Vestry 101

Our best resources on what a vestry is and what it does

You wanted to do good in the church and the world, so you volunteered for the vestry. Now what? We’ve put together 10 resources in a toolkit for you to learn what a vestry is and what it does. This is but a brief introduction; you can find multiple articles, blogs and webinars about being on a vestry on ECF Vital Practices,

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  • Vestry Service: Light Over Darkness by Ellen Bruchner (10 minutes)

    Before your first vestry meeting, and again when conflict arises, be sure to review this article by Ellen Bruchner, who puts together a “few hints I have learned throughout the years that help get past the feelings of frustration, disappointment, and anger that can be triggered by some vestry meetings.”

  • Five Ways to Become a Transformational Vestry by Donald V. Romanik (10 minutes)

    Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF) President Donald Romanik has almost 20 years of experience being on vestries. Here he articulates five things that every vestry member should know, whether you are brand new or a longtime veteran, to be a transformational vestry.

  • Multiculturalism: It’s Not Optional by Caleb Tabor (10 minutes)

    Caleb Tabor offers a model—and an imperative—for vestries, along with tips for building unity, trust, communication, and humility among members. As Tabor writes, “Being a multicultural vestry is a requirement if we are going to have a multicultural church. Having a multicultural church is a requirement if we are going to embody the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our place and time.”

  • Top Ten Ways to Thrive as a Vestry Leader by Greg Syler (10 minutes)

    In his blog for ECF Vital Practices, Greg Syler is concerned with ways in which vestry service helps individuals thrive and a congregational culture takes off. He highlights ten practices that will help you to flourish as a leader.

  • What Does Fiduciary Responsibility Really Mean at a Church? by Carsten Sierck (10-15 minutes)

    In her brief but informative article, ECF’s Director of Endowment Management, Carsten Sierck, reviews fiduciary responsibilities and explains how to carry them out at a church.

  • Lessons from a Retreat Part 1 by Ken Mosesian (10 minutes)

    In his two-part blog, Ken Mosesian discusses vestry retreats. Part 1 focuses on logistics: where and why to hold a retreat, how to set the tone and frame the discussion.

  • Lessons from a Retreat Part 2 by Ken Mosesian (10 minutes)

    Part 2 looks at other components essential to a successful vestry retreat, such as clear communication and what good leadership entails.

  • Vestry Orientation a webinar presented by Donald V. Romanik and Brendon Hunter (1 hour)

    This webinar will help you understand roles, responsibilities, and best practices for vestries, including the role of the vestry in selecting new leadership, orienting new members, planning and evaluation, and supporting staff and volunteers.

  • Effective Vestries in Times of Crisis a webinar presented by Donald V. Romanik (50 minutes)

    ECF President Donald Romanik explains roles and responsibilities for vestries in light of the pandemic. Designed for clergy, wardens, and vestry members, this webinar explores the role of the vestry in planning, leadership and best practices during times of crisis.

  • Purchase a copy of the Vestry Resource Guide 5 minutes

    Whether you’re a first-time vestry member or a seasoned veteran, the Vestry Resource Guide offers an approach for leaders of congregations and faith communities to consider and tailor to meet their own needs. Available in English and Spanish from Forward Movement.