I have now been on the Advent Vestry for a year with responsibility for the Buildings and Grounds. I have previously been on two other Vestry groups, with the most previous being on the Vestry of St. David’s Church in Delaware in the mid 1990’s. Reflecting on this certain things have changed and I find the running of the Vestry at Advent to be a little more complex and professional than my memory of my experience in the mid 1990’s. With this in mind I thought it might be useful to cover how the Advent Vestry operates and the various roles within it. Hopefully this will at least allow you to understand the time devoted and activities of the Vestry members in the appropriate running of the Church.
The Role of Vestry Members
As of April 2019 the Vestry comprises the following members of the congregation: Stuart Davies, Frank DeCamillo, Kevin Delaney, Kim Hoeschel, George James, Mary Nicholls, Chris Pepe, Cindy Reindl, Dave Scott, Tim Shelley, Liz Swain and Collis Townsend.
The vestry of the Episcopal Church has two primary tasks. The first is managerial: stewardship of the church’s assets and property. The second responsibility is to see that responsible members of the congregation fill leadership roles on the committees and ministries. Further, it is the vestry's responsibility to elect a Rector and to make sure that the bylaws concur with state law and National Church and Diocesan canons.
The vestry and the Rector create committees to take responsibility for managing specific functions of the parish. These are subject to review and change as the needs of the congregation evolve. Currently we ask vestry members to serve as members of specific committees to be a liaison between that committee and the vestry. Currently the main functions under management by the Vestry are as follows:
o Stewardship Committee
§ Responsible for the annual canvass and for creating an awareness of stewardship as an everyday activity for Christians.
§ Responsible for creating and managing the annual budget
§ Responsible for overseeing endowment funds and soliciting donations for same.
o Buildings and Grounds
§ Purpose: To maintain the property of the church so that it is available for use. To inform the vestry and congregation of need for major maintenance projects.
o Weekly worship planning is the responsibility of the clergy and the music director.
o Worship support (ushers, acolytes, lectors, chalice bearers, etc.)
o Altar Guild
§ Children’s formation
§ Youth formation
§ Adult formation
o New Members
o Fund raisers
● Pastoral Care
o Responsible for lay visitors, funeral receptions, casserole ministry, prayer circle
● Service: Partnerships in Mission
Although each committee has a separate responsibility, it is the goal of the community to work together to "make bodily growth and build itself up in love" (Eph. 4:16). The vestry has the responsibility to be sure that activities are coordinated and are directed at meeting the goals and mission of Advent.
Remembering the analogy that Saint Paul gave of the church as "one body with many members" it is the responsibility of the vestry to listen to the congregation and share their concerns and insights with the clergy. It is also the responsibility of the vestry to make clear to the congregation the stress and concerns of the clergy. In order to do this, vestry members should attend worship services regularly and participate in as many parish events as possible. This provides the opportunity to talk to parishioners and to learn of concerns and to appreciate successes.
Within the Vestry of Advent, Wardens are appointed to oversee many of the functions noted above and to act as the Executive Committee of the Vestry in concert with the Rector.
For the 2019/20 year the Wardens are as follows:
George James - Rector’s Warden, Chris Pepe – Finance Warden, Collis Townsend – Development Warden and Dave Scott – Peoples Warden.
The Rector's Warden is appointed by the Rector and serves as a confidant and sounding board for the Rector. In consultation with the vestry, the Warden shall provide a formal review of the Rector’s performance each year. In the absence of a Rector, a Senior Warden is elected by the vestry. The Senior Warden (or his appointee from the vestry) represents the vestry at staff meetings, provides the management functions normally performed by the Rector, and represents the parish to the bishop and the diocese as necessary. The Senior Warden (in absence of a rector) presides at vestry meetings and serves as the President of the Corporation.
The other three Wardens are elected by the Vestry at the first meeting following the Annual Meeting.
The People's Warden represents the concerns of the parish to the vestry and the Rector and assists the Rector’s Warden as needed.
The Finance Warden chairs the finance committee and is responsible for the creation of the annual budget. He or she works with the Treasurer to provide monthly financial reports to the vestry and to manage the yearly budget.
The Development Warden oversees the annual giving (stewardship), the endowment program and any capital fund drive that might be agreed upon.
Each committee shall have at least one vestry member serving as liaison between the committee and the vestry. The responsibilities of the liaisons are:
• Attend Monthly / Weekly / Periodic committee meetings. Take note of any “material” events or initiatives that could affect parish life and may require Vestry approval.
• Report back to the Vestry each month on the key initiatives, focus and material events or initiatives being planned by your committee, so the Vestry is aware and can discuss and support as needed. Identify opportunities for collaboration between committees.
• Provide insights and guidance from the Vestry / Executive Committee to the committees so they can operate in a focused and intentional manner and not be delayed or surprised by new direction or priorities defined by the Vestry, or the need for project approvals.
• Assist and encourage new ideas and Long-term planning for the committees, and also encourage development of new ministries within the scope of work and mission, as defined by / for the committee board.
• Report to the vestry any needs (human, space or financial resources) that the committee requests to maintain or grow established or new ministries.
• Assist / Advise committees with annual budget creation and strategic visioning that requires human, space or financial resources. • Encourage committees to generate communications on the AdventKS.org website, Advent Weekly emails, Annual Report, and Advent’s Facebook page so the parish and potential visitors are informed of the offerings and volunteer needs of the committee.
As you can see the role of the Vestry and its Wardens is very diverse and they give up a good amount of their time to ensure Advent is properly managed and the resources used to the greatest effect. As the Peoples Warden for 2019/20 please feel free to contact me if you have any comments, questions or concerns about the running of Advent and I will represent them to the
Vestry for consideration. Our goal is to ensure Advent is a viable entity long into the future and meets the spiritual needs of its congregation.
Respectfully, Dave Scott