treasurer for the church, holding that position until 2013. The Vestry appointed me as a Delegate to the Arkansas Diocesan Convention in 2007, 2010 and 2013.
During our time in Fort Smith we were both very active in the Adult Education Programs for the Church. I led an Adult Sunday School discussion group for eight years focused on our Lectionary readings for each Sunday. We used material provided by The Bible Workbench. I would like to see such a Sunday discussion group at Grace Episcopal.

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Jane Hamblen
Member, I of III

I grew up in a small town in Texas and was raised as a Methodist. In high school, I was hired as the organist for the small Episcopal Church in our town. The beauty of the liturgy led me to the Episcopal Church as an adult. After I moved to Madison in 1995, I attended St. Andrew’s and was a member of the Altar Guild, the Vestry and various committees over the years. My husband, Rob Lemanske, and I have attended Grace regularly for about two years and are very happy that Grace is our church home. Rob is an usher at Grace. Professionally, I practiced law for 40 years, for 20 years in New York City and for 20 years for the State of Wisconsin. I retired as General Counsel of the State of Wisconsin Investment Board in 2015.

Jessica Jones-Coggins
Member, III of III

I was born during a California heatwave and was promptly swaddled in wool. I survived and grew up attending a large Presbyterian church where, in junior high, I attended a group called Maranatha, studied for my confirmation, was confirmed and sang in the choir. I went on summer choir tours. My British grandparents were Anglican but I didn’t know much about that until later. I spent 14 years in a small town called Moscow, ID and then in 2002 I arrived in Stevens Point, WI and went to UWSP to complete a Master’s in Human and Community Resources. My colleagues brought fried cheese curds to our graduate seminars and it is likely I ate my first brat. The winters were cold and I got frostbite on my face. I received a merit scholarship and there was a picture of me with said frostbitten face on the wall of the department for a year. While in Stevens Point I interviewed women in the Hmong community about their textiles and the change in their form since leaving Laos. I have lived in Madison since 2004 and taught Cultural Anthropology classes at Madison College for 10 years. I have been known to show cat videos in class. I am a lover of art, textiles, books (Scandi-Noir and others) and cats, not necessarily in that order. In 2013, I wandered into Grace Episcopal and have never left. Currently I am a lector and serve on the altar guild. I do not sing in the choir and for good reason (voice not so great these days). Grace is a special place. I am honored to serve on vestry and look forward so much to the coming changes and growth at Grace Episcopal.