• Models for Vestry Leadership of Faith Formation ✓
    Webinars
    So your vestry has a handle on the financials. But how are you doing as leaders and stewards of your church's faith formation ministries? In this webinar the Center for the Ministry of Teaching posits four "developmental stages" of vestry leadership …
  • Making the Most of Your Vestry Retreat ✓
    Webinars
    Vestry retreats are investments of time, energy and (often) money. This one-hour webinar will provide an overview of a design process for vestry retreats that will help you make the most of these investments. In particular, we will talk about: ● D…
  • Senior Warden Ministry: Mission Impossible? ✓
    Webinars
    “Your Mission, potential senior warden, should you choose to accept it…” Serving as senior warden can be one of the most spiritually rewarding experiences for a lay leader. This one hour webinar is designed to present practical tips and consid…
  • Leading Through Transition ✓
    Vestry Papers
    During the time of clergy transition, the senior warden is responsible for leading the congregation in their search for a new rector. In “Leading through Transition,” senior warden Jan Henderson shares the process she and her vestry developed in …
  • On Being a Senior Warden ✓
    Vestry Papers
    In “On Being a Senior Warden,” Robert Harris shares some of his experiences as senior warden in two congregations over a number of years. Having worked with a variety of rectors with varying levels of experience and characteristics, his advice ra…
  • Teams Built on Trust ✓
    Vestry Papers
    Our capacity to move into the future depends on the ability of our congregational leaders to function effectively as a team.
  • Building Strong Teams: A Tool for Identifying and Addressing Five Common Areas of Dysfunction ✓
    Tools
    ECF Vital Teams consultant Rosa Lindahl believes a leadership team’s capacity to move into the future depends on its ability to function effectively. What can we, as congregational leaders, do to discuss more openly and honestly the ways in which o…
  • The Consent Agenda: More Efficient Meetings ✓
    Vestry Papers
    Could the way you run your meetings be keeping people away from leadership positions? Many of us have sat through meetings that drone on and one, spending valuable time dealing with routine reports or rehashing business from earlier meetings. To help…
  • Vestry as Body of Christ ✓
    Vestry Papers
  • Build a Healthy Vestry ✓
    Vestry Papers
    Getting the right people on board is critical. Janie Kirt shows us the successful system she developed for “Build a Healthy Vestry." Available in Spanish.
  • My Top Ten: Vestry Responsibilities ✓
    Vestry Papers
    Just as the Great Commission—“Go therefore into the world to make disciples of all nations”—does not go into great detail on how exactly to accomplish that mission, so the canons of the Episcopal Church are not particularly specific about the…
  • Authentic Tough Talk ✓
    Vestry Papers
    We pushed and pried in private with some vestry members. What were their real attitudes toward “the numbers?”
  • No More Parking Lot Conversations ✓
    Vestry Papers
    Highly functioning, fruitful vestries are built on transparency and respect.
  • Sample Vestry Job Description ✓
    Tools
    When it's time for vestry elections, do members know what the role requires? Use this sample job description as a basis for naming the responsibilities for vestry members in your congregation.
  • Healthy Transitions Part 1 ✓
    Vestry Papers
    Change in ordained leadership in a congregation creates a time of both challenge and opportunity. As a vestry member you play a critical role in making the transition a healthy one.
  • Vestry Planning Calendars ✓
    Your Turn
    Vestry planning calendars for managing operational aspects of the church efficiently, creating time for prayer, study and planning.
  • Bootstrap your vestry retreat ✓
    Vestry Papers
    “I really had a bad experience my first time on the vestry,” Anne said to me. Of course that upset me — in my years as a pastor I really did all I could, especially with my senior warden, to make our work as a vestry EFFECTIVE, first, but also …
  • Build bonds of joy in a spirited retreat ✓
    Vestry Papers
    It is truly unfortunate when a vestry gathers in retreat to address only the mundane business that confronts every parish.
  • Cultivating a Culture of Discernment ✓
    Vestry Papers
    St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in St. Paul, MN has been re-envisioning the role of the vestry over the last five years: inviting vestry members to understand their role as that of a spiritual discernment team.
  • Ways to Let God Lead Your Vestry
    Webinars
    The Episcopal Church canons declare that the vestry is responsible for things “temporal,” but buildings and budgets are spiritual matters. More than that, if vestry members want to help their faith community participate in God’s mission more fu…
  • ECF’s 5 Vestry Essentials for February
    Vital Posts
    Are you interested in practical, spiritually grounded resources for your congregation? Subscribe for free to ECF Vital Practices for articles, tools, and resources by and for congregational leaders. With a subscription, you’ll receive 12 issues o…
  • What Does a Rector Do?
    Vestry Papers
    With his own job about to change, Greg Syler explores what the role of a rector is from perceived expectations to the church-wide Canons.
  • Vestry Orientation
    Webinars
    This webinar will help you understand roles, responsibilities, and best practices for vestries. You will learn how to move your vestry from a focus on day-to-day management or crisis response to a more effective form of leadership. Designed for clerg…
  • Top Ten Traits of a Terrific Vestry Member
    Vital Posts
    In the social profit sector, the leadership role of the board of directors is so important it is considered a “capacity factor” for the organization. If the board is weak in its knowledge, governance and engagement, that weakness will hold back…
  • Trust the Process
    Vestry Papers
    How did you learn about lay leadership and decision making in the Episcopal Church? In Trust the Process, Jade Mohorko Ortiz, shares her moving personal story of coming into the Episcopal Church, in which she learns the value of order and process, an…
  • Discernment in the Vestry Process
    Vestry Papers
    In Discernment in the Vestry Process, Bruce A. Freeman draws from personal experience to emphasize the importance of a careful, spiritual discernment process by and for congregational leaders to ensure the work of the church is relayed and continues …
  • The Vestry Goes on Retreat
    Vestry Papers
    A vestry retreat, if planned thoughtfully, can be a time of fruitful work, relationship building and most importantly, honest conversations about the life and health of a church. In The Vestry Goes On Retreat, Nathan E. Kirkpatrick shares his thought…
  • Walk Humbly with Your God
    Vital Posts
    I don’t know all of the particulars about who and how the lessons of the lectionary were chosen, but it seems to me they must have been thinking about Annual Meetings when they chose the ones for Sunday, January 29, this year. From Micah: “…
  • Vestry Covenants: A Great Start to 2017
    Webinars
    A covenant can be a powerful tool for helping a vestry or other leadership team to establish group expectations and accountability. By establishing shared norms and expectations after the new vestry convenes each year, a vestry can lay a foundation f…
  • ECF’s 5 Things for Vestries to Start the Year Strong
    Vital Posts
    Are you a vestry member or other church leader interested in practical, spiritually grounded resources for your congregation? Subscribe for free to ECF Vital Practices for articles, tools, and resources by and for congregational leaders. …
  • Vestry Introductions
    Vital Posts
    Teams that work well together understand that each member must respect the others’ opinions and priorities. Together, they find and honor what they value in common. As you plan the first meeting with a “new” vestry, consider this exercis…
  • Vestry Orientation
    Webinars
    This webinar will help you understand roles, responsibilities, and best practices for vestries. You will learn how to move your vestry from a focus on day-to-day management or crisis response to a more effective form of leadership. Designed for clerg…
  • Spiritual Gifts
    Vestry Papers
    Does your church conduct a Spiritual Gifts Assessment for its parishioners? Jennifer LeBlanc shares the experience of her church’s spiritual gifts assessment in Spiritual Gifts.
