is a Church Warden?
office of Church Warden dates back to the 14th Century,
when the church in England was still under the Roman
See. The Wardens were, and still are, the chief liaison
persons between the parish and the Incumbent, and the
chief administrative assistants of the parish. There
is biblical authority for the establishment of this
Paul wrote to Titus, he said, “This is why I left
you in Crete, that you might amend what was defective,
and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you”
(Titus 1:5). Recognizing that ‘elder’ is
not clearly defined, and seems to refer more to bishops
and/or priests, the one thing that stands out is that
these ‘elders’ would have been several.
Acts 14, it is recorded that Paul and Barnabas, upon
visiting Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, after preaching
the Gospel and making disciples in Derbe… “appointed
elders for them in each church, [and] with prayer and
fasting, they entrusted them to the Lord in whom they
had come to believe.” (v.23). Later, James exhorts
his readers to call for the elders if they should be
sick.... “and have them pray over them, anointing
them with oil in the name of the Lord” (James
5:14) [all quotes from NRSV Bible].
seems then, that if the modern Church is based on the
structure of the New Testament Church, a number of ministers
are needed in each congregation. It is not satisfactory—and
certainly not biblical—for the priests to assume
responsibility for the entire ministry. As members of
the Body of Christ, we are all members of the priesthood
of believers. But there are those selected by the body
for specific ministries. In the Anglican Church some
of these men and women comprise the ‘Vestry’,
with two or three of the vestry members being the church
wardens. The members of Vestry, we might suggest, could
function as elders in the local congregation, performing
that ministry which they assume when they accept their
high position. This ministry necessitates a relationship
with Jesus Christ, a desire to please Him and an openness
to the infilling of the Holy Spirit, so that God may
be truly glorified through His Church. Out of this relationship
will come a desire to worship Him in all aspects of
our daily life, while sharing His love with others in
the community and beyond. While Wardens are, to some
degree, members of the Vestry, they are recognized as
chief among the ‘elders’. This uniquely
Anglican office can, and should be, an important part
of building our Church.
Kind of People Make Good Wardens?
good Warden can be a stimulus, example and spiritual
leader for the whole life of the parish:
baptized, confirmed, person of faith who attends church
person who knows many of the congregation, and in
whom others have confidence.
person who has had previous experience handling parish
matters as a member of the Vestry.
person willing to work closely with, to support, and
to help the Incumbent.
person whom the Incumbent can take closely into his/her
person who can be sympathetic and tactful in relating
to members of the congregation, particularly in handling
person who can really reflect the love of Jesus, through
encouraging others within the Body, offering prayers
and assistance to those who are suffering, and serving
to the best of his/her ability in keeping God’s
property in top condition, as a witness to the wider
person who is willing to be subjected to a police
be eligible for election or appointment as a Warden,
a parishioner must be a communicant and of the full
age of majority.
Do Wardens Do?
Wardens, together with the Incumbent and Vestry members,
are responsible for all aspects of parish life. They
must work with and support the Incumbent, be loyal
to him/her, and respect his/her confidence.
Wardens must be available to the members of the congregation
for information, complaints, or suggestions.
Wardens are responsible for the holding of regular
services, and for the provision of all things requisite
for Divine Service. If there is neglect or inability
on the part of the Incumbent to perform his/her responsibilities,
the Church Wardens must notify the Bishop as to the
Wardens should be in attendance for the visitation
of the Bishop or an Archdeacon.
of Church Wardens
Duties of a Warden
to the reader: Throughout this document the word "responsible"
is used when defining a warden’s functions and
duties. This does not mean that the warden must carry
out a specific function or duty; rather, the warden
must ensure that the function or duty is carried out.
is our intent that this document will be reviewed and
updated at a minimum of every ten (10) years.]