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The Saint James Episcopal Church Vestry is the legal representative of the parish regarding all matters pertaining to its corporate property. Our vestry consists of twelve adult confirmed and registered communicants in good standing of the parish, who serve staggered three-year terms. All communicants in good standing will elect vestry members at the annual parish meeting in November. The rector is an ex officio member and usually chairs its monthly meetings, but usually only votes to break a tie. The senior warden leads the parish between rectors and is a support person for the rector. The junior warden has responsibility for church property and buildings. A treasurer and a clerk are appointed. 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. The official minutes from vestry meetings and financial statements are available in the church office for any parishioner to review. All meetings are open, and anyone may attend.

Anglican Tradition

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 current vestry evolved from this colonial pattern.

Glossary definition provided courtesy of Church Publishing, Inc., New York, NY, (All rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church: A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, Editors.

2016 Vestry Members

  • Robert Strimer—Senior Warden
  • Jeff Irvine—Junior Warden
  • Carla Bewley
  • Charlene Cureton
  • Cal Doty
  • Steve Harbison
  • Sandy Jones
  • Tom Koziol
  • Cindy Painter
  • Hunter Paris
  • Donna Reid
  • Bill Smith
  • The Rev. Father Chris Starr (Interim Rector)
  • Bill Moss —Treasurer
  • Hunter Paris—Clerk