In the Episcopal Church our ministry is a shared ministry between clergy and laity, each working according to his or her own gifts and callings to further the ministry of the Body of Christ. The governance of our church is also a shared governance. The highest decision making body in our church is actually not the Presiding Bishop (though her role is profoundly important). Rather, the highest decision making body is the General Convention, comprised of a House of Deputies with both laity, priests, and deacons and a House of Bishops with all the bishops of the Church. Neither house can act without the consent of the other and the House of Deputies can always call for a vote by orders ensuring that the clergy never pass an action without the laity.
This shared governance continues on down to the parish level. The rector of a parish has oversight of the spiritual life of the parish, leading in areas of worship, teaching, faith formation, and other program areas. He also is charged with administering the business of the parish. The Vestry of a parish are prayerfully given the financial trust of the parish. They set and monitor the budget, approve significant expenditures, administer funds, maintain buildings, and choose those members of the parish who will represent the parish at deanery and diocesan gatherings. The Vestry also works with the Rector on discerning the long-term mission of Christ in their community, communicating regularly about their shared ministry to ensure that it is healthy and faithful.
At St. Johns our Vestry is comprised of twelve members, three of whom are elected each year for three-year terms. Thus, the membership is constantly rotating, ensuring that all those called to leadership in the parish serve and that our vision is always as clear as possible. The Rector chairs Vestry meetings, but the Vestry is led by the Senior Warden. They are both assisted by the various officers of the Vestry. The Junior Warden watches property concerns, the Treasurer oversees finances, and the Secretary ensures good record keeping. The Treasurer may or may not be an elected member of the Vestry.
Our current Vestry at St. Johns is listed below. The year after their name is the year during which they will retire from Vestry at the January Annual Meeting. The schedule of responsibilities for Vestry Meetings is available online here. The archive of minutes from previous Vestry meetings is online here. The Vestry is guided by the canons of The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Western Michigan, along with our Parish Bylaws. The current Parish Bylaws, including excerpts from particularly important canons, are available for purchase as a paperback book online here. A free PDF form of the bylaws is also available online here.
Herb Rogers, Senior Warden, 2018
Cathryn Marshall, Junior Warden, 2019
Robert Babcock, 2018
Will Dickinson, 2018
J.B. Meeuwenberg, 2018
John Harberts, 2019
Mark Kelly, III, 2019
Dale Rodgers, 2019
Nancy Collins, 2020
Joanne Lemieux, 2020
Angie Slater, 2020
Jill Wegner, 2020
Our current Treasurer, Robert Babcock, is also an elected member of the Vestry and so has both voice and vote. Robert is assisted by Phyla Bramer who is appointed by the Vestry and thus has voice in meetings, but not vote. The Secretary of the Vestry is Alicia Hager, who also has voice, but not vote. Additionally, our Youth Group has elected Kaia Hager to serve as their representative in meetings with voice, but not vote.
Parishioners are always welcome to attend Vestry meetings and to bring their voice to the discussions and ministry of this body.