  • Vestry Meditations
    Vestry Papers
    Colleen McMahon shares the importance of prayer and spiritual practice for vestries. She warns about falling victim to the “Martha syndrome” - being consumed by the many worldly tasks vestry service presents, and in the process losing sight of wh…
  • Lessons From a Senior Warden
    Vestry Papers
    The role of the warden, in relationship to the rector, vestry and the congregation is a significant one in the life of the church. What are the primary responsibilities of the job? And how best are they prioritized and balanced?
  • Beginning Your Vestry’s Work Together
    Vestry Papers
    Nathan E. Kirkpatrick shares the importance of intentionally forming the vestry as group of leaders and disciples by learning both each other’s values and the expectations of the role, while always keeping in the focus the main reason for serving o…
  • Liturgy for Conclusion of Vestry Service
    Tools
    A short decommissioning service for retiring vestry members.
  • Balancing Act
    Vital Posts
    New year, new vestry, same old issues. If that sounds familiar, consider your 2017 time together as opportunity to create a holy balance of prayer, formation, vision-level strategic thinking and routine business. It’s so easy to let the rush of l…
  • Selecting Leaders in our Churches
    Vital Posts
    Annual meetings are being held in many of our congregations in the next few months. We will have the opportunity to elect leaders to include wardens, vestry members and delegates to diocesan conventions.  It is important for us to reflect on ho…
  • Vital Practices Digest: 5 Vestry Retreat Resources
    Vital Posts
    In the October Vital Practices Digest, we offer 5 resources for planning a spirit-filled retreat for your vestry or other leadership team, with the 5th a resource to help establish year-round stewardship in your congregation. It’s easy a…
  • Vestries: The Next Six Months
    Webinars
    Fall and winter are busy times for vestries in the Episcopal Church. This one-hour webinar will provide an overview of free, online resources and exemplary practices in the following areas: - Jump starting your annual stewardship campaign - Nominati…
  • Registrar, Clerk, Or Secretary?
    Vital Posts
    Our by-laws stipulate that one of the officers of the vestry is a person called ‘registrar.’ This person records minutes of vestry meetings and makes them available to the group. “[S]hall keep or cause to be kept true and accurate minutes of …
  • Congregational Confidentiality and Release of Info
    Your Turn
    Who has found some good norms for confidentiality? Who has figured out some helpful and healthy practices around confidentiality? Please share them.
  • Leadership Confidence And Confidentiality
    Vital Posts
    Shortly after arriving at St. George’s, nearly nine years ago, I had lunch with the extended supply priest who preceded me. “One thing I really worked hard on while I was serving there,” she said that afternoon, “was to confront and, I thin…
  • Clergy Transition: Tips for Senior Wardens
    Vestry Papers
    Days before being installed as senior warden, Anne Rudacille Schmidt learned her rector had accepted a call elsewhere. “Clergy Transition: Tips for Senior Wardens” shares strategies Anne and the vestry used to navigate this unanticipated change.
  • There's No "i" in Team
    Vital Posts
    There’s no "i" in team. But I sort of expected there was one in leader. As I have risen in my career and in leadership positions at my church, I confess that there has been a lot of “i” in my expression as leader. All of those personality…
  • Worship Committee?
    Vital Posts
    At St. George’s, we have a worship committee. Actually, it’s in our by-laws, so I suppose it’s a capital ‘W’ – Worship Committee. Perhaps that’s not so strange, considering all the various things we’ve turned into committees over th…
  • Covered in Prayer
    Vital Posts
    It’s not that we don’t want to be spiritual. We’re lay people serving on vestries that oversee the business of the church. We lend our experience from the workplace and serving on not-for-profit boards to our parish decision-making. These are…
  • Room for Doubt
    Vital Posts
    For a few years in college I was a part of a small chapter of a national fundamentalist group called Campus Crusade for Christ. The other members were very kind and sincere, but they didn’t really know how to handle questions that lacked easy or …
  • Developing a Leadership Covenant
    Webinars
    Church leaders serve God and serve the congregation. But how can they serve one another amidst tough discussions and challenging disagreements? How can steady, faithful behavior serve as a model for the church as a whole? This hour-long webinar explo…
  • March 2016 Editor’s Letter: Conflict
    Vital Posts
    What is it about human behavior that lends itself to conflict? As followers of Christ, rather than pretending differences or bad behaviors don’t exist, can we break the cycle and instead learn new ways of building up the beloved community? …
  • Vital Practices Digest: Vestry 101 Resources for February
    Vital Posts
    Looking for practical, spiritually grounded resources for your congregation? Subscribe to ECF Vital Practices for articles, tools, and resources by and for congregational leaders. With a subscription, you’ll receive 12 issues of Vestry Paper…
  • Vestry Orientation
    Webinars
    This webinar will help you understand roles, responsibilities, and best practices for vestries. You will learn how to move your vestry from a focus on day-to-day management or crisis response to a more effective form of leadership. Designed for clerg…
  • February 2016 Editor’s Letter: ‘Reboot’ Your Vestry
    Vital Posts
    Creating a vibrant and vital vestry is an ongoing task. The period following your annual meeting, when newly elected members join the vestry, is a good time to review and renew your congregation’s vision statement and to think about what p…
  • The Consent Calendar
    Vestry Papers
    Are your vestry meetings too long? Is too much time taken up on routine business? Ron Byrd’s introduction to using a consent calendar at General Convention convinced him to propose this approach to his vestry.
  • Reboot Your Reporting
    Vestry Papers
    Do the things your vestry measures and reports on reflect the mission- and vision-driven aspects of your congregation?
  • Get the Hell out of Church
    Vestry Papers
    J. Fletcher Lowe and Demi Prentiss share an approach a congregation’s rector and vestry can use to equip members for faithful witness in the world.
  • Fire First!
    Vestry Papers
    Robert Wright encourages us to make explicit our fire – our common purpose - and to keep it “in front of us” as it will bless our common life in exciting ways.
