We often joke that St. Francis runs on its stomachs because so often there is food involved in whatever we do. But in reality, St. Francis runs on volunteers.
That includes The Vestry. The Vestry in the Episcopal Church is very much like a board of directors for the parish. It is not a lifetime appointment, but each Vestry member is elected by you for a term of three years.
Each year at least three members rotate off and three new members are elected at our annual meeting at the end of August.
This year we have three positions up for grabs. Before we get into the qualifications necessary to run for the vestry, it might be helpful to explain what the position entails.
Vestry meets once a month, currently on the third Wednesday at 4pm and almost always wraps up before 6pm. Typically, each meeting begins with a prayer by The Rector.
Then we move on to the business of St. Francis by the Sea including a review of the monthly financial statements compiled by the volunteer Treasurer, parish and program needs, reports from the Senior & Junior Wardens, the rector and vestry member committee liaison reports. We wrap up with the reading of the previous month’s meetings which are recorded by a vestry member designated as clerk.
Yes, there is more than just the monthly meetings, there are typically two vestry retreats, one soon after new Vestry members are elected, the other in the spring. These have been a few hours on a Friday evening and a daylong meeting on Saturday. For the past several years the retreats have been hosted in the home of one of the vestry members.
Other important aspects of being on the vestry include being a church leader, visible and accessible to the congregation. Vestry members take part in as many church events as possible, support the Rector, and serve as liaisons to other committees.
From the Canons of the Episcopal Diocese of Maine: Canon 21, Section 1 – Of the Election of the Vestry: “No one shall be elected a Warden or a member of the Vestry who is not a lay communicant in good standing, and a stated contributor to, and worshiper in, the parish for which he or she is elected. No one shall be elected a Warden who is not of full legal age, or a member of the Vestry who is not at least 15 years of age. Wardens and members of the Vestry shall meet the eligibility standards of the laws of Maine. In every Parish, a majority of the members of the Vestry shall be persons of full legal age.”
This year our Nominating Committee includes: Wardens and members of the Vestry for the coming year shall be nominated by a committee that will include: Current Senior Warden Milissa Lalonde, Former Senior Warden Bob Publicover, and outgoing Vestry member Katie MacLeod.
Please prayerfully consider being nominated for the Vestry. Please talk with any current members if you have any questions.