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.
Debbie Wakerley, Senior Warden, 2021
Mike Bonevelle, Junior Warden, 2021
Scott Marshall, Vestry Clerk, ex officio
Lisa Bayne, 2021
Jackie Berg, 2021
Jerry Hall, 2022
Kelly Ortquist, 2022
Mistelle Serio, 2022
Deb West, 2022
Cathryn Marshall, 2023
Carolyn Morris, 2023
Jeri Page, 2023
Michael Redick, 2023
Our current Treasurer, Rick Slater, is an ex officio members of the Vestry with voice but not vote. Our current Assistant Treasurer, Jackie Berg, also is currently serving as a member of the Vestry. Additionally, the Vestry has appointed Luis Valencia as an ex officio member for our El Corazón Latino Ministry Initiative. He also has 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.