Our Vestry

Our Vestry is our elected lay leadership. Working closely with the clergy and the parishioners, the Vestry helps steer the life of the church. Vestry terms are usually 3 years, and each member is called upon to lead an area of worship or ministry.  

Frederica ("Ricki") Carson  (Class of 2020) - Vestry Liaison for Pastoral Care   

My life span has had some predictable courses and some not so! The first part of my adult life was the career phase and the second was the family phase.


I was born in 1947 in Charleston, South Carolina. Later my family moved to Norfolk where I grew up. Most summers I spent in western New York with my grandmother who was active in her episcopal church and was on the vestry in an age when few women were. Her humor, church work and volunteer ethic has influenced me all my life.


In 1965, I graduated from high school and went to Virginia Commonwealth University. Fortunately, I chose a career major in advertising and illustration that has happily served me 25 years and required me to organize a wide range of projects and work with very diverse groups.


I married Jim Carson in 1994. After years of managing artists, accounts, special events, midnight printing disasters and more, moving into a Williamsburg household with three teenagers and 2 large Labrador retrievers was a true challenge. To add to the pie, I finally could do volunteer work in the daytime! At Bruton Parish, I cooked with the “Caring Caterers”, headed the Pastoral Care Committee several years and was the leader of The Daughters of the King chapter.


Ashland lured us when our oldest granddaughters started kindergarten. We came to Saint James the Less services before we bought our home. The welcome was wonderful! My first volunteer effort was leading the Hospitality Committee for several years. I have served on and been a chair of the Chenery Committee and co-chaired Outreach Committee two years.  Cooking-related activities also seem to be a focus— starting Caring Caterers with Ginny Meyer, establishing the MealTrain for Pastoral Care, helping with the Parish Health Committee’s luncheons, cooking meals for the Clinic, and being the shopper/meal coordinator for Caritas for the past 9 years. I have also flower arranged, weeded, scrubbed, and painted!


It is an honor to be nominated to serve on the vestry of Saint James the Less. This is my spiritual home and community.  If elected, I will work diligently to help Saint James continue to be such a welcoming parish and to be a center for Christ’s work in the world.

Ricki Carson



Rebecca Cline, Junior Warden  (Class of 2020) - Vestry Liaison for Property

Rebecca grew up in Springfield, VA and attended Virginia Tech where she earned a BA in History.  She moved to Ashland in 2001 with her husband Bryan, and their two daughters Annika and Corinna.  The Clines started attending Saint James the Less in 2006; since joining, Rebecca has served as a High School Youth Group leader for 5 years, and as a member of the Search Committee.  Her biggest passions include her family, reading, travel, and Welsh Corgis.



Dawn Davis   (Class of 2018) - Vestry Liaison for Parish Life  

I have been a part of the St. James the Less community since 2006.  In fact, I am an Episcopalian by choice, thanks to the people of St. James.  I knew right away I had found the right place for my children and me.  Both of my children, Katie and Liam Penland, have grown up in St. James, being baptized and confirmed here and serving as acolytes and active Youth Group members from middle school to now.  I currently serve as a Lay Eucharistic Minister and have also acted as a member of the Chenery Fund Committee.  I have enjoyed working with CARITAS and Heavenly Creations, as well as participating in Supper Club for a couple of years and formal parish discussions around topics including parenting and worship.


I grew up in Ashland (both sides of my family are from the area – all the way back) and graduated from Patrick Henry High School and Randolph-Macon Woman’s College (the other one…in Lynchburg).  Although I studied abroad for a year during college and lived briefly in Richmond, I decided Ashland was the only place for me to raise my children.  St. James is a very important part of my life and I am honored to be asked to serve as part of the vestry.  I think that St. James is a very dynamic parish with lots of energy and I would appreciate being able to bring my perspective to the table and help support and further our growth through a time of change and into the future.





Richard Grosse  (Class of 2018) - Vestry Liaison for Newcomers and Welcoming

Richard Grosse and his family have been members of St. James the Less for about fifteen years.  He and his wife, Debra, have been married over twenty eight years.  They have two children, Rachel and Dylan, both graduates of Virginia Tech.  Richard came to St. James the Less from Fork Episcopal Church where he taught middle school Sunday school for seven years.  At St. James the Less, Richard was a co-leader of both the middle school and high school Youth Groups for eight years.  He is currently the Director of Adult Christian Education at St. James the Less.  Richard is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with thirty years experience working with adults and adolescents who struggle with emotional, behavioral and substance abuse problems.  He is a partner at Dominion Behavioral Healthcare in Chesterfield County.  He has taught at Virginia Commonwealth University's School of Social Work. He has presented at the University of Virginia's Adolescent Health Symposium and Penn State's Symposium on Bruce Springsteen and American Culture. Richard is active in faith-based treatment programs and he often teaches at North Star Community Church (www.northstarcommunity.com).  He presented at the first faith based Recovery Conference in Los Angeles in 2010. 



John Hoar  (Class of 2019) - Vestry Liaison for Communications

I have attended St James the Less since October 1984. I had recently met Melissa who grew up in this church. Melissa and I married here in February 1985. We have two grown children.


