Vestry Role

DSC02121(75)The Role of a Larger Church Vestry*

Casts and Affirms Vision
Establishes Policy
Approves Budget
Maintains Fiduciary Integrity
Advises and Listens
Delegates and Empowers
Encourages and Motivates
Attends Worship
Exercises Spiritual Disciplines
Engages in Outreach Ministries

*Modified from “How to Hit the Ground Running” by Neal O. Mitchell

The Vestry

Consists of twelve members, a senior warden, junior warden, youth warden, treasurer and secretary.







Monthly Meetings (includes leading devotions and refreshments annually)
Major parish events including the Annual meeting
Serve as Sunday Vestry Person of the Week several times each year.
Annual Retreat (an off-site overnight)
Annual planning day

Dedicated to:

Foundational Commitments
Spiritual Formation
Ministry to others


A Church Vestry and A Board Meeting

Most people are more familiar with how a board operates than a vestry. Though some of the functions are similar, a vestry differs from a board of directors in several significant ways. It strives to base its decision making process on Christian teaching, to recognize the dynamic of being part of a parish family and to take seriously each members calling to be a spiritual leader.

St. Mark’s Vestry attempts to live into its calling by setting meetings during a worship service. The Order For Evening (BCP page 109) – one of the ancient monastic rituals of prayer called “The Hours”- begins and concludes each gathering.

A family environment is fostered by frequently including a period of reflection upon a way in which God has been present to each member since the last meeting. It is important that members of the vestry know and care about each other in a way that models our Baptismal Covenant (BCP page 304).

Even the word “vestry” itself is a reminder of its unique role in the life of the church. The “vestry” began as simply a room in an Anglican church where the clergy “vest” or put on the “vestments” (the special clothes worn during the liturgy). The church council also met in this place out of convenience. Eventually the council took on the name of the room. Just as by “vesting” for worship clergy take on a special role representing Christ and the greater church, so the vestry has a charge to faithfully care for the parish church as part of the body of Christ—alive and at work in our world today.

The Call to Serve

Being willing to serve on a vestry comes as a call from God. In other words, it is something that we feel closer to God when we are doing.

Most people have heard about or had a variety of vestry experiences—from joyful to difficult and many places in between. Currently St. Mark’s is blessed by a caring and healthy vestry, excited about the future of our congregation. It is hoped that new members will share this enthusiasm, and carefully and prayerfully engage in their ministry.

The following Bible passage has been helpful in understanding leadership and Christian community. We will use this passage from time to time.

Bible Study

Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians: Chapter 4: 1-16


As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.” (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches: Thanks be to God.


For the Church

Gracious and loving God, we pray for your holy Catholic Church. Fill it with all truth, in truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where it in any thing is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Jesus Christ your Son our Savior. Amen

For a Church Meeting

Almighty and everliving God, source of all wisdom and understanding, be present with those who take council for the renewal and mission of your Church. Teach us in all things to seek first your honor and glory. Guide us to perceive what is right, and grant us both the courage to pursue it and the grace to accomplish it; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Saint Mark

Almighty God, by the hand of Mark the evangelist you have given to your Church the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God: We thank you for this witness, and pray that we may be firmly grounded in its truth, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen