Clergy Manual

This manual applies to all Episcopal clergy who function in the Episcopal Church in Western Oregon, whether deacon, priest, or bishop, active or retired, licensed or canonically resident, parochial or non-parochial, full-time, part-time, or bi-vocational, residing within the diocese or elsewhere.

For information regarding continuing education, compensation and benefits, Mutual Ministry Reviews, vacation/leave/sabbatical time off, covenants of ministry, retirement, and leave-taking, please see the Personnel Practice for Clergy section in the diocesan Policies and Procedures Manual.

The Episcopal Church in Western Oregon’s Policy and Procedure Manual

The Episcopal Church in Western Oregon’s Constitution and Canons

The Episcopal Church’s Constitution and Canons


What we seek in clergy

The Episcopal Church in Western Oregon seeks clergy to serve in this diocese who:

  • Center their life in Christ and are spiritually grounded, attending to spiritual direction and prayer, the study of Holy Scripture, and whose love of Jesus Christ is evident in their lives. We desire leaders who share their faith by connecting their story to God’s story and who have the capacity to demonstrate this in thought, word, and deed.
  • Are Christian stewards who can connect the life of faith with finances, friendships, and the resources essential to thriving faith communities; who practice tithing and can witness to the power of tithing in their lives.
  • Are mature emotionally and spiritually and who continue to deepen this maturity through counseling, mentoring, and spiritual direction.
  • Understand authority and have a clear understanding of their own authority while respecting the authority of the leaders of the church.
Clergy Participation, Orientation, & Support

Diocesan Participation

Clergy are expected to live into their ordination vows through participation in diocesan activities, serving on governing bodies, commissions, working groups, and attending clergy conferences and the annual meeting of the diocesan convention. Clergy are also expected to identify and develop lay leaders for diocesan leadership.

All clergy are expected to be familiar with the content of the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church, the Episcopal Church in Western Oregon, and the bylaws of their local congregation.

Thriving Leaders

All active clergy new to the diocese are expected to participate in Thriving Leaders. This program is also required for all first-time rectors/vicars/priests-in- charge. Thriving Leaders provides training in a wide range of practical and pastoral skills for parish ministry in this diocese.

Learn more about Thriving Leaders here.

Clergy Companions

Each newly ordained person and each ordained person from outside the diocese coming into a cure in this diocese will be provided a companion. The role of the companion is to offer hospitality and orientation to the diocese. This relationship requires trust as all conversations are held in confidence. Companions are encouraged to utilize the Diocesan Resource Center for assistance when additional support is needed.

Required Trainings & Background Check

Safe Church, Safe Communities

Sexual abuse is defined as the abuse of power, disregard for another’s dignity, and betrayal of the trust and integrity of the pastoral and professional relationship. An imbalance of power always exists between clergy and a parishioner in a pastoral relationship. It is imperative that clergy establish and maintain clear boundaries.

All clergy are required to participate in Safe Church Trainings: Safe Church, Safe Communities. All clergy licensed or canonically resident in the Episcopal Church in Western Oregon are required to have this certification in their file in the bishop’s office. This training must be renewed every three (3) years. Learn more about the Safe Church Training here.

Clergy are responsible for assuring that every area of the church’s life is free from sexual harassment and misconduct. All clergy are responsible for modeling, supporting, and educating others about diocesan abuse prevention policies in their ministry setting.

Retired clergy who certify to the bishop that they are completely retired and do not exercise their ordained ministry in any context are exempt from this requirement.

Anti-Racism Training

In 2000, the General Convention of The Episcopal Church approved Resolution B049, which stipulates that “the lay and ordained leadership of the Episcopal Church, including ordained persons, professional staff, and those elected or appointed to positions of leadership on committees, commissions, agencies, and boards be required to take anti-racism training and receive a certification of such training.”

Further, B049 stipulated that “…each diocese maintain a register of those who have been trained.”

In 2010, the Commission to End Racism (renamed Engaging Racial Justice Working Group) proposed substantial changes to the approach and materials used in our diocesan training, with the intention of developing materials that were more focused on the specific issues and historical context of the Pacific Northwest.

At the present time, the Anti-Racism training requirements for clergy in the Episcopal Church in Western Oregon are as follows:

  1. All clergy are expected to have completed anti-racism training within the past ten years, and to have forwarded documentation of such training to the bishop’s office.
  2. Clergy in active ministry are strongly encouraged to take one of the recommended trainings currently offered by the diocese, available on this page.

