St. Johns Parish Church Johns Island SC

St. John's Vestry

2020 Vestry Members

The Vestry is composed of lay people whom the congregation has elected  to serve as spiritual leaders. Their primary functions are to pray for  the members and ministries of the parish, to work with the clergy to  provide spiritual oversight and pastoral care, to provide leadership to  the various lay ministries of the parish, and to steward the finances of  the parish according to the vision God has given St. John’s. Each  elected vestry member serves a three year term.  
Ben Dixon was raised in the Episcopal Church in this Diocese, but left SC in 1990 for military service. “My family attended many different denominational churches, and I had the opportunity to witness some real Christian worship, and some that was not so real. I believe this has helped me become - and stay - more firmly rooted in my faith and what I believe, and I think that's why St John's has become our parish home, because I have found true believers in this parish who challenge me and help me grow on a daily basis.”
Ben has been at St. John’s for 4 years and is a Lay Reader, Choir member and Sunday School teacher. He is married to Agnes (Our Administrator) and has three children: Benjamin, Caleb and Laura Ann (and her husband Stephen). Ben and Agnes are now home to three dogs: Tradd, Maggie and Jake. He is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional and a Cybersecurity Specialist; “ enjoy helping people understand how to keep themselves and their data safe, particularly with electronic communications and the Internet.”
“I believe St John's has so much potential to reach people here on the Islands because we have people who are committed to their walk with Jesus, we have people who readily volunteer for service to others, and we have a track record of seeing things through. I don't believe that we are an overly evangelistic people by nature, but we are very hospitable, and we are willing to go beyond the everyday and serve others. I believe there is a place for this on these islands as we see the population numbers explode each year. We may not be the ones going door to door in the new neighborhoods, but we may be the ones providing comfort and hospitality to those who need it, for the long run. I don't know today what our role looks like, but I know we will have one, and as long as we are willing to listen and be obedient to God's calling and direction, we will make a difference for the Kingdom of God”. Ben Dixon
Jane Vaughan has been at St. John's Parish for 7 years and participates on the Hospitality Committee. She is married to Page Vaughan, also a church member and the CEO of Chester and Lancaster MUSC hospitals. Jane has two grown children: Liz a filmmaker in Portland, OR and Chris an IT Intern at MUSC. Jane has a nursing background with a wide variety of experience. 5 years ago she co-founded Synergy Supportive Services, LLC which prepares young adults with autism for employment. “I am actively involved in advocating for full integration of adults with disabilities in the community.”
“St. Johns is a very special community of saints who truly care about the community with in the church and on the Sea Islands. We are situated to make a wonderful impact on everyone who visits or lives in the area because we know how to love people and share the good news of Jesus Christ.”“St. Johns is a very special community of saints who truly care about the community with in the church and on the Sea Islands. We are situated to make a wonderful impact on everyone who visits or lives in the area because we know how to love people and share the good news of Jesus Christ.”
Debbie Hawkins is married to Sheldon Hawkins, they have 2 children. Brian their oldest is a heavy equipment operator and Emma is a Med student at MUSC. They have lived on Wadmalaw for 34 years. Growing up " I was the child that struggled to make good grades but always had a lot of common sense and I love chocolate."
Debbie has been attending St. John’s Parish Church for 8 years. She is head of the Walton Hall Altar Guild, an active member of the Hospitality committee, crochets for the prayer shawl committee and is a part of the Prayer team. Debbie became a Christian later on in life. She “grew up not believing in God” until she started questioning and soon became a Christian at the age of 48 and immediately joined St. John’s Parish Church. Debbie says that we bring a light to the sea islands “Because of the fruits of the spirit, the main one being the love that our church has for each other.”
Heath Gunther was born and raised in Charleston. An Alumni of First Baptist Church School and the University of South Carolina. Heath is married to Elizabeth Gunther and has two wonderful boys, Charlie and Henry. They live on James Island and he is the owner of McFadden Pest Control Inc, while his wife Elizabeth is an art teacher at JICHS.
