Judging by what I hear from my clergy colleagues, I think it’s safe to say that vestry meetings are not most people’s idea of a good time. And from the comments I hear from lay people at diocesan gatherings, lay folk don’t often have joy in their hearts about vestry meetings either. This probably explains the rolled eyes I often get when I tell them I look forward to vestry meetings at St. Nicholas Episcopal Church in Germantown, Maryland. What makes our vestry experience different?
It has a lot to do with our understanding of what it means to be a healthy congregation. From the beginning (St. Nick’s started in 1995), we expected every group within our parish to operate as a microcosm of the larger body, with its primary goal being to embody our understanding of healthy Christian community. And we expected this approach to “be church first, do church second” would be true even for the vestry… especially for the vestry.