It took about 3 months to finish this one phone call. When I was done, I had written a book called The Rector and the Vestry. It is available on Amazon.
In November of 2019, I was speaking with a friend and colleague in ministry. He is the Rector of a small but growing church that he planted about seven years ago. He related an episode from a recent Vestry meeting at his church. It didn’t go smoothly. There were conflicts. There were concerns. The newly elected Vestry members were out of synch with the rest of the group.
Some members had not served on a Vestry before. Some had been members of bible church with a completely different polity. Some had non-profit experience or business acumen. But none of them had a common view of the role and purpose of a Vestry. They were just ‘on’ the Vestry to help lead the congregation. Isn’t that why they were elected?
“David, do you know anything that I could use to help train my Vestry members about our polity and our roles to get us all on the same page?” I thought for a minute and told him I’d get back to him.
Three months later, a book was born.
The Rector and The Vestry is an easy-to-read field guide for congregations in the Anglican Church in North America. My goal in writing this book is to describe the polity, purpose, roles, and responsibilities of the Vestry of a congregation, a Rector, and the working relationship between them. The book will cover topics about Anglican Polity, Mission, Roles of Rector, Wardens, and Vestry members, Dynamics about church size and attendance, area for financial oversight, accountability, and governance. There is a number of topics for discussion and consideration in the Appendix as well.
Here is some of what is in the book.
- One chapter highlights the mission of the Christian Church in general. It is the largest, longest-lasting, self-replicating and self-reproducing organization in all of history. I describe the mission of a congregation as it relates to the overall mission given to us by Jesus Christ.
- Another chapter looks at the issue of polity and governance. Why do Anglican churches govern themselves the way they do? How are they like other denominations and how, specifically, is Anglican polity different from the rest?
- I take three chapters to describe the role of the Rector, the Wardens, and the Vestry. The partnership between Rector and Vestry can be problematic and tense. The Archbishop recently texted me his wisdom: Nothing gets a Rector in more trouble than ignorance in how to work with the vestry. The book develops a common understanding of the roles and responsibilities that empower both the Rector and the Vestry to engage the mission.
- The book also focuses on ten areas that a Vestry MUST be responsible for including compensation, financial accounting, budgeting, reserve funds, and other issues that are mandated by most canons.
- In the Appendix section, I include a full range of topics that some Rectors and Vestries may want to discuss further: Membership. Rector’s Evaluation. Canons Every Vestry Member Should Know. The Rector Search Process. And more.
I think every Rector will want a copy of this book. One of the reviewers (a Rector) even called it a ‘page-turner’!
Recent Five Star Reviews on Amazon
Loved the clarity and practicality of this book. Canon Roseberry draws on the best of other manuals and offers his own helpful advice. The chapters on the role of the rector and the wardens are absolute gold and must for onboarding new Vestry members.
I especially appreciate the historical perspective of Anglican polity. I am fairly new to Anglicanism and the provided great information related to the role and function of the vestry.
I helped start an Anglican church seven years ago and, boy, would this book have been helpful! Canon Roseberry has provided much needed help for vestries that are learning how to lead an Anglican church well. Even though our parish has learned a lot through trial and error, we’re using “The Rector and the Vestry” to rethink our vestry role description and best practices as a governing board. Thanks, Canon Roseberry!
I wish I had this book when I first joined our Vestry, I would have been more prepared. Rev. Canon David Roseberry gives excellent advice on the roles of the Vestry and of the Rector. In his introduction, he says he wrote this book to “assist and empower every Vestry and Rector to be unified, effective, and focused” and I believe he accomplish that with this book. His chapters on financial concerns and best practices are very helpful. Should be a “must-read” book for anyone wanting to serve on a Vestry!