getting to eight

St. Andrew’s has taken some big steps forward in the past few weeks. A legacy gift has allowed us to pay off the remainder of our debt from the 2006/7 capital campaign. And thanks to a spirit-filled and faithful effort by our stewardship team, our pledged income for 2017 is an increase from the year before.  While modest, it’s the first pledge increase in years and speaks of a more stable foundation going forward. This is great news, and a great moment for our church.

So what’s the next vital step for St. Andrew’s?  I believe that the next step is this: getting to eight.

The bylaws of St. Andrew’s church call for a minimum of eight nominees to the vestry each year, to be voted on at the annual meeting in January.  For several years, we’ve had four candidates each year. Fortunately, those were clearly the right people for the job and we are now blessed with a stellar vestry.

So why is Getting to Eight so important?  There are several reasons. A robust and diverse slate of candidates gives the parish more choice, and the Holy Spirit more room to move.  A field of eight also dispels any thought that the rector hand-picks his or her own vestry (and avoids the temptation to do so). This requires us to as ask at least twice as many people each year to discern how the church needs their service and their voice, and to share their vision for St. Andrew’s. A larger pool of nominees also gives the church a clearer picture of who will be stepping up as leaders not just now, but in the years to come.

Perhaps the most important reason for getting to eight is that it encourages a mix of new folks and continuity.  A church our size can’t afford a “one and done” mentality: frankly, we need vestry veterans to run again to maintain continuity and to make sure that the work gets done. But a church our size will get a lot smaller if we only go back to the same well, so it’s vital that we also encourage folks who have never served to get into the mix.

The vestry nominating committee (me, Betty Self, Tim Fleming, Judy Hackett and Mark Kaley) has begun to invite folks to run for vestry in January. If you get a call from us, please prayerfully seriously consider being nominated. We can’t do this work without you.

But not every person called to serve on the vestry will occur to us, so please don’t wait to be asked! If you’re interested, or know someone who’d be great, let us know.

The Holy Spirit moves through St. Andrew’s through the process of electing our leadership. Years ago the parish wisely created bylaws that were generous and expansive, and rightly set high expectations of all of us.  I invite you to share in the Spirit’s work at St. Andrew’s through your prayer and through your willingness to serve.

BJ+

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About bernardowens

I am an Episcopal priest who serves St. Andrew's Church in Greensboro, North Carolina.
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