What is the Vestry and what does it do?
The vestry functions like the board of a non-profit. In this church, the vestry is comprised of twelve elected members, each serving a three-year term and rotating on and off in groups of four each year. At the Annual Meeting (held the last Sunday of January), the congregation elects new members to the vestry to replace those whose terms have ended.
The vestry is supported by the Rector who chairs the meetings, the Treasurer, who is also elected at the Annual Meeting, and a Clerk who records the minutes of the meetings.
Vestry Responsibilities and Visibility
Vestry has three primary canonical responsibilities:
1. Take care of parish finances
2. Take care of parish buildings
3. Choose/recruit individuals to fill positions of parish leadership and representation (rector, parish officers, delegates to diocesan convention)
Additionally: Be open and willing to share your faith journey with others and to witness to the Good News of Jesus Christ in your life.
- Attend church regularly.
- Prepare for, attend, and participate in monthly Vestry meetings held on the second Monday of each month, 7:00 – 9:00 PM. Attend occasional special Vestry meetings as scheduled, such as the Vestry Retreat the first weekend of February. Speak up on issues of importance.
- Support stewardship to the fullest extent possible, working toward the tithe, pledging to the church, and participating as fully as possible in all other fundraising projects.
- Serve in leadership positions and undertake special assignments when asked.
- Complete the Safeguarding God’s Children and Safeguarding God’s People trainings.
- Commitment – aligned with St. John the Baptist’s vision and mission and willing to actively seek out opportunities to fulfill them; overall interest and enthusiasm in serving on the Vestry; proven commitment of time, talent, and treasure; time availability and time constraints; participation in parish activities
- Leadership – level of integrity; teamwork skills; previous leadership roles; previous board positions; ability to influence others; value of different styles and points of view; ability to support all decisions as if a co-owner; persistence in pursuing goals despite obstacles and setbacks; ability to be an independent thinker who makes decisions based upon input and counsel; willing to act
- Insight – skill to analyze the impact of decisions by taking a long-range approach to problem solving; understanding of fiduciary responsibility to the parish; experience with organizations facing similar situations to St. John’s; ability to sense others’ perspectives and concerns; talent to understand forces that shape views and actions of parishioners; being able to accurately read key relationships within the parish network
- Working Relationships – trust of and by current Vestry members; potential influence on Vestry dynamics; aptitude to work with others toward shared goals
- Personal – sureness of their capabilities and the ability to take tough, principled stands; energy, optimism, and a sense of abundance; capability for taking responsibility for meeting commitments/objectives; comfort in fast-changing environments; facility to deal with difficult issues straightforwardly; skill to foster open communication
Basic Qualities to Consider in a Potential Vestry Candidate
Balancing the Skills of the Vestry
In addition to the criteria above, the Vestry also needs individuals with specific skills and know-how, so that issues can be viewed through multiple dimensions: legal, financial, public relations and communications, general management, professional development, understanding of programmatic work of the parish, as well as others.
Nominations of Vestry Candidates
The Vestry of St. John the Baptist invites you to prayerfully consider if this is a time in your life that you are able to offer these skills to the congregation. Or, is there someone else who you think would be a good candidate?
During the months of October and November, the Nominations Committee is accepting names and will be working to present the congregation with a slate of candidates at the Annual Meeting in January.
Please submit names to the Rector or Senior Warden.
The Rev. Kate Wesch: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kristin Alfonzo, Senior Warden: email@example.com