On Vestry Responsibilities and Nominations

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

As is the custom at St. John the Divine, the congregation will elect six new members to our vestry in early 2022. 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 temporal matters of the church.

However, we want our vestry also to model spiritual leadership in partnership with the parish, 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 and his challenges 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. So, elders identified 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.

Our congregation has a vestry consisting of 18 lay people in addition to the rector. Each lay member serves a three-year term, with six members rotating off every year. Vestry terms end at the time of our annual parish meeting in late January each year. This coming year, we will give great thanks for the dedicated service of the following vestry members whose terms expire: current Senior Warden Larry Lawyer, Andy Boyd, Cheri Fossler, Elizabeth Galtney, George McDaniel, and Ann Rogers.

These six, along with one vestry member serving the second year of their term, one vestry member serving the first year of their term, and seven lay leaders appointed by the vestry representing the demographics of our church, form the vestry nominating committee whose task is to present a slate of 12 vestry candidates and two Diocesan Council candidates for election. You can be a part of this process by making nomination suggestions here by October 31, 2021, emailing them to clerk@sjd.org, or dropping them off at the front desk during regular building hours.

It is important to state qualities are we looking for in vestry members: SJD vestry members will be confirmed parishioners in good standing who are:

  1. Committed to their Christian faith and growth;
  2. Regular in worship attendance;
  3. Recognized for their leadership gifts;
  4. Committed in their financial stewardship;
  5. Positive in their spirit about the church.


Thankfully, St. John the Divine is blessed with a wealth of parishioners who are very well-qualified for this significant ministry. We look forward to receiving your nomination suggestions.

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