The Role and Responsibilities of the Vestry

The vestry is the legal representative of the parish with regard to all matters pertaining to its corporate property. The number of vestry members and the term of office varies from parish to parish, but at Good Samaritan the vestry consists of nine persons serving on a rotating basis for three years. In some years, a term vacated by resignation or death is filled, as well. Vestry members are elected at the annual parish meeting. According to the by-laws of our parish, persons are nominated by the Vestry and presented to the congregation at least two weeks prior to the annual meeting. The presiding officer of the vestry is the rector. There are two wardens. The senior warden leads the parish between rectors and is a support person for the rector. The junior warden often has responsibility for church property and buildings, but this also varies from parish to parish. A treasurer and a clerk is elected at the first vestry meeting of the year after the annual meeting. These officers may or may not be vestry members. The basic responsibilities of the vestry are to help define and articulate the mission of the congregation; to support the church’s mission and ministries by active involvement, to select the rector, to ensure effective organization and planning, to secure and manage the resources and finances needed to further the mission of the congregation, and to choose individuals to fill various positions of leadership and representation, including the nomination of delegates to the diocesan convention, and the selection of others as the diocesan canons may stipulate. The vestry also serves as an advisory council to the rector who by church law is the parish’s chief liturgical and pastoral officer.

All vestry members should strive to the best of their abilities to:

  • Demonstrate a commitment to following the way of Christ as set forth in the Baptismal Covenant;
  • Be active in and knowledgeable about the congregation, its programs and governance;
  • Be fair, interact well with people and strive to earn the respect of the members of the congregation;
  • Purposefully strive to “check one’s ego at the door”;
  • Purposefully strive to be a servant of the people without the need to be the “most important person” in the congregation or the need to be the one with the right answers to everything;
  • Have enthusiasm and vitality for this ministry.

All vestry members should be able to make the following time commitments:

  • Vestry meetings
  • Vestry retreat(s);
  • Weekly worship services (rotating occasionally if more than one);
  • Congregational events: coffee hours, meals, fundraisers, adult education programs, work parties, etc.;
  • Diocesan meetings, as necessary;
  • Annual meeting.

All vestry members are responsible for:

  • Offering talents to support the congregation’s ministry;
  • Praying daily for the rector, leaders and members of the congregation;
  • Pledging financial support early in the stewardship campaign;
  • Being active ministers of the Gospel in daily life and work;
  • Bringing one’s whole self to the table; being present – mind, body, and spirit;
  • Risking openness with one’s ideas, beliefs and desires.
  • Completing Safeguarding God’s People and Safeguarding God’s Children and any other training required by the Canons of the Church.

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