What is the vestry?
The vestry is the legal representative of the parish with regard to all matters pertaining to its corporate property. At St. Paul’s, the vestry consists of twelve members, organized into staggered classes of four members per class, who are elected to three year terms at the annual meeting, usually near the end of January. The presiding officer of the vestry is the rector. There are usually two wardens. In the Diocese of Arkansas, the rector selects the senior warden who leads the parish between rectors and is a support person for the rector. The junior warden, elected by the vestry, has responsibility for church property and buildings. The vestry also elects a treasurer and a clerk, who are not necessarily vestry members. The basic responsibilities of the vestry are to help define and articulate the mission of the congregation; to support the church's mission by word and deed, to select the rector, to ensure effective organization and planning, and to manage resources and finances.
What does the vestry do?
The vestry meets regularly with the rector and other staff, usually monthly, to receive reports from the rector, wardens and treasurer about parish life and finances and to consider plans and proposals to sustain and enhance the mission, “to explore and celebrate God’s infinite grace, acceptance and love.”
In 2016, the vestry created and appointed a finance committee to assist in oversight of the business affairs of the church. Other committees or workgroups are formed as needed to address needs of the parish such as long-range planning, stewardship and special events.
Members of the vestry also serve as hosts or assist with many parish activities such as the annual picnic, ministry fair, Celebration Sunday and cashier duties at regular Sunday breakfasts and Wednesday dinners.
When does the vestry meet?
All vestry meetings are open to all members of the parish. Currently, the vestry meets on the last Wednesday of each month at 7:00 PM.
How are vestry members selected?
Each fall at St. Paul’s, a nominating committee of vestry members whose terms are concluding, along with one or more other parishioners, solicits suggestions for the next class of vestry. Nominees must be at least 16 years old, members of St. Paul’s for at least thirty days and financial contributors of record in the parish (or a member of a family that pledges as a unit). Diversity of age, gender and life experience among the vestry is desired.
After vetting potential candidates, the committee presents a slate of proposed nominees to the parish for a vote on a Sunday morning early in Advent. A mechanism for absentee voting is available. All members of record are eligible to vote. Instructions are to vote for four among the slate, with those who receive more than 50% of the total number of ballots becoming nominees. If necessary, run-off elections are held on subsequent Sundays. The four nominees thus selected are presented for election during the annual meeting in late January. Parishioners may present other nominees at the annual meeting. The new vestry members assume office upon election. If a vestry member resigns or is unable to serve, the vestry elects a replacement to serve the remainder of the former vestry member’s term.
How do I recommend a good candidate for vestry?
That’s easy! After obtaining the consent of the person you want to suggest, contact any vestry member personally, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or watch for contact information in the Communicant, E-News, and Epistle.
Who are current vestry members?
Class of 2017
Alan Ostner, Jr. Warden
Class of 2018
David Jolliffe, Senior Warden
Class of 2019
Mary Elizabeth Eldridge
Rev. Lowell E. Grisham, Rector
Rev. Suzanne Stoner, Associate Rector
Pene Musial, Treasurer
Suzi Freeman, Parish Administrator
Eliot Neel, Clerk