January 2017 Vestry Papers: Vestry Leadership

January 4, 2017

Dear Friends,

For church leaders, the beginning of the year can be both bright with anticipation and heavy with challenge. While it is tempting and often necessary to leap headfirst into the many tasks at hand, it helps to remember that the primary purpose of the role is serving God. Our stories for the year’s first issue bring you a mix of the practical and spiritual aspects of vestry leadership, and we hope you will find them useful in your journey ahead.

The first steps a newly assembled vestry takes together are crucial. In Beginning Your Vestry’s Work Together, Nathan E. Kirkpatrick shares the importance of intentionally forming the vestry as a 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 on the vestry – answering God’s call to discipleship.

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? In Lessons from a Senior Warden, Anne Schmidt recalls her own experience as senior warden and provides best practices and tips for anyone who is new to the role.

Serving on the vestry can be both a deeply fulfilling and frustratingly challenging job. In Vestry Meditations, Colleen McMahon shares a piece from her book in which she focuses on the importance of spirituality, prayer and being, amidst the responsibility of work.

Does your church conduct a Spiritual Gifts Assessment for its parishioners? In a world where Christians have been called to live out an “urgent mission”, Jennifer LeBlanc shares the experience of her church’s spiritual gifts assessment in Spiritual Gifts.

If you find this issue of Vestry Papers helpful to your work and ministry, please subscribe to ECF Vital Practices for upcoming issues, blogs and more. To learn more about ECF and our programs, please visit our website. If you’re on Facebook or Twitter, please say hello! We would love to hear from you. In building this community, we always look to you all for new ideas, innovative ministries and valuable resources. If you have a story to share, please get in touch.


Charis Bhagianathan
Editor, ECF Vital Practices