Oxford Document Background Check

All clergy are required to have a current Oxford Background Check on file in the diocesan office. The only clergy who may be exempted from this requirement are retired clergy who certify to the bishop that they are completely retired and do not exercise their ordained ministry in any context.

Learn more about background checks here.

Discretionary Funds & Expense Accounts

Clergy Expense Accounts must be kept separate from the Discretionary Fund. In the case of an audit, the taxing authorities will want to be shown that these funds are independent of one another.

Discretionary Funds

Any expenditures from this fund need to be in accordance with the Episcopal Church Title III Canon 9 Section 6 (b). Suggested procedure for the flow of funds:

  • All monies designated as a part of the discretionary fund should be given to the church, not the clergyperson. (This may include designated plate offerings, funds from capital gifts, designated contributions for weddings, funerals, etc.) The treasurer deposits these funds in the Discretionary Fund Account, and this becomes part of the church’s financial record.

Three possible ways for the clergyperson to disperse funds are:

  • The clergyperson makes a check request to the Treasurer, who issues a check from the Discretionary Fund Account for the person in need, or
  • The clergyperson writes a check for the person in need from the Discretionary Fund Checking Account. The checkbook and backup documents must be open for audit.
  • The clergyperson writes a check directly to the vendor who is providing the needed assistance.

An outside auditor or a parish audit team audits the Discretionary Fund at year-end, and reports to the vestry and the diocese.

Some of the items for which a Discretionary Fund should be utilized. All of these items are for the needy, poor, or afflicted.

  1. Food
  2. Lodging
  3. Transportation
  4. Medical Bills
  5. “Pious and Charitable Uses”

Expense Accounts

Suggested Procedure:

  • An expense budget or budgets is/are established for the clergyperson by the Budget Committee, approved by the vestry/BAC, and made a part of the annual congregational budget.
  • The clergyperson makes expenditures in accordance with the general outlines of the suggested expense items below.
  • The clergyperson provides the treasurer with bills and/or invoices for payment/reimbursement. The treasurer issues a reimbursement check for such expenditures to the clergyperson.

Reimbursements are not required when filing tax reports.

The outside auditor or the parish audit team audits this (these) account(s) at year-end, and reports to the vestry and the diocese.

Expense account items are noted below. These expenditures should be related to church activities. If an expenditure is large, unclear in purpose, or causes a budget overage, there should be a prior discussion between the clergyperson and the vestry/BAC before it is made (and documentation in the minutes of the meeting.)

Expense items may include:

  • Continuing Education
  • Conferences (tuition, meals, and transportation)
  • Auto Expense (includes accounting for mileage)
  • Business Expense
  • Organizational membership costs
  • Books and Journals
  • Consultants
  • Business meals/Business entertainment
  • Other professional expenses

Note: Clergy may choose to place honoraria from weddings, funerals, baptisms, etc. (gifts not specifically designated “discretionary fund”) into a “Rector’s/Vicar’s Program Fund,” which the clergyperson administers to the benefit of the church.

All receipts and gifts must first be deposited with the parish treasurer and then disbursed accordingly so that there is a clear record and accountability.


Clergy Wellness

The health and well-being of the clergy of the diocese are an important part of the well-being of the Church. The diocese requires that a Letter of Agreement should include all benefits, including medical and dental insurance, sick leave, pension, continuing education time and funds, and sabbatical planning. These should also include annual vacations and a variety of national holidays. Clergy are encouraged to participate in regional clericus groups and in peer support groups.

Ordained clergy have promised to pattern their lives (and those of their families or households) in accordance with the teaching of Christ so that they may be wholesome examples. The following standards are essential for healthy clergy:

