L to R, Bill Merrill, Ann Walker, Libby Whitley, David Bonds

Bill Merrill, Senior Warden
James Ord, Junior Warden
David Bonds, Member
Libby Whitley, Member
Ann Walker, Treasurer

What is a “Vestry”?

A vestry is a room in or attached to a church in which the vestments, vessels, records, etc. are kept , and in which the clergy and choir robe or don their vestments for divine service. Historically this room was also used as an office, for Vestry meetings, and other events including the reception of family members after funerals, but today it is generally reserved exclusively for the use of priests and servers. A: The vestry is also an administrative committee made up of elected members of a parish whose meetings would once have been held in that same room. This committee is also sometimes known as the “close vestry.” The “open vestry” includes all members of the parish and selects the members of the (“close”) Vestry. The “open vestry” meetings are indeed open to all official members of a parish. Dating from the 14th century, the vestry was a parish parliament chaired by the parish priest or in his absence the churchwarden or, in the absence of both, an elected member of the meeting. Its powers grew with the decay of the medieval system of patronage. Today the leadership of a parish is headed by the Rector with the support of the (“close”) Vestry. Thus the word “vestry” may refer either to the elected members of the governing body of a parish or to the room where the priest and servers dress for divine service.