Continuously in print since 1988, The Vestry Handbook
is an essential and comprehensive guide for clergy, wardens, and vestry members. First revised in 2000, this newly revised third edition includes updated information on the Canons of the church, available resources, and financial considerations, as well as new sections on safe-church training and dealing with conflict. Included in the appendices are helpful examples of contracts, purpose statements, inventory lists, a glossary of church terms, and an organizational chart. The handbook
explores, among others the following topics:
- Leadership roles and organizational structure
- Managing parish finances
- Buildings and grounds
- Liabilities and Insurance
- Relationships with clergy, parish staff, the diocese, and the national church
- IRS Considerations
- Meetings and elections
- The spiritual lives of vestry members
"The Vestry Handbook was first published in 1988 and a revised edition was published in 2000. Over that span of time it has sold nearly 90,000 copies and continues to sell well.
Inevitably, such a working guidebook becomes out of date if not revised at regular intervals. The Canons of the church change and new issues confront Vestries. The author is consulting diocesan administrators, other clergy, the Church Deployment Office, and the Church Pension Fund concerning changes that need to be made. Following is a partial list indicating the kind of revisions needed:
1. Update the Canons Many of the Canons summarized in Appendix I, pp. 101-102, have been revised and renumbered. Canons are often referred to in the text and these need to be checked against the latest edition of the Canons.
2. Update the resource list
3. Update financial information The illustrations for salaries etc. given are in relevant amounts for 2000 and need to be updated.
4. Safe Church Training There is only a brief discussion of sexual misconduct and no direct reference to safe church training.
5. Continuing EducationThe new canons and diocesan emphasis on this subject are a development since the current edition.
6. Dealing with conflict The material provided is in terms of local issues but new material needs to be provided on the current tensions in the Anglican Communion: how to handle tensions in the congregation and how to be sure property decisions are properly made in terms of national canons.
7. Technology The current edition is markedly out of date, with no references to websites, cell phones, Facebook, Twitter, etc., and their use in parish communications.
8. Other minor spot revisions and updates throughout the book."