Leadership at St. Andrew’s
As an Anglican church, St. Andrew’s leadership organization reflects our unique heritage. We are not a hierarchical church (i.e., Roman Catholic), nor are we a congregational church (i.e., Baptist/non-denominational). While we have elements of both of those models, we instead, have a conciliar method of church leadership, meaning that, in our leadership of the parish, the clergy and the laity, under the leadership of the Rector, take counsel together – and with the Lord through prayer.
What is a Vestry?
The Vestry is the name of the elected lay leadership of a local congregation. The term, “vestry,” originally referred to the vesting room attached to the church building where the clergy would vest, i.e., put on their robes. Typically, and historically, the elected lay leaders would meet in the vestry for their meetings and over time these lay leaders simply became known as the “Vestry.” The Vestry is led by the Rector and officers of the Vestry. The officers are comprised of a Senior Warden (appointed by the Rector), a Junior Warden, a Secretary, and a Treasurer (the latter three positions elected by the Vestry).
Because a Rector once called by both the Vestry and Bishop to lead a parish has tenure, the relationship between the Vestry and the Rector is crucial. The fundamental characteristic of a healthy relationship is trust. We find that trust grows and organizations function at their best when the responsibilities of all persons in leadership have a clear understanding of their role, function, and authority. The Anglican Church, through its governing documents (canons and bylaws) and expressed in its liturgies for ordination and the installation of a new Rector, has articulated clearly the particular responsibilities of both the Rector and Vestry of the parish as follows:
Role of the Rector
As the spiritual head of the congregation, the Rector’s duties shall include: (i) overseeing the worship of the congregation, ensuring that such worship utilizes only authorized liturgical forms, and conforms to all pertinent rubrics, canons, and the direction of the Bishop; (ii) presiding or designating a presider at all meetings of the Vestry; (iii) preaching and teaching the Holy Scriptures; (iv) having care of souls, and providing pastoral care when necessary; (v) cultivating in his own life a rule of prayer and devotion, as modeled through the daily offices of Morning and Evening Prayer; (vi) living as a godly example to the faithful; (vii) hiring, managing, and when necessary, terminating the employment of members of staff; and (viii) having at all times the use and control of the church properties, ensuring that all activities taking place on church properties are consistent with the worship and mission of the church and local needs of the congregation.
Role of the Vestry
The Vestry as the elected representatives of the parish are the sole legal representatives of the parish and transact all business of the parish. Our governing documents enumerate the Vestry’s responsibilities as follows: (i) provide for the financial support of the Rector and the Rector’s family; (ii) support the Rector in all aspects of the Rector’s ministry, including ensuring the Christian formation, biblical literacy and spiritual maturity of the members of the Congregation; (iii) provide an adequate place for regular worship; (iv) provide for the elements necessary for the celebration of sacraments, music, hymnals, prayer books, and Bibles as needed for use by the Congregation; (v) provide for the compensation of staff members; (vi) establish an adequate insurance program for the Congregation; (vii) be familiar with the Constitution and Canons of the Province and of the Diocese and provide for compliance therewith; (viii) establish a biblically-based program of financial giving by members of the Congregation; (ix) conform (as nearly as possible) with the financial askings of the Diocese; and (x) strive for unity and adopt the principles found in Matthew 18 as the standard for resolving conflict that may develop within the Vestry, the Congregation, the Diocese, and the Province.
St. Andrew’s Vestry
At St. Andrew’s, the Vestry is comprised of twelve people (n.b., when a satellite congregation attains regular worship attendance of 250 per Sunday they elect one person from their number to serve on the Vestry) each serving a three-year term. We seek those persons for Vestry service who evidence the “5 C’s” in their manner of life:
- Character (is the fruit of conversion evidenced in their life?)
- Charism (do they evidence gifting for Vestry service?)
- Calling (do they have a sense that the Lord is calling them to Vestry service?)
- Capacity (do they evidence the capabilities necessary for Vestry service?)
- Competency (do they evidence skills and Christian maturity necessary for Vestry service?)