Vestry “Job Description”

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The Vestry 

The Vestry is the elected body of the parish that shares with the Rector/Priest-in-Charge the responsibility for oversight of parish life and ministry and for advancing the mission of Saint Paul’s. The Vestry is subject to the Canons of the Episcopal Church and of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut. Vestry members are legal representatives and agents of the parish, with responsibilities for finances and management of property and human resources. Vestry members work collaboratively with the Rector/Priest-in-Charge and with each other to create a vision and plan of action that reflects God’s call for the congregation. Vestry members serve for a three year term. 

Expectations for All Vestry Members  

  • Have a love of God and commitment to following the way of Christ.  
  • Be active in and support the life of the parish through regular worship, participation, financial support, and prayer for the church and its mission.  
  • Be a servant of the people, willing to represent the interests of all parish members.  
  • Interact well with people and strive to earn the respect of the members of the congregation.  
  • Commit to partnership between the Vestry and clergy leaders.  
  • Exercise confidentiality and practice healthy, honest, open communication patterns among themselves and with the parish.  
  • Listen to the views of parishioners, especially their questions, suggestions, complaints and compliments, sharing these views, where appropriate, with the Rector/Priest-in-Charge, Wardens, and Vestry.   
  • Have enthusiasm and vitality for participating in Vestry service, offering talents to discern and support the congregation’s mission and vision. 

General Responsibilities for all Vestry Members  

  • Help define and articulate the mission of the congregation  
  • Support the mission by word and deed  
  • Ensure adequate resources in leadership and in financial stewardship  
  • Manage resources effectively  
  • Determine that appropriate programs, policies and procedures have been developed and are followed  
  • Oversee the management and maintenance of church property  
  • Oversee the business affairs of the parish  
  • Select parish representatives for activities such as community boards, etc.  
  • Work with the Bishops and Diocesan staff in the process of calling a Rector in the event of a vacancy  
  • Assess the Vestry’s own work and effectiveness. 

Vestry Time Commitment 

Vestry members exercise leadership by example both in the temporal affairs (business life) and in the spiritual life of the parish. All Vestry members should be able to make the following time commitments:  

  • Prepare for, attend, and fully participate in regular monthly Vestry meetings as well as ad hoc interim meetings  
  • Participate in committee/group work  
  • Attend Vestry retreat(s)  
  • Attend weekly worship services (rotating occasionally if more than one)  
  • Attend congregational events: coffee hours, meals, fundraisers, adult education programs, etc.  
  • Attend Diocesan meetings, as necessary  
  • Attend parish Annual Meeting. 

A Time of Transition for St. Paul’s 

In February 2020, St. Paul’s entered into an intentional time of transition and, with the Bishop Diocesan, invited the Reverend Daniel Simons to serve as Provisional Priest-in-Charge for a contracted period of three years. This period is intended to provide an opportunity to affirm core values and identity, address areas where these may be shifting, look at potential obstacles to systemic health and growth in faithfulness, and explore new possibilities and previously unthought-of future paths. During this time, Father Daniel, the Vestry, and the parish have worked with diocesan leadership to articulate and live into new or renewed goals for mission and ministry and a new or renewed sense of identity for St. Paul’s. This intentional period of focused discernment may result in a variety of outcomes, including but not limited to having the parish enter into a new phase of transition through a formal search process to seek its next rector, or in a Vestry decision to invite the Provisional Priest-in-Charge to serve as Rector. It is important for the incoming Vestry Class elected in 2023 to understand these various outcomes and be committed to working within the context of whatever mutual discernment the Vestry and the Provisional Priest-in-Charge proves to be.

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