Not very exciting, you might think. But actually .. really important.
We’ve been wanting to work with Vestries for a while so we are experimenting with a pattern in which we bring together two Vestries and their clergy for some training. We launched that in Crieff today with Vestries from Auchterarder and Muthill and from the Strathearn Grouping of Crieff, Comrie and Lochearnhead.
So what did we do?
Inevitably some of it was about governance and accountability. Vestries now function in a culture of financial and trustee accountability which is daunting for some – but which ensures that the business and financial life of our congregations are carried out to the highest standards we can manage.
We also looked at the role of Vestries in the context of our desire to be missional in our diocesan life and in the lives of our congregations. We have continued to develop Casting the Net as the initiative or movement through which we express that aspiration to be missional. So we are trying to ensure that our Vestries see this as part of their responsibility. For some time, the meetings of our Standing Committee have prioritised mission – dealing with that before they deal with routine but no less important business.
And we looked at the canonical basis for the work of Vestries – the way in which Canon 60 defines the relationship between Vestries and Rectors, in my experience, this is an area full of misunderstanding. The better our shared understanding of that relationship, the more creative will be the shared ministry of clergy and Vestries.
It’s been good today, The resource in experience and commitment which is available to our church through the membership of our Vestries is remarkable. We shall now reflect on how to develop this important strand of our work.