BYLAWS OF ST. JOHN’S PARISH,
MOUNT RAINIER, MARYLAND
Adopted at the Annual Meeting of the Parish on January 19, 2003,
as amended at a Special Meeting of the Parish on May 6, 2007
ARTICLE I. GENERAL
Section 1. Introduction. These bylaws provide for the governance of St. John’s Parish, Mount
Rainier, Maryland, in accordance with all applicable Federal and State laws, and with the Canons,
doctrines, and disciplines of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States, also known as the
Episcopal Church, and those of the Diocese of Washington.
Section 2. Definitions. Unless otherwise provided herein, as used in these bylaws,
a. "the Parish" shall mean St. John’s Parish, Mount Rainier, Maryland.
b. "the Canons" shall mean the Canons of the Episcopal Church and of the Diocese of
c. "Vestryperson" shall mean Vestryman as used in the Maryland Vestry Act, and the
ARTICLE II. MEMBERS ENTITLED TO VOTE
Section 1. Qualifications. Members entitled to vote in any Annual or Special Meeting of the
Parish are those persons who -
a. are at least 18 years of age;
b. are baptized;
c. have their membership duly recorded in this Parish;
d. are contributors of record (as defined in Art. II, Sec. 2, below);
e. are not carried on the books of another parish as voting members thereof
Section 2. A “contributor of record” is a person who meets the requirements of one or both of the
following provisions (i.e., 2.a. and/or 2.b.) for the 6 months prior to the date of the Annual Meeting:
a. The individual shall have contributed financially to the Parish. Financial contributions
shall be determined by a review of Parish financial records during the creation of the voters
b. AND/OR the individual shall have contributed his/her time or other resources to the life of
the Parish or its outreach missions, as demonstrated by a signed statement from the
contributor, to be verified by the Rector and the chairperson of the committee on which (or
with which) the contributor served.
Section 3. Voters list.
a. A preliminary list of qualified voters shall be published by the Vestry and displayed in a
prominent place in the Parish at least 60 days prior to the Annual Meeting.
b. The list shall be updated until 31 days before the Annual Meeting, at which point it shall
c. Any individual who believes he/she should be placed on the voters list shall provide to the
Clerk of the Vestry sufficient information upon which to determine if the individual meets
the qualifications in paragraph 1, above, not later than 45 days prior to the Annual Meeting.
The Vestry shall make the final determination regarding the individual’s inclusion on the
list, in conjunction with the recommendation of the Clerk and the office of the Treasurer.
d. A packet with pertinent information shall be prepared and distributed to each member
deemed eligible to vote at the Annual Meeting.
ARTICLE III. PARISH MEETINGS
Section 1. Annual Meeting.
a. There shall be a meeting of the Parish at least once in each calendar year, designated as
the Annual Meeting.
b. The date, time, and place of the Annual Meeting shall be determined by the Vestry and
shall be contained in a notice of Annual Meeting to be made in accordance with Section 3 of
this Article. If, however, the Vestry fails to fix the date, time, and place of an Annual
Meeting during the first eleven months of any calendar year, an Annual Meeting shall be
held at the Parish Church on the first Monday night following the first Sunday in December.
c. Nominations and elections procedures are at Article IX, below.
Section 2. Special Meetings. Special Meetings of the Parish may be called by the Rector, or by
vote of a majority of the Vestry, or by written petition signed by at least 10 persons who qualify as
voters under Art. II, Sec. 1, of these bylaws.
Section 3. Notice of Meetings.
a. Written notice of the date, time, and place of any Annual or Special Meeting of the Parish,
and in the case of a Special Meeting, of the purpose for which the meeting is called, shall be
published in the Parish bulletin on the Sunday that is not less than 35 days prior to such
meeting. This same notice shall be published in the Parish newsletter mailed to Parish
members at least one month prior to the month in which the meeting will be held.
b. If any change to the bylaws is going to be presented for action at a Parish meeting, notice
of such change, including the proposed change and an explanation of it, shall be provided not
less than 30 days prior to the meeting.
c. Additional notice of a meeting may be provided by direct mail to all known Parish
members of record, electronic mail, additional publication in Parish bulletins, or by other
means; however, the use or lack thereof of such additional means of notice does not affect the
validity any meeting held by the Parish.
Section 4. Quorum.
a. A quorum at any Annual or Special Meeting of the Parish shall be thirty percent (30%) of
those members entitled to vote.
b. A homebound Member may request an absentee ballot and may vote on any issues
presented to the Annual or Special Meeting; however, the absentee ballot shall not count
towards the determination of a quorum.