  • We give adequate attention to our spiritual health by observing daily times for prayer, spiritual direction, scripture reading, and meditation with the Daily Office as the guide in our tradition.
  • We give adequate attention to our physical health, including regular check-ups, regular exercise, healthy eating habits, and moderation/abstinence from any use of alcohol, tobacco, or drugs.
  • We give adequate attention to our emotional health, and when there is a need identified by ourselves, our families, friends, or colleagues, will seek professional help.
  • We spend intentional and significant time with our family, household, and friends beyond the community in which we serve.
  • We observe at least two days off work each week, or their equivalent, and endeavor to enlist support from our congregation in honoring these times of rest.
  • We take one full month each year for vacation as a time for recreation and renewal, plus compensatory time off after especially busy times, such as Christmas and Easter.
  • In accordance with the policy of the Episcopal Church in Western Oregon, we make every effort to reach a mutual agreement with our congregations and/or ecclesiastical authority to plan for periodic sabbatical leave or an equivalent for refreshment, renewal, and growth.
  • We maintain a regular program of continuing education in consultation with clergy colleagues, bishop, and congregational representatives.
  • We maintain regular contact with other colleagues through clergy associations, clericus, and colleague groups.
  • We seek avenues of community involvement and/or friendships that allow us to relate to others where we are not the clergy/congregational leader.
  • We practice responsible stewardship of our financial resources. We accept the tithe as a minimum standard of giving, and if we are not already tithing will adopt a systematic plan of moving towards that minimum.
  • We participate in Diverse Church (Anti-Racism) Training and Safe Church Training.
  • We have a canonical responsibility to participate in diocesan activities, serve on diocesan boards and committees, attend clergy conferences called by the bishop, and attend the Annual Meeting of the Diocesan Convention. Such participation is considered to complement local duties, not conflict with them.
  • We are bound by and familiar with the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church, the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church in Western Oregon, and the by-laws of the local congregation, giving special attention to the disciplinary materials of Title III and Title IV of the Canons of the Episcopal Church.
Pastoral Care & Spiritual Direction

Clergy are not to claim directly or by implication any pastoral or professional qualifications that exceed their actual qualifications or abilities.

Clergy are expected to make appropriate referrals for matters that go beyond moral, spiritual, or religious guidance or whenever the needs of parishioners exceed those that can be competently handled by the clergyperson.

Clergy are to seek appropriate professional assistance for their own personal problems and conflicts, especially those that might impair their pastoral ability and judgment.

Clergy should not work in isolation but must be mindful of the need to maintain collegial and professional associations. It is necessary for the clergy to develop and maintain such associations for the purposes of maintaining supervisory skills, theological and spiritual insights, educational acumen, and current knowledge of resources for ministry. Participating in a clergy support group is encouraged.

Reconciliation of a Penitent is a sacramental act of the church. When hearing a sacramental confession (the rite of Reconciliation of a Penitent), it must be remembered that the confidentiality of a confession is morally absolute for the confessor and must not be broken. However, if the penitent confesses to child sexual abuse, the confessor can and should withhold absolution and notify the authorities. *Clergy are subject to Oregon law requiring the reporting of child abuse and elder abuse and must be familiar with and strictly comply with all applicable laws and rules. Clergy are to take counsel with the bishop and chancellor of the diocese when addressing these matters.

Clergy should treat all pastoral conversations as confidential; however, if a person communicates an intention to harm themselves or others, this should be reported as appropriate.

Clergy must be familiar with and strictly comply with the diocesan policies regarding sexual misconduct, including the requirement to report misconduct to the diocese and, if it involves minors, to the authorities.

Non-Parochial & Retired Clergy

Non-Parochial Clergy

Chaplains and other non-parochial clergy are encouraged to participate in all appropriate diocesan activities. They should provide an annual report to the bishop if they have performed any duties of their ministry in that year.

The form for this report is found here, or clergy may contact the diocesan office.

Retired Clergy

Retired clergy who are canonically residents have a seat, voice, and vote at the annual meeting of the diocesan convention and are encouraged to participate if possible.

Regardless of their ministry activities, retired clergy are expected to continue to maintain an orderly relationship with the bishop. They should keep the bishop informed of any address change or any other major change in their circumstances. Retired clergy who are not responsible for a congregational parochial report are expected to provide an annual report to the bishop if they have performed any duties of their ministry in that year. The form for this report is found here or in the bishop’s office.

Retired clergy who are able should be mindful of their responsibility to support the ministries of the active clergy in whose cures they reside or from whose cures they have retired.

Upon reaching the age of 72 years, all retired clergy in the Episcopal Church in Western Oregon, licensed or canonically resident, must comply with Canon III.9.8 of the Constitutions and Canons of the Episcopal Church.

Canonical Residence/Letters Dimissory

A Priest from another diocese shall not be in charge of any congregation in this diocese until obtaining from the bishop a certificate stating that the priest’s Letters Dismissory have been received from the diocese they have left.  The transfer and receipt of Letters Dismissory must conform to TEC Title III, Canon 9 Sec. 4.

Unless a deacon has been licensed in the Episcopal Church in Western Oregon, they may not serve as deacon for more than two months. Deacons may not transfer Letters Dimissory without written consent from the bishop of the Episcopal Church in Western Oregon. (Title III, 7.6)

The bishop does not normally accept Letters Dimissory for interim clergy or retired clergy.


