The Importance of the Vestry
The Vestry, or whatever that group of laypeople is called in your church, is an integral part of the Anglican way of leading and developing congregations. Vestries are not incidental to the life of the church. But neither are they the focus of the life of the church. Vestries serve the church and its mission in service to Jesus Christ as its Lord. The idea of having a Vestry of lay members of the church is common to all Anglican congregations.
What is NOT common at all is a clear understanding about what a Vestry is supposed to do. Many people who are currently serving on a Vestry, or who have been nominated to serve, are new to the Anglican Church. Some may never have heard of a Vestry. The average person in the pews or chairs can figure out what a bishop is, who his Bishop is, and what he is for. The same is true for the role of Rector or leader in a church. People are familiar with that duty. But many people who are deeply committed Christians and ardent worship attenders, even those who are cradle Anglicans, do not really understand the role and responsibilities of a Vestry in a congregation.
The Goal of This Book
The goal of this book is to describe the role of the Vestry at a comprehensive level. I hope this will be helpful to those who are considering serving or who have been elected to serve on a Vestry. I offer this book with the hope to create a common understanding of what a Vestry is equipped and canonically capable of doing. Serving on a Vestry for a typical three-year term is not an honorary position. It is, and should be, ministry. It is an important ministry and is needed now more than ever.
If you are on a Vestry or are considering serving in this capacity, I hope you will read this book cover to cover. There are no unimportant aspects to the role of Vestry. Your experience and your gifts, time, efforts, prayer, and energy can make a critical difference to your church. That is my belief and my hope. And, as you understand the import of this ministry, I know it will 4 strengthen your church and increase your faith in Jesus Christ. May every page and every chapter help you assist your church to fulfill its mission.