Editors Note: Ministry Spotlight, written by Epiphany vestry member and professional journalist Christopher Johnson will be a monthly article focusing on the people and ministries of Epiphany.
By Christopher Johnson
Vestry. The part of church many people fear being asked to be a part of but also don’t understand. Whether you’re young or old, it’s a tremendous honor with a lot of responsibility.
My brother Dan and I were asked to think about becoming Vestry members last Fall. To be honest, I was thinking about how I could serve God and Epiphany more. Singing in the church choir for the last decade has been rewarding. But after we stood for Christ by leaving the Episcopal denomination, I knew God was calling all of us to do something greater even if it was out of our comfort zones.
A vestry is an elected group or “board of directors” of parish members who oversee the church and its operations. This group of parish members are the governing body of the church and meet once a month to make decisions about many items from the church budget to how each ministry is functioning for the better of the church. The rector is considered the head of the vestry and presides over the meetings.
The wardens are responsible for overseeing the church. First, they are responsible for issues pertaining to all legal aspects regarding property and legal contracts. Second, they are mandated to ensure that the financial standing of all accounts is maintained accurately by the finance committee. Third, they are responsible for ensuring that the parish functions with regular services. Last, the senior warden assists the rector and support him with his other roles and responsibilities. A clerk, who keeps the notes and keeps record of every meeting, is also elected by the vestry members.
The 2013 vestry decided to update Epiphany’s organizational structure by moving away from a system of commissions each permanently led by a single vestry member to more flexible task-based approach to getting things done: Now we work together as a vestry to address particular projects and needs at Epiphany, and when they are done, we are able to move on to what’s next. For instance, I recently worked with Fr. Peter on the new website. With the new website launched that project is done and I’m now working with other vestry members to plan our upcoming annual meeting.
When I decided to be on the vestry, I was not sure what to expect. I’ve heard the stories of long meetings, late nights and the many issues to deal with. Some of what I heard doesn’t describe how the vestry actually operates now (vestry meetings don’t go on forever – in fact, we’re consistently done with business before 9 pm). At the same time, I have seen that God is definitely using me and other vestry members to lead and guide our church.
There are many opportunities and challenges ahead for Epiphany but the group of talented people we have on the vestry will help keep the integrity and history of our church while pushing it forward to the future.
Epiphany Vestry Leaders and Members
Senior Warden – Tom Will
Junior Warden – Ron Harp
Members – Fred Apelquist, Cynthia Aungst, Bill Fetzer, Jim Humenik, Christopher Johnson, Daniel Johnson, Maggie Marcum, Alan Pino, Renee Tassone, Catherine Zimmerman
NOTE: Vestry meetings are open to the congregation and can be attended. Meetings are held every 2nd Tuesday of the month starting promptly at 7 p.m. in the back conference room behind the choir loft.