A consultative body composed of the clergy and lay representatives of a local congregation for the purpose of fostering parochial activity. While the canon law of the Roman Catholic Church does not mandate such bodies (as it does in the case of parish finance councils), they are quite common in the U.S. and Canada. The Greek Orthodox Church of North and South America and the Orthodox Church in America both require these councils. They are comparable to the vestry (an American innovation) in the Episcopal Church, to the administrative board in the United Methodist Church and to the session in Presbyterianism. Most Protestant churches have a board of some sort for setting policy and for administration at the local level. Its competence is usually greater in churches which do not have an episcopal form of government.

Bibliography. A. J. Lindgren and N. Shawchuck, Management for Your Church (1977).

J. E. Lynch

Fuente: Dictionary of Christianity in America