Vestry members serve a three-year term beginning and ending at an Annual Parish Meeting (approximately 3-4 weeks after Easter), with the terms staggered so that each year approximately one-third of the members are replaced. Vacancies can be filled by the Vestry itself, or by the parish at-large at a Parish Meeting. Members who serve a partial term of one year or less are eligible for re-election to a full term.
Meeting Times and Location
Vestry meetings currently are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7 pm in the Parish Hall. The Vestry often does not meet in July or August.
After consulting with the individual Vestry members themselves about their gifts and interests, the Rector and Wardens appoint each Vestry member as a liaison for one major area of ministry corresponding to ministry Commissions. The Commissions represent the leadership of each of its constituent working ministry teams or committees. Each Commission is assigned one or more staff representatives. The Vestry liaison normally is not the chair of the Commission, but may be. This is not intended to be a hierarchical structure: The Commissions are not “in charge” of the ministries they represent, but help facilitate the work of ministry, including communication among constituent groups. Collaboration across Commission lines is encouraged.
Vestry members rotate responsibility for leading either a brief worship service of Compline or prayer at the end of each Vestry meeting. Vestry members also rotate through assignments to lead the announcements at the 10 am service.
Vestry members are Directors of the Corporation and are indemnified by the parish bylaws and insured in that role by our church insurance.
Eligibility requirements for Vestry service are as follows:
- 16 or more years of age or over.
- Be a regular attender at worship (2-3 times per month).
- Be entered on the Treasurer’s books at least three months preceding the voting date as a current pledging member of the church (in the prior twelve months).
- Be entered on the register of The Church at least three months preceding the voting date as a Communicant in good standing who have been confirmed in the Episcopal Church (A “Communicant in good standing” is defined as all communicants who have received communion at least three times in the previous twelve months and are faithful in their corporate worship, unless for good cause, and have been faithful at working, praying, and giving for the spread of the Kingdom of God, including being financial contributors of record to the parish).
- Candidates for Vestry should be men and women of prayer, with gifts for ministry leadership. Those gifts are not the same for each person, and can be discerned together with the Rector or other parish leaders. Candidates should have a passion for the mission and ministry of St. Barnabas, and be known and trusted in the parish.
The Vestry Nominating Committee considers the following factors in selecting its slate of nominees:
- A mixture of long-time members and relative newcomers is desirable, including those who have demonstrated effective Vestry leadership in the past, but newcomers normally ought to have been active in the congregation for at least 12 months.
- Insofar as it is possible, the composition of the Vestry should reflect the diversity of the congregation as that pertains to gender, age, economic advantage, sexual orientation, ethnicity, full-time vs. seasonal residence, and preferences in worship time and style.
- Vestry members should be willing to commit to exercising leadership in their financial support of the parish by making and honoring pledges and by committing to make St. Barnabas a substantial financial priority as best that is defined by individual Vestry members.
- Vestry members must be willing to act collegially by their collective action, and to abide by the lawful decisions of the Vestry and the officers of the parish.
The Job of a Vestry Member
Vestry members should:
- Have a love of God and demonstrate a commitment to following the way of Christ.
- Be active in and knowledgeable about the congregation, its programs, and governance.
- Be fair, interact well with people, and strive to earn the respect of the members of the congregation.
- Commit themselves to the concept of partnership between vestry and clergy leaders, recognizing the success of an inclusive model of leadership relies on everyone’s participation.
- Offer talents to discern and support the congregation’s mission and vision.
- Be active ministers of the gospel in daily life and work.
- Pledge financial support early in the annual campaign.
It is expected that vestry members will:
- Attend Vestry meetings and retreats.
- Attend weekly worship services, rotating occasionally if more than one is offered.
- Attend congregational events such as coffee hour, meals, fundraisers, Christian formation, etc.
- Attend Diocesan events as necessary.
- Attend the annual meeting.
(Source: The Vestry Resource Guide)
Additional Expectations of Vestry Members
- Vestry members should attend Vestry meetings regularly. In the event that any Vestry Member has been absent from three consecutive, regular meetings of the Vestry, the seat of the Vestry Member is considered vacant by the Vestry and a qualified Member of the Parish shall be elected to fill the vacancy.
- Vestry members should be regular in worship attending at least twice a month with the exception of business travel, vacation and serious illness; and attend public functions of the parish when possible.
- Vestry members should be willing to listen to the hopes and concerns of parishioners and bring those to the full Vestry for open discussion and follow-up.
- The Vestry is a deliberative body. We listen to each other carefully and respectfully. We take action when everyone has been heard, and is persuaded that the decision-making process is fair. Vestry members are not required to agree with all the decisions of the group or to conceal their disagreement, but they are expected to support the group’s decisions and the integrity of the Vestry and its officers.
- Vestry members keep confidentiality when required, and do not engage in gossip.
- Vestry members have a fiduciary responsibility to support the mission, ministry, and purposes of the leadership of St. Barnabas, the Diocese of Maryland, and The Episcopal Church.
- Vestry members lead a life worthy of their calling, as described in Ephesians 4, and as promised in our Baptismal Covenant (BCP pp. 304-5).
Standing for Election
Members of the Parish may apply directly to the Senior Warden or the Rector. Candidates for the Vestry are asked to submit a photograph and a brief biographical statement for publication. Third party recommendations from Clergy, seated Vestry, staff, and/or family members of potential candidates are appropriate and welcome. The Committee’s action on the recommendation will remain confidential and will not be communicated back to the person making the recommendation.
Other individuals may be nominated from the Parish Membership at large, provided the proposed names have been submitted in writing to the Clerk of the Vestry no later than three weeks before the Annual Meeting.