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Serving on the Vestry

Have you ever considered serving on the Vestry?

With Vestry information meetings scheduled for September 9 and 16, it’s a good time for all members of Trinity to give that question some thought.

The Episcopal Church in the USA defines the Vestry on its website as, “The vestry is the legal representative of the parish with regard to all matters pertaining to its corporate property.” The Vestry also, according to The Constitution and Canons of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States “shall be agents and legal representatives of the Parish in all matters concerning its corporate property and the relations of the parish to its clergy” (Canon 14).

This very simple definition describes the primary role of the Vestry, but it also sounds a little dry. And it leads to a common misperception, namely that the Vestry is like the parish board of directors with the rector as CEO. That’s not what it is, at all.

The Vestry is also called to plan for the mission and vision of the church, to lead and support both parish and clergy in community, and to be active and visible in ministry and parish life. To be effective, all of these actions should rely on the guidance of God and the direction of the Holy Spirit.

Ann Herbek, who has been on the Vestry at Trinity and served as Senior Warden, put it so well when she told us, “Even in non-spiritual matters, we as a group end up in a spiritual place.”

Ann had never considered serving on the Vestry, until one day someone asked her if she had thought about it. Her immediate response was, “Who, me?” It was suggested to her that she take a look at her spiritual gifts, and give it some thought. Since Ann had done a Spiritual Gifts Assessment, she realized that she had gifts that would make her a good candidate. And, she thought, “Maybe I could develop some new ones.” And so she prayed, she told us; she prayed a lot about the decision to run. And in the end, she said, “God pushed me to.”

Ann has felt richly rewarded by her service on the Vestry, both in what she has learned and how she has been able to serve the community. She encourages her fellow Trinitarians to look at the Vestry as a ministry, where the business of the church is a deeply spiritual and collaborative effort.

And what about you? Do you love Trinity and its people? Do you appreciate our faith tradition and its history? Are you interested in learning more about the church and how it works? Do you want to share your faith journey in close collaboration with other like-minded people? Are you willing to be guided by the spirit for the good of our community? These are great qualities for a Vestry member.

There are two Vestry information meetings coming up, on Sunday, September 9 and Sunday, September 16 at 9:15 a.m. The Vestry Nominating Committee will be there to answer questions and tell you more about their experience of serving.