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Bible Dictionaries

The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia


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The name given to the room attached to or within the church building, used for vesting in, or in which the vestments are kept. From the old custom of parish meetings be held in it, such meetings were called the Vestry; a name that has since been applied to the representatives of the parish elected annually to manage its financial and secular affairs. It is to be noted that there is nothing to be found in the Primitive Church corresponding to the modern Vestry. This fact may explain why it is that the Vestry System, as such, is ever presenting problems difficult to solve. The "Vestry Problem" has commanded the attention of the General Convention from time to time, but so far nothing has been presented for its solution. The purpose and duties of the Vestry as commonly understood may be stated as follows: It is the duty of the Wardens and Vestry (it ought to be always with the advice of the Bishop) to consider and determine upon the election of a minister when the Rectorship is vacant; to see that the minister is well and properly supported, sufficiently and punctually paid; to make and execute all contracts for the erection of church edifices, rectories and other church buildings; to provide for their furnishing and repair and due preservation; to hold all Church property as Trustees of the Parish, and as such generally to transact all temporal and financial business of the Parish. (For the duties of Wardens, see Church Wardens.)

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Bibliography Information
Miller, William James. Entry for 'Vestry'. The American Church Dictionary and Cyclopedia. 1901.

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