Orientation for New Vestry Members
Orientation for New Vestry Members
Annual Meetings (each congregation) (C. 4.04)
The Annual Meeting of each congregation shall be held as early as possible in January for the purpose of hearing the annual statement of the Minister, the reports of the Churchwardens, to appoint Churchwardens and Vestry for the ensuing year, and for the election of Lay delegates to Synod; and for the transaction of any other business affecting the welfare of the congregation. A suggested order of proceedings is found in Appendix D.
Each congregation shall hold a meeting of its parishioners as early as possible in January as laid down in Canon IV Sec. C. 4.04 under title Annual Meeting.
Parish Council Meetings (C4.03 (3))
In multi-congregational parishes, there shall be a Parish Council, consisting of the Churchwardens, the Lay delegates to Synod, and the Treasurer of the congregations within the Parish. The Council shall be responsible for all matters of general concern to the whole Parish; including the maintenance, housing and travel expenses of the Rector. The Council shall meet at least once a year; and at other times at the call of the Rector or of the officials of any two of the congregations concerned.
Vestry Meetings (C 4.03 (7))
A meeting of the Vestries should take place upon a fixed date, at least every quarter, in the interest of the congregation; but meetings may be called at any time by the Minister upon three days notice being given to its members. The presence of one third of the members including the Minister or one Churchwarden shall be necessary to constitute a meeting of the Vestry, but in no case shall a quorum be less than three persons.
It shall be the duty of members of the Vestry in every meeting to deal with all matters connected with the congregation, and to declare by resolution what shall be done in the premises, but when any large outlay of money is proposed all parishioners are to be called together to decide upon the proposal.
At the first meeting of the Vestry after the Annual meeting they shall appoint one of their own number to record the Minutes of their meetings and to act as Secretary of the Vestry and of Annual meetings; and shall elect a Treasurer who need not be an elected member of the Vestry.
General Meetings (C4.03 (2) and (1))
A General Meeting is a gathering of all the congregations under the charge of the Minister at one principle or central place.
A General Meeting of the congregation may be called at any time by the Bishop or Minister, or on request of a majority any two Vestries affected, provided that at least two Sundays notice is given to the congregation orally at time of service and in writing upon the Notice Board or Church door. (Canon IV. Sec. C. 4.03 S.S.1.)
Rules for All Meetings (C. 4.03)
Prayer : All Church meetings shall be opened and closed with prayer.
Chairperson : The Chairperson may be the Incumbent or layperson.
The Chairperson shall have the usual powers appertaining to the Chairperson of any public meeting. The Chairperson shall have the same right of voting as if not in the Chair, but shall have no casting vote, and an equality of votes shall be considered as defeating the proposition.
Minutes : Minutes of proceedings and resolutions of every General Parishioner's or Vestry meeting shall be correctly entered in a book, and unless the Minutes are read and approved at the close of the preceding meeting, the first business of every meeting after the opening prayers shall be the reading, passing and signing by the Chairperson of such Minutes of the preceding meeting.
Notice : Notice of every meeting of parishioners signed by the Convenor must be affixed to the Church Notice Board or Church door, at least two Sundays before the meeting is to be held. The Notice must state the time, place and purpose for which the meeting is called and should be framed following the form to be found in Appendix C (of the Constitution and Canons).
In summary - to seek out the lost and to baptize and prepare for Confirmation, to marry, to bury, to say public prayer and order the worship, to study and read God's word, to preach, to teach, to publicly and privately exhort and admonish, to visit, to frequently and diligently celebrate the Holy Communion, to be a godly example to Christ's flock. (see Induction & Ordination services BCP pp. 673-676 & pp. 648-651)
"The ordering of service, including the musical portion thereof, and the use of the organ shall be under the control of the Minister only." (C. 4.09)
Wardens' Responsibilities (C. 4.06 sections (7) and (8))
The Churchwardens shall be responsible for the care of all Parish property, and for the conduct of Parish business and all financial matters, in an efficient manner.
Immediately after the close of the Annual meeting and the signing of the Declaration of Office, the Churchwardens elected shall accept transfer of all Parish properties from their predecessors in office; and where appropriate shall deliver to their predecessors a receipt for the same.
Duties It shall be the duty of the Churchwardens, and they are hereby empowered
(a) to see that Divine Service is decently and regularly conducted in their congregation, if possible, at least once every Sunday, and if there be no Minister-in-charge, catechist, student or Lay Reader, to be responsible for the conduct of the service by some fit person approved by the Bishop; to have jointly with the Minister, custody of all monies belonging to the Parish; to procure all things requisite for Divine Service, and for the supply and safe custody of all Parochial records; to have, with the Minister, the joint disposal of all offerings, and in the case of any disagreement between the Churchwardens and the Minister respecting the disposal of the offering, there shall be an appeal to the Bishop as Ordinary, whose decision shall be final.
b) To see that all books needed for registers and records of the congregation are provided, and that the entries are regularly and duly made as required by Canon.