Immigration Matters

Clergy who are not citizens of the United States are required to have official permission to work before they may be deployed in Oregon. Non-citizen clergy must provide documentation of their immigration status to the bishop’s office to cooperate in resolving any questions about their status and to inform the bishop of any changes in their status. In addition, they must meet all of the requirements of Canon III.10.


Role of the Deacon

Every Christian is called to follow Jesus Christ, serving God the Father, through the power of the Holy Spirit. God now calls you to a special ministry of servanthood directly under your bishop. In the name of Jesus Christ, you are to serve all people, particularly the poor, the weak, the sick, and the lonely. 

As a deacon in the Church, you are to study the Holy Scriptures, to seek nourishment from them, and to model your life upon them. You are to make Christ and his redemptive love known, by your word and example, to those among whom you live, and work, and worship. You are to interpret to the Church the needs, concerns, and hopes of the world.  Book of Common Prayer, Ordination of a Deacon  

Deacons serve as servant icons of ministry in the liturgy. They proclaim the Gospel, bid the prayers and serve at the table, prepare and place on it the offerings of bread and wine, and assist in the ministrations of the Eucharist. The deacon also dismisses the assembly at the close of the service.

Deacons may be assigned to faith communities, diocesan institutions, or missional settings in local contexts. All deacons will be connected with a faith community. Deacons serve in a non-stipendiary role and should not have a discretionary fund; they may request use of discretionary funds through their supervising priest. 

The deacon are expected practice a Rule of Life by participating in regular worship and following a personal prayer practice, studying Scripture, attending an annual retreat and Spiritual Direction.  

Deacons interpret the needs of the world to the church and are especially concerned with the poor and marginalized of society. 

Clerical Address

  • Full Title:                     The Reverend Deacon Jones / The Reverend Jones, Deacon
  • Abbreviated Title:        The Rev. Dcn. Jones
  • Letter Salutation:         Dear Deacon Jones
  • In Conversation:          Deacon Jones


Clerical Attire 

Clerical attire (i.e., clergy shirt and collar) is usually reserved for when the deacon is performing functions on behalf of the Church. Alb and stole shall be worn only when the deacon is functioning as a deacon in the worship service. A dalmatic, if worn, should be in keeping with the vestments worn by others in the service. Cassock and surplice with deacons’ stole or tippet is appropriate for non-Eucharistic worship services or when the deacon is not a participant in the altar party.

Relationships with the Bishop, Diocese, and other Clergy

Deacons have a unique relationship with the bishop and are expected to pursue guidance and counsel from the bishop regarding their ministry placement, issues in the local context, and how to best proclaim the Gospel in the world. Deacons serve directly under the authority and pastoral leadership of and are accountable to the bishop diocesan.  

Deacons always have direct access to the bishop on matters of confidential, personal, or parochial importance.

Their ministry assignments are made by the bishop in consultation with the convenor of the Community of Deacons and the member of the clergy exercising oversight at the proposed assignment. Deacons will have a letter of agreement using the template provided by the bishop’s office. The bishop may also assign a deacon to a non-parochial ministry, (Title III, Canon 7.4). In these instances, the deacon remains under the authority of the bishop, while coordination and supervision are managed by the non-parochial organization.


With the Convener of Deacons

The bishop assigns the role of the Convener of Deacons to share the duties related to convening the diaconal community, organizing retreats and educational events and otherwise assisting the bishop with support and deployment of deacons.

The convener of deacons works with the bishop to develop Deacon Days three times a year. These events focus on the charisms of the diaconate as they are expressed through the specific deacons of the diocese.


With Priests at Faith Communities

Deacons who have been assigned a ministry in a faith community will be supervised by the priest in charge on behalf of the bishop. The priest oversees and coordinates the day-to-day activities of the deacon’s parochial ministry. However, the priest and deacon work as ministry partners and work to maintain healthy boundaries with respect to roles and responsibilities.

This collegial relationship between a priest and deacon has primary importance in the success of the deacon’s assignment, and on every aspect of the deacon’s ministry. This partnership should be communicated to the congregation to strengthen overall understanding of the unique call of deacons. The priest-deacon team is encouraged to meet regularly for prayer, mutual review of the deacon’s ministry, and planning.

For simplicity, in these sections, the term priest is used for all priests leading a parish, whether they are a rector, vicar, or priest in charge.