“Our family loves anything there is to do outside. We boat, hunt, fish, farm, golf, garden, sail, etc... God's creation is too beautiful to just sit inside, so we get our boys outside whenever possible.”
“St. John's is not only a Light to the Sea Islands, but to the world. St. John's dedication to the Great Commission is evident through all the local and global missions that are pursued each year. Haut Gap Angels, Feeding of the Multitude, AA, and NA are just a few of the local outreach missions we focus on at St. John's. We always send youth and volunteers to Kingsport, TN each summer to aid in their local missions. 2018 also proved to be a devastating year for Eastern shoreline hurricane damage. St. John's sent emergency response teams to Conway and Florida to aid in hurricane damage relief and cleanup. If local and nationwide mission isn't enough, St. John's also sends parishioners to Uganda and Peru to continue to spread God's love and word to those in need. “
“In my time at St. John's, it's been humbling to watch and experience all the parishioners selflessness and eagerness to spread the gospel. Being surrounded by such people has really inspired my family and I to be beacons of His light each and every day.”
Russell Henderson is a 7th Generation SC farmer based on Johns Island. He is a vocational agriculture teacher in Dorchester County, Earning his Doctorate degree in Agricultural Science.
Russell has been a member of St.John’s Parish since Fall 2016. "My wife’s family has been an integral part of St John’s parish for many generations and they made me feel right at home since moving down here from the upstate. My family and I believe the Bible is the infallible Word of The Lord and teaches us that salvation is made possible by the Grace of God the Father through Faith in Jesus Christ unto good works by the Power of the Holy Spirit...and it is our duty and privilege to share The Gospel to all." Russell is a weekly volunteer with the youth group (along with his wife), he plays the occasional saxophone accompaniment with the choir, participates and occasionally leads young adult Bible study. Russell regularly attends worship service, is a reader at services and serve on the outreach committee.
“We believe and proclaim the Gospel of Christ and strive to follow His calling by the Power of the Holy Spirit” “Proverbs 22:6 ‘Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”' R.Henderson.
Sam Gervais has been a lifelong member of St.John’s Parish. Sam is a lay reader at the traditional service, and member of the Young Adults group. Sam is married to Anna and they are expecting their first child!
Sam graduated from Clemson University in 2009 and taught high school history for 9 years. This fall he will be starting a new job as the director of the Lowcountry Maritime School. “We work with local schools to teach science, math, and teamwork through the building of small boats.”
“Through many ups and downs during our long history on Johns Island, St. John's has provided islanders with a place to worship God, grow in Christ, and care for one another. I was fortunate to grow up at St. John's, and I consider the church family to be one of the great blessings of my life.” Sam Gervais
Perry Gervais being born and raised on John's Island is a Lifelong member of St. Johns. He is married to Lynn and has two married sons, Sam and Anna and Ben and Hanna.
“Jesus has blessed us in all things.”
Perry says “ I am a sinner saved by Jesus and Him alone. My parents and many others at St. John's have been great role models in my life. The Word of God is preached in spirit and in truth. Saints at St. John's care for each other and our community.”
Bill Leland has been a long time member of St. John’s Parish. He Helps lead worship by singing in the choir. He also serves on the Cemetery Committee.
Bill grew up in Mt Pleasant, worked for his father for 35 years as a Mechanical engineer. He became a christian and married Emily Jenkins. Bill also likes boats and played the clarinet in high school and college.
St. John's shines a Light to the Sea Islands through “outreach to this area and also to the world, spreading the good news of Jesus Christ.”
Eddie Porcher, a family man with two daughters and one son became a member of St. John’s Parish in 2002. Eddie’s passion has led him to teach youth Sunday School, bible study and participate in two mission trips to Ethiopia in addition to being a prior Vestry member.
Jay Withington moved to St. Johns Island with his family and joined St. John’s Parish more than 30 years ago. Jay is an armed forces and National Guard veteran.
The church has “wonderful childhood memories for me, especially service as an acolyte for Rev. Guerrry. But it wasn’t until I met my wife Paulette who infused me with her passion for Christ and with her encouragement I became active in serving Christ and the Church by becoming a Lay Eucharistic Minister.” Jay also takes Communion out to our church members who are home bound.