Vestry

About the Vestry

Origins

Originally the word referred to the room where the priest would vest, at which time local laity would meet with the clergy to discuss the affairs of the parish.  Over time the name of the room came to signify the group of lay members 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 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.

Membership

The Vestry consists of lay members of the church elected by the congregation at the annual parish meeting.  The Vestry of St. Mark’s Episcopal church has twelve (12) elected members. Vestry members normally serve a three year term and must be enrolled, confirmed adult (16+) communicants in good standing of the parish.

Meetings

The Vestry of St. Mark’s Episcopal church usually meets on the fourth Wednesday of each month from 7:00 p.m. until about 9:00 p.m. in the Community Life Center (CLC). Unless otherwise noted, all meetings are open to members of the congregation. The annual parish meeting is usually held in November 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. The canons require us to have a Senior and Junior warden, for the rector to be the presiding officer, and for the senior warden to preside in the absence of the rector. The Clerk may or may not be a member of the Vestry and, like the wardens, is elected by the Vestry annually. Under St. Mark’s By-Laws the Treasurer may not be a member of the vestry but is elected annually by the vestry.

How are Vestry members selected?

In our Diocese a vestry shall be composed of not fewer than three nor more than 15 members of the parish who are enrolled confirmed adult communicants in good standing of the Protestant Episcopal Church. St. Mark’s Vestry has 12 members. Before the annual meeting, the Vestry forms a committee to nominate a slate of candidates to replace the four members whose terms are scheduled to expire. With approval of the Vestry, 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 four candidates receiving a majority of the votes of those present and eligible to vote are elected to take the place of the four members whose terms are expiring at the end of December of that year. Vestry members are elected to serve on the Vestry for a period of three years. An enrolled confirmed adult communicant in good standing in this Church may vote when present at any meeting of the parish, in accordance with the provisions of Article IX, Section 3, of the Constitution of this Diocese.

Contact the St. Mark’s Vestry and other officers

See the Contacts page.