Sunday, February 24, 2013

St.James Anglican Church - Vestry Meeting

As a member of St. James Anglican Church, I've not previously attended a Vestry Meeting. I'm one of those parishioners who tends to show up late, listens respectfully, shares the peace, gives alms, and participates in eucharist but often takes off early with Gilbert, my cockapoo, once blessed by the Bishop himself. Most people only know me as Gilbert's Dad.
There's a whole lot of background stuff happening in any church. Lots of volunteers, committees, anonymous work, business and that's not just the clergy who are usually very much overworked and over stretched in their various ministries.
Hence my presence at the Vestry meeting. I thought the least I could do is 'vote' my support for all the wonderful things that the people are doing in this church I've grown to love and cherish.
And as Vestry Meetings go it was a very good one. Vestry is a kind of 'business meeting'. They present the annual report, they talk about finances, fund raising, maintenance and principal projects in preparation.
I personally liked learning that the cost of keeping the organ and piano in tune is a pretty penny indeed. Well worth it, to hear our music. And if that sum perse could help my pipes stay on key I'd consider the price paltry indeed .
Vestry is where this sort of accounting is made. I imagine bankers, accountants and business people in general having spiritual awakenings at Vestry Meetings. I personally am more likely to be moved by the exquisite music of the choir or praying alone at the altar. Anyone mature enough to understand money, its flow and sacred purpose would no doubt have had great enlightenment at this meeting. I couldn't help but think of the apostles and Jesus and the management of money described in the New Testament.
New lay leadership, trustees, synod representatives etc, were sworn in. I see a number of these people every week humbly doing the unsung hero tasks about the church but only today found out they actually had titles.
There was some confusion about the St. James Foundation but an upcoming event is planned to help everyone understand this as a means for major bequeaths to the church with guarantees that the donations will go exactly where people want them to go.
Roses and a blue silk tie honoured a couple of the hard working set. Apparently the design on the silk tie spoke to unity which was cause for laughter as only the learned would have known and the gift buyer had just been focussing on getting the color right..
Then we heard about the project pre development committee. Fascinating information.
External auditors discussed the accounting and even without their contribution I'd concluded with a deep sense of peace that the finances were distributed in a godly manner.
I confess, I've attended many 'business meetings'. Running my own business and thanks to my older brother's tutelage, hard work and sheer skin of my teeth luck I've learned some about ledgers,numbers and such. Unfortunately not infrequently when I've attended other 'business meetings" I've found some questionable goings on. Money has a way of walking a bit especially in 'non profits'. St. James Anglican Church by comparison is lean and saintly in it's money management.
I loved that the clergy and deacons and all these wonderful vestry folk are honest law abiding citizens. I never thought otherwise but I sure was pleased to have it confirmed.
That's what happens at Vestry, you get to see that the donation you give on Sunday really does do the Lord's work. I liked that.
In the end there were prayers. Thanksgiving and praise. God is good. God is great.
As usual I only caught a few of the people in pictures who were sharing the work of their committees. More than 50 voting members were present, the number necessary to do business. Another 20 or more were there by estimate. Not to mention 3 dogs, including Gilbert. They didn't vote but wagged their tails a lot..

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