Newsletter, January 25
Rev. Sheelagh’s Thought For The Week
“Almighty and everlasting God, you govern all things both in heaven and on earth,“
states this week’s collect. This is where the lines blur between the secular world and the religious world. All day Friday and Saturday we have the Annual Convention of the Diocese, and on Sunday we have our own Annual Meeting here at St. Stephen’s. We have to comply with both state laws for corporations and canon laws for churches. Our meetings provide an opportunity to look back and take stock. We get to elect new officers and members of our governing body, the Vestry. We see the financials and are apprised of the Vestry planning for financing the next year.
What then is a Vestry and what are its responsibilities? Canon law states: “the Vestry, consisting of wardens and other members, is the legal representative of the parish “in all matters concerning its corporate property and the relations of the Parish to its clergy” (Canon 1.14.2). The main responsibilities of the Vestry, like any other governing body of any organization, is to define and articulate the mission of the congregation; select the rector; ensure effective organization and planning; ensure adequate resources in leadership and in financial stewardship; manage resources effectively and determine appropriate programs, policies and procedures have been developed and are followed. The Annual Meeting is the moment when that all comes together and we all get to see the big picture. Together we make a difference to many lives as you will hear this weekend, but leadership in our highly intense world is increasingly difficult, and there are many competing, diverse demands on us all. Your Vestry is seeking to explore new ways to do things and share the load, and we need all of you to help. Let’s strengthen ourselves by worshipping together and remembering that we rely above all on God’s guidance and power.