The Vestry is a group of parishioners and clergy who act as the legal representatives of the parish. The basic responsibilities of the vestry are to help define and articulate the mission of the congregation; to support the church’s mission by word and deed, to select the rector, to ensure effective organization and planning, and to manage resources and finances.
There are nine members of the Vestry, three of whom are elected for a three-year term at the annual meeting. The presiding officer of the vestry is the rector, Father C. Davies Reed. There are two wardens, the senior warden, Lesley MacKellar who leads the parish between rectors and is a support person for the rector, and the junior warden, Alex Varas, who holds responsibility for church property and buildings. A treasurer, John Lanie, and a secretary, Cindy Mansue, also serve on the Vestry.
St. Francis In-The-Fields Vestry
- Class of 2019 Vestry Members: Brian Benneyworth, Candace Berger, Lesley MacKellar
- Class of 2020 Vestry Members: Margaret Hoke, Bob Royalty, Alex Varas
- Class of 2021 Vestry Members: Leslie Holder, Michael McGraw, Meghan Moosebruger
The term ’Vestry’ evolved from historical sources. In England the annual election of churchwardens took place in Easter week. The parishioners gathered at the church to hear the outgoing wardens render their accounts and elect their successors. The parishioners assembled in the vestry, the room off the chancel where the clergy vested. The assembled parishioners came to be known as the vestry. These were open vestries in that all adult male parishioners could participate. It was like a modern annual congregational meeting. In Virginia the parishes were very large and it was difficult to get all the male parishioners together. So they would meet only once and elect twelve of their number to serve for life. This was known as a closed vestry. The transition to a closed vestry was completed by 1633 or 1634, when a Vestry Act was passed. It provided that "there be a vestrie held in each parish." The modern vestry model came from this colonial pattern.