I work as VP of Creative for Planet Central an advertising agency in Richmond, VA. While working in the industry for over 40 years I have been in two partnerships, art director for Richmond Magazine and a couple of other companies before joining Planet Central.


Jeff Fishwick, the rector, asked me to serve on the search committee for a new organist In the spring of 1985. Since then I have served on the vestry six times, and as a junior and senior warden during some of those times. I was the chair of the building committee, from 1989 until 1991, that renovated and expanded the facilities.


I have also been on the Chenery Committee several times, including the chair at times. I have been on many committees including  most recently the planning for the 150th celebration.


I sing (or try to) in the choir, serve as a lector and Eucharistic Minister. I also bake communion bread.


Yancey Jones, Senior Warden  (Class of 2019)


I was born and raised in Ashland, Va.  My family members have worshipped at St. James the Less for over 100 years; I was baptized and confirmed here.  As a youth, I sang in the boys’ choir and served as an acolyte.  As an adult, I have served as acolyte master and youth group leader; also on the vestry, as both senior and junior warden, and on three search committees. I have been one of the assistant treasurers for over 25 years and today serve as chairman of the Finance Committee.  My wife of 40 years is Jane and we are blessed with our two sons, their wives and three granddaughters.  I bought my father’s office supply store in Ashland in 1981 and continue working in that business with my sons.  St James the Less and its parishioners are a vital part of my life.  I would be honored to serve. 



Beth Markwood  (Class of 2018) - Vestry Liaison for Christian Education

Beth Markwood has been a member of St. James the Less for the past 5 years.  Prior to joining SJTL she has been a member of Christ and Grace Episcopal Church in Petersburg, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Richmond and Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Harrisonburg, VA.  She currently serves as a Middle School Youth Group Leader at St. James the Less. 

Beth grew up in Elkton, Va and attended High School at Harrisonburg High School in Harrisonburg, VA.  Beth completed her Bachelor of Science in Fashion Merchandising from Radford University, where she obtained her Professional Collegiate Teaching Certificate in Marketing Education.  She obtained her Master of Science in Education, majoring in Vocational Technical Education, from Virginia Tech, and her Postgraduate Professional License in Pre-K12 Administration and Supervision from Virginia Commonwealth University. 

Her professional careers involves being a teacher and school administrator for the past 26 years.   She is a Marketing Teacher/Coordinator at Patrick Henry High School, for the past ten years and taught Marketing at Prince George High School for ten years.  In between her classroom teaching career, Beth served as administrator with Prince George Public Schools, Colonial Heights Public Schools, and at Patrick Henry High School. She is a DECA Advisor for an award winning DECA program at Patrick Henry High School.   

Beth is married to Tim Markwood, who works as a corporate insurance underwriter, and has been married for 10 years.  They have three children, Ryan, Wright, and Flory.  Beth is a Girl Scout Leader and is very active with Boy Scout Troop 700 in Ashland.  In her spare time, Beth  enjoys golf, reading, beaching, and spending time with her children.


George Spagna   (Class of 2019) - Vestry Liaison for Finance and Stewardship

I am an “almost life long” Episcopalian (baptized as young child, not infant), member of St. James the Less since 1986. Married 42 years to Sylvia. We have two daughters who grew up at SJL.  The Rev. Amy Spagna is currently Assistant to the Rector at Christ Church, Westerly RI. Kim Cruz is an attorney working for the DC Superior Court. She and her husband Mike reside in Ft. Washington, MD.

I teach physics and astronomy at Randolph-Macon College, where I also direct the academic internship program and the Keeble Observatory. I am in my fourth 4-year term on Ashland Town Council where I also served 4 years as Vice Mayor and 2 years as Mayor. I also serve as Treasurer for the Hanover Interfaith Free Clinics.

At the parish level I served four terms on the Vestry and have been Senior Warden twice – coincidentally in John McDowell’s first and last years as our Rector. I have been lector and Eucharistic Minister for many years, and once sang with the choir. My contributions at the Diocesan level have included many years on the Committee on Priesthood and 3 years on the Executive Board. I have been SJL delegate to Diocesan Convention/Council several times as well.

Janet Taylor, Register  (Class of 2020) - Vestry Liaison for Outreach/Chenery

Born in Ashland, christened at St. James the Less, and a member of St. James since 1987. I bring to the vestry many qualifications, both through employment and service at St. James the Less. Through J Sargent Reynold’s Community College and VCU I have budgeting, management, and finance experience, while running departments and labs. I also have education experience, as I am a certified teacher, and taught for 9 years in the public schools.


For church I served several years with the nursery and Christian Education, and have served two times on the vestry. Right now I am liaison for Ashland Open Doors, help with the Ashland Food Ministry and Parish Life, and the Outreach Committee.


I feel called to serve on the vestry as a way to help Anna and the congregation form a new vision for St. James the Less, combining my past experience with a vision of the future, propelling us to be a formidable entity in the community.



Our current Vestry:

  • Yancey Jones, Senior Warden
  • Rebecca Cline, Junior Warden
  • Dawn Davis 
  • Richard Grosse
  • Beth Markwood
  • ​Ricki Carson
  • John Hoar
  • George Spagna
  • Janet Taylor


Go to top