Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Vestry retreat: Listening for the holy Spirit, election of new wardens and officers

This past weekend the St. Paul's Vestry went on retreat for two days and two nights. We began and ended in prayer.

On our first evening we shared our personal stories. The next day we spent the entire first morning talking about discernment of the Holy Spirit and how that might translate into making decisions as leaders of our parish.

On Saturday afternoon we worked on the 2010 budget, unanimously approving a balanced budget that maintains our ministries. If the budget is is to work, it will require more involvement by the lay members of St. Paul's in virtually every ministry of the parish.

Then we got a little free time before dinner.

On Saturday evening our conversation was less formal, but at least as intense. We discussed the various roles of the officers of the Vestry and how Vestry members can support each other. We had an involved conversation about how all of us can communicate more directly and clearly with each other and with the parish.

Finally, on Sunday morning, we elected the officers of the Vestry. The Vestry continued a practice I introduced last year that is somewhat unusual. I do not pick the officers or even make a suggestion. Instead, each member of the Vestry is asked to complete one of the the following sentences: "I feel called to be [senior warden]," or "I do not feel called to be [senior warden] but I believe [Name] is called to be senior warden."

Not until everyone agrees on who the one called is, including the one named, do we have an election. It takes time, a great deal of vulnerability and courage, and all of it begins and ends in prayer.

The new Senior Warden is Pam Dennison (photo at right); the new Junior Warden is Bruce
Carveth. Re-elected as treasurer was Jack Bocock; and elected as Register is Sterling Alexander. Please keep all of them in your prayers.

We also discussed, at some length, the role of the junior warden. You may recall that a year ago the Vestry decided to change the traditional role of junior wardens managing the building.

Instead, the junior warden would direct a special project. Last year, Paul Brockman agreed to chair the Centennial celebration as junior warden, and Paul will continue this year to chair the centennial.

Bruce's project as junior warden will be to examine and assist us with all aspects of communication at St. Paul's. Meanwhile, Pat Punch will continue to chair our Buildings & Grounds Ministry Team.

One other thing: Unfortunately, there's been some misunderstanding about how this year's Vestry was elected in an open process of discernment and nomination. I've given a lengthy explanation on this blog, and now there are several comments worth reading both pro and con. You can access that by either scrolling down, or simply clicking HERE.

I feel very good about our Vestry members for this year, and how they talked and listened to each other at the retreat; each of them are dedicated to St. Paul's and dedicated to listening to each other and the Holy Spirit as they embark upon their leadership in our parish for 2010. Please give them your thanks and support when you see them. And keep all of us in your prayers.

Photos by Dudley Rochester.

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