  • Vital Practices Digest: 5 Vestry Tools for January
    Vital Posts
    Are you interested in practical, spiritually grounded resources for your congregation? Subscribe to ECF Vital Practices: A collection of articles, tools, and resources by and for congregational leaders. With a subscription, you’ll receive…
  • Key Elements of Identity for your Vestry Retreat
    Vital Posts
    If your vestry is planning an annual retreat, make sure you include some time for prayerfully affirming or discerning one or more of these key elements of your congregation’s identity: Ministry Strengths, Mission, Values and Vision. Ministry …
  • Vestry Orientation
    Webinars
    This webinar will help you understand roles, responsibilities, and best practices for vestries. You will learn how to move your vestry from a focus on day-to-day management or crisis response to a more effective form of leadership. Designed for clerg…
  • 12 Most Popular Resources for Episcopal Leaders in 2015
    Vital Posts
    What was trendy in 2015? The most helpful tools available? As part of ECF Vital Practices’ celebration of the 12 Days of Christmas, we “unwrapped” one of the twelve most popular posts that were added to the site in 2015 on our Facebook …
  • January 2016 Editor’s Letter: ‘Reboot’ Your Vestry
    Vital Posts
    Happy New Year! For many the beginning of a new calendar year represents an opportunity to start anew, to ‘reboot’ if you will, things that just aren’t working as they should. To kick off the new year, we invited experienced leaders from …
  • Preparing Members for Vestry Service
    Vestry Papers
    The bishop’s committee or vestry in Spanish-speaking/bilingual congregations has unique challenges. Anna B. Lange-Soto mentions some and gives us advice on how to face and get past them.
  • Norms & Covenants: Tools to Strengthen Your Team
    Vestry Papers
    Effective teams need a safe and open work environment where all members can openly share their ideas, concerns, and hopes. In “A New Year, A New Vestry” Nancy Davidge looks at how norms and covenants can help a vestry create that safe space.
  • Why Team Building Matters
    Vestry Papers
    Team building is an important aspect of a vestry’s work; work that takes on more importance as a vestry welcome new members and say ‘thank you’ to others. In “Why Team Building Matters” Kanuga’s Leslie Hartley offers timely tips and resou…
  • Come Away and Rest Awhile
    Vestry Papers
    Retreats can be an effective vehicle for renewing and refreshing a vestry. James Koester, SSJE and R. Casey Shobe share how a contemplative retreat can transform vestry leadership away from “crunching numbers, going over the budget, and micromanagi…
  • Vestry Covenants and Norms
    Tools
    Every vestry should establish written group norms and a vestry covenant. ECFVP offers examples from Episcopal congregations.
  • A Few Not-so-obviously Great Things That I Wouldn't Want You to Miss
    Vital Posts
    3rd in a series of 4 posts - see below for the previous articles. Like many people at this time of year, I find myself reflecting on the great and not-so-great things that have happened over the past year. Among the things that fall into the …
  • ECFVP’s Christmas Special 2015
    Vital Posts
    Merry Christmas! Are you ready to celebrate for all 12 days? On ECF Vital Practices, we’re keeping the celebration of the 12 days of Christmas with our very own ECFVP Christmas Special - all without commercials or small parts and instru…
  • Vital Practices Digest: Top Ten Resolutions for Church Leaders in 2016
    Vital Posts
    Top Ten Resolutions for Church Leaders in 2016 ECF Vital Practices, after taking a look back at the questions you asked us in 2015, has pulled together a top ten list of resolutions for congregational leaders to consider in 20…
  • Vital Teams: Team Leadership Essentials
    Webinars
    This webinar will provide participants a glimpse of the Vital Teams 101 training curriculum, including a discussion of three areas that good teams are constantly balancing effectively: relationships, process, and results. Relationships: How to build …
  • Why Policy Matters
    Vestry Papers
    Lisa Meeder Turnbull invites congregational leaders to consider the stewardship of structure and governance as a framework supporting the mission and vision of your congregation.
  • Vital Practices Digest: 5 Resources for Recruiting Vestry Members
    Vital Posts
    Recruiting Vestry Leaders In the November Vital Practices Digest, we’re sharing five resources to help you prepare for and prayerfully recruit new leaders for your congregation’s vestry, bishop’s committee, or other leadership t…
  • "Who Wants to be on Vestry?"
    Vital Posts
    It’s that time of year when many phone calls or coffee hour chats will include the fateful question, “Would you please consider running for vestry?” Traditionally, many people view vestry membership as similar to serving on the board of…
  • Vital Practices Digest: 5 Resources for Vestry Retreats
    Vital Posts
    Holy and Effective Retreats In the October Vital Practices Digest, we’re sharing five resources to help you plan a holy and effective retreat for your vestry or other leadership team. Our fifth resource is to help congregations strengthen t…
  • A Walk Through the New Vestry Resource Guide
    Webinars
    Join editor Nancy Davidge for a review of the newly revised Vestry Resource Guide. You'll learn how congregational leaders can use this resource to help form strong leadership teams, tailoring content to meet their own needs. With information and re…
  • Vestries: The Next Six Months
    Webinars
    Fall and winter are busy times for vestries in the Episcopal Church. This one-hour webinar will provide an overview of free, online resources and exemplary practices in the following areas: - Jump starting your annual stewardship campaign - Nominat…
  • An Honest Question About Vestry, Church Organization
    Vital Posts
    Several years ago, St. George’s organized its vestry around several key areas of parish life. It was a good idea, rooted in the biblical priesthood of all believers and acknowledging that the rector can’t do everything her/himself. They tri…
  • August 2015 Editor’s Letter: Vision and Planning
    Vital Posts
    Why is it important for congregations to have a clear – and shared - vision of what God is calling them to do? Many times congregations discover the root of their conflict is a different understanding of the vision. Making – and taking -…
  • From Vision to Action
    Vestry Papers
    A special excerpt from the new Vestry Resource Guide, Nancy Davidge and Susan Elliott offer strategies for shifting a strategic planning process to the more nimble and dynamic strategic thinking model.
  • Who Sets the Vision?
    Vestry Papers
    Who sets the vision for the congregation? In “name,” Nancy Davidge shares the responses from congregational leaders – lay and ordained – from across our church.
  • Ten Steps
    Vital Posts
    I've always been a little uncomfortable with approaches to church that draw directly from the so-called corporate world. The idea that gospel witness offers an easy parallel with marketing is downright creepy, frankly. And I'm increasingly suspicio…
  • Why Articulate Your Mission & Vision?
    Vestry Papers
    “What are we to do with that knowledge?” Ongoing visioning and planning is a key vestry responsibility. In “Why Articulate Your Mission & Vision,” an excerpt from the new Vestry Resource Guide, Nancy Davidge and Susan Elliott share a process …
  • A Resource for Vestry Retreats
    Vital Posts
    In response to ECF’s recent announcement of the publication of the new Vestry Resource Guide, a congregational leader asked: Is going through this [the new Vestry Resource Guide] worthwhile as a vestry retreat? My response to her was ‘y…
  • June 2015 Editor’s Letter: Facing Leadership Challenges
    Vital Posts
    Leadership challenges come in many forms. One constant we must all face is the ever changing nature of God’s creation, including that of our faith communities. Effective leaders recognize this and pray and work together, seeking understanding of …
  • SWEEPS Out Burnout
    Vestry Papers
    The vestry at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church was in danger of burning out. Something had to give. In “SWEEPS Out Burnout,” senior warden Jeff Bartee shares the steps church leaders took to reframe vestry leadership, drawing on the SWEEPS model …
  • The Wizard of Oz or Dorothy?
