by The Rev. Dr. R. Leigh Spruill
“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Gather for me seventy of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them; bring them to the tent of meeting and have them take their place there with you.’”
— Numbers 11:16
About Vestry Elections
As is the custom at St. John the Divine, the congregation will be electing six new members to our vestry in early 2024 at the parish’s Annual Meeting. The vestry is the legal representative body for the church “in all matters concerning its corporate property and the relations of the parish to its clergy” (Constitutions and Canons of the Episcopal Church). The vestry is like a board of trustees—the governing body entrusted by the membership with the fiscal and temporal matters of the church.
Update to the Election Code
At our annual election, we typically also elect a lay Diocesan Council Representative and occasionally we request a vote on proposed updates to our parish bylaws or election code. In this coming election, we will ask you to vote on an update to the election code that changes the process of determining our Diocesan Council Representative. Currently, we elect a new representative each year to serve a 4-year term, attending the annual Diocesan meetings as one of four representatives of St. John the Divine. Our proposed code change will allow the vestry to appoint our council representatives each year. At St. John the Divine, the senior warden is appointed by the rector, and all other offices (junior warden, treasurer, secretary, chancellor, and chairs and members of vestry committees) are elected, so this change) are elected by the vestry, so this change is in keeping with our current practices.
If approved, the amendment to the parish election code will be implemented incrementally, and each currently elected Diocesan Council Representative will serve their full unexpired term. Vestry appointees will be phased in as elected representative’s terms expire. If you have any questions, please contact Tom Knudson, the current senior warden of the vestry.
Nomination Suggestions Open October 1 — October 29
Part of our yearly election process involves an open call for members of our parish to suggest parishioners for nomination as candidates for vestry membership. A nominating committee, consisting of eight vestry members and seven at-large members selected by the vestry, reviews these suggestions in consultation with the rector before presenting a slate of 12 worthy candidates for the six open vestry positions and two worthy candidates for the diocesan council representative for vestry approval and parish consideration. We will begin accepting nomination suggestions on October 1.
Please keep in mind that we want our vestry to model spiritual leadership to be able to work in partnership with our rector, clergy, and lay staff. The practice of having elders serve as officers for God’s holy people has roots stretching all the way back to Moses in leading the people of Israel through their wilderness wanderings. The Lord saw that the leadership demands on behalf of the people were greater than one person could satisfy. Thus, elders described as “able, fearing God, and trustworthy” were called to share leadership. It is useful for vestry members to recall these ancient biblical roots in understanding their governance role for SJD.
It is important to state the qualities we are looking for in vestry members. SJD vestry members will be confirmed parishioners in good standing who are:
Thankfully, St. John the Divine is blessed with a wealth of parishioners who are well-qualified for this significant ministry.
Nomination suggestions for our next class of vestry members and lay delegate to the Diocesan Council close on Sunday, October 29 at 5 pm. Please submit your nomination suggestions online, email them to the clerk of the vestry, mail them to the church c/o Clerk of the Vestry, or fill out the form at the front desk in the administration building.