The Vestry of St. Thomas Episcopal Church is made up of the Rector and six elected members. The Rector, Senior Warden, Junior Warden, and Treasurer (who may or may not be a vestry member) compose the “executive” members of the vestry.
Vestry members serve a three-year term and one-third of the vestry is rotated each year. Since our Vestry is composed of six members, each year we elect two new members.
The role of the Vestry is to:
- Determine the vision and strategic plan for the parish | Download current vestry minutes
- Oversee the parish’s finances | Download current financial report
- Take care of the parish property | Download building use agreement & application
- Ensure that proper records are kept
- Help select parish leadership
- Give direction to the various committees of the parish to ensure that the church is collectively working toward the fulfillment of its vision
The Vestry is the elected leadership of the parish community. It is a most important ministry in the life of any congregation. In fact, in order for an Episcopal church to exist, there must be a priest and a vestry to oversee operations, provide direction, and support the parish mission.
The Canons (rules of order) of the Episcopal Church state that the parish elects members of the vestry at an annual meeting. At St. Thomas, this important gathering traditionally takes place in January in the context of regular worship and fellowship. This coming year it will convene on Sunday, January 24.
It is very important that election to the Vestry not be based upon popularity or used as a way of honoring elders.
In accordance with our parish bylaws and the Canons of the Diocese of Western North Carolina, the eligibility requirements for service on the vestry are as follows. The nominee must be:
- 16 years of age or older
- A communicant in good standing, i.e. a regular attendee at the weekly Eucharist for at least six months
- A contributor of record (known to the Treasurer), helping to support the ministries of this parish
Guidelines for the Position of Vestry Member at St. Thomas
The primary responsibility of a Vestry member in his/her ministry at St. Thomas is one of prayer for, and pastoral care of, the community of Christians gathered in this Church. Therefore,
- Each member will agree to participate actively and regularly at worship services, educational, and fellowship activities.
- Each member will actively agree to the principles of Christian stewardship.
- Each member will assume the responsibility for attending all monthly Vestry meetings, including the annual retreat.
- Each member will agree to help grow our parish leadership and enliven our mission by helping members discover their gifts and particular places of service within the St. Thomas community.