    Vestry Papers
    This article shares insights developed by Brian McLaren related to the leadership styles of these two famous movie characters.
  • Creative Juices
    Vital Posts
    Have the two energy-zappers of vestry meetings, Routine and Re-hash, drained your creative juices? Even in the early church, Paul advised church leaders to persevere: “So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right …
  • Do You Really Need A Mission Statement?
    Vital Posts
    Top 5 answers to the question: Does your church have a mission statement?  5. Yes. We post it in our bulletin and affirm or revise it in our annual Vestry retreat. 4. Yes. Well, maybe. No, I don’t think we do. 3. We created on…
  • Beyond Vestries
    Vital Posts
    A friend recently quipped “I don’t believe vestries are needed for the church today.” He said it as a hyperbole, something to spark conversation, and if for no other reason than it might do that – actually spark a conversation and actually …
  • Vital Practices Digest: Vestries - 5 Things for February
    Vital Posts
    Vestries: Five Things for February Looking for practical, spiritually grounded resources for your congregation? Subscribe to ECF Vital Practices for articles, tools, and resources by and for congregational leaders. With a subscription, you’…
  • Value One Another (Vestry Retreat)
    Vital Posts
    Celebrate. Listen. Be inspired. Plan. The old congregation had been rocked by the priest’s resignation. Those who loved him sensed that those who wanted him out were silently gloating, even two years later. Some members left. Many who sta…
  • February 2015 Editor’s Letter: Vestry Leadership
    Vital Posts
      Editor’s Letter As congregations continue to welcome new vestry members and begin the process of forming new leadership teams, ECF Vital Practices’ continues to share the wisdom and experience of congregational leaders from across o…
  • Leading from the Side
    Vestry Papers
    A key vestry role is to identify and support emerging leaders. What might that look like? In her “Leading from the Side” series, Elizabeth Magill, of The Mission Institute, shares steps individuals and congregational leaders might take to support…
  • Wardens’ Work
    Vestry Papers
    In “Warden’s Work,” Neva Rae Fox lifts up the warden’s role as evangelist, sharing stories from conversations with current and former wardens in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.
  • Me And My Engineers: A Rector’s Perspective On Selecting A Senior Warden.
    Vital Posts
    I am so not an engineer. I’ve never been a huge devotee of personality typing, but even I can see that whatever personality types make good engineers must be extremely different from my own. We see things differently, approach problems differentl…
  • Vital Practices Digest: Vestries: Start The Year Strong
    Vital Posts
    Vestries: Start Strong in 2015 Are you interested in practical, spiritually grounded resources for your congregation? Consider a free subscription to ECF Vital Practices: A collection of articles, tools, and resources by and for congregation…
  • Leadership and Learning
    Vital Posts
  • January 2015 Editor's Letter: Vestry Leadership
    Vital Posts
    Welcome 2015!  For many congregations, January is the time for annual meetings and vestry elections. Changes in leadership teams bring opportunities to explore new ways of looking at the familiar challenges facing your congregation. As new vest…
  • Lift Every Voice
    Vestry Papers
    Being part of a diverse congregation, Anna Olson is accustomed to ministering to people with a wide range of personalities, cultural backgrounds, work experiences, educational preparation, and familiarity with The Episcopal Church. In “Lift Every …
  • The Gifts of Holy Imagination
    Vestry Papers
    Sometimes we get stuck in our thinking. Potential solutions can be constrained by the ways we define the challenges we face. What would happen if we changed our definitions? “The Gift of Holy Imagination” by Miguel Angel Escobar invites congrega…
  • Leadership in Community: A Dance of Mutual Love
    Vestry Papers
    Being in community brings both rewards and challenges. In “Leadership in Community: A Dance of Mutual Love,” Geoffrey Tristram, superior of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist explores the theology used to express and explain God’s divine,…
  • Top 10 Resolutions for Church Leaders in 2015
    Vital Posts
    Top Ten Resolutions for Church Leaders in 2015 ECF Vital Practices, after taking a look back at the questions you asked us, has pulled together a top ten list of resolutions for congregational leaders to consider in 2015. If you find…
  • Why Pray At Church Meetings?
    Vital Posts
    The answer to the title’s question might seem completely obvious to you. Maybe I should’ve made it more controversial. Try this: “Stop Praying (like you’ve been doing) at Church Meetings!” More to the point, I’m suggesting we might ben…
  • Celebrate. Listen. Be inspired. Plan.
    Vital Posts
    “Man plans and God laughs.”  Has this wonderful Yiddish proverb ever been uttered in your vestry meeting? We can spend months planning a project or a new ministry, but sometimes it just doesn’t get traction. The wheels of our motivation a…
  • Editor's Letter: April 2014 Building Strong Teams
    Vital Posts
    Last month I had the privilege of attending the New Community Clergy and Lay Conference at Kanuga. There, nearly 200 lay and clergy leaders from ethnic ministries across our church gathered to explore the theme “Together, Advancing the Sacred Dre…
  • Making it Work: Church-School Leadership
    Vestry Papers
    Navigating a church-school relationship is not always easy. Like any relationship, it requires time, care, communication, and a willingness to learn.
  • Try This at Church: What Do You See?
    Vestry Papers
    Designed as an icebreaker to help workshop participants gain an understanding of the congregational contexts represented in the room, it can also be used to help members of a leadership team learn more about their peer’s perception of where the con…
  • We’re All in This Together
    Vital Posts
    In elementary and middle school, we learn about the importance of being good citizens. We place a high value on civic-mindedness, on tending to your community and neighbors. But we often lose sight of this value when it comes to our churches …
  • Transition, Stress, and Support
    Vital Posts
    My church, St. Lydia’s, just signed a lease on a new storefront space, which means a big and exciting transition. This week, the Leadership Table (basically, the Vestry), met to discuss this and other changes. We’ve had to make a few big decision…
  • March 2014 Editor's Letter: Building Strong Teams
    Vital Posts
    Across our church, familiar clergy and lay roles are changing. Just as our understanding of church changes with changing times and circumstances, so do our models of leadership. How are these changes impacting our effectiveness as lay+clergy leader…
  • Church Leadership Conference: ECF Presentations
    Tools
    ECF offered a number of workshops the 2014 Church Leadership Conference: Unlocking the New Church. Copies of some of the presentations are offered below.
  • February 2014 Editor’s Letter: Vestry Service: Listening to God’s Call
    Vital Posts
    This month brings the beginning of one of my favorite things: the winter Olympics. The dates are in my calendar; I plan to spend as much time as I can watching the skating, skiing, sledding, and other events, grateful that people across the globe w…
  • Stirrings of the Spirit
    Vestry Papers
    Can the Episcopal Church learn something from Tevye of “Fiddler on the Roof?” In “Stirrings of the Spirit” Tom Ely and Susan Ohlindal use Tevye’s struggle to adapt to the changes he faces to introduce the ways the Episcopal Church in Vermon…
  • Roadmap for Senior Wardens
    Vestry Papers
    You’ve been elected or selected senior warden for your congregation. You’re eager to take on this challenge and, truth be told, a bit anxious. Demi Prentiss’ “Roadmap for Senior Wardens,” weaves the collective experience of senior wardens …
  • Ongoing Discernment: The Way of Jesus
    Vestry Papers
    How might a congregation ‘refresh’ it’s spiritual identity, keeping it front and center in all that they do? “Ongoing Discernment: The Way of Jesus” by Blair Pogue shares how St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church keeps Christ at the center of al…
  • The Vestry Hand-Off: Orientation for new members
    Your Turn
    The Annual Meeting is over, new leaders have been elected and it’s time to start working together. How do you transition from the former leadership team to the new team? This resource may help.
