A Letter from the Rector and Nominating Committee
Dear St. John’s,
In the Kingdom of God, relationship is primary and one of the ways in which we relate to one another in the Episcopal Church is through our governance and structure. The polity of our church says a lot about how much we value one another and respect the dignity of every human being.
The vestry functions in a way similar to the board of a non-profit, which is to say, it provides oversight to aspects of parish life, in consultation with the rector who chairs meetings of the vestry. Separately, the Diocesan Convention functions as the annual business meeting of the diocese, and occasionally gathers for special additional conventions (like electing bishops). St. John’s elects delegates to represent the parish at the diocesan level in these meetings.
How are people selected to serve in these roles?
The Nominating Committee (
Are you curious and want to learn more? This is an opportunity to become more involved and add your experience, thoughts, and voice to the faithful leadership of your church. Read on!
Blessings on your discernment,
Rev. Kate and Members of the Nominations Committee
Nat Eddy, Brian Fresher, Karen Kaestle, and Patti Pickering
Vestry: Responsibilities and Qualifications
Vestry: In general, what are the responsibilities of the Vestry?
According to the Diocesan Canons of the Episcopal Church in CT. (ECCT),
Members of the Vestry:
- are agents and legal representatives of the Parish in all matters relating to its corporate property and relations of the Parish to the Clergy.
- direct, manage, and control the business affairs of the Parish, with the exception of borrowing or lending money and the disposition of Parish real estate which are controlled by a vote of the Parish.
- support Parish ministries through the encouragement of parishioner involvement, support of Ministry leadership, and oversight of the financial needs of the Ministry.
- avoid conflicts of interest in representing the Parish.
What are additional responsibilities of Members of the Vestry of St. John’s, Essex?
1. Regular attendance at church and participation in Parish activities.
2. Support of Parish stewardship to the fullest extent possible through pledging and fundraising efforts.
3. Attend and participate in monthly Vestry meetings, scheduled for the third Wednesday of each month, as well as other meetings deemed necessary, including an Annual Retreat.
4. Serve in leadership roles and be willing to take on special assignments as needed.
5. Serve as a Trustee for The Hayden Trust, which provides partial housing allowance for the Rector, through oversight, as set forth in that agreement. Hayden Trust reports are given in a separate meeting during regularly scheduled Vestry Meetings.
6. In conjunction with the Rector, periodically have a process for discernment of the vision of the Parish through the development of Parish Goals.
7. Attend Safe Church Training as provided through the ECCT.
What qualifications make for an effective member of the Vestry?
1. Commitment: Have an interest and enthusiasm to serve through a proven commitment of time, talent and treasure with an awareness of time availability vs. time constraints.
2. Leadership: Previous leadership roles, teamwork skills, the ability to listen to as well as share viewpoints while remaining an independent thinker, and a persistence in pursuing goals.
3. Insight: Ability to analyze the impact of decisions through a long-range approach of problem solving. Appreciation of fiduciary responsibility to the Parish and the ability to understand the forces that shape the views and actions of parishioners.
4. Working Relationships: Ability to establish a trustful relationship with other Vestry members as well as members of the Parish.
5. Personal: Belief in yourself to represent the best interests of the Parish through principled stands and dealing with difficult issues straightforwardly. Skill in encouraging open communication.
Convention Delegates: In general, what are the responsibilities of Delegates?
- Delegates represent their congregation at the Diocesan Convention (a Friday/Saturday in the fall) and any specially convened conventions and should be available to attend them on behalf of the congregation.
- Delegates advise their vestry and congregation of issues pending before the Diocese, seek their opinions, and report back to them when actions are taken.
- Additionally, delegates should report back to the Vestry and the congregation as a whole after Convention via established meetings or a forum, as well as any parish-wide communication tool.
What are additional responsibilities of Convention Delegates of St. John’s, Essex?
- Delegates will help orient and train Alternate Delegates to be prepared to become Delegates in the second year of the term.
- In an emergency, Alternate Delegates will be asked to act on behalf of lay Delegates.
- Delegation Meeting-The entire delegation, including alternates and clergy, will meet with the Vestry and interested parishioners to discuss issues at hand.
- All delegates should review Convention materials as these items will be presented for a vote. Roberts Rules of Order and tips on parliamentary procedure should be reviewed.
What qualifications make for an effective member of the Delegate?
- A lay delegate should be someone who can represent the congregation and vote on its behalf on a variety of subjects.
- A member of the vestry, a retiring warden, or active parishioner often makes a good delegate because of intimate knowledge of the workings of that congregation.
- All congregational clergy also serve as delegates and should be considered as part of the congregation’s delegation.