Section 5. Voting.
a. A simple majority of the quorum present at any Annual or Special Meeting of the Parish
shall be necessary for the adoption of matters voted upon by the members, except as provided
b. A two-thirds majority of the quorum present shall be necessary for the amendment,
modification, or repeal of any bylaws.
Section 6. Presiding Officer.
a. The presiding officer at all meetings of the Parish shall be the Rector, if present.
b. The Senior Warden, if present, shall preside in the Rector’s absence.
c. The Junior Warden, if present, shall preside in the absence of the Rector and Senior
d. In the absence of the Rector or a Warden, the Vestry shall elect the Presider by majority
vote; except that if the rectorship is vacant, the Bishop shall preside, if present.
Section 7. Elections at the Annual Parish Meeting.a. Delegates.
(i) The Parish Delegate(s) and Alternate Delegate(s) to the Diocesan Convention shall be
elected to one-year terms. If the Annual Meeting occurs in January, the term shall begin on
February 1 of the year of election. If the Annual Meeting occurs in a month other than
January, the term shall run from the date of the Annual Meeting to the date of the next
(ii) If a Delegate or Alternate resigns or otherwise vacates the position before the end of the
term, the Vestry may appoint a successor to fill out the unexpired term.
(i) A Senior Warden shall be elected in odd-numbered years for a two year term.
(ii) A Junior Warden shall be elected in even-numbered years for a two year term.
(i) Each Vestryperson shall be elected for a term of three years; provided, however, that in
the event that the number of Vestrypersons is increased, the initial terms of service of such
seats shall be graduated in one year increments to ensure that the seats are subsequently
filled in succeeding years.
(ii) An elected Vestryperson shall be eligible for immediate re-election for one additional
term, or for appointment to a vacant Vestry position for a period not to exceed one full term.
d. Youth Representative to the Vestry.
(i) The Parish shall elect a Youth Representative to the Vestry for a one year term.
(ii) The Youth Representative must be fifteen, sixteen or seventeen years of age at the time of
his or her election, and, excluding age, meet the requirements of Art. II, Sec. 1.
(i) Delegates. Any confirmed member of the Parish entitled to vote (Art. II , Sec.1, above)
may be elected as Delegate.
(ii) Wardens and Vestrypersons. To be qualified to be elected as a Warden or Vestryperson, a
person must meet basic voter eligibility (Art. II, Sec. 1, above) and, in addition, must have
been confirmed, had his or her membership in the Parish recorded not less than one year
prior to the date on which the voters list is first published for the Annual Meeting at which
the person seeks to be elected, and must have been a contributor of record during that year.
(iii) A person appointed to fill a vacant Delegate, Warden, or Vestryperson position must
meet the qualifications for that position on or before the date of such appointment.
Section 8. Limitations on Service; Computation of Years.
a. Any person who, at the expiration of his or her current term (whether elected or
appointed), will have served on the Vestry in any capacity for six or more consecutive years,
shall be ineligible to be elected or appointed to a position on the Vestry until at least one year
b. A year as used in this article in computing the term of office of a Delegate, Warden, or
Vestryperson shall be the period of time between consecutive Annual Meetings beginning
with the date of the Annual Meeting at which such Delegate, Warden, or Vestryperson is
c. A person who has served on the Vestry in any capacity for more than 180 days during any
year shall be deemed to have served the entire year for purposes of computing the number of
consecutive years of Vestry service.
ARTICLE IV. THE VESTRY
Section 1. Composition.
a. The Vestry shall consist of the Rector, the Senior Warden, the Junior Warden, nine
regular lay Vestrypersons and one Youth Representative.
b. All members of the Vestry have voice and vote, except that the Youth Representative shall
not have a vote on the acceptance of any contractual obligation of the Vestry.Section 2. Vacancies.
a. In the event of a vacancy in the position of Vestryperson, Senior Warden, or Junior
Warden, a majority of the Vestry may appoint from qualified members of the Parish, a
successor to fill the vacancy until the next occurring Annual Meeting.
b. Whether or not a vacancy is filled by appointment by the Vestry, the vacancy shall be filled
by election at the next occurring Annual Meeting.
(i) If the term of the vacancy expired at or before the Annual Meeting, the vacancy shall be
filled through regular election proceedings.
