May 2009
Vestry 101

Top 10 Resources for Vestries

Editor's Note: Several  years have passed since this article was written... and while many of these resources are still available in updated versions, others, specifically #5, are not.

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. Go to study groups if possible. A standard choice is the New Oxford Annotated Bible (Revised Standard Version). The Life Application Bible provides good study tips. For a new slant, try The Message Remix by Eugene Peterson.

2. The Book of Common Prayer - It’s time to have your own Prayer Book, if you don’t already. Be linked to those Episcopalians and Anglicans who’ve gone before you, back to the first Prayer Book in 1558. Read the Psalms. Say Morning Prayer. Try the Compline service with family members. The numbered prayers in the back are fantastic when you are at a loss for words.

3. Vestry Papers - The winner of some thirty awards from the Episcopal Communicators and the Associated Church Press, Vestry Papers is a must for Episcopal leaders, both lay and ordained. Published every other month, Vestry Papers shares reflections from vestry members, wardens, clergy, authors and theologians. One sub- scription is fifteen copies, enough for your entire vestry and more. Order from the Episcopal Church Foundation at 1-800-697-2858.

4. The Vestry Resource Guide - This newly revised classic helps newly elected vestry and bishop’s committee members learn the responsibilities and expectation of serving as a leader in the church. Published by the Episcopal Church Foundation, the guide alone, or the guide with a vestry packet, is available from Forward Movement Publications.

5. Human Resource Practices for Lay Employees in Episcopal Churches - A Resource from the Church Insurance Company This is a gold mine of information for those who need help with employment policies and procedures. It includes practical information on employment law, the hiring process, human resources policies and sample forms that may be tailored for your use. Church Publishing Incorporated, 800-242-1918 or go to

6. 2009 Tax Guide for Episcopal Ministers and Churches - Church Pension Group. Published by the Church Pension Fund, 800-223-6602. Tax and financial questions? Call Matthew K. Chew, 877-305-1414 or the Rev. Canon William Geisler, CPA, 877-305-1415.

7. How to Hit the Ground Running - A Quick Start Guide for Congregations with New Leadership In a convenient and practical step-by-step workbook format, this resource takes the new pastor, warden, or other leadership body from one month prior to the new leader’s arrival through the first eighteen months of a new ministry.

8. Manual of Business Methods in Church Affairs - Produced by the Episcopal Church covering all areas of accounting and internal controls for churches.

9. Diocesan Safe Church Guidelines - Contact your diocesan office for the latest in safe church policies. Insurance coverage often depends upon following specific procedures and training, so don’t delay. Excellent training is available using the entire Safeguarding God’s People series from the Church Pension Group; new materials are also available, including The Prevention of Adult Sexual Misconduct and The Prevention of Harassment of Church Workers.

10. Constitution and Canons - Each diocese, in accordance with the Episcopal Church, has its own set of canons, which will help answer procedural questions as well as increase understanding about policy, organization, and governance. This publication, updated whenever diocesan conventions enact changes to the canons, is available from your diocesan office.

The Canon Missioner for Leadership Development in the Diocese of Minnesota, Bronwyn Clark Skov is known for her Vestry #101 workshops, both in the cities of Minnesota and in the far reaches of the diocese.

This article is part of the May 2009 Vestry Papers issue on Vestry 101