Vestry Class of 2024


April 24, 2022



February 13, 2022


Our vestry election is complete and thank you to our six outstanding candidates and to all of you who voted. This is a great sign of the health and investment in our parish. Our Vestry Class of 2024 is as follows:

Greg Arthaud
Joanne Charles
John Pearce
Anita Sherman

Vestry Nominee Greg Arthaud


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I grew up in Minnesota and began my career as a forester in northern Minnesota. I returned to school and completed graduate work at Virginia Tech, the University of Freiburg (Germany), and the University of Minnesota. I met my wife, Lisa, when doing my doctoral study in Minnesota. I was a professor at the University of Georgia and Yale University before taking on my current position as the lead for ecosystem services research at the U.S. Forest Service Headquarters in D.C. This work involves research on the connection between people and nature. Lisa retired in 2020 after working in the school system as an occupational therapist.

Both Lisa and I were raised Catholic and began attending Episcopal churches after moving to Athens, Georgia and continued to find a home at St. Peter’s Episcopal in Cheshire, Connecticut, and Saint James’ (in 2002). Our three children all grew up active at Saint James’ in youth missions work and as acolytes. They have all completed college and have begun their own careers.

My primary service at Saint James’ has centered on food. I served as a back-up for Café in its early days and have led a team since we went to a rotation of volunteers. In association with Food for Friends, I have been leading a team which produces breakfast sandwiches each month for the Fauquier County Food Distribution and the Fauquier Family Shelter. I also led cooking for three South Carolina youth missions trips and cooking for Mardi Gras. I enjoy our Saint James’ home and involvement with the Warrenton community, including the Fauquier Community Band (past President), Fauquier Conservation Roundtable, Living Christmas Tree orchestra, and Fauquier Arts Council.

We have found friends and spiritual connections at Saint James’. We are proud to be involved in a congregation that embraces inclusivity, participation, and outreach to the community. We would love to see Saint James’ continue on the path pf being a welcoming church for new members and increasing service to the community.

Vestry Nominee Joanne Charles


Joanne Charles is a retired family practice nurse practitioner, married, with a daughter, a stepson, and five grandchildren. She lives in an old country house in Orlean with her husband Randolph, two Labradors and two cats. She loves nature, reading, painting, playing with grandkids, and is a hobby Labrador breeder.

Joanne has been an Episcopalian for 37 years and has enjoyed multiple ministries as an active parishioner, including Sunday School teacher, EYC leader, Altar Guild, Flower Guild, Adult Choir, Outreach programs, Layreader, Lay Eucharistic Minister, and Diocesan Council Parish Representative. She especially enjoys Adult Christian Formation and Social Justice Ministries, having been a member of The Gamaliel Foundation’s Empower Hampton Roads, The Mission of the Holy Spirit Youth Program in Norfolk, VA, member of the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, JustFaith Mentor, JustMatters Mentor and Education for Ministry Mentor. Joanne has developed and offered a number of programs and retreats for Christian Formation, including Anticipatory Grief, Death and Dying, Breaking Bread for Justice, Spirituality and Prayer, and Women’s Spirituality.

She prayerfully looks forward to helping Father Ben and the St. James’ parish community through service on the Vestry.

Vestry Nominee John Pearce


My wife, Rachel, and I moved to Warrenton with our 2 children in 2007 and joined Saint James’. Since joining, I have served on Vestry two times, served as Senior Warden, chaired the Search Committee in 2012, and was a co-leader of the Stephen Ministry program from 2010-2018. We especially enjoy the 8:00 AM service. By day, I work in software product management for a global software company.

When considering our move to Warrenton, we contacted longtime family friend Gary Shook, who recommended joining Saint James’. Our first day was the same day Fr. Chris Pierce arrived in 2007.

I really enjoyed being part of the caring community of Saint James while co-leading the Stephen Ministry program for 8 years with Sue Gruszewski. I also had a tremendous and faithful experience working with the Search Committee and the Vestry during the search process that resulted in calling Fr. Ben to St. James.

I am proud to be part of Saint James’ because we care for each other.

I would love to see Saint James’ be the light during dark times by focusing outwards and not pulling inwards.

Anita Sherman


Originally hailing from Portland, Oregon, I’ve called Virginia home since 1988 and Fauquier County home since 1995. I’ve been married to my husband Don for 38 years and we have three grown children, Sophia, Douglas and Alexander and four grandchildren – Maria, Piers, Ada and Harrison. We are blessed that they all call Warrenton home. Professionally, I’ve been a writer and an editor with more than 20 years’ experience working for several newspapers in the Piedmont area including Fauquier, Culpeper and Rappahannock. Currently, I am a freelance writer and also working on my first novel (send prayers!) In my younger days I traveled extensively and would relish another adventure. In the meantime, I’m an avid reader.

When we moved to Warrenton, I was looking for a church home (we had been attending Church of the Holy Comforter in Vienna). I was raised Catholic and my husband Methodist so embracing the Episcopal Church was a good marriage in addition to our own. Admittedly physical attractiveness was stunning at Saint James’ with the stained-glass windows and high arched ceilings. Everyone was very welcoming, and I immediately felt at home and embraced by this place of sanctuary. I love the way the light plays through the windows casting its colors in different shapes. It is hard not to feel God’s work at hand in this place blessed with so much brilliance and spirit.

To date, two experiences at Saint James’ stand out for me as particularly memorable and life affirming. The first was in 2011 when our son Douglas phoned in early December announcing his intentions to marry a young woman from the Philippines and that he would like a church wedding and could I help make that happen within a few weeks. He only had a short time off as he was serving in the U.S. Army at the time. The clergy and alter guild at Saint James’ came to the rescue in an unforgettable and beautiful family service. The other was an invitation from members of the choir to join them which I did affording me the opportunity to be part of Saint James’ music ministry – a joyous forum. I’ve always enjoyed singing but lifting voices together and connecting with the congregation as you are doing so is a powerful form of prayer.

During my time at Saint James’, I’ve served as a Sunday School teacher, attended study forums and am currently a member of the Episcopal Church Women, choir and a lay reader. The church community at Saint James’ is a caring family, a family that acknowledges and accepts its members, a family that trusts in the inherent goodness of all who choose to worship here and a family that I am proud to call my own. There is no question for me that God is at work within these walls and that the spiritual abundance received resonates beyond Saint James’ and into the greater community.

Particularly coming out of COVID, there has been much time for reflection given the challenges faced by this game changer. What do we do well as a parish? What can we do better? How can we as a congregation renew and reinvent our spirits? There are so many doors of opportunity for growth, nourishment and sharing our story. Let the light shine!