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Our Congregation

When we go to church, we worship with our congregation. Our congregation is legally a parish.


A parish is basically a church that is a self-sufficient, autonomous member of the diocese. The Certificate of Incorporation of our parish--Trinity Memorial Church--was recorded in the Broome County Clerk's office on May 13, 1886.


The priest who runs the parish is either a rector, vicar or priest-in-charge.

  • A Rector is the priest who is elected by and called to run a parish or separate congregation.

  • A Vicar is the priest appointed by the Bishop (and answerable to him or her) to run a mission or chaplaincy, such as at a University.

  • A Priest-in-charge is the priest who is appointed by the Bishop to tend to the spiritual life of a congregation with all the rights and privileges of a Rector except tenure; a Priest-in-Charge is often appointed when a congregation and priest try to determine whether they are a good fit for each other.

Vestry and Wardens

Since it is not practical to have the whole congregation supervise and make all of the decisions about the budget, finances, building and grounds, etc., the congregation elects people they trust to handle these things on their behalf. In the Episcopal Church this body is called the Vestry. The Vestry runs the business for the congregation. The Rector (or Priest-in-Charge) presides over it.

  • Members of the Vestry are elected by the congregation at the Annual Meeting. One-third of the Vestry is elected each year for a three-year term. We have a total of 12 members on our Vestry.

  • Our Treasurer attends all meetings of the Vestry ex officio; our Treasurer may also be an elected member of the Vestry.

  • The two head lay persons are the Wardens. ​

    • One Warden is elected annually for a two-year term. We have two Wardens.

Our By-laws

The rules that govern any congregation are called By-Laws.

The By-Laws are written and adopted by the Vestry, and they determine how certain things are done (i.e., rules around elections, notice of annual meeting, terms of office, etc.). They must conform to the canons (laws) of the Diocese and of the Episcopal Church, and to laws in the State of New York.

If you are interested in our By-laws, please see a Warden, Vestry member, or contact the Church Office

Annual Meeting

There is an Annual Meeting of the congregation in which certain business is conducted annually. It is usually held on the last Sunday in January.

  • Our parish provides written reports summarizing the activities of the past year.

  • The actual finances of the past year are presented and the budget for the new year is explained.

  • Members of the Vestry are elected. One-third of the Vestry is elected each year for a three-year term. We have a total of 12 members on our Vestry.

  • One Warden is elected annually for a two-year term. We have two Wardens.

Commissions and Committees

There are a number of commissions and committees made up of lay members of the parish that run the business of the church, advise the Rector, or help in keeping things running smoothly. Commissions and Committees include Finance, Investments, Building and Grounds, Worship and Liturgy, Mission and Ministry, Christian Education, and Hospitality. There is a member of Vestry on each commission or committee. That person serves as a liaison and reports back to Vestry.

Not an Island unto itself

Our Congregation is organized into certain roles and bodies, conforming to custom, our own as well as Diocesan and Church-wide Episcopal laws (called Canons), and also worldly laws.

Our congregation is a member of the local Episcopal District, which is a member of the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York, which is a member of Province II of the Episcopal Church, which is a member of the Anglican Communion.


But fear not, it's not that complicated on the locl level - what unites us, first and foremost is a shared view of the vibrancy and importance of Christian Faith in our daily lives.

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