February 2018 Vestry Papers: Vestry Essentials

February 7, 2018

Dear Friends,

In popular culture we often celebrate solitary leaders who fight battles single-handedly and fix all manner of problems just by themselves. As vestry members and church leaders, we are called to a different style of leadership — collaborative, inclusive and community-focused. In this issue, we bring you articles that lift up ways we can be more Christ-like leaders.

Overextended and over-functioning vestries are unsustainable and ultimately harmful for the life of a congregation. In What Do You Think You’re Doing?, Laurie Brock uses the story of Moses and his father-in-law to explain the importance of sharing responsibility and working together as an engaged community.

Vestries that reflect a congregation’s diversity start from a place of inclusivity, celebrating the gifts that all groups bring to the table. In Learning To Be the People of God—In Two Languages, Sandra Montes shares examples from congregations that are rising to meet this challenge. This article is available in English and Spanish.

In Today’s Vestry Challenge: Keep It Simple and Nimble, Randy Ferebee reminds us that while the vestry is responsible for practical governance it helps to keep processes as simple and useful as possible, while focusing more on spiritual formation and what God is calling the congregation to be in the world.

Though not the most popular task, financial stewardship is a significant vestry responsibility. In Church Finance: Where Endurance Matters, Robert Button describes financial best practices and advice gleaned from his own experience as vestry member and parish treasurer.

In Misa Magdalena is The Answer To Prayer, Sarah Lamming shares the story of Martha—an unexpected leader who is transformed by her growing engagement in the work of her church. Through mentoring and access to practical resources like ECF’s Vestry Resource Guide, Martha is learning to harness her gifts to become an effective leader in the church and community. This article is available in English and Spanish.

Do you have a new vestry member or leader in your church? Please share this issue of Vestry Papers and encourage them to subscribe to ECF Vital Practices for upcoming issues, blogs and more.

Would you like to become an ECF Fellow? Open to lay and ordained Episcopalians, the Fellowship Partners Program supports emerging scholars and ministry leaders throughout the Church. The deadline for applications is March 16, 2018. Learn more about the program and how to apply here.

To learn more about ECF and our programs, please visit our website.

Faithfully,
Charis Bhagianathan
Editor, ECF Vital Practices