The vestry is the legal representative of the parish with regard to all matters pertaining to its corporate property. At Holy Cross we have 12 vestry members who each serve a three year term. As per custom we have two wardens. The senior warden is a support person for the rector and guides the vestry. The junior warden supports the senior warden and often handles more of the detail work so the senior warden can focus on the vision. At Holy Cross the wardens run the vestry meeting even though canonically the presiding officer is the rector. A clerk keeps the minutes.
The basic responsibilities of the vestry are to help define and articulate the mission of the congregation; to support the church's mission by word and deed, to select the rector, to ensure effective organization and planning, and to manage resources and finances. At Holy Cross each vestry member oversees an area of the church. This is divided up via our leadership circle. Each vestry member is not responsible for doing all the tasks in that area. Instead, they are there as a resource to help parish members in their own ministries.
The vestry at Holy Cross meets once a month and generally on the fourth Tuesday right after the finance meeting. The wardens are automatically members of the finance committee which is one reason why the meetings are on the same day. Vestry meetings are open to all members to attend. The only exception is when something needs to be kept confidential in which case the vestry meets in “executive session”.