At its regularly scheduled monthly meeting in February, the Vestry of Christ Church Parish, Kent Island acknowledged the rector’s request that Doug Shreve and Mike Catron continue to serve as Senior and Junior Wardens respectively, and Molly Cannon to continue as Treasurer for 2010. Typically, within the Episcopal Church, the Parish rector will name his choices for Parish officers and then send his selections to the Vestry for advice and consent. Following approval by the Vestry, the elected officers are then confirmed with prayer before the congregation at both morning services on the first available Sunday. Since Shreve, Catron and Cannon will be serving their third year in office, this step in the process is not needed.
In making his selections for 2010, Father David Green, Rector of Christ Church Parish, said, “These individuals are most qualified to serve in the capacity as wardens and treasurer, and have done so for the past two years. I was extremely pleased that all three agreed to stay on the job. Doug Shreve has been a parishioner for almost twenty years and understands the old and the new. He has helped the church in many ways from serving as Junior Warden and Vestry member in the mid-nineteen-nineties, to heading a variety of committees, and he works at just about any church function you can think of. As a matter of fact, Doug has recently completed his second term of the Vestry.
“Mike Catron has an aeronautical engineering and military back ground which puts him in good stead to serve as the Junior Warden. His understanding of the Church’s physical plant and maintenance issues is outstanding, and like Mr. Shreve, there’s hardly a church function that Mike does not attend. He’s been very involved in Parish life since joining the congregation. His work as Junior Warden during 2008 and 2009 was nothing short of outstanding. Mike is currently a member of the Vestry as well.
“Molly Cannon has served Christ Church Parish with distinction for many years. In the past, she has been a member of the Vestry, chaired the Building Committee while the new sanctuary was being built, served on the C-4 Capitol Funds Campaign Committee to raise the money to build the new sanctuary, headed up the Seafood Festival Committee, has served as temporary Treasurer for several years, and volunteers for just about any job the Parish needs help with.”
In looking back to reflect on his leadership choices for 2010, Fr. Green said, “I really like the old cliché, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. These three have done an outstanding job in handling their assigned tasks for the past two years; they are true leaders.” Both Ms. Cannon and Mr. Shreve reside on Kent Island, and Mr. Catron lives near Queenstown.
In a tradition dating back to England in 1604, the title warden refers to an individual charged with the enforcement of particular canons and b specific by-laws of the congregation. The term “warden” was used because centuries ago that individual’s responsibilities included unlocking the church for worship and other events. Most congregations have two such officials, as does Christ Church Parish Kent Island, known as senior and junior wardens. Other titles, such as “rector’s warden” and “people’s warden” are some times used. The wardens are elected members of the Vestry and how the wardens are elected or selected varies from one congregation to another. In most parishes, an individual may serve as a warden without being a member of the Vestry.
The Episcopal Church canons assign but one specific duty to the wardens: if the clergy person in charge of the congregation is not available or becomes disabled to give consent to another member of the clergy to officiate at the worship services of the congregation, then one of the wardens is responsible for giving consent. In most congregations, the senior warden is considered the top lay leader of the parish and serves as an advisor to the rector, and takes special care for the well-being of the rector and his or her family.
When a congregation is without a rector, the wardens function as the communication link with the diocese; convene and preside at vestry meetings; make provisions for Sunday worship; take full responsibility for proper administration and maintenance of all parish properties; and acts as custodians of all parish registers and records. Ultimately, what wardens do is defined by both tradition and the specific needs of the congregation as well as both the wardens’ and rector’s particular talents.
Christ Church Parish Kent Island was founded in 1631, began active ministry in 1632, and celebrated its 375th anniversary in October of 2007 with the opening of the church’s new 9,500 square foot sanctuary. The Parish remains today as the oldest continuing congregation in the State of Maryland, if not the United States. Anyone interested in becoming a member of Christ Church Parish may obtain information by calling the Parish office at 410-643-5921.