Thinking of Vestry and Mission Committee as a Spiritual Gift

Thinking of Vestry and Mission Committee as a Spiritual Gift

By the Rev. Canon Andrea McMillin, Canon to the Ordinary

Have you ever participated in a vestry or mission committee and wondered what our common work would be like if we gathered more as a community of believers, and less like a business meeting? 

A part of my work this year has focused on transforming governance meetings into a place of deepening discipleship: where the group gathered has made a commitment to learn about and practice a discipline of the Christian faith, and to engage that discipline together as a primary part of their work of management, finance, leadership, and oversight.  What if a vestry meeting became a place where we experience the power of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives, and in the life of the church? What if we looked across the table and saw our brothers and sisters in Christ, and we realized that together we have made a commitment to mature in faith as a part of governing the church? 

This is happening in churches across our diocese. It has been exciting this year to facilitate vestry retreats and to participate in their discernment about what spiritual practices will guide and strengthen them in their common work. Our tradition is full of spiritual practices that engage the heart, mind, and soul. Taking up one of those practices intentionally, as a vestry or mission committee helps the individuals and the group to connect, learn, practice, support each other, and grow as Christians. 

At St. Augustine's, Rocklin, the vestry has made a commitment to engage as individuals with a daily prayer discipline using Centering Prayer, and to incorporate intentional silent prayer during their vestry meetings. This helps to ground them in their work and deepen the call that they have.

The St. Martin's, Davis, vestry was very excited about the idea of discipleship as a part of their ministry, taking time to learn about the many opportunities for spiritual growth and depth. 

Grace, St. Helena; St. John's, Petaluma; and St. Stephen's, Sebastopol, all have engaged this work: transforming vestry and mission committee to be a place where disciples support each other, share a common discipline, and grow in their Christian faith. 

I imagine these small groups of faithful leaders working together, burning as a steady flame at the heart of the congregation. Gradually, slowly, with daily, weekly, and monthly discipline, they become a stronger and more mature band of disciples who shine brightly with the love of Christ within our congregations and our diocese. 

Yours in Christ,

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