Vestry Resources

The vestry is the legal representative of the parish with regard to all matters pertaining to its corporate property. The number of vestry members and the term of office varies from parish to parish. Vestry members are usually elected at the annual parish meeting. The presiding officer of the vestry is the rector. There are usually two wardens. The senior warden leads the parish between rectors and is a support person for the rector. The junior warden often has responsibility for church property and buildings. A treasurer and a secretary or clerk may be chosen. These officers may or may not be vestry members. The basic responsibilities of the vestry are to help define and articulate the mission of the congregation; to support the church’s mission by word and deed, to select the rector, to ensure effective organization and planning, and to manage resources and finances.

Definition provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.

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Prayers for Vestry Meetings

Almighty and everlasting God, you have given the gifts of leadership and service to those in your Church who guide the care and keeping of our parish. Be present with those who serve on our Vestry, that their committed hearts may be fixed upon you. Grant them wisdom to notice the cares and concerns of this community, trust to follow your guidance when answers are not easy, and the knowledge and love of you to be ever-present in their discussions and decisions. Through Christ our Lord we offer our prayers to you. AMEN.

Heavenly Father, give to our leaders, a daily renewal in your presence, uphold them with your peace, a peace that passes all understanding, enlighten them with your word, and strengthen them with your grace. AMEN

Almighty God, give us a new vision of you, of your love, of your grace and power; and then, give us a new vision of what you would have us do as your church in this congregation at this time. Give us an awareness that in the strength of your Spirit we can do it to your glory. In Jesus’ Name we pray. AMEN

God of all, may our congregation be aware of our part in your larger church. Draw us all together into one great company of disciples, together following our Lord Jesus Christ into every walk of life, together serving Him in His mission to the world, and together witnessing to His love in our city and particularly in our local community. AMEN

Almighty and everliving God, source of all wisdom and understanding, be present with those who take counsel for the renewal and mission of your Church. Teach us in all things to seek first your honor and glory. Guide us to perceive what is right, and grant us both the courage to pursue it and the grace to accomplish it; through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN

Lord, we are meeting today to conduct matters of business. Guide our hearts and our minds in the spirit of fairness, right thought and speech. Impart your supreme wisdom upon our activities so that our affairs may reach a successful conclusion. Thank you for being our source of guidance today. AMEN

Prayer of St. Brendan (Irish Contemplative)

Lord, I will trust You.
Help me to journey beyond the familiar
and into the unknown.
Give me the faith to leave old ways
and break fresh ground with You.
Christ of the mysteries, I trust You
to be stronger than each storm within me.
I will trust in the darkness and know
that my times, even now, are in Your hand.
Tune my spirit to the music of heaven,
and somehow, make my obedience count for You.

Prayer for servant leadership:

Fill us most merciful God with the power of your Holy Spirit and free us from any bonds that continue to restrict our freedom to fully love you, one another, and ourselves. Enter our hearts today and our dreams tonight and show us your will for us as your church’s servant leaders in this time and place. Loosen our tongues to speak your truth. Strengthen our hearts to birth your love into reality no matter the cost; and make each of us to shine with the celestial light that is the mark of your saints in heaven and on earth; for the love of your Son, our savior, Jesus, the Christ. AMEN.                                                           By The Rev. Dr. Valori Mulvey Sherer

Thomas Merton’s prayer:

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore, I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

The Prayer of the Holy Spirit

Come Holy Spirit, Spirit of Love in the silence…
come to us and bring us your peace,
rest in us that we may be tranquil and still
speak to us as each heart needs to hear;
reveal to us things hidden and things longed for;
rejoice in us that we may praise and be glad;
pray in us that we may be at One with you and with each other;
refresh and renew us from your living springs of water;
dwell in us now and always.

Prayer for the Closing of a Vestry or Annual Meeting

God of our coming and going, God of our past, our present, and our future, we have met, we have celebrated, we have remembered. We have visioned, shared hopes, and dreamed dreams, and now we go out into the world in which we do most of our living and our ministering. As we go out, remind us that we do not go alone. As we go out, remind us that we go with a mission. As we go out, fill us with love, hope, and peace to share with the world. May our lives and our ministry be signs of your love and promises and possibility for the world. AMEN

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