(c) To secure the financing of the Parish and to collect the offerings and all contributions for general or special purposes, and have them entered in the book kept for the purpose; to pay all salaries and accounts; to keep parochial accounts; to pay all sums received for specified purposes , especially the Apportionment and other financial obligations to the Synod of the Diocese, and to submit in due time to the auditor for the purpose of making the audit, the parochial accounts for the year, with the vouchers, and lay the same before the Annual Meeting. The Rector's stipend shall be paid monthly, or as agreed with the Churchwardens.
(d) To respond promptly to any request from the Bishop or the Archdeacon; and to report to the Bishop or the Archdeacon any cause preventing the full exercise of the Minister’s duties in the Parish.
(e) To keep the fabric of the church and its appurtenances in repair and insured.
(f) To maintain good order and quiet in and about the church or place of worship during Divine Service.
(g) To take care as far as possible that all persons attending church are accommodated and provided with books.
(h) To give attention to the Rectory and grounds at all times.
(i) To keep an Inventory of all land and property etc. belonging to the Parish.
(j) To observe strictly the regulations set forth in Canon IV Sec. C. 4.12 and Sec. C. 4.13 and to see that no alteration or change of moment in the buildings or land of the Parish take place, until the endorsement of the Executive Committee has been received in writing.
(k) By example and influence to encourage regular attendance and hearty response on the part of the congregation at Divine Worship, and generally to assist the Minister by zeal and moral support in all matters affecting the welfare and advancement of the congregation.
C. 4.11 (2) The following books shall be provided by the Churchwardens in every congregation throughout the Diocese, and shall be handed to their successors in office:
(a) A Minute Book, in which shall be entered the proceedings and resolutions of all Vestry and Congregational meetings.
(b) An Accounts Book properly ruled, in which shall be entered the accounts, showing the receipts and expenditures as well as the Assets and Liabilities of the congregation in accordance with a system outlined by the Treasurer of the Diocese.
(c) A Service Register to be kept in the Church in which shall be entered and initialed at the time, all services which take place in that congregation, with the name of the person officiating, signed by the Officiant if possible, the number of persons present, the number of communicants, and the amount of the offerings under their various headings.
(d) A list of all Envelope subscribers and regular contributors towards the Parochial and Synod Apportionment funds, with the amount promised or pledged. Receipts for Income Tax purposes shall be supplied to all who request them.
At the Annual Report the Wardens may provide a report containing the following (found in Appendix D of the Canons)
Report of the Minister's Churchwarden showing :
(a) Inventory of fabric, grounds, requisites for service (furniture, books, music, linen vessels)
(b) Description and condition of Minister's house and grounds, and comparison of rectory conditions with standards specified by Synod.
(c) Description and condition of cemeteries, lands, etc.
Report of People's Churchwarden showing :
(a) Statement of the financial condition of the parish, report on stewardship campaign, budget for the coming year, etc.
(b) Any resolutions of Vestry requiring action.
Treasurer's Responsibilities (from the Constitution)
7.06 Church Finances
(1) The method of church finance known as the "envelope system" is adopted in this Diocese, and its use urged as far as possible in all Parishes, Congregations and Missions.
(2) It shall be the duty of the Minister, Churchwardens, and Vestry to arrange for, and to make an annual canvass of all members of the congregation, and to secure as far as possible realistic subscriptions for both Parochial and Synod apportionment purposes through the "envelope system". A careful record of all subscriptions shall be kept and receipts for Income Tax purposes issued.
(3) The Treasurer of each Parish shall remit to the Diocesan Treasurer immediately after the last Sunday in every month the proportionate amount of the money due to the Diocese for all purposes.
(4) No Special Offerings shall be taken up at any service for any object not herein provided for without the sanction of the Minister and Churchwardens; provided that any person or persons may, at any service, place in the collection any special contributions if enclosed in marked envelopes.
(5) The provisions of Section 7.06 shall not affect the Harvest Thanksgiving offerings, or collections taken up on other days than Sunday. Open collections taken up at Synod, Confirmation or Ordination services shall be devoted as the Bishop may direct.
(6) In case of any Parish, Congregation or Mission failing to meet its financial obligations, the Diocesan Treasurer shall report the matter to the Executive Committee, which, after investigation, shall take such steps as may be considered advisable.
7.07 Assisted Parishes and Missions
(1) Parishes which are not yet self-supporting are expected to move steadily towards this position, and to do all in their power to establish financial self support.
(2) It is not the policy of the Diocese to make financial grants for the maintenance of church buildings, parish halls, and rectories.
(3) In all multiple point Parishes the Parish Treasurer shall be responsible for remitting monthly to the Diocesan Treasurer all monies for the stipend, pension and travel expenses of the Minister. The Minister shall receive a stipend and travel expenses on an agreed date each month, whether from the Diocesan Treasurer or the Parish Treasurer.
(4) No Parish Minister shall receive less than the minimum amount due according to the Schedule of Stipends and Allowances agreed upon by the Executive Committee.
(5) All Parishes may remit the full amounts for stipend, pension and travel to the Diocesan Treasurer if the Parish authorities agree thereto.