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St. Marys Vestry Covenant and Expectations


Adopted by St. Marys Episcopal Church Vestry in Burlington New Jersey on Monday, April 14, 2014.

Recognizing Holy Scripture as the authority that should govern our behavior and relationships with one another and with the congregation, and acknowledging St. Paul's directive to Timothy (1 Timothy 4:12) concerning his role as church leader to be "an example to the believers in speech, life, love, faith and purity", we therefore agree to the following covenant:


We will support one another by:

Using "I" statements to reflect ownership of our ideas and opinions.

Respecting each other's opinions.

Striving toward consensus.

Supporting decisions agreed upon by the Vestry.

Committing to bring unresolved issues/divergent opinions back to Vestry meetings for further discussion.

Recognizing that certain discussions are of a confidential nature and respecting that confidentiality.

Honoring any member's call for prayer and/or silence during Vestry meetings.

Limiting Vestry meetings to two (2) hours in duration by:

o Creating a priority list of agenda items.

o Agreeing to be time-sensitive during discussions at Vestry meetings.

We will be an example to the congregation by striving to:

Provide leadership and direction for the church in collaboration with other lay leaders and the clergy

Be a regular attendee at worship.

Pray daily for the church and its ministry and set aside time at every vestry meeting for prayer.

Support and encourage the ministry of the Rector and staff.

Pledge, with the expectation of fulfillment.

Attend monthly vestry meetings (normally held the 2nd Monday of the month beginning at 7:00 p.m. and ending at 9:00 p.m.).

Serve as either a Ministry chair or member in one or more areas.

Serve as scheduled as a counter on Sundays after the 9 a.m. Eucharist.

Participate in special events and gatherings of the Parish.

Maintain responsible communication (which excludes hearsay and gossip) with the congregation, the Vestry, the Rector, the staff and the community.

Create a positive environment where all parishioners can voice their own thoughts.

Welcome all parishioners at Vestry meetings.

Bring comments & suggestions on behalf of identified/named parishioners only.

Not act on behalf of anonymous critics.

Ensure that the minutes of Vestry meetings are as transparent as possible, except in the case of confidential matters.

Communicate a written summary of Vestry actions and non confidential discussions in parish publications as soon as possible after each meeting.