Vestry? Wardens?

Are you guys a jail or something? What is a Vestry? What do Wardens do?

A “Vestry” is the Anglican name for a Board of Directors of a parish church.  Vestry Members are elected by Members of the Church at our Annual Meeting.  Vestry meets monthly to pray for the parish, to learn, to discuss, and to decide matters affecting the life of the parish. While the Canons give the Vestry responsibility over the temporal matters of the church, and the Rector oversight of spiritual matters, our Rector considers the Vestry to have an important role in assisting him in his spiritual oversight.  Each Vestry Member also has potential liaison responsibilities to assist the Rector in support of a particular area of ministry.  Vestry Liaisons have responsibility to know their ministries, to jump in to help where needed within their area of responsibility, to support the leaders of these ministries, and to act as their advocates to the Vestry and the Congregation. 

The Wardens:   The Wardens assist the Rector in helping the Vestry to function well, so that as a Vestry we fulfill our responsibilities for oversight and encouragement of the Vestry and the Parish.  The Wardens are servant leaders with many responsibilities.  This involves being present at a wide variety of programs and services, listening with understanding and compassion to any parishioner with concerns, encouraging unity, and rolling up one’s sleeves whenever necessary.  The Senior Warden is also called the Rector’s Warden, and the Junior Warden is also called the People’s Warden.

Senior Warden (Rector’s Warden) Position

          The role of Senior Warden is the lay head of the Vestry.  The Senior Warden typically presides over the Vestry in the absence of the Rector.  The Senior Warden is selected by the Rector from the elected Vestry.  The Senior Warden is responsible for being an advisor, counselor, and supporter of the Rector.  The Senior Warden’s support for the Rector should be generous, unswerving, and public.  The Warden’s advice and counsel to the Rector should be forthright, broad-based, and private.  In short, the Senior Warden is to be the Rector’s friend and ministry partner. The Senior Warden notifies the Bishop when the Parish is without a Rector. Depending upon such other variables as the Senior Warden’s own skills and talents and the diverse parish needs, the Senior Warden can expect to serve in various other Committee functions. 

Junior Warden (People’s Warden) Position

The Junior Warden is elected by the Vestry (typically at the Vestry Retreat) after the Rector has selected the Rector’s Warden.  The activities of Junior Warden center on administration. This includes matters dealing with leasing office and worship space, land and building acquisition, capital campaign, personnel, policies and procedures, finance, and real and personal property.

          Depending upon such other variables as the Junior Warden’s own skills and talents and the diverse parish needs, the Junior Warden can expect to serve in various other Committee functions.