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What is the Vestry? Who serves on it?

CEC’s early February Vestry Retreat provides a wonderful venue for fun and work, and culminates in strong bonds and good working committees. Vestry members are your elected leadership, and they welcome your involvement and questions. Get to know them by checking the Vestry bulletin board in the hall opposite the library, where you will find individual photos and committee assignments listed.

2017 Vestry members gathered for a meal at Stony Point Retreat Center.

Just what is the Vestry?  It is the governing body of the parish, but the origins of the word go far back in church history. The word “vestry” probably originated from the old French word, vestiarie, a word meaning “a room for vestments” from the Latin word for “wardrobe”, referring to a room in a church where clergy change from street clothes into ceremonial attire for church services. Christ Church, of course, still has small rooms along the corridor outside the church entrance. These serve as rooms where the Rector, as well as the choir and acolytes, put on vestments, gather before service, and say a gathering prayer.

The word ‘Vestry’ refers now to a group of Christ Church congregants, elected by members of the congregation, who offer counsel and administrative support to the Rector. Members of the Vestry establish standing committees made up of members of the congregation who attend to the physical, social, financial, and outreach needs of the life of the church. Committees seek to be responsive to the changing needs and priorities of the Parish.

At Christ Church, Vestry meetings are held the third Tuesday of each month. Members report on their respective standing committees and church business is discussed. Approved meeting minutes are posted in the hall outside the office so parishioners can be informed about the work of the Vestry and the issues the church is facing..

Vestry Retreat 2017

Standing committees for 2017 are: Buildings and Grounds, Communications, Fellowship, Finance, and Outreach.  The Vestry has formed three task forces to develop and implement plans in the essential areas of Stewardship, Outside Wedding Development, and Strategic Planning for Growth & Financial Sustainability.

If you are interested in helping with a committee or task force, see a Vestry member or contact the church office to be put in touch with the appropriate chairperson.

— article by Teresa Vilardi-Amaru and Jeannie Chenette