(ii) If the term of the vacancy had not expired by the Annual Meeting, the person elected to
fill the vacancy shall serve out only the unexpired term of the vacancy.
c. Service by appointment by the Vestry to fill a vacancy on the Vestry shall not render a
person ineligible for election to the Vestry at the next Annual Meeting, unless the person will
have exceeded the limitation of six consecutive years of Vestry service by the time of that
d. A Vestry member may be removed from office if said member has missed three (3)
meetings in a calendar year, and the majority of the remaining Vestry members vote for
his/her removal. Any member of the Vestry who is removed from the Vestry shall not be
eligible for election to the Vestry either by an Annual Meeting or by the Vestry until more
than one year has expired following the date of his or her removal. By being removed from
the Vestry, such member is also removed from any office of the Vestry.
Section 3. Vestry meetings.
a. A regular meeting of the Vestry shall be held at least once each month, except for the
months of July and August, to transact the business of the Parish, at such place and time as
the members may deem necessary.
b. Meetings of the Vestry may be called by the Rector, the Senior Warden, the Junior
Warden, or one-third of the regular Vestrypersons, upon not less than three days' notice;
however, the time for this notice may be shortened by waiver of the majority of the Vestry at
c. The agenda shall be established by the Rector in consultation with the Wardens; however,
any member of the Vestry may request that an item be placed on the agenda.
(i) Requested agenda items received by the Rector not later than 48 hours prior to the
meeting shall be placed on the agenda unless the Rector determines that time is not
available for the item.
(ii) A majority of the Vestry may vote to accept an item on the agenda despite a late
submission or the Rector’s prior determination that time is not available. Such item shall be
placed last on the agenda unless the Rector determines that it should be addressed sooner.
d. A quorum at any Vestry meeting shall consist of six members of the Vestry.
e. An act of the majority of the members of the Vestry present at a Vestry meeting at which
there is a quorum shall be the act of the Vestry.
f. The Youth Representative shall not be counted toward a quorum during any Vestry
Section 4. Presiding officer of the Vestry.
a. The Rector, if present, shall preside at all meetings of the Vestry.
b. In the absence of the Rector, the Senior Warden shall preside, if present.
c. In the absence of the Rector and Senior Warden, the Junior Warden shall preside, if present.
d. In absence of the Rector and Wardens at a Vestry meeting, the majority of the Vestry shall
select a Vestryperson to preside at that meeting.
e. If the Rectorship is vacant, the Bishop, if present, shall preside.Section 5. Duties and Actions of the Vestry.
a. The duties of the Vestry include responsibility for management of Parish assets, decisions
regarding financial obligations and contractual matters, participation in Annual and Special
Parish Meetings, and such other duties as are consonant with applicable Federal and State
law, and with the Canons of the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Washington.
b. The Vestry shall ensure that payment of clergy salaries takes priority over all other
charges on Parish income.
c. The Vestry shall ensure that payment of compensation to lay employees takes priority over
all other charges on Parish income except the payment of clergy compensation.
d. Unless otherwise prohibited by law, the actions or obligations undertaken by a majority
vote of the Vestry shall be deemed actions of the Parish.
ARTICLE V. PARISH OFFICERS AND EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
Section 1. Rector.
a. In addition to the duties and responsibilities specified in the Canons and in The Book of
Common Prayer, the Rector shall be the Chief Executive Officer of the Vestry and shall
oversee implementation of its decisions.
b. The Rector shall make decisions regarding the administration of the Parish for the Vestry
between Vestry meetings and in emergencies. Such decisions shall be reported to the Vestry
(and, if necessary, presented for ratification by the Vestry) at the next Vestry meeting.
(i) Any emergency expenditure shall be presented as soon as possible to the Executive
Committee, which shall have power to ratify the expenditure.
(ii) If the Executive Committee refuses to ratify all or part of the expenditure, it must be
presented to the Vestry for ratification at the next Vestry meeting.
(iii) If the Vestry refuses to ratify all or part of the expenditure, the Rector shall reimburse
the Parish the unratified amount.
c. Nothing in these bylaws shall be construed as limiting in any way the Rector’s authority
over and responsibility for the conduct of the worship and the spiritual jurisdiction of the
Section 2. Wardens.
a. The Senior Warden shall assist the Rector in the administrative duties and
responsibilities of the Parish, as these are mutually agreed upon between the Rector and
Senior Warden. The Senior Warden shall also perform the duties of the Junior Warden in
b. The Junior Warden shall have oversight over the maintenance and upkeep of church
property and shall also perform the duties of the Senior Warden in his/her absence.
c. The Senior and Junior Warden each shall have the authority, after consultation with
remaining members of the Executive Committee, to approve emergency expenditures for the
benefit of the Parish (e.g., unanticipated urgent building repairs).
