Is Vestry For Me?

In January, we’ll be having our annual Vestry election at our Parish Meeting, and nomination forms will soon be available.
Four new members will be elected to replace Mallard Benton, Steven Donavon, Waylee George and Levi Livermont., who are rotating off.  Do you feel called to consider Vestry service but are perhaps intimidated because you’re not sure what to expect?  We asked our outgoing Vestry members to share their thoughts and experiences.
Why would I want to serve?
  •  “For me it was a way of getting more involved.  I didn’t sit on any committees and at the time this was a way to learn more about several aspects of the church.  Little did I realize that I would learn so much more with the entire Search process for our new Rector.” – Steven
  •  “I wanted the opportunity to serve our parish at the highest level.” – Waylee
 What qualifications or skills do I need?
Canon 21, Section 6 states vestry qualification as “Any confirmed communicant of the Parish in good and regular standing who is not less than 18 years of age, a regular attendant upon the services in the year preceding the election, and known by the Treasurer to have made and fulfilled a stated financial commitment for church support in the year preceding the election.”
Aside from the canonical qualification requirements above, the most important qualification is an openness to letting the Holy Spirit to work through you! The vestry is, in many respects, the spiritual leadership of the church.
  • Willingness to go outside your comfort zone and “see the church in a larger framework.  There is a component of Vestry service that is getting away from yourself.”  – Mallard
  • “I didn’t bring anything except my faith and my commitment to my pledged amounts. Those thinking they are not qualified for Vestry need to know that they are welcome to serve.  St. Matthew’s has strength in our diversity (and I am not just referring to race) of people, in ideas, and more.”  – Steven
  • “When I was elected, I didn’t really understand all the intricacies of what makes the church function.  I realized the challenges the church has, as well as the opportunities that the church brings to the community.  It takes everyone participating to really make a church work.”  — Waylee
 What is the time commitment?
Vestry members serve a three-year term.  Our monthly meetings, which last around 2 hours, are held on the second Monday of the month.  We also have an annual Vestry retreat on a Saturday during the spring.  Each vestry member serves as liaison to a specific ministry committee, and attends those meetings then reports back to the rest of the Vestry each month.  We also have a rotation for Vestry Person of the Day duties on Sundays; working in pairs, we take two months during the year.
What will I get out of it?
  • “I was surprised at the amount of spiritual growth I have experienced while on Vestry. Not so much the Bible study at the meetings, but the small daily pieces that come with being on Vestry. The chances to help shepherd others in their own spiritual journeys.” – Steven
  •  “The best part was being part of the team that called our new Rector.  Vestry is a ministry.  We put in motion God’s work.  That fills us up spiritually.”  – Waylee
  • “Every decision is made after collective thought, debate and discussion.” – Mallard
 Any words of advice?
  • “Don’t let fear hold you back if you have never served on a Vestry. This ministry for me has been very fulfilling. In Vestry, no one’s vote weighs more than another.” – Steven
  •  “Look really deeply into the questions about your vision for the future and what you can bring to the Vestry.  Reflect and prayerfully consider your answers.  Talk to people who have served and ask any specific questions you might have.”  – Mallard
Take some time.  Pray for discernment.  Talk to anyone who has served on Vestry about their own experiences.  Pray some more.  And let the Holy Spirit direct you.  Who knows?  Perhaps it will guide you onto the 2016 Vestry!
Feeling Called to Vestry Service?
Join Sr. Warden Mallard Benton in the choir loft @ 9:30 a.m. this Sunday and throughout November to have your questions answered.

Share this on your social network: