It's vestry election time! Our vestry plays an important role in the leadership of our church. Last fall, our vestry was tasked with the challenge of calling Incarnation's next rector and shepherding our church through that transition. They have done so with remarkable steadiness and grace, and they have been a wise and helpful sounding board to me as I learn how to be a rector. Their hard work is often invisible, but is absolutely vital. Just this summer, our vestry has:
taken turns showing up extra early to help unload the van on Sundays
concluded a very thoughtful 9-month review of our membership practices to make sure they align with our church's values
prayerfully discussed and evaluated candidates for the Associate Pastor role
reviewed significant financial decisions: our FY23 budget, gifts to outreach partners, and a potential new rental agreement for office/meeting space
corporately prayed and fasted about our church's outreach
I could not be more grateful for them!
This fall, we'll elect two new vestry members as Cory and Ben end their terms. We are accepting vestry nominations through Sept 1, 2022. To nominate someone to vestry, just send their name to firstname.lastname@example.org. You are welcome to nominate yourself if you are interested in serving.
Below are a few details, but if you have questions, feel free to reach out to me or any vestry member to learn more (Nancy Sung (warden), Ben Goebel (warden), Cory Warden, Kaitlin Conway, Jenni McSwain, Tom Pienaar).
What are the qualifications?
Incarnation's bylaws stipulate that vestry members must meet the following criteria:
Be a mature Christian committed to the orthodox doctrine, discipline and worship of the church, not one who has recently come into faith.
Worship God in church regularly on Sundays;
Lead an active prayer life;
Know and continue studying the Bible;
Be known as a cheerful giver not only of money but of time;
Have family relationships that reflect strong Christian commitment;
Be a leader;
Bring some skill to the Vestry which would be useful to the Church;
Have enough time to be able to serve effectively as a Vestry member; and
Make a commitment to put Vestry service high on the list of personal priorities.
In addition, the canons (rules) of our diocese require vestry members to be members of our church and received/confirmed in the Anglican Church — or willing to be.
All that said, you do not need to know whether someone you nominate meets these criteria. Our nominating committee will sort all of that out with each candidate. For now, we just want to hear who you would recommend and trust to be part of the leadership of our church in this next season.
What do vestry members do?
Vestry members meet once a month for 2-3 hours, depending on the agenda. The first 30-45 minutes of each meeting is a meal together, a helpful way of anchoring all our business in relationships of mutual trust, affection, prayer, and respect. All vestry members must also attend a one-day retreat/orientation in late fall to get to know one another better and onboard new members.
Vestry is tasked with responsibility for the "temporal matters" of the church: finances, facilities, policies, etc. (many of these matters are carried out by staff, but overseen by vestry). But these temporal matters are ultimately a reflection of our mission and calling as disciples of Jesus, and so vestry participation calls for prayer and humility and spiritual maturity.
In this season of transition, the vestry has also been filling much-needed gaps in our staffing. When a practical need emerges that is beyond our staff capacity, I turn to vestry. When I'm facing a decision for which I need wisdom or simply a sounding board, I turn to vestry. I anticipate our next vestry continuing to roll up their sleeves and help carry the load alongside me and our staff team.
And one more thing: I'm a brand new rector! I'm still learning what makes for an effective vestry-rector relationship, and I look forward to learning together with our next vestry in an atmosphere of grace and — I truly hope — fun!
Please reach out if you have any questions, and send nominations for vestry to email@example.com by Sept 1!
In other news:
Read about the Incarnation Annual Reflection and complete yours by Sept 5!
The fall retreat will be Sept 30-Oct 2; signups coming soon! Scroll down to the fall retreat section of this post to learn more and stay tuned for signups.
And I'm always up for a coffee, tea, or walk together to talk or pray about whatever's on your mind.