Together, clergy and laity form a Leadership Team who take responsibility to govern the affairs of the congregation. Two Elders are elected from among the lay members of the Leadership Team to form an Executive Council with the Rector. Lay members to the Leadership Team are elected by a meeting of the Parish held annually and are charged with responsibility to oversee all areas of Parish life.
Fr. Paul OrrittRector
A Canadian by nationality and temperament I nevertheless love the Pacific Northwest and its people and feel very much at home in Oak Harbor; so much so, that I now feel sort of strange whenever I cross the border back into Canada. When driving, I listen almost exclusively to jazz and blues but when at home, I listen to new country. I love movies, particularly historical dramas [unfortunately most are revisionist] and sci-fi [and yes, I watched every original episode of Star Trek]. I confess that my favorite TV series is “The Walking Dead” primarily because of the fascinating character development along with its always developing and surprising story line [after all, there are only so many ways to kill a zombie]. My reading takes me into the history of theological thought with strong emphasis here on the patristic writings [and yes, there were theologians before the Reformation, and a very vibrant Church as well], leadership and church development. I seek to maintain an open-door policy when in the office. The Bishop who ordained me Priest once told me, “You don’t have to be an Anglican to be a Christian, but there is no better way of being a Christian than by being an Anglican.” I believe it.
Fr. Roger VehornAssociate Priest
A retired career Navy Officer and also a retired Boeing Engineer, Roger now spends his free time fishing and hunting.
David JamiesonRector's Warden
I am now retired, but worked for 37 years as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for Island County. I was the chief Civil Deputy Prosecutor for 27 of those years. I have a Juris Doctor Degree from Gonzaga University School of Law, 1975; and a BA Degree in Chemistry from the University of Washington, 1970.
I am married to my wife, Pam. Each of us has three children from prior marriages (a total of six), and 12 grandchildren ranging in age from 22 months old to 22 years old.
My church background is Anglican. I was baptized as an infant in the Methodist Church, my family and I attended a Presbyterian Church in Tacoma through my teen years. I fell away from church during college and law school thinking that since I knew I was saved by Jesus’ sacrificial death and resurrection, I had no need for church anymore. When moving to Oak Harbor in 1976, I began worshiping regularly at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church (Grace by the Sea’s predecessor). New to the Episcopal Church, I was attracted by the Lord’s presence to me through the liturgy, the Biblical foundation of the church, and the Holy Spirit’s obvious active work in the life of the parish. I was confirmed in the Episcopal Church within a couple of years of beginning attendance. The Lord continues to work on me and transform me more, day by day.
Having been an enthusiastic member of Grace by the Sea (and its predecessor parish) since 1976, I have an abiding love and commitment to the Lord, the Lord’s people in the Parish, and the Parish’s mission in the world. Over the years, I have served on the Vestry a number of times and been the Rector’s Warden, as well as the People’s Warden. I have been a choir member and enjoy working together with parish members in various service projects.
It is a privilege to be able to serve on the Grace by the Sea Leadership Team.
Chuck HertzlerPeople's Warden
I was in the US Navy for 14 years. I am the joint owner w/ my wife, Barb, of Fine Wood Cabinets for 38 years. I have been married to Barb for 51 years. We have a son, Gabe. He lives in Portland, OR with his wife Jen and their son, Asher.
My childhood church was in a fundamentalist Baptist. The Christian colleges I attended were Bob Jones University (1 yr), then graduated from Taylor University. Barb and I attended Baptist churches early in our marriage, then Roman Catholic charismatic renewal and Cursillo. We finally landed at St. Stephens Episcopal which is now Grace by the Sea and have been here for the past 43 years.
My love for God is “a divinely inspired habit, inclining my will to cherish God, for His own sake, above all things, and man for the sake of God.” This is an aspirational goal and I am slowly moving toward it.
My heart for the Parish is that GBS continue to grow to be a dynamic church family.
Chris AburtoDirector, Newcomer Ministry
My background has been as a “Jill” of all trades, waitress, house painter, service advisor (dealership), laborer, real estate agent, and most recently a massage therapist for 16 years.
My husband, Dave, and I have been together for 40 years. We have 2 sons and 6 grandchildren.
