Role of the Vestry
Originally the word “Vestry” 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 people who governed a parish because it was where they met. While the vestry meeting location has changed, the name has remained the same.
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 choice of a rector, the choice 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.
The vestry consists of lay members of the church elected by the congregation at the annual parish meeting. The vestry of Trinity church currently has nine elected members. Each year, the vestry elects the Senior and Junior Wardens. The Treasurer is chosen by the vestry from among the members of the vestry or the congregation at large. The Clerk, a member of the vestry or the congregation at large, records minutes and manages correspondence on behalf on the vestry. Vestry members normally serve a three year term and must be members in good standing of the parish.
The vestry of Trinity church usually meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 6:00 p.m. in the Parish Hall. Unless otherwise noted, all meetings are open to members of the congregation. The annual parish meeting is held in December each year.
Each vestry member is assigned a group of parishioners as their “flock.” Vestry members are to be in contact with these parishioners to share important information, answer questions, check on their well-being, and share any pastoral needs with the church.
Please feel free to raise any issue or question you may have with regard to the operation of our church with any vestry member.