(i) Any emergency expenditure shall be presented as soon as possible to the entire Executive
Committee, which shall have power to ratify the expenditure.
(ii) If the Executive Committee refuses to ratify all or part of the expenditure, it must be
presented to the Vestry for ratification at the next Vestry meeting.
(iii) If the Vestry refuses to ratify all or part of the expenditure, the Warden who expended
the funds shall reimburse the Parish the unratified amount.
Section 3. Treasurer.
a. The Vestry shall elect a Treasurer of the Parish who may or may not be a member of the
Parish and/or the Vestry. If the Treasurer is not a Vestry member, the Treasurer shall have
voice but not vote.b. The term of office, extent of authority, and duties of the Treasurer shall be as prescribed
by resolutions of the Vestry. These resolutions shall be recorded by the Parish Clerk and
shall be made available to any member of the Parish upon request.
c. If the Vestry appoints a Finance Committee, the Treasurer shall be its co-chair.
Section 4. Clerk.
a. The Vestry shall elect a Clerk who may or may not be a member of the Parish and/or the
Vestry. If the Clerk is not a Vestry member, the Clerk shall have voice but not vote.
b. The term of office and extent of authority of the Clerk shall be as prescribed by resolutions
of the Vestry. These resolutions shall be recorded by the Clerk, under supervision by the
Rector, and shall be made available to any member of the Parish upon request.
c. The Clerk shall keep the record of all voting members of the Parish.
d. The Clerk shall attend Vestry and Parish meetings, keep records of each meeting, receive
correspondence on behalf of the Vestry, and perform other duties for the benefit of the Parish
as assigned by the Vestry or the Rector.
Section 5. Executive Committee.
a. There shall be an Executive Committee of the Vestry made up of the Rector, Senior
Warden, Junior Warden, Treasurer, and Clerk.
b. Executive Committee shall monitor the regular business and management of the Parish,
discuss and prepare the agenda for each Vestry meeting, respond to emergency
situations/business matters, and assist the presiding officer as he/she deems necessary in
Parish management and in the conduct of Vestry meetings.
c. The Executive Committee shall not operate to relieve the Vestry of any responsibility
otherwise imposed upon it by civil or canon law.
ARTICLE VI. STANDING COMMITTEES
Section 1. The Vestry shall appoint Standing Committees as follows:
a. Stewardship and Evangelism:
(i) Plan, implement and evaluate a year-round stewardship program for the entire parish
(ii) Annually canvass the parish for financial pledges
(iii) Submit an annual estimate of receipts from pledges to the Budget & Finance Committee
(iv) Develop alternate ways to increase ongoing contributions of time, talent and treasure for
the support of the ministry
(v) Recruit and integrate new members into the parish
(vi) Welcome visitors and introduce them to our church
b. Budget and Finance:
(i) Prepare an annual parish budget for submission to the Vestry for approval and
presentation at the Annual Parish Meeting
(ii) Assess the parish’s funding needs and identify priorities
(iii) Recruit and train persons to count and deposit all incomes of the parish
(iv) Assist the Treasurer in preparing and presenting financial reports to the Vestry
(v) Secure the annual audit and conduct periodic reviews of insurance and unusual costs or
(vi) Supervise the overall finances of the parish
c. Buildings and Grounds:
(i) Maintain, repair and improve parish property including yards and sidewalks
(ii) Make regular surveys of parish property and take inventory of the same at least once a
(iii) Provide for proper housekeeping and accountability for all church property
(iv) Ensure that the property is adequately insured according to current market standards
(v) Oversee the rental and use of parish facilitiesd. Fundraising and International:
(i) Coordinate the activities of parish organizations that are intended to generate income
(ii) Research, evaluate and initiate suggestions for fundraising for special projects
(iii) Implement and oversee activities that celebrate the cultural diversity of the parish
(i) Research and recommend to the Vestry opportunities for investment of parish funds in
real property, physical assets, notes, bonds, obligations of the United States or of any state or
municipality, or preferred or common stocks of corporations listed on established Securities
(ii) Act in a fiduciary capacity to invest, reinvest or change the investment of funds
committed to it for investment by direction of the Vestry.
Section 2. With the exception of the Investment Committee, membership of any Standing
Committee shall include at least five and not more than seven persons each, who are members of the
Parish, and at least two of whom shall be members of the Vestry.
Section 3. The Investment Committee shall consist of three persons, who shall be members of
the Parish, but need not be members of the Vestry.
