The term “Vestry”

I’m a wee bit puzzled about the use of the term “vestry”.  It seems to be used differently in the States.  In Canada, a vestry meeting is a meeting of the whole parish to vote on something, and parish council is the elected group that advises the rector and wardens.  On some American blogs, people seem to use the word vestry where I would use the words parish council.  Could an American reader  please tell me if I am correct?

Comments on: "The term “Vestry”" (3)

  1. I wonder if it might be more of a regional question. Yes, in the States a vestry is the parish council, but here in the Diocese of Edmonton it is called the same thing. I checked our canons quickly to make sure I wasn’t bringing my American back ground to my church here! In the canons it states that every parish must have a vestry consisting of the Incumbent, Wardens, etc. not fewer than four and not more than 24. Hope that helps.

  2. mrsfalstaff said:

    I guess it must be regional. I don’t know about the cannons, but in common usage “vestry” is everyone in the parish, as in “annual vestry meeting” is the annual business meeting of the whole parish.

  3. Writing from my experience as a member of the vestry of an Episcopal Chutch parish in New York City, I would say that your understanding of US usage is correct. We have “annual parish meetings” and, if necessary, “special parish meetings” that appear to correspond to what ACC parishes call “vestry meetings.”

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