11 January 2010

Annual Meeting Time

Each parish in the diocese of Chicago is supposed to hold an annual meeting. The items on its agenda are discussion of the budget -- the actual approval of the budget is done by the vestry; reception of reports from various groups and election of vestry members. Generally that last item is a complete formality as the number of candidates is equal to or less than the number of vacancies.

I wonder why we do this? The truth is we are all of one mind in only one area, a certain relief that someone else will be on the vestry ballot. I recall a member who was trying to recruit ushers pointing out that by volunteering to be an usher one could claim a reason not to be a vestry person.

When one is a vestry member (I have been) the range of constraints is amazing. For instance we say we 'approve' the budget but the fact is the combination of mandatory items (cf. insurance for the building) and very tight pledge income means that the actual choices are very limited. Members who have not been on vestry have the idea that the members exercise a great deal of power. Simply not true. Many things are clergy specific and should be, many are limited by finances and should not be. What is left over is not much.

It is a season to be grateful that there are those willing to take on the burden of leadership. Some years ago, a priest wanted me to be nominated to be junior warden. I was horrified at the thought. It is hard demanding work and usually not appreciated by the parish. If your parish is about to elect vestry persons and wardens be sure to thank those leaving posts and those getting them.


1 comment:

Rick+ said...

     Having served a term on vestry and having also been junior warden, I have joked since that I had to be come a priest so they couldn't put me on the vestry again.

St Laika's

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