What is a Vestry?

Episcopal congregations are generally governed by their Rector and the Vestry. The Vestry, consisting of wardens and other members, is the legal representative of the parish in all matters concerning its corporate property and the relations of the Parish to its Clergy.

In England the annual election of churchwardens took place in Easter week. The parishioners gathered at the church to hear the outgoing wardens render their accounts and elect their successors. The parishioners assembled in the vestry, the room off the chancel where the clergy vested. The assembled parishioners came to be known as the vestry. These were open vestries in that all adult male parishioners could participate. It was like a modern annual congregational meeting. In Virginia the parishes were very large and it was difficult to get all the male parishioners together. So they would meet only once and elect twelve of their number to serve for life. This was known as a closed vestry. The transition to a closed vestry was completed by 1633 or 1634, when a Vestry Act was passed. It provided that “there be a vestrie held in each parish.” The current vestry evolved from this colonial pattern.

The Vestry performs both secular and canonical responsibilities. As a body, the Vestry is responsible for the church’s finances and resources; governance of the parish’s business; the determination of appropriate programs, policies and procedures; and performance assessment. The Vestry is elected by the congregation and is led by the Rector.  At St. Andrew’s  our vestry members serve three year terms and our wardens serve two year terms. Members of the Vestry may have committee responsibilities including education, worship, building & grounds and finance.

Our Vestry members, who may be reached via the parish office, are as follows:

Senior Warden

Pat Jackson – 2021

 Junior Warden

Cliff Sporn 2020

Vestry Members

Jane Fisher – 2020

Dominic Janney – 2020

Dwight Phillips -2020

Sharon Carr – 2021

Pat McCullough -2021

John Smythe – 2021

Kristen Henry – 2022

Kathy Murphy – 2022

Lynn Warren – 2022

 Vestry Resources Links

Episcopal Church Foundation Vital Practices

Canons, Diocese of New Jersey

Constitution and Canons, The Episcopal Church

Bylaws approved 01272019

Manual of Business Methods in Church Affairs

Bylaws approved 01272019




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