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Our Parish Vestry

Our Parish Vestry

In the Episcopal Church our ministry is a shared ministry between clergy and laity, each working according to his or her own gifts and callings to further the ministry of the Body of Christ. The governance of our church is also a shared governance. The highest decision making body in our church is actually not the Presiding Bishop (though her or his role is profoundly important). Rather, the highest decision making body is the General Convention, comprised of a House of Deputies with both laity, priests, and deacons and a House of Bishops with all the bishops of the Church. Neither house can act without the consent of the other and the House of Deputies can always call for a vote by orders ensuring that the clergy never pass an action without the laity (and vice versa).

This shared governance continues on down to the parish level. The rector of a parish has oversight of the spiritual life of the parish, leading in areas of worship, teaching, faith formation, and other program areas. He also is charged with administering the business of the parish. The Vestry of a parish is prayerfully given the financial trust of the parish. They set and monitor the budget, approve significant expenditures, administer funds, maintain buildings, and choose those members of the parish who will represent the parish at deanery and diocesan gatherings. The Vestry also works with the Rector on discerning the long-term mission of Christ in their community, communicating regularly about their shared ministry to ensure that it is healthy and faithful.

At St. John’s our Vestry is comprised of twelve members, three of whom are elected each year for three-year terms. Thus, the membership is constantly rotating, ensuring that all those called to leadership in the parish serve and that our vision is always as clear as possible. The Rector chairs Vestry meetings, but the Vestry is led by the Senior Warden. They are both assisted by the various officers of the Vestry. The Junior Warden watches property concerns, the Treasurer oversees finances, and the Secretary ensures good record keeping. The Treasurer may or may not be an elected member of the Vestry.

Our current Vestry at St. John's is listed below. The year after their name is the year during which they will retire from Vestry at the January Annual Meeting. The schedule of responsibilities for Vestry Meetings is available online here. The archive of minutes from previous Vestry meetings is online here. The Vestry is guided by the canons of The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Western Michigan, along with our Parish Bylaws. The current Parish Bylaws, including excerpts from particularly important canons, are available for purchase as a paperback book online here. A free PDF form of the bylaws is also available online here.

  • Ken Workinger, Sr. Warden, 2025

  • Deb Wakerley, Jr. Warden, 2026

  • Phyla Bramer, 2025

  • Katy Couch, 2025

  • Rick Slater, 2025

  • Melissa Branderhorst, 2026

  • Kathleen Harris, 2026

  • Ruth Richard, 2026

  • Steve Buday, 2027

  • Greg Dykhouse, 2027

  • Rebekah Taylor, 2027

  • John Tegner, 2027

Our current Treasurer, Sara Hasbrouck, is an ex officio member of the Vestry with voice but not vote. Our current Assistant Treasurer, Will Dickinson, is also an ex officio member of the Vestry with voice but not vote. 


Parishioners are always welcome to attend Vestry meetings and to bring their voice to the discussions and ministry of this body. Meetings are generally at 5:15pm the third Monday of every month for Evening Prayer with the meeting following in the Guild Room at 5:30pm, but contact the rector to confirm the meeting time for the current month, as it does change occasionally.

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