  • Consent Agendas
    Your Turn
    Looking for ways to make your meetings more productive? Consider adopting the practice of using a consent agenda.
  • Building Great Vestries
    Vital Posts
    Subscribe to ECF Vital Practices If you find ECF Vital Practices and Vestry Papers valuable to your ministry, please sign up for a free subscription. Use this link, or click on the Subscribe button in the upper right hand corner anywhere on t…
  • A New Year's Gift? Move the Annual Meeting
    Vital Posts
    Once the calendar hits late August, the rest of the year feels, like such a rush: Going from the late summer organization of the program year, to the autumn stewardship drive, then finding yourself generally unprepared to “be prepared” during A…
  • January 2014 Editor's Letter: Vestries: Listening to God’s Call
    Vital Posts
    Welcome 2014!  That beginning of a new year offers a clean slate: A chance to start over, to rid oneself of unproductive habits; an opportunity to be more of those things one would like to be more of, and less of those things that weigh us down…
  • Why Not, if it is for Christ?
    Vestry Papers
    Discernment is the spiritual discipline of seeking clarity in identifying the mission of the parish and how the parish (vestry) will respond to God’s call. Our hope is to insure that when we step aside, our congregations exist stronger and more fai…
  • Feeling Valued
    Vestry Papers
    Making people feel valued and welcome is key to building community. In “Feeling Valued,” high school senior Ariana Gonzales-Bonillas invites congregational leaders to reflect on the ways youth are valued – or not – in their congregation.
  • Apostolic Selection? Choosing Vestry Members
    Vestry Papers
    Some congregations find it difficult to recruit nominees for vestry and other leadership positions, John Mark Wiggers shares a different method of vestry selection that has been working at his congregation.
  • Adapt or Die
    Vestry Papers
    Doing things the same way is unlikely to produce different results, yet often organizations are unsure about how to break out of old patterns. In “Adapt or Die,” Ken Howard shares the process congregational leaders at St. Nicholas Episcopal Churc…
  • New Year’s Resolutions
    Vital Posts
    As 2014 approaches, many people, including us at ECF Vital Practices, are busy preparing for Christmas, tending to tasks to close out 2013, and considering personal and professional resolutions and goals for the coming year. In this midmonth digest…
  • A Laughing Matter
    Vital Posts
    I braved the question: How was the meeting? I feared the typical forlorn answer. Frustrating. Long. Circular. Without direction. This particular committee was causing consternation, and I knew he was starting to dread the meetings. …
  • Bylaws & Shared Ministry, Part 3: Entrusting and Empowering Parish Staff
    Vital Posts
    This is third post in a three part series, read Part 1: Unburdening the Vestry here and Part 2: The Difference Between Vestry and Congregation here.  Decentralized leadership and shared authority, as I’ve written in previous posts, are crit…
  • By-laws & Shared Ministry, Part 1: Unburdening the Vestry
    Vital Posts
    This is the first post in a three part series, read Part 2: The Difference Between Vestry and Congregation and Part 3: Entrusting and Empowering Parish Staff. Early on, I was exhausted by vestry meetings. They were long, tedious and oddly dis…
  • Covenant of Courtesy
    Vital Posts
    At my first visit to a new dentist, I had to fill out paperwork. Among the reams was a surprise: this page asked me questions about my likes and dislikes at the dentist. Do I hate sound of the drill? Do I have a low—or high—tolerance for pain? …
  • Failing
    Vital Posts
    We need to fail faster.    At a graduation ceremony for a year-long leadership program, one of the speakers talked to us about failure. She recounted a story by the chief executive officer of Procter & Gamble, the makers of Tide, Ivory, Pampers…
  • The Vestry Hand-Off
    Vital Posts
    Incorporating new people into leadership in a methodical, regular way is important, and most of our churches elect new vestry members each year. The problem, I’m discovering, is that most congregations don’t have a methodical, regular way…
  • March Editor's Letter: Cultivating Leaders
    Vital Posts
    The Pope’s resignation, followed by the conclave of Roman Catholic cardinals at the Vatican, has the world focused on leadership. When asked about the type of leader the Roman Catholic Church should chose, the best answer I’ve heard is “Jesus…
  • February Editor's Letter
    Vital Posts
    As I began working on this month’s content, a common theme emerged: vestry service being described as a dreaded obligation, chore or something to be endured. A common request was, “Can you help bring joy back into serving on the vestry?” This b…
  • Being at the Edge
    Vestry Papers
    Burdened with their building, Lori Hale Babcock tells us in “Being at the Edge” how her congregation’s leadership courageously faced its challenges - and now thrives.
  • I Miss Vestry Meetings
    Vestry Papers
    In “I Really Miss Vestry Meetings,” Henry Parsley, retired bishop of Alabama states “vestries should be one of the most exciting ministries in the church – joyful, in fact” and then shares the key components that he, after working with vest…
  • Called to Serve?
    Vestry Papers
    Chris Yaw offers ECF Vital Practices’ first video Vestry Papers article, “Called to Serve,” in which Christopher Webber, author of The Vestry Handbook shares his approach to vestry recruitment.
  • Making Sausage
    Vital Posts
    The four new vestry members were announced at our annual meeting yesterday, and I said a little prayer for them. Give them strength, O Lord. And patience. And, I pray, they'll still want to be a part of this community when their term is over. W…
  • Great Vestry Retreats
    Vital Posts
    Sharing Vital Practices During this season of calling new leaders for your congregation, we want to thank all of you who introduce your new vestry members to ECF Vital Practices. So many of you tell us how ECF Vital Practices has been a usefu…
  • Editor's Letter: January 2013
    Vital Posts
    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 l…
  • Rethink Congregations
    Vestry Papers
    Are we trying to function based on outdated demographics? William Doubleday explains in “Rethink Congregations” how many congregations are and what they can do about it.
  • Reframe Vestry Meetings
    Vestry Papers
    Tried and frustrated of too many problems and a lack of solutions? Randy Ferebee shows us how vestries can rise above these issues in “Reframe Vestry Meetings.”
  • Framework for Vestry Success
    Vestry Papers
    Group dynamics need to develop and will change with each new vestry. In “Framework for Vestry Success”, Sandy Kolb guides us through the key stages to give care and attention to.
