Like any other significant ministry to which we believe God has called us, the ministry of a member of the vestry is an invitation into a deeper relationship with God, the Church, and other people.
- Vestry members share with the clergy and other leaders in being spiritual leaders, seeking God’s will for the parish through prayer, study, discussion, and communicating a vision for the parish’s ministry.
- Vestry members commit to attending:
- Vestry Meetings at 6:00 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month
- Vestry Retreat, yearly on a Friday-Saturday in July
- Annual Meeting
- Diocesan Convention, in November, as a delegate as needed
- Sunday worship at Calvary
- Vestry members commit to respecting the confidentiality of the business of the vestry.
- Vestry members bear ultimate responsibility for the maintenance of the parish property and development of its financial resources.
- Vestry members are called to encourage and enable others to “take their place in the life, worship, and governance of the Church” according to the gifts with which God has equipped them.
- Vestry members help the parish grow in its stewardship of God’s gifts by their willingness to set a personal example of good stewardship.
- Vestry members exercise a ministry of support, friendship, and encouragement to the parish’s clergy, speaking the truth in love.
- Vestry members take the lead in calling the parish to serve the mission of the Church: “to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ” through the proclamation of the Gospel and the promotion of justice, peace, and love.
Candidates for vestry
The vestry welcomes and thrives on diversity in background, skills, and experience, and many different qualifications may make a person an excellent candidate. Listed below are some general guidelines for vestry member qualifications:
- Possess enthusiasm and care for Calvary and personal spiritual maturity
- Are baptized members of record, have been active in our parish life, and are regular worshipers and contributors
- Are able and willing to make the necessary commitment of time and talent to serve on a committee or task force in addition to regular meetings, retreats, and regular attendance at worship and parish events
- Understand and participate in the vestry’s role in stewardship
- Are willing to speak their mind, vote their conscience and work toward consensus
- Are appreciative of differences in perspective and communications styles and are responsive to the diversity of the group
Calvary By-Laws (Article III.1.a)
“The number of the vestry members of the Corporation shall be not less than nine (9) nor more than twenty-one (21), as may from time to time be fixed by the membership. The qualifications for vestry membership shall be as follows: a Confirmed Communicant in good standing in the parish not less than eighteen (18) years of age, a frequent attendant upon the services of the parish for the six months next preceding the election, and a regular contributor and pledger of record for the support of the parish; Provided (1) a communicant and spouse shall not both be members of the vestry at the same time; and (2) members of the paid staff of the parish working more than ten hours a week, and their spouses, shall not be eligible to serve. The rector shall determine all questions of eligibility.”
“The vestry shall appoint a Nominating Committee to nominate persons to serve as vestrypersons. Before presenting their nominees to the parish, the committee shall make certain that such persons are qualified to meet the experience needs of the vestry, and are willing and capable of serving. The names of the nominees will be published at least ten (10) days before the annual meeting. At least one day before the annual meeting, any three (3) parish members qualified to vote may nominate another qualified person for vestryperson, provided that the individual accepts the nomination.”
Canonical responsibilities of the vestry:
- The Canons of the Episcopal Church specify that the vestry are “agents and legal representatives of the parish in all matters concerning its corporate property and the relations of the parish to its clergy” (Canon I.14.2).
- The vestry reports to the bishop on both the spiritual and temporal health of the congregation (Canon III.9.5), and in matters pertaining to the clergy serving the parish and their relationship (several portions of Canon III-Ministry and Canon IV-Ecclesiastical Discipline).
- The vestry nominates the rector (for the bishop’s approval) and approves clergy assistants selected by the rector (Canon III.9).