Section 3. No member of the Vestry shall serve simultaneously on more than two Standing
Section 4. The provisions of Article VII following that apply generally to committees appointed
by the Vestry shall also apply to Standing Committees.
ARTICLE VII. OTHER COMMITTEES
Section 1. In addition to Committees created by these bylaws, the Vestry may appoint other
a. Each committee established by the Vestry shall be given specific directions concerning the
mission of the committee and the scope of its authority and shall exercise the authority of the
Vestry within the jurisdiction of the committee.
b. Each such committee shall include two or more Vestry members.
c. The Rector is an ex officio member of all Committees appointed by the Vestry.
Section 2. Each Committee chairperson shall provide a written report of the Committee’s
activities to the Clerk of the Vestry not less than 45 days prior to the Annual Meeting each year.
Other reports shall be submitted to the Vestry upon its request.
Section 3. The appointment of a committee shall not relieve the Vestry of any responsibility
imposed upon it by civil or canon law.
Section 4. This provision does not limit or otherwise affect the Rector’s inherent authority to
appoint such committees as he/she deems necessary to assist the Rector in the management of the
Parish; however, such committees do not have the authority of the Vestry.
ARTICLE VIII. CLERGY
Section 1. The provisions of this Article incorporate by reference all required provisions of
Section 6, Canon 25, of the Canons of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington concerning clergy
qualifications, salary, contracts, and other related matters
Section 2. Rector.
a. When the rectorship becomes vacant, the Vestry shall, by a majority vote of the entire
Vestry, call a new Rector.
b. The call of the Rector shall follow consultation with the Bishop, shall be in writing, and
shall conform to the contractual and ecclesiastical requirements of Canon 25, Section 6,
referenced above.Section 3. Assistant Clergy. Assistant clergy may be called upon the nomination of the Rector
in accordance with Canon 25, Section 6.
ARTICLE IX. NOMINATIONS AND ELECTIONS PROCEDURES
Section 1. Nominations for the Wardens, Vestrypersons and Delegates.
a. The Vestry shall appoint a chair and at least two members as a Nominations Committee
not later than 60 days prior to the Annual Meeting of the Parish.
b. All members of the Vestry whose terms are expiring shall be asked to be members of the
Nominations Committee. Only one member of the Nominations Committee may be a member
of the Vestry whose term is not expiring; provided, however, that if no Vestryperson whose
term is expiring chooses to be on the Nominations Committee, the Committee shall include
two members of the Vestry whose terms are not expiring.
c. The Nominations Committee shall receive nominations for the positions of Vestrypersons,
Wardens, and Delegates to be filled at the Annual Meeting.
d. Each nomination shall include a biographical sketch of the nominee, a second to each
nomination, and signed acceptance of the nomination by the nominee.
e. Nominations and seconds to nominations may be made only by members entitled to vote as
provided in Art. II, Sec. 1 of these bylaws.
f. Nominations must be received by a member of the Nominations Committee at least 30 days
before the Annual Meeting. The nominations committee shall publish the nominations in the
Parish bulletin on the Sunday occurring no later than two weeks prior to the Annual
Section 2. Voting Procedures.
a. All elections shall be by written ballot; provided, however, that uncontested positions may
be voted on by acclamation upon successful motion to so vote.
b. The Vestry members present during the Annual Meeting who are not running for an
elected position shall serve as election judges.
Section 3. Election Issues.
a. Issues that arise concerning the election of any person during an Annual Meeting,
including the qualifications of nominees or voters, shall be decided by a majority of the
Vestry members who are present during the Meeting, except that members who are running
for an elected position must recuse themselves from deciding such issues.
b. Vestry members who are called upon to decide an election issue shall meet in closed
session to consider the issue and shall present their decision orally to the Parish members
prior to the close of the Annual Meeting.
c. The decision of the Vestry concerning an election issue is final.
ARTICLE X. ADOPTION OF BYLAWS
Section 1. Bylaws may be adopted at any Annual or Special Meeting of the Parish by a vote of
two-thirds of the members entitled to vote present at such meeting, provided proper notice is given
as provided in Article III, of these bylaws.
Section 2. Any bylaws adopted as authorized by this Article shall be subject to amendment,
modification, or repeal at any Annual or Special Meeting of the Parish in the same manner as herein
provided for adoption of bylaws.
Section 3. No changes to the bylaws shall be construed to affect the terms of any elected or
appointed person seated at the time of the changes to the bylaws or to affect the validity of any
obligation entered into by the Parish or of any committee formed prior to the adoption of such
changes to the bylaws.