The term vestry originated in Great Britain and referred to the room next to the nave of the church where the sacred vessels and vestments were kept. Those conducting parish business met in this room and came to be known as the vestry. The executive committee of the vestry consists of two wardens and the rector. The principle behind this, as well as the whole structure of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, is one of ordered and diffused authority.
Canon Law and the Vestry
The canon law of the Church charges the vestry with the following responsibilities:
Responsibility with the Rector in promoting the spiritual welfare of the parish.
Aid the Rector in the institution, conduct, and development of the program of the Church both within and without the Parish.
Agent and legal representative in all matters concerning property: maintain the buildings and furnishings, maintain other property (rectory, parking lot, grounds, etc.), provide adequate insurance.
Responsible for the finances of the parish, raising money, prompt payment of salaries and bills, prudent care of trust funds, endowments and bequests, sale and transfer of securities and other assets, maintain records, annual report, budget (approve expenditures and recommend and approve salaries)
Recruit, encourage, train, and guide candidates for Holy Orders
Represent the parish in its relations with the Rector
Serve as a "Council of Advice" for the Rector when requested
Elect a Rector if there is a vacancy
Eligibility for Vestry
To serve on the Vestry in the Episcopal Church, one must meet the following requirements:
Be 16 years of age or older
Be an active communicant of the parish for at least 6 months
Be a pledging member of record
Be a confirmed Episcopalian or received by a bishop into the Episcopal Church from another Christian church.
Participate in the Eucharist every Sunday "unless for good cause prevented”
Makeup of Vestry
The Vestry at All Saints including, the rector is made up of 17 members:
The rector (who votes only in case of a tie)
4 officers which include
Clerk of the Vestry
Election of Vestry Members
Vestry members at large are elected at the annual parish meeting held each January and serve three-year terms of office. The vestry strives to function with mutual trust, respect, listening and prayer. This is an intangible element in our common life together as a vestry and it is critically important in opening us individually and as a group to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Principles for dealing with disagreement in the church
Conflict is inevitable in life and has always been a part of the church. What is more important is asking how do we journey together faithfully, following Christ, when we disagree passionately on controversial issues. In matters where we disagree, the context for disagreement requires:
Spending time with those who differ from us
Praying alone and together
Listening to understand the other
Grounding our conversation in scripture, tradition, and reason
Recognizing the primacy of the Gospel and disciple-making in the mission of the Church
Remembering Christ's commandment to "love one another as I have loved you"
Recognizing the right and responsibility of every person to say what they believe
Coming to conversation with humility, recognizing that "I could be wrong," and no one person has the entire truth
Keeping to the topic when speaking
Recognizing that conflict produces in us levels of passion, fear, self-righteousness, arrogance, and mistrust that might need to be acknowledged if the discussion is going to be fruitful seeking the mind of Christ takes time. Sometimes an outside facilitator may be a positive aid to healthy dialogue