Originally the word referred to the room where the priest would put on vestments. The parish members would meet with the clergy to discuss the affairs of the parish. Over time the name of the room came to signify the group of members who governed a parish because it was where they met. Vestry meetings are in a different room but the name remained the same.
Role of the Vestry
The vestry of an Episcopal church has three primary responsibilities. The first two are managerial: to take care of parish finances and the parish buildings. The third is to choose individuals to fill various positions of leadership and representation: the choice of a rector, the choice of delegates to the diocesan convention, and the selection of others as the diocesan canons may stipulate. The vestry also serves as an advisory council to the rector who by church law is the parish’s chief liturgical and pastoral officer.
The vestry consists of lay members of the church elected by the congregation at the annual parish meeting. The vestry of St. Paul’s church currently has seven elected members. Each year, the vestry elects the senior and Junior Wardens. The remaining officers, Clerk and Treasurer, are chosen by the vestry from members of the congregation. Vestry members normally serve a three year term and must be members in good standing of the parish to serve.
The vestry of St. Paul’s church meets monthly in the church office. Meetings are on Tuesday evenings in in summer months and Sunday afternoons in the winter. Unless otherwise noted, all meetings are open to members of the congregation. The annual parish meeting is held in January of each year.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does the vestry do?
The vestry meets each month to review and approve normal monthly operational expenses of the church, receive reports from various committees, plan and approve capital improvement projects, and attend to concerns within the parish.
Who are the officers of the vestry?
The Episcopal Church (TEC) and Diocese of Ohio canons provide limited guidance for parish and vestry structures. The rector to be the presiding officer, and for the senior warden to preside in the absence of the rector. The parish bylaws provide local vestry guidance. The Treasurer, Clerk and the wardens, are elected by the vestry annually.
How are vestry members selected?
Before the annual meeting, the vestry forms a committee to nominate a slate of candidates to replace the two members whose term is scheduled to expire. With approval of the vestry, the nominations are presented to the congregation at the annual parish meeting. When the nominations are presented, the congregation is offered the opportunity to nominate candidates from the floor. When the slate is closed, the congregation votes for the candidates of their choice and the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes are elected to take the place of the two members whose term is expiring at the end of the annual meeting. Vestry members are elected to serve on the vestry for a period of three years.
St Paul’s has an active vestry that seeks to guide while listening to God’s call to share Christ in the world.
Recent activities of the vestry & congregation have been:
2004-2005: Installation of a lift, making the sanctuary accessible to all persons.
2009-2010: Completed the search process for a resident priest to serve St Paul’s
2010 – 2011: The restoration and repair of St Paul’s historic steeple
2011-2012: Addition of a labyrinth which is open to all, dawn to dusk. It is surrounded by plantings maintained by church members.
2013 – replacement of the balcony rail and installation of an additional support rod.
2013 – offering a weekend spiritual retreat which welcomed people from all over the United States.
2014 – Capital Campaign (PFT)
Planting for Tomorrow – Growing in Faith Today
2014 – Heating System improvements (PFT funds)
2015 – The 150th Anniversary Celebration
2015 – The church was painted – inside and out (PFT Funds)
2015 – The Labyrinth pillar was installed.
2018 – Renovation of the kitchen and bathrooms.
Annual: Support of many outreach activities including the Food Pantry at St. Paul’s
Annual: Strawberry Shortcake at Founder’s Day celebration in the park.
Annual: Employee Soup Supper in June to welcome new and returning business employees.
Previously: Spaghetti dinner in August for island employees. 2006 – 2015
2019 – Added air conditioning to the sanctuary
2022 Renovation to the Hartman House