The Vestry in the Episcopal Church is roughly the equivalent of a board of directors in the secular world, but with certain specific responsibilities and limitations.
The specific duties of the Vestry under the Canons (i.e. the laws and regulations governing the Episcopal Church) are three:
- to take care of the finances of the parish;
- to take care of the buildings and grounds of the parish;
- to elect a new rector (to be approved and installed by the Diocesan Bishop) or to accept the Bishop's choice of a priest-in-charge, as well as to elect the parish delegates to the Diocesan Convention.
These specific duties, however, does not exhaust the role of the Vestry, which is called to provide consistent and reliable leadership to the parish in collaboration with the priest who leads the congregation (normally called "rector" or, under special circumstances, "priest-in-charge"). Often Vestry members are designated to supervise one area of operations within the life of the parish. Vestry members, as a group, are called to identify through prayer and reflection where the Spirit of God is calling the congregation to move and to serve at any given moment of its life.
At Christ Church, the General Annual Meeting of the members of the parish elects every year four new members of the Vestry in substitution of the four members who have completed their three-years mandate. The Rector or Priest-in-charge identifies within the Vestry one person as "senior warden" whose role is to collaborate with the priest on a more regular basis. The Vestry elects instead among its members a "junior warden" with the specific responsibility to supervise the maintenance of the buildings. All Vestry positions are volunteer positions.
The power and responsibilities of the Vestry and the clergy person in charge of the congregation limit and define each other reciprocally. The clergy person is called to exercise spiritual and liturgical leadership and he/she determines the use of the facilities.
Vestry members of Christ Church Parish in 2019:
Cash Sutton III