Democratic structures are an important part of governance in the Episcopal Church--including vestries. A vestry is a group of lay people elected by the parish to work with the rector to oversee the temporal health of their congregation. A new group of vestry members is elected at each annual congregational meeting (in February), and all communicants of St. Stephen's are eligible to vote.
St. Stephen's is blessed with an active, working vestry made up of 18 dedicated parishioners who give generously of their time and talent. Our vestry includes people with a variety of skills and backgrounds, ages, and length of time as parishioners of St. Stephen's. Some are lifelong Episcopalians. Others are relatively new to the Episcopal Church.
The vestry of St. Stephen's Church meets at 4:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month. Each meeting contains presentations about and discussion of various areas of parish life, and is attended by staff and clergy. Visitors are always welcome to attend any meeting, excepting, of course, executive sessions of the vestry.
To communicate with the vestry, you may contact any member individually by phone or in person, or send the senior warden an email.
Current vestry members
Serving until 2/2018
JB Burtch, Senior Warden
Laurie Rogers, Junior Warden
Serving until 2/2019
Serving until 2/2020
Martha Orr Proutt
Duties of the vestry
In cooperation with the rector, the vestry:
- Promotes the spiritual welfare of the parish
- Supports the programs of the church
- Manages parish property and its financial resources
- Reports to the Bishop on the state of the parish
- Certifies candidates from the parish for ordination
The vestry elects
- The rector
- The wardens, registrar, and treasurer
- Delegates to diocesan council
- Delegates to Region 12 Council (the Episcopal churches in Western Richmond)
- Superintendent of Sunday School
- Trustees of church property
- Representatives to various related boards (e.g., St. Stephen's Preschool)
- Members of regular and special committees
The duties of the vestry, and their election, are discussed in the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia.