Current Vestry Members
Kathy Araujo, Senior Warden
Cynthia O'Malley, People's Warden
Scott Denman, Rector
Joan Bonsey, Scribe
About the Vestry
All Episcopal churches have vestries. While their organization differs from church to church, their function is similar. In all cases, the vestry acts like the Board of Directors of the church organization. At St. John’s our Vestry operates under our by-laws, as amended. Their actions are also in full compliance with the canons of the Diocese and National Church.
At St. John's we have 13 members which includes the Rector, and 12 parishioners, each of whom is elected for a three year term. (Each year, one third of the Vestry retires, and is replaced by a new class.) This approach guarantees some continuity, and yet provides a steady stream of new views. In the late fall of each year, the outgoing Vestry members act as a search committee to find new members. Those proposed candidates are voted on by all registered members at our annual meeting in January. Often a slate of candidates is provided, in other cases more candidates than spaces are presented.
There are four positions associated with the Vestry. The Senior Warden is the chair of the Vestry, and serves a one year term. In some cases, he/she is asked to continue for an additional period. The position is appointed by the Rector, and he or she serves at the convenience of the Rector. The People's Warden, who is elected by the Vestry each year, is charged with staying close to parish members and acting as the ombudsman of the members. He/she also works closely with the Senior Warden. The Vestry is assisted by two important, but non-voting volunteers. First, the Clerk, who keeps accurate records of meetings. (Those minutes are available on the bulletin board.) In addition, the Treasurer, who is responsible for accounting, processing money (pledges, plates, and other sources of income, and paying expenses), and preparing various periodic reports and statements.
The Vestry is greatly aided in its work by the many committees which function in the church. It works closely with the Ministry Catalysts and staff to plan, implement and evaluate various aspects of our program. It also sets policy, and makes most major decisions facing the church.
Major functions of the Vestry include:
- Acting as stewards of the land, buildings (including rental property) and equipment of the church
- Working with the Rector they set annual goals for the church and itself
- Reviewing the annual budget presented for its approval, and then monitoring performance –vs.- plan
- Evaluating all new, major financial commitments of the church (our technology plan, new copy machine, etc)
- Monitoring major projects like the building program
- Most importantly, each Vestry member functions as leaders of the parish. As leaders, they assist the Rector any way they can.
- Working closely with the Bishop and members of his staff, the Vestry would seek a new Rector, if that need arises.
The Vestry meets monthly, usually on the third Monday of the month. Meetings are open to all parishioners, with the exception on consideration of some sensitive issues. Prior to each meeting members are sent a package of materials which will be covered at that meeting. This includes the church’s latest monthly financial statements, prior month’s meeting minutes, updates on pending projects or work, and proposals for consideration. Non-controversial, administrative issues are often covered in the consent calendar portion of the meeting. Proposals for a vote are usually presented in a background paper. Thus, the meeting is spent discussing “pros and cons”, not fact finding. Meetings usually take 2 hours or so. Decisions are made by majority rule, however often consensus is reached.
In addition to their monthly meetings, the Vestry convenes at least two additional times. Early in each year they hold a retreat during which goals for the coming year are set, the budget is reviewed, and other planning activity occur. Often a portion of this work in done in conjunction with the Ministry Catalysts. A similar, but shorter, retreat occurs midyear. At that time midyear progress towards goals and performance in key areas are reviewed. Although very unusual, the Vestry can be convened for a special matter, if an urgent issue arises.