Congratulations to our Senior and Junior Warden for 2012, Dave Halmrast & Linda Sawyer!

The term “warden” comes from our English roots and is the term we use for our chief lay ministers of a congregation. Historically, there have been two wardens in the Anglican church, one being the “rector’s warden” and the other being the “people’s warden.” The senior warden is typically appointed by the rector to be his or her support in ministry, and the junior warden is typically elected by the Vestry (themselves being elected by the congregation) to be the support to the lay ministries of the congregation. In the old days, when issues arose between a priest and a congregation, the senior and junior warden would be the spokespersons for each side.

Dave Halmrast

Dave Halmrast was reappointed for a second term as Senior Warden by Fr. Jeff at the Annual Meeting on January 8, 2012.

The role of the Senior Warden is as follows:

Qualifications and Gifts

  • Have a love of God and demonstrate a commitment to following in the way of Christ;
  • Be active in and knowledgeable about the congregation, its programs and governance;
  • Be known as someone who is fair, interacts well with people, and is respected by members of the congregation;
  • Have respect and, preferably, affection for the rector;
  • Have an ability to “check one’s ego at the door,” to be a servant of the people without a need to be the most important person in the congregation or to be the one with the right answers to everything;
  • Have an enthusiasm and vitality for this vocation.

Time Commitment

  • Vestry meetings
  • Vestry retreat
  • Weekly worship services (rotating occasionally if more than one)
  • Congregational events: coffee hours, meals, fundraisers, adult education programs
  • Weekly meetings with the rector (junior warden and other staff), if required
  • Diocesan meetings as necessary
  • Annual meeting

Responsibilities

  • Meet regularly with the rector to review the life and work of the congregation, plan ahead, anticipate and resolve problems
  • Provide leadership in the vestry to identify the vision, mission and goals of the congregation, make and implement plans, assess progress and celebrate achievements
  • Provide leadership in the congregation by demonstrating a consistent positive attitude that seeks to solve problems and learn from mistakes, recognizes accomplishments and gives thanks for those things that build community and further the mission of the Church
  • Pray daily for the rector, leaders and members of the congregation
  • Be available to discuss any and all concerns with the rector; maintain confidentiality where appropriate
  • Be available to discuss any and all concerns with members of the congregation; avoid making hasty judgments, encourage complainants to speak to those involved, discuss problems with the rector
  • In cases where the rector, staff or vestry is beleaguered or unfairly criticized, foster understanding and reconciliation and distribute accurate information
  • Ensure that policies and procedures regarding employee and volunteer misconduct are in place and enforced; take any questions, complaints and concerns to the rector and appropriate authorities immediately
  • Take action to intervene promptly (with others as appropriate) in the event that the rector is charged with misconduct, has problems with drugs or alcohol, or is acting inappropriately; speak with the rector and bishop as necessary and appropriate
  • Support the rector in taking action when employees or volunteers are charged with misconduct or inappropriate behavior
  • In cases where conflict imperils the pastoral relationship between the rector and congregation, the rector or a majority vote of the vestry may ask the bishop, in writing, to intervene; the senior warden traditionally makes this petition on behalf of the vestry
  • In cases where the rector is overworked, disregarding his/her health and well being and that of the family, encourage the rector to take corrective steps, solicit the vestry’s support in reducing workload, adding staff, or funding a sabbatical as appropriate
  • Assist in identifying persons for leadership roles, and participate in inviting them to serve in those roles
  • Be prepared to assist the rector or to step in and do what is necessary (make an announcement, turn up the heat, write a letter)
  • With the rector, announce the bishop’s pending visit and prepare a report on the spiritual and temporal state of the congregation to be discussed with the bishop during the bishop’s visitation (Title III, Canon 14, Sec. 1(e))

In the Absence of a Rector

  • If the congregation’s rector leaves, notify the bishop promptly and make provisions for worship services (Title III, Canon 17, Sec. 1)
  • If the congregation is without a rector, lead the congregation, ensuring that the worship services, program and pastoral care needs of the congregation are met, that the selection process for a new rector is established, and that employee relations and communication with the diocese are maintained
  • Prepare a Letter of Agreement with the proposed new rector
  • Ensure that the name of the person proposed to be called as rector is submitted to the bishop thirty days before the election is to be held; deliver written notice of the election of a rector to the bishop (Title III, Canon 17, Sec. 2 and 3)

Accountability

  • A covenant in which both the rector and warden agree on the roles and responsibilities of the warden is developed in conversation with the vestry
  • A yearly mutual ministry assessment process should be established for the warden along with the rector, vestry members, and other leaders

Additional Responsibilities

These responsibilities may apply in some congregations. Often they are more applicable in smaller congregations, especially those without full-time clergy. In cases where the clergy primarily provide Sunday services and pastoral care, the wardens may provide the primary leadership in the congregation. There are also congregations where there is a tradition of the senior warden providing more leadership or clergy who desire a more shared ministry and thus choose to ask the senior warden to take on some of the leadership roles traditionally or canonically assigned to the clergy.

  • Conduct the vestry meeting in the absence of, or when delegated by, the rector or priest-in-charge. While the canons designate the rector as the one to preside at meetings of the vestry, the rector may delegate this responsibility
  • Conduct the annual meeting. This is normally done by the rector, but the senior warden may be asked to take this responsibility
  • Make the Sunday morning announcements
  • Visit anyone known to have a major problem with a program, vestry decision, or clergy person (in consultation with and usually accompanied by the rector)

2011-vestry-4january-09-2011Linda Sawyer was elected unanimously by the Vestry at the January 23 Vestry meeting.

The role of the Junior Warden is as follows:

Qualifications and Gifts

  • Have a love of God and demonstrate a commitment to following in the way of Christ
  • Be active in and knowledgeable about the congregation, its programs and governance
  • Be known as someone who is fair, interacts well with people, and is respected by members of the congregation
  • Have respect and, preferably, affection for the rector
  • Have an ability to “check one’s ego at the door,” to be a servant of the people without a need to be the most important person in the congregation or to be the one with the right answers to everything
  • Have an enthusiasm and vitality for this vocation

Time Commitment

  • Vestry meetings
  • Vestry retreat
  • Weekly worship services (rotating occasionally if more than one)
  • Congregational events: coffee hours, meals, fundraisers, adult education programs
  • Weekly meetings with the rector (junior warden and other staff), if required
  • Diocesan meetings as necessary
  • Annual meeting

Responsibilities

  • Assist the rector and the senior warden in providing leadership in the vestry to identify the vision, mission and goals of the congregation, make and implement plans, assess progress and celebrate achievements
  • Provide leadership in the congregation by demonstrating a consistent positive attitude that seeks to solve problems and learn from mistakes, recognizes accomplishments and gives thanks for those things that build community and further the mission of the Church
  • Pray daily for the rector, leaders and members of the congregation
  • Meet regularly with the rector and senior warden if asked to do so
  • Work closely with the rector and senior warden in providing overall leadership in the congregation

Accountability

The junior warden is usually elected by and accountable to the rector and vestry. In some congregations, the wardens are elected by the congregation.

The junior warden’s ministry should be assessed as a part of the annual ministry review of the entire leadership team of the congregation (rector, wardens, vestry, and, in many cases, heads of ministry groups and committees).

We are grateful to Dave and Linda for their leadership! Please congratulate them and thank them yourselves! If you need to contact Dave, his e-mail address is dhalmrast@aol.com. Linda’s is hogback@wavetel.us.