Vestry requirements


from the Church of the Good Shepherd Bylaws (click here for full PDF copy)

Article IV - Vestry

Section 4 - Qualifications
Vestry members must be adult members of the parish who are confirmed communicants in good standing as defined in Article II of these bylaws.
    ** All communicants of this parish who for the previous year have been faithful in corporate worship, unless for good cause prevented, and have been faithful in working, praying, and giving for the spread of the Kingdom of God are communicants in good standing.
Persons from the same immediate family, defined as spouses, parents, children and siblings, shall not serve together on the Vestry. Spouses of Good Shepherd clergy and staff are not eligible to serve on the Vestry.

Section 3 - Number of Members and Terms
The Vestry shall consist of twelve lay persons who shall be grouped into three groups of four members each. Each member of each group shall serve terms of three years, with the term of one class to expire each year. No member who has already served consecutively for three years shall be eligible for re-election, or for appointment to an unexpired term, until the expiration of one year. A member, otherwise qualified, who was elected or appointed to fill an unexpired term of another Vestry member is eligible for re-election, provided that no member may serve more than four (4) consecutive years on the Vestry.

Section 1 - Responsibilities
The Vestry of the parish and the Rector shall be mutually responsible for the leadership of the Parish. The Vestry, in cooperation with the Rector, shall transact all temporal business in accordance with those duties and responsibilities described by canon law.

The Vestry shall also be responsible for approving bylaws and changes to bylaws, approving budgets, establishing policies, electing parish officers and parish representatives, establishing committees and subcommittees as required or necessary, monitoring the organized activities of the parish and establishing goals and objectives for parish programs. Vestry members shall not participate in decisions of personal financial gain that financially affect themselves or members of their immediate families.

Section 2 - Duties
The duties of the Vestry are specified in the Canons, especially Canon 12 CCDOV (Constitutions and Canons of the Diocese of Virginia).

The Vestry shall:
a.    Cooperate with the Rector in promoting the spiritual welfare of his/her cure [parish priest] and assist him/her in his/her duties.
b.    Support the programs of the parish and encourage the members of the congregation to support the programs of the parish and give generously towards the support of those programs.
c.    See that the Rector, other priests and staff are properly supported, that their salaries are paid in full and with regularity, and that the pension premiums and other obligations due from the parish are also paid with regularity.
d.    Advise the Diocese by November 30th of the percentage of its annual disposable income that will be shared with the Diocese in support of Diocesan programs.
e.    Support the Wardens in the execution of their duties and to perform other duties as prescribed in CCDOV, Canon 12.
f.     Approve an annual operating budget, drafted by the finance committee.
g.    In consultation with the Rector, appoint chairs of the following Standing Committees: Finance, Rector’s Personnel and Advisory Committee, Stewardship, Buildings and Grounds, and Memorial Garden.
h.    Appoint Vestry members to serve as liaisons to the three Mission Groups, Preschool, Rental Ministry, and other ministries and groups as needed.
i.     Annually approve persons authorized to sign checks.

Section 5 - Election Guidelines
a.    No election shall be valid unless the participating qualified votes number at least ten per cent of the number of active communicants qualified to vote, as reported for the previous year.
b.    Vestry members shall be elected to full three-year terms, with the exception of those Vestry members who are being elected to fill unexpired terms.
c.     The voting shall take place at least two weeks after the nominations are closed and at least two weeks prior to the annual meeting. Voting shall commence 30 minutes prior to the Saturday evening service and conclude 30 minutes after the service, and re-open 30 minutes prior to the first Sunday service and conclude 30 minutes after the last morning service of the day.
d.    Voting shall be by secret ballot, with a plurality of ballots cast needed for election.
e.    The election committee shall supervise the voting process, including tabulation of ballots.
f.     In the order of the number of votes received, the candidates shall fill full three-year terms, unexpired 2 year terms, unexpired 1-year terms, and the alternate positions.

Section 6 - Nomination and Election Committee
a.    In October the Rector and Vestry shall appoint an election committee and its chair to direct and oversee the process for nomination and election to the Vestry.
b.    The committee shall have the following responsibilities:
        1. To communicate with the parish on all matters concerning the nomination and election process.
        2. To ensure that the parish is fully informed concerning the candidates’ background and reason(s) for seeking this ministry.
        3. To present a slate of at least two additional candidates beyond the total number of vacancies. The slate shall be completed no later than
eighteen days prior to election. Biographies and photos of each candidate shall be published to the congregation no later than two weeks prior to the election.
        4. To oversee the actual election process including, but not limited to, printing and distributing ballots, counting ballots, and reporting results
to the candidates and parish in a timely manner. This report of results shall be certified by the Election Committee.
        5. To publish a complete list of all eligible voters as defined in Article III, Section 4 of these bylaws.

Section 7 - Oath of Office
Each person elected to the Vestry shall subscribe to the following declaration as soon as practical after election and prior to officer elections.
“I do believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be the Word of God, and to contain all things necessary to salvation; and I do yield my hearty assent and approbation to the doctrine, worship, and discipline of The Episcopal Church; and I promise that I will faithfully execute the office of Vestry Member of the Church of The Good Shepherd in Region 7 in Burke, Virginia, according to my best knowledge and skill.”
The Rector or the Rector’s designee shall administer the oath of office. No person shall serve as a Vestry member until this declaration and promise has been subscribed to.

Section 8 - Meetings

a.    The Vestry shall meet at a time and place of its choosing. The Rector, or a member of the Vestry designated by the Rector, shall preside at all meetings.
b.    Vestry meetings shall be open to all adult members of the parish, unless the Vestry determines that individual right to privacy may be jeopardized, in which case the Vestry shall meet in executive session. Date, time and location of regular Vestry meetings shall be announced to the parish in advance.
c.     A quorum of seven (7) members of the Vestry shall be required for the transaction of Vestry business.

Last Published: December 1, 2011 9:49 PM


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