I was raised as Roman Catholic. I left the church when I left home with my first husband who was unchurched. I came to the Episcopal Church (as led by the Lord) here in Oak Harbor in the late 80’s, which is mostly the same body of Grace by the Sea.
My heart for the Lord is to serve His people with love. My desire is to help people heal–emotionally, spiritually and physically. To sing His praises. To bring more to Christ.
Dave HamiltonDirector, Community Engagement
My background is in Radio Broadcasting, Customer Service/Training for TCI and AT&T, and as a furniture maker.
I have been married to my wife, Kate, for 26 years. I have a step son, step daughter, two granddaughters, and one grandson.
My heart for the Lord is to know His word and walk in His ways–to live life of character and love.
My heart for the Parish is the place and people with whom we can share the peaceful heart that comes from faith.
Debb LeachDirector, Fellowship
I was a Navy (DON) Civil Servant for 30 years, retiring 31 December 2010. I had a lot of interesting and fun positions as we traveled for my husband’s Navy career. My last position was as the Executive Assistant (Secretary) to the EA-6B/EA-18G Wing Commander from 1993 until my retirement – loved most every minute of it.
Unfortunately, I found it necessary to divorce after 39 years of marriage. No children or grandchildren. I have LOTS of ‘adopted’ nieces and nephews that I love to spoil – much to my friend’s dismay!
I am a cradle Episcopalian. I was the first LEM in the Episcopal Church in Utah – quite an honor. It was VERY hard to leave the Episcopal Church, but after I heard from the Lord, I never looked back.
I have been a christian for as long as I can remember. growing up in SLC, Utah, the heart of Mormonism, I feel that I only survived because of my love of Jesus Christ. Not sure how anyone lives without Him!
I came to St. Stephen’s (now Grace) in 1994 just after Fr. Jack left. I know that we have a wonderful place in Oak Harbor and pray that our way forward brings people to us and to the Lord. I couldn’t live without my Church Family!!
I have been on Vestry twice since coming to Grace. I was Stewardship the first time, and Fellowship the second.
Steve RobertsDirector, Financial, Treasurer
I have been a lawyer for 43 years. Prior to that I was in the Army. I am married to my wife, Cecilia, and have no children. I am formerly a life-long Episcopalian. While I do not believe that any one denomination has a corner on proper worship, I also believe that hundreds of Anglican traditions are very meaningful, and offer a path to understanding. Although new to the Parish, I look forward to becoming more involved. I have been amazed at how many activities and ministries are ongoing with such a small number of congregants.
Matt ZelinskasDirector, Young Families
I was born on December 20, 1981 at St. Joseph’s Mercy Hospital in Dubuque, Iowa to Eric and Sandra Zelinskas. I am the oldest of seven children with the bonus of having an identical twin brother. My dad was Air Force and we lived across much of the lower forty-eight. I graduated high school from Caesar Rodeny High School in Camden, Delaware on June 10, 2000. I enlisted in the Delaware Army National Guard and spent the next year between Fort Sill, Oklahoma for basic training and Fort Eustis, Virginia for AIT, qualifying as an Aircraft Power Plant Repairer (MOS 15B). I returned to Delaware and started school in the Fall of 2001 at Delaware State University and met (unknown to us both at the time) my future wife, Laura, who was a sophomore at Wesley College. 9/11 happened and 18 months later I found myself in Kuwait on active duty orders having been called to federal service under Title 10. Upon my return from Kuwait, I returned to school and began to court Laura.
I graduated from DSU in the Spring of 2007 and married Laura that Fall. We became a Navy family when I commissioned April 25, 2008. After flight training in Florida, we received orders to VP-1, home ported at NAS Whidbey. That brought with it two deployments and two wonderful sons, Cole and Roman. In February 2013, we received orders to NBVC Point Mugu in sunny S. California. There we were blessed with more time home and a baby girl, Violet. 2016 saw us move back to Whidbey and working at Wing Ten and the enjoyment of rain (which SoCal is not known for).
My personal walk with Christ started as a child when my parents converted from Catholicism to Non-Denominational Evangelical Christianity. I was raised in the Church, as were my siblings. I was baptized in the Spring of 1995 and began my walk then to become a more mature Christian. I can say that my faith has had its ups and downs, but each time it makes a resurgence of greater clarity and purpose.