Episcopal Diocese of Virginia
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Vestries

 “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” - Acts 1:8

As the population of early colonial Virginia grew, new areas were opened for settlement. As each new county was established, it would be divided into parishes and provision made for worship. Due to recruitment challenges, at that time, few clergy were available to assist with church extension.  Consequently,  the people who settled these new areas were the primary force in organizing  the parishes. Following the English model, they created ‘vestries’ to provide for governance during the establishment and maintenance of congregations and churches. Often an area convienient to the members of the parish, usually near water transportation, was selected for the construction of a church. Initially churches were of wood frame construction that was faster and easier to construct with limited resources.  As the community established its self, the wooden structures were replaced by more elaborate brick buildings. To supplement the limited income provided to clergy, a residence and  some land  (refered to as a  “glebe”) was provided to the minister or preacher so he could make a living farming.  Unlike the English model, the vestry system in Virginia had no long established patrons.  The duties of the patron were often assumed by the vestry, leading to a balance in leadership between the laity and clergy. 

Through most of the colonial times, the King was the head of the church and the head of the government. In the same way, the vestry had responsibilities for the church as well as the administration of government.  The parishes had lay leaders called “wardens” who were  called upon by the courts to assist in various enforcement activities and social services.  For example, the parish was responsible for the care of all residents so the wardens might arrange care for the sick, provide assistance to widows or orphans, and in some cases apprentice young men to learn a trade.  Though the traditional names of vestry members are still retained, the responsibilities have been changed since the revolution.  Now the separation of church and government is the law of the land. 

Annually each congregation elects two new people to a rotating group of six Vestry members. Farnham Church and St John's Church have their individual Vestry. The Vestry cares for the properties and financial affairs of the congregation while the clergy care for the spiritual life, educational needs, and the program of the church.

                     2017 Farnham Vestry                                 2017 St. John’s Vestry                     
                     Ed Marks, Sr. Warden (2018)                   Barbara Jean LeFon, Sr. Warden (2019)
                     Michael Sisson, Jr. Warden (2017)           Priscilla Wellford, Jr. Warden (2018)                 
                     Jim Crowley, Treasurer (2017)                  Anne Neuman, Treasurer (2018)                                 
                     Sandy Garretson (2019)                          David Gallagher, Treas.Rec./Pldg Kpr (N-V)                                                  Fred Bryant (2018)                                  Marilyn Day (2017)                                  
                     Kim Calvert, Register (N-V)                      Paula Milsted (2017)                                                                              Stan Terhune (2019)                                Mercer O-Hara (2019)                                                                                          J C Berger, Treas.Rec./Pldg Kpr (N-V)       Courtenay Altaffer, Register (N-V)

N-V means Non-Vestry                                                                                                                                             Treas.Rec./Pldg Kpr means Treasurer Receipts/Pledge Keeper