January 7, 2013

Editor's Letter: January 2013

Happy New Year!

What makes some vestries really effective? Is there a secret to developing a vestry that enjoys working together, feels energized while doing so, and has fun at the same time?

How are vital congregations and congregational leaders making God present in their families, community, and world at a time when it sometimes feels as if no one is interested?

These are questions we think about a lot at ECF Vital Practices – and we’re devoting our January/February Vestry Papers to an exploration of some of the vital practices that lead to vestries that work well.

This month, we’ll share articles on:

Vestry selection: Janie Kirt Morris of the Diocese of Texas shares a process she’s developed for “Build a Healthy Vestry.” The key? Careful preparation, communication, and education at the very beginning of the vestry nomination process.

Group dynamics: Paying attention to how a group functions is among the most important things affecting group effectiveness. In “Framework for Vestry Success,” Sandy Kolb looks at five stages every group goes through, helping vestries to recognize the importance of addressing the issues common to each stage.

Vestry responsibilities: Getting bogged down in the weeds of a congregation’s temporal or worldly affairs can leave vestry members frustrated and dissatisfied. In “Reframe Vestry Meetings,” Randy Ferebee invites vestry members to reflect on ways to transform their governance responsibilities into a “generative, sense-making experience,” by offering a frame of reference through which leaders can process all governing issues and challenges.

Challenging assumptions: How often are we locked into old ways of thinking? Eighteen months of clergy supply work in three northeastern dioceses helped William Doubleday become acutely aware of some practices that impact congregational vitality. In “Rethink Congregations” he shares his observations as well as steps congregational leaders can take to explore the relevance of these observations in their communities.

Following each article is a list of resources offering additional information and/or practical tools.

For new vestry members, ECF Vital Practices has a number of resources to help get you started in your new ministry. Our January/February 2012 Vestry Papers, “Real Basics for Vestries” is a good place to start. Prefer a webinar? ECF is offering its Vestry Leadership Webinar on January 15 at 7:00 pm ET, click here to learn more and register, or, you can watch our 2012 Vestry Leadership 101 webinar here.

If you would like to be notified of new Vestry Papers and ECF Vital Practices content, please consider becoming a registered user by signing up using the ‘Register’ button at the top right hand side of our homepage.

I also invite you to use the Topics index on each page of the site to find other resources related to the ministry of the vestry including past Vestry Papers articles, blog posts, and the many resources found in our Your Turn and Tools sections.



Nancy Davidge 
Editor, ECF Vital Practices

PS: To make it easier for congregational leaders to find the resources offered through ECF Vital Practices, please consider adding a link to ECF Vital Practices to your website. Here’s how: Using your websites ‘add a link’ tool, insert our full URL – http://www.ecfvp.org/.