  • A Suggested Order of Meeting (for Vestry Meetings)
    Tools
    In this new era the vestry and all leader groups will seek to give the congregation the gift of missional leadership. The governance functions in this agenda are concentrated, allowing greater time for the development of an atmosphere of discipleshi…
  • Framework for Vestry Success
    Tools
    A helpful outline that provides an overview of group development theory and how it can be used to create a well-functioning vestry.
  • What Fresh Hell is This?
    Vestry Papers
    Sam Portaro’s invitation to think about Advent through Joseph’s eyes as he travels to Bethlehem with Mary. In “What Fresh Hell is This?,” Sam challenges us to embrace a form of spiritual leadership that demands courageous truth telling.
  • Best Practices: Challenging Conversations
    Vital Posts
    This weekend my community, St. Lydia’s, made some big decisions. We affirmed a new governance system and a leadership team for the first time in our short history. All good change, though none of it was particularly simple or easy. What made this…
  • Policy, Schmolicy
    Vital Posts
    Very few of us can get excited about policy. The “committee on governance” rarely suffers from over-subscription. Even I catch myself apologizing when I include it in a vestry retreat outline. Policy isn’t just a snore. It intrudes on our…
  • What’s the Secret of Your Success?
    Vital Posts
    Serving on the vestry is a call to a sacred ministry by the body of Christ. Knowing that new vestry members take office in January, ECF Vital Practices’ Vestry Papers will continue its practice of its dedicating the first issue of the new year on…
  • Death by a Thousand Cuts
    Vital Posts
    Congregations die for lots of reasons. The most insidious cause, perhaps, and the most common is death by a thousand cuts. I love how Wikipedia defines the phrase: “Creeping normalcy, the way a major negative change, which happens slowly in…
  • Creating Safe Spaces
    Vital Posts
    My heart broke a bit more last night. I was reading the Episcopal Communicators’ Talk list; one of our members posted a question related to an online article she had seen about the Diocese of South Carolina. Within the hour, other members sha…
  • Creating Strong Teams
    Webinars
    Ella Auchincloss of the Diocese of Massachusetts' Leadership Development Initiative presented Creating Strong Team Structure to teach participants how to build strong teams using evidence-based practices that work and are easy to understand and imple…
  • Easier or More Meaningful?
    Vital Posts
    When it comes to our commitments to church, are we about making things easier or are we ultimately about making those commitments more meaningful? This issue came up last Wednesday night during a web conference on Identifying and Recruiting N…
  • Two
    Vital Posts
    In college I spent a lot of time with a group of friends, who were so nice that they didn’t like to disagree, or sometimes even express an opinion. This made choosing a restaurant difficult on Friday nights. Out of a desire to defer to each other…
  • Moving from Purpose to Spirit-Driven Meetings
    Vital Posts
    I was dubious. The only item on the agenda for our two-day staff retreat: Bible study. Don't get me wrong. I think Bible study is important. But as a type-a, list-maker, take-action person, I wondered if we would accomplish enough. After a…
  • Consensus: A Countercultural Activity
    Vital Posts
    Many are saying that we are living through one of the most polarized periods in U.S. history. They point out that we, as a nation, are now divided into extremes: left and right, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican. What's more, the long-held pra…
  • Open Source Your Church
    Vital Posts
    Editor’s Note: Guest blogger Chris Yaw’s passion is healthy churches. His ChurchNext ministry puts the spotlight on a diversity of ministries that are flourishing. He records and shares interviews with faith leaders so others can learn from the…
  • May Editor's Letter
    Vital Posts
    I like to know how things work. From an early age, I learned if I had a basic understanding of this, I made better decisions. This practice led me to my first – and only – computer-programming course. It was in the early 80s, computers were…
  • Knowledge is Power
    Vestry Papers
    In “Knowledge is Power,” William Doubleday introduces congregational leaders to the resources available to them in Canon 7: Of Business Methods in Church Affairs.
  • Being on the Same Page
    Vestry Papers
    “Being on the Same Page” by Ron Pogue, reminds us of the value of our congregation’s governing documents and how they can be a useful tool for decision making.
  • From Above or Below?
    Vestry Papers
    Alberto Cutié shares key differences in governance between the Episcopal and Roman Catholic churches. Available in both Spanish and English.
  • Our Story
    Vestry Papers
    “Our Story” by Sheryl Kujawa-Holbrook explores the roots of our democratic style of governance and invites us to consider ways to balance an organization’s need for order with its equally important need for creativity and risk-taking.
  • Who Should be at the Table?
    Vital Posts
    There are many tables within an Episcopal Church. There is, of course, the altar. This table is at the center of our liturgical life and serves as a reminder of the table around which Jesus and his disciples shared a final meal. But in most chu…
  • Gathering Around Ministry, Not Minister
    Vital Posts
    Over the past several years, the Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF) has been advocating for a new type of local congregation - one that serves as a transformational faith community. Its primary purpose is to inspire and empower members to become act…
  • Editor’s Letter - February 2012
    Vital Posts
    Greetings. One of the joys of my role as editor of ECF Vital Practices is the discovery of resources to share through this website. Each day I comb through email messages, online publications, Facebook, as well as a variety of websites and prin…
  • A Snapshot of our Urban Neighborhood
    Vestry Papers
    The photo project was designed to give the Vestry the opportunity to take a closer look at our neighborhood. It was not intended to lead directly into strategic planning, but rather to shift our perspective and open our eyes to creative possibilities…
  • Missionaries One and All
    Vestry Papers
    Is not God most concerned about how we live from Monday to Saturday?
  • Richard Hooker on Conflict
    Vestry Papers
    The name Richard Hooker rings no bell for most vestry members. More than a few clergy haven’t heard of him, either.
  • Vestry Members as Spiritual Leaders
    Vestry Papers
    “The spiritual leadership of the parish is the rector’s job!”
  • Youth on Vestries
    Your Turn
    This brief post points to General Convention legislation passed in 2009 encouraging youth leadership on vestries and bishop's committies.
  • Editor's Letter: Real Basics for Vestries
    Vital Posts
    Happy New Year! If, as Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori says, “Mission is the heartbeat of the Church," then the vestry is the life-giving oxygen that keeps the heartbeat on a steady course. Our focus for this month and next is Re…
  • Managing Staff: 7 Things To Consider
    Vestry Papers
    Churches are often full of secrets. Nothing sinister, just quirks you wouldn’t notice unless you spent a lot of time sitting at the receptionist’s desk or in the parish administrators’ office.
  • All-Church Vestry
    Vestry Papers
    The Canons of the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Oregon provide the option of an all-church vestry.
  • Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant
    Vital Posts
    In this season of gratitude and abundance, I am particularly thankful for the breadth and depth of ministry and leadership among the laity of our congregations. I mention this not only in the spirit of thanksgiving, but mindful that many of our con…
  • The Ministry of the Vestry: A training resource
    Your Turn
    Vestry training resources to accompany "The Vestry Resource Guide, 2007"
  • Open it Up, Share it Wide
    Vital Posts
    Last week I received a fairly straight forward question from a lay leader regarding vestry nominations. In addition to answering Andrea’s question, it opened the door to share a great example I just learned from the rector of St. Paul’s in Murf…
  • Vestry: Cast of Characters
    Vital Posts
    Prudent rectors and nominating committees already are scouting the congregation for new blood. Often annual meetings aren’t until January, but now is the time for recruitment. Outgoing vestry members and/or the nominating committee need to ha…
  • Teach the vestry to teach
    Vital Posts
    “Teach the vestry to teach,” says Bishop Claude Payne (retired from the Diocese of Texas). Two years after hearing Bishop Payne convey this idea at a clergy gathering, it’s still sticking with me. Especially today, as I reflect on the web…
  • Vestry Selection
    Vital Posts
    While most congregations elect vestry members in the new year, it’s not too early to be thinking about who will serve next. And not just thinking, but praying and discerning.      I remember one annual meeting, midway through the agenda, whe…
  • Dreaming, Google, and the Church
    Vital Posts
    What’s your dream? I spent the past 2 ½ days dreaming with the board of Forward Movement, an organization dedicated to reinvigorating the church. We did board things like approve the financial report and talk about policies, but we also sp…
  • Flames and Faith
    Vestry Papers
    St. Edward the Confessor in suburban Minneapolis burned to the ground last April after a young man threw gasoline-filled bottles at the structure late on a stormy night. We asked the rector to share tips with our readers on coping with such a loss.
  • Doing the Advance Work
    Vestry Papers
    When someone asks me about vestries in times of crisis, my frank response is that vestries can be useless in such times – unless they have done their work in advance.
  • Finding God in the Raging Storms
    Vestry Papers
    The events of September 11th have attuned our minds to the reality of crises in our lives. This focusing experience, powerful as it may be, is but one of the many forms a crisis might take.
  • Faith Forged in the Fire
    Vestry Papers
    On September 11th, as my husband Larry and I were finishing breakfast, we heard a plane go over our house – too low and too loud for the usual air traffic approaching Newark Airport, 20 minutes away. We looked at each other in concern, and I glance…
  • What Makes Community?
    Vital Posts
    “Negotiating limited resources creates community,” says Don Bisson, a Marist brother and widely respected leader on the interrelationship of spirituality and psychology. When I heard this claim last week from Sr. Carol Bernice, reporting on…
  • Domain over your Domain
    Vital Posts
    A domain name is pretty much like a tattoo. Once you get one, you better plan on keeping it for life.  Otherwise, prepare yourself for some pain. I speak from experience. Several years ago, I received an email asking why the diocesan yout…
  • Stewardship: Glass half-full
    Vital Posts
    The list of expenses was long. Over the past year, this Appalachian church installed a new boiler system, purchased an industrial stove and oven, and dug up half the parking lot to repair the water and sewer pipes. Bids are out for a new roof…
  • Different Styles, Different Gifts
    Vestry Papers
    The process of making such decisions have enormous capacity to bring together or tear apart vestries.
  • Tips on how NOT to make decisions...
    Vestry Papers
    Louie’s not here. So let’s vote now.
  • Decision-making Led By The Spirit
    Vestry Papers
    The Church is the body of Christ: the incarnation of God in the world.
  • Decisions: The Work of Leaders
    Vestry Papers
    Decisions, decisions, decisions — sometimes vestry meetings seem overrun and overwrought by them.
  • Editor's Letter: Caring for Each Other
    Vital Posts
    Our congregational life is a common life, complete with the joys and challenges that come from being in relationship. As congregational leaders, our role involves managing the sometimes ‘sticky wickets’ of relationship that hamper our work of b…
  • Backbreaking Meetings
    Vital Posts
    So far this week: eight meetings in three days. Whether I like it or not, meetings form the backbone of my day, vertebrae linking ideas, people, and action. Yet one-third of all meetings are considered unnecessary by the people who attend them.…
  • Appreciative Inquiry at St. Mary's Manhattanville
    Your Turn
    Our congregation has used the process of Appreciative Inquiry (AI) to understand our strengths, core values, and hopes for the future, leading to enhanced ministry and energy for our mission. The first event in April 2007 was a great success. Attache…
  • Insights from Improv
    Vital Posts
    Last Saturday I went to a birthday party for a friend. After the food, socializing, and a round of charades, a young adult taught us improv comedy games. Most of us had never done improv before, but Patrick guided us in a firm and fun-loving manner…
  • Guidelines for Respect and Mutual Invitation
    Your Turn
    Eric Law has developed Guidelines for Respect and Mutual Invitation that are great tools for leadership groups.
  • Beware a Theology of Entitlement
    Vestry Papers
    A young woman who has asked for a spot on a vestry agenda comes right to the point: “I speak for those of us who don’t like the changes in the worship service.”
  • Ways to Stay Focused on Jesus
    Vestry Papers
    Be a non-anxious presence, especially in the midst of conflict.
  • Bean Counters No More
    Vestry Papers
    Imagine a congregation where the priest isn’t the only one making pastoral calls.
  • 'The Lord Broke Through'
    Vestry Papers
    We used the Psalms as a way to enter into prayer. At the beginning of each vestry meeting, we read a psalm or portion of a psalm, slowly, pausing a beat between verses.
  • Per your request
    Vestry Papers
    I recently received a phone call from a rector seeking information about what to pay her staff.
  • Triangulation: vestries be mindful
    Vestry Papers
    In human interactive terms, a triangle occurs when each of two opposing parties seeks to join with a third party against the other, with the third party finding it necessary to cooperate now with one and now with another of these opposing parties.
  • In YOUR eyes, what works?
    Vestry Papers
    What makes for a good meeting? What are your hopes and expectations?
  • Three Time-Savers
    Vestry Papers
    The agenda and the treasurer’s report should be distributed to vestry members a week in advance of the meeting.
  • How to lead effective vestry meetings
    Vestry Papers
    Ugh. How many vestry meetings have you attended that went late into the night? The later the time the longer the meeting drags on.
  • Why not, if it is for Christ?
    Vestry Papers
    Allow me to tell you about a member of a parish where I was rector. He was a man who possessed incredible faith.
  • No More Parking Lot Conversations
    Vital Posts
    I have the privilege of working with congregations and their leaders as a bishop’s staff member involved in congregational development. One of the persistent behaviors I witness among vestry members is their reluctance to speak up about lingering c…
  • "Be Not Afraid" - Is Our Role Business or Faith?
    Vital Posts
    Jesus said to us “be not afraid” and yet we are afraid. We, in religious communities, are afraid that we will run out of money, run out of people, run out of energy. If our focus was on formation, not on maintaining the status quo, I believe we…
  • Who is responsible for what?
    Vestry Papers
    John Coburn, former bishop of Massachusetts and former president of the House of Deputies, once remarked that he liked to keep the canons of the church “behind” him for support but “not in front” of him as an impediment.
  • And when the bishop comes...
    Vestry Papers
    It’s a standard joke. The bishop and the parish priest are in the sacristy just before the start of the service marking the bishop’s visitation to the congregation.
