Dear members of Christ our Hope,
A few people asked me to clarify the nature of the upcoming vote, and how the process works in our denomination when making such a cash purchase of property by a parish. So, I am going to give a small teaching in the theory of Anglican polity to show what everyone’s role is in this process. Because the canons of the REC, the bishop, the rector, the Vestry, and the parish all share unique roles that work together to guide and bring order to such an important transaction.
The bishop and the rector, along with any other ordained clergy that might be in a parish, have the responsibility of oversight in the spiritual and pastoral matters of the church, along with being the leaders in worship, ministry, and mission.
The Vestry is tasked with the primary responsibility of keeping the finances of the church, though they often act in an advisory role to the pastor for important issues. But their main duty is that they are supposed to attend to the physical governing of the business affairs of the church, including hiring and firing, and budgeting and spending the finances of the church. The Vestry is voted in by the parish, but once formed, they have the responsibility and oversight in these matters. The rector is the de facto chairman of the vestry, and also has interest in all matters concerning the vestry.
The bishop, rector, and vestry are meant to work together to protect and see to the interests of the church. We have been invested with this trust by the parish because of our roles and duties, and so we attempt the best we can to act in the best interests of the parish.
When a cash transaction for real estate is occurring, the Vestry has the responsibility and authority to pursue investigation into this transaction and do what is necessary to try to secure this transaction until the parish can be informed and brought to a vote for support. The Vestry has acted wisely in researching throughly this situation, and part of this investigation was seeing and hearing some of your own reactions when you saw the building last week. We saw and heard mostly positive reactions, and this was helpful in moving us to a decision to go forward to purchase this property.
However, according to Canon law, the Vestry cannot finalize this purchase and complete it without us calling a meeting to gain your consent/support for our decision. Our intent with the building viewing, the survey, the one-on-one conversations, upcoming blog posts, and the final meeting before the vote is to inform you as much as possible on why the Vestry and the Rector and both our bishops believe this is a wise move and purchase. And we, believing it is the Lord’s will, have moved within our rights to secure this transaction until the parish vote.
So, what you, the elector members of the parish, will be voting on at the meeting on Sept. 30 is whether you support the decision of the Vestry to purchase this property. The parish role is one of support or non-support of the Vestry who has been tasked and given the high responsibility of making such a big decision. So, this is why we are seeking your support, and to hear your questions concerning this decision.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and to take the survey. Here is the link that you may follow to take it: Survey for new building purchase.
May the Lord continue to guide us in his will.