Episcopal Diocese of Southeast FloridaMural

Duties of a Vestry

The Duties of a Vestry

The Vestry is the "Board of Directors" for the parish corporation. The Vestry is the authoritative body of the Congregation and is subject only to the Diocesan and National Church Canons.

The Vestry is responsible for determining the policies and goals of the congregation and is to communicate with the congregation about the goals, concerns, and functioning of the Church in the modern world.

The Rector is a member of the Vestry, the President of the parish corporation, and presides over meetings of the Vestry and Congregation.

Other members of the Vestry are elected by the Congregation at the parish Annual Meeting. The duties of the vestry and its officers are prescribed in the Canons (bylaws) of the diocese and in the charter and bylaws of the parish corporation. The Senior and Junior Wardens are Vice Presidents of the corporation.

The Senior Warden is appointed by the Rector from the Vestry members. The Junior Warden is elected by the vestry from its members. The wardens may be requested by the Rector to preside in his/her place.

Typically a clerk (secretary) and treasurer are appointing by the Vestry. They serve without vote although they may be inclined to speak up.

The duties of the Vestry are to:

1. Take charge of the property of the Church.

2. To keep this property fully insured and to list this insurance in the annual Parochial report to the diocese. To be responsible for all financial matters of the parish, specifically to:

  • Prepare an annual budget.
  • File the Annual Corporate Report with the State of Florida.
  • Maintain adequate accounting records in conformity with forms provided by the Diocesan Treasurer to record all funds received and expended.
  • See that an annual audit is conducted and reported at required in Canon XX, section 2.
  • See that adequate stewardship education is undertaken in the congregation and that a regular every-member canvass is conducted.

4. To regulate all the congregation's temporal affairs.

5. To elect, with the approval of the Bishop, to call a Rector, and to provide for his/her maintenance.

6. To act as helpers to the Rector in whatever appropriate to lay persons for the furtherance of the welfare of the Church.

7. To maintain full record of minutes of meetings. To authorize all purchases made in the name of the parish.

Duties of the Senior Warden

1. Share privately with the rector insights, concerns, and issues which may face the Congregation.

2. Interpret the Rector's role and expectations to the people.

3. Act as consultant and advisor to the Rector.

4. Support the Rector's effort to make the committees of the church work.

5. In the absence of the rector, to see that a supply priest is there for services.

6. Make certain that a register of all Baptisms, Confirmations, Marriages, and Burials, as well as a list of communicants in good standing is kept. (It is suggested that the Vestry inspect these books quarterly.)

7. Prior to early February of each year, it is the senior warden's responsibility to see that the Annual Parochial Report is submitted to the Diocesan Treasurer on the forms provided by the National Church and distributed by Diocesan Treasurer.

8. See that the Key Personnel List, which includes Vestry and other parish personnel, is sent to the Diocesan Office immediately following the Annual Parish Meeting.

Duties of the Junior Warden

The Junior Warden is responsible for the upkeep of church property and to maintain an up-to-date inventory. She/he also assists the Senior warden as requested.

Duties of the Clerk

The clerk is the secretary of the Vestry and corporation.

The clerk shall keep minutes of all meetings of the Vestry and corporation. The Minute Book shall include a current copy of the parish corporate charter, the current bylaws of the parish, record from the Internal Revenue Service of the parish's Tax Identification Number, a copy of the Annual Report filed with the Florida Secretary of State, a copy of the parish's Certificate of Exemption from Florida Sales/Use Tax, Minutes of past meetings of the Vestry and Congregation, and other records thought appropriate.

Duties of the Treasurer

The Treasurer is appointed by the Vestry. The duties on the parish treasurer will vary, depending on the size and complexity of the parish. Irrespective of size, the treasurer is the Chief Financial Officer and is responsible for the following:

1. Preparing monthly financial statements and reporting the financial status of the parish to the rector, Vestry, and then the Congregation on a scheduled basis.

2. The parish financial records for pledges, receipts, disbursements, payables, and all assets and liabilities shall be maintained in accordance with "A Manual of Accounting Practices." Full disclosure of all funds entrusted to the parish shall be practiced.

3. Assist the vestry with financial planning, including preparation of the annual budget.

4. Insure that all financial aspects relating to the clergy are duly performed in a correct and timely manner. Such items as pension, health, dental, and life insurance premiums, housing, travel, sabbatical, continuing education, Social Security, and stipends are to be considered.

5. Establish and maintain the necessary controls and procedures to prevent the unauthorized use of parish resources.

Those who so generously volunteer their time to serve as parish treasurers should not approach their responsibilities with any apprehension that they are entering a mysterious new world of church accounting. Although there are areas of difference between what many people recognize as business accounting and church accounting methods, by following the uniform principles, reporting practices, and financial statements as shown in "A Manual of Accounting Principles" and "The Parish Cash Book," the parish treasurer will find that record keeping can be an orderly task.

Committees of the Parish

These committees are typically Building & Grounds, Christian Education, Community and Social Concerns, Finance, Music, Outreach, Planning, Worship, and whatever else the Vestry decides is beneficial to the ministry of the Church.