Origins: Originally the word referred to the room where the priest would put on his vestments, at which time local laity would meet with him to discuss the affairs of the parish. Over time the name of the room came to signify the group of men who governed a parish because it was where they met. While the vestry meeting location has changed, the name has remained the same.
Role of the Vestry: The vestry of an Episcopal church has three primary responsibilities. The first two are managerial: to take care of parish finances and the parish buildings. The third is to choose individuals to fill various positions of leadership and representation. The vestry also serves as an advisory council to the priests and other staff.
Membership: The vestry consists of lay members of the church elected by the congregation at the annual parish meeting. The vestry of Immanuel church currently has three elected members. Each year, the vestry elects the Senior and Junior Wardens and the Clerk. The remaining officer, the Treasurer, is chosen by the vestry from among the members of the vestry or the congregation at large. Vestry members normally serve a three year term and must be members in good standing of the parish.
Meetings: The vestry of Immanuel Church usually meets on the third Monday of each month at about 5:00pm. Unless otherwise noted, all meetings are open to members of the congregation. The annual parish meeting is held in January each year.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does the vestry do? The vestry meets each month to review and approve normal monthly operational expenses of the church, receive reports from various committees, plan and approve capital improvement projects, and attend to concerns within the parish.
Who are the officers of the vestry? The national and diocesan canons provide guidance as to parish and vestry structures. It is common for the vestry to have two wardens, for the rector to be the presiding officer, and for the senior warden to preside in the absence of the rector. Since we do not have a rector, the senior warden is the presiding officer. The Treasurer may or may not be a member of the vestry and, like the wardens, is elected by the vestry annually.
How are vestry members selected? Before the annual meeting, the vestry nominates a slate of candidates to replace the members whose term is scheduled to expire. The nominations are presented to the congregation at the annual parish meeting. When the nominations are presented, the congregation is offered the opportunity to nominate candidates from the floor. When the slate is closed, the congregation votes for the candidates of their choice and the candidates receiving the highest number of votes are elected to take the place of the members whose terms expire that year. Vestry members are elected to serve on the vestry for a period of three years.
The Vestry meets the third Monday of each month at 5:00 pm. Guests are welcome to attend.
Our Annual Meeting takes place on or near the third Sunday in January each year. The members of the parish in good standing approve the budget and elect the Vestry members and the delegates to Diocesan Convention.
Vestry Meeting Minutes are always available upon request. New link to TBA.