  • Vestry service: light over darkness
    Vestry Papers
    About twenty-five years ago, I began my leadership journey as an elected vestry person in my current congregation, Christ Church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
  • Good vestry members: born or grown?
    Vestry Papers
    I’ve often wondered — are good vestry members just born that way, or are they people who take on the job and grow into it?
  • Statistical Data on Episcopal Congregations
    Tools
    Do you know your congregation's statistics? Information is available: use this data to enhance your knowledge about your diocese, congregation, and local community.
  • The End to 'Business as Usual'
    Vestry Papers
    For a better future to happen, vestries need to recognize that business-as-usual is over. Over the next two to three years, vestries need to undertake six radical shifts in how they operate.
  • Wardens as Stewards: A Call for Excellence
    Your Turn
    This is an essay I have compiled for the new wardens workshop I have done for the Diocese of NY for many years.
  • The Balance Between Crazy and Amazing
    Vital Posts
    My diocese is not known to have many money problems.    But when a committee started drafting the 2011 budget, they realized we were facing a shortfall. Like every church organization, we’ve tightened our belts, frozen salaries, and made toug…
  • Is your vestry 'committee of the whole,' leaving a hole?
    Vital Posts
    Haga clic aquí para leer una traducción al español de este artículo. Does your vestry try to do it all in monthly slugfests where every issue the church faces is pulled out on the carpet and discussed? Does most of the thinking come off …
  • Discernment: Where’s the Spirit moving?
    Vestry Papers
    The way Martha Steves, former senior warden and current vestry member explains it, the work of St. Mark’s vestry in San Antonio, Texas, has undergone a gradual yet fully transformative shift.
  • Handcuffed by governance?
    Vital Posts
    Do you believe the Episcopal Church's system of governance helps or hinders your congregation's ability to carry out God's Mission? During her remarks at the Executive Council's first plenary session, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori chal…
  • A warden’s guide: Surviving the process
    Vestry Papers
    Think of this time as the longest Advent season you have ever experienced.
  • Secrets of the Advent artichoke
    Vestry Papers
    One day before Christmas, my four-year-old grandson Danny was acting particularly obstreperous. His exasperated mother finally said, “Danny, settle down and behave or Santa’s going to bring you rocks and sticks.” Danny’s eyes lit up. “Goody…
  • Create holy time away for your vestry
    Vestry Papers
    Why do so many vestries go on retreats? Why do they clear their busy calendars and make such time a priority for the health of their congregation?
  • Wardens: chief stewards and servants
    Vestry Papers
    “Warden” means “steward” or “guardian,” and wardens are the chief stewards and servants of their congregations.
  • Let’s hear it from the other side
    Vestry Papers
    Question: What are five best traits for a rector to have? How about: inspirational, organized, a great multi-tasker, outstanding people skills, and a good delegator? And underscore that with humility.
  • The votes are in: What makes a good warden?
    Vestry Papers
    We asked two questions from rectors of Consortium congregations: What are five best traits in a warden? What would you like your warden(s) to know, but that is hard to articulate face-to-face?
  • You’re a new warden: Now what?
    Vestry Papers
    So you’ve just been elected a warden in your parish. You may be thinking: What now?
  • Top 10 Resources for Vestries
    Vestry Papers
    1 The Bible - Helping to lead a congregation comes from the heart, mind and spirit, so read the Bible to stay centered in your faith.
  • Commissioning New Parish Leaders
    Vestry Papers
    A liturgy for the commissioning of new parish leaders.
  • Clergy Wellness: The role of vestries
    Vestry Papers
    In 2006, a major study of the state of wellness of Episcopal clergy was conducted by CREDO Institute.
  • Vestry #101: Encouraging hearts & souls
    Vestry Papers
    We sing about it. We hear about it, and we pray about it...the firm foundation on which our faith rests. However, at this moment there is some significant seismic activity.
  • Vestry Discernment Begins with the Soul
    Vestry Papers
    Nuts and bolts issues are more effectively and efficiently addressed when vestries focus first on key questions having to do with discernment and key values.
  • Discerning Individual Gifts on the Vestry
    Vestry Papers
    How do you understand your purpose as a vestry member? How do you know what God wants of you during your term on the vestry – or in the rest of your life?
  • Team Leadership
    Webinars
    This webinar will explore how team discernment practices can help your congregation be more open and responsive to God's call to mission and ministry. The webinar will provide an overview of three team discernment practices and will focus on how they…
  • Vestry Orientation
    Webinars
    This web conference will help you understand roles, responsibilities, and best practices for vestries. You will learn how to move your vestry from a focus on day-to-day management or crisis response to a more effective form of leadership. Designed fo…
  • The Leader's Heart
    Webinars
    Research derived from a range of congregations, denominational and non-denominational, has indicated that a key factor contributing to the vitality of congregations has to do with the leader's heart, with the characteristics of those who lead congreg…
  • Vestry Orientation
    Webinars
    This web conference will help you understand roles, responsibilities, and best practices for vestries. You will learn how to move your vestry from a focus on day-to-day management or crisis response to a more effective form of leadership. Designed fo…
  • Vestries: The Next Six Months
    Webinars
    Fall and winter are busy times for vestries in the Episcopal Church. This one-hour webinar will provide an overview of free, online resources and exemplary practices in the following areas: - Jump starting your annual stewardship campaign - Nominati…
  • Vestry Orientation
    Webinars
    This web conference will help you understand roles, responsibilities, and best practices for vestries. You will learn how to move your vestry from a focus on day-to-day management or crisis response to a more effective form of leadership. Designed fo…
  • Vestry Orientation
    Webinars
    This web conference will help you understand roles, responsibilities, and best practices for vestries. You will learn how to move your vestry from a focus on day-to-day management or crisis response to a more effective form of leadership. Designed fo…
  • Vestry Orientation
    Webinars
    This web conference will help you understand roles, responsibilities, and best practices for vestries. You will learn how to move your vestry from a focus on day-to-day management or crisis response to a more effective form of leadership. Designed fo…
  • Best Practices for Vestry Leadership
    Webinars
    This web conference explores common challenges for vestries of Episcopal congregations and offers basic practices for leading vestries effectively. Practices include beginning meetings with Bible study, establishing a vestry covenant, identifying & r…
  • Running a Holy and Effective Meeting
    Webinars
    Using tools adapted from the tradition of movement building and community organizing, this webinar will offer practical guidance for running holy and effective meetings in your congregation. Presented by Ella Auchincloss, founder of the Diocese of Ma…
  • Part 2 of Vestry Leadership 101: Mission-Focus
    Webinars
    This web conference explores how to move your vestry from a focus on day-to-day management (or crisis response) to a more proactive and mission-focused form of vestry leadership. Donald Romanik, long-time vestry member and ECF President, offers an al…
  • Part 1 of Vestry Leadership 101: Basic Principles
    Webinars
    This web conference focuses on basic roles and responsibilities, and highlights some best practices for vestries. Donald Romanik, long-time vestry member and ECF President, offers a practical review of the ins-and-outs of vestry service. Designed for…
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