Who We Are as a Church
by Mary Lu Barth
In thinking about what makes a church “work”, I think of the rector as the CEO, the staff are all VPs, the members are the congregation, and I see the vestry as a Board of Directors. None of these entities can succeed without the others and a good church needs to find the best in each of them.
My phone dictionary defines the vestry in the Episcopal Church as “a committee elected by members of a congregation to serve with the church wardens in managing the temporal affairs of the church”. To do this our vestry has defined commissions to take on the various aspects of our church life, and at least one vestry member serves on every commission. The heart of every commission, however, is found in the people who volunteer to participate in making the plans and ideas become reality.
Most of the commission work happens behind the scenes in planning and implementing the programs and activities at St. Clare’s. Depending on the commission, meetings can occur as needs arise, or on a regular basis. As the commission names suggest, some will meet in coordination with the activities they support. For example, the Stewardship commission plans the pledge drive each fall, and so the meetings occur primarily in the last third of the year. Children and Youth are more active during the church school year.
St. Clare’s website (www.saintclareschurch.org) helps to clarify the roles and functions of the commissions in our church life. At the top of the website home page in the blue banner there are six headings: About, Worship, Ministries, Outreach, Events, and Resources. When selected these will each will produce a drop down menu of available topics. Investigating these topics will give you more specific information about what, how, and when things happen at our church.
Clicking on the About heading will offer choices to learn, among other things, about the church staff, and the lay leadership (AKA vestry) of the church. Under the Lay Leadership heading, the current vestry members are identified by picture and role. At the top of this page there is an option to “Click here for a PDF of our Church Structure and Organization”. The graphic that opens up delineates the commission structure and the vestry members who serve as liaisons and leaders in each group.
With the arrival and leadership of our interim The Rev Maryjane Peck, we are poised to open a new chapter, and to begin our search for a permanent rector. We can all be a part of what happens during this transition. Take this opportunity to become more familiar with who we are as a church, what we do, and how we do it. And when the spirit moves you, jump right in and help make it happen!