Episcopal Churches are organized in such manner that the responsibilities of leadership are shared between the clergy and the laity in a way that best serves the needs of the congregation. Each parish must have a Vestry, which serves as a kind of "board of directors" for the parish. It bears certain responsibilities for Church property and finances. It also is responsible to fill certain positions of parish leadership such as the rector (or priest-in-charge), who is the pastor of the congregation, the choice of delegates to the annual Diocesan Convention, and other positions as the Church's law (canons) require. St. Mark's Church's Vestry currently has 9 voting members (including the parish's two Wardens). The Vestry meets monthly (third Tuesday of the month).
The Episcopal Church invests responsibility for the pastoral welfare of a parish in the Rector, who functions as primary pastor. The Rector is responsible for all aspects of parish life in collaboration with the Vestry. The Rector is elected by the Vestry with the consent of the Diocesan Bishop. Sometimes circumstances require that leadership be entrusted to a member of the clergy who does not fill the office of rector as outlined in the Church's canons. The Vestry and the Bishop may make other arrangements for this important leadership position, such as appointing a "Priest-in Charge" whose responsibilities are outlined in a Letter of Agreement between the priest and the Vestry.