With Other Clergy

Deacons are expected to engage both spiritually and socially with other clergy of the diocese at events such as convocation meetings, clergy convention, and clergy days, and Deacons Day.

With Diocesan Governing Bodies

Because the deacon offers a prophetic voice wherever the Church makes decisions, deacons are also encouraged, if employment time and geographic location permits, to have a voice in at least one decision-making body of the diocese. Deacons are eligible for appointment or election to clergy positions on all boards, committees and commissions of the diocese.

Annual Reporting

Deacons will report annually to the bishop regarding their life and work.  This report may be in the form of a letter or an in-person conversation.  For two years following ordination, deacons will continue a process of formation authorized by the bishop.  The bishop will assign a mentor for the newly ordained deacon. The mentor and newly ordained deacon will meet for at least one year to provide guidance, information, and a sustained dialogue about diaconal ministry.

Upon the annual anniversary of ordination, renewal of contract, and when leaving an assignment, the deacon shall write a letter to the bishop, summarizing their ministry, areas of growth and learning, and/or objectives for the coming year. 

If a Deacon is serving at a faith community, the annual reviews should be conducted between the supervising priest and the deacon, as well the deacon should seek the bishop’s guidance regarding challenges or questions regarding the ministry placement.



Required Diocesan Participation

Deacons are expected to attend the Annual Meeting of the Diocesan Convention, the Bishop’s Annual Retreat with Deacons, and other events as deemed necessary. Deacons are invited and strongly encouraged to attend all clergy events in the diocese, including periodic leadership events, clergy conference, and the annual renewal of clergy vows. If a deacon cannot attend a required clergy event in the diocese, they are expected to write the bishop in advance of the event to obtain permission to be absent.

Expenses for required diocesan clergy events should be paid by the parish, commensurate with other parish clergy. Deacons shall consult directly with the bishop for any adjustments to this expectation.

All deacons are also strongly encouraged to be involved in a regular rota to accompany the bishop on ecclesiastical visits to congregations that do not have a deacon. 


Download the 2023-2024 Deacon Covenant form here.

Relationship with Faith Community

Faith Communities wishing to have a deacon shall make their request known to the bishop in writing with a letter from the priest indicating the congregation’s needs and how they can be best met by a deacon. In addition to the gifts of the deacon and the needs of the congregation, the bishop and the convener of deacons will consider distance and geographic location of the church from the deacon’s home and place of employment.


Covenant of Ministry

A Covenant of Ministry from the office of the bishop is to be negotiated by the deacon and the priest and signed by all parties and the bishop, within one month of the deacon’s arrival at the church. The duration of the Covenant is one year and may be renewed annually. The deacon understands that a new ministry placement is made at the discretion of the bishop. Typically, the deacon and supervising priest are consulted regarding the reassignment of the deacon.


Welcoming the Deacon 

Soon after arrival, and in the context of the Sunday liturgy, the priest and the wardens shall introduce the deacon to the congregation, with prayers and tokens of welcome for the newly assigned deacon. A letter from the bishop acknowledging the assignment may be read. The deacon’s time of leave-taking should be similarly marked with liturgical celebration, again possibly with a letter from the bishop. (Refer to The Book of Occasional Services.)


Deacon’s Family

Family members are welcome to attend the church where the deacon is serving. As regular members, they may serve on parish committees, but are strongly discouraged from serving on the vestry.

Deacon’s Time Commitment

The decision for hours covenanted between priest and deacon depends on both the deacon’s gifts and the priest’s vision for the congregation. A general guideline is to serve between 8 and 12 hours per week. A deacon’s regular work schedule includes working Sundays at the altar, with one Sunday away per month. The Sunday away should be arranged in advance with the priest. This Sunday allows for deacon self-care, or other diocesan work, including serving as deacon for a bishop’s visitation. In addition to Sunday services and special liturgical occasions, such as Christmas and Holy Week, the deacon works in concert with the priest on social and outreach ministries, and the pastoral needs of the congregation.

A deacon may also oversee training Eucharistic Ministers, Eucharistic Visitors, Lectors, Intercessors, and, with the priest, coordinate pastoral visits to the sick and shut-in people of the congregation; or in other outreach settings such as nursing homes, hospitals, or county jails. Covenanted hours should also include any service on diocesan committees, and for any diocesan events which the bishop expects clergy to attend.


Other Hours and Responsibilities  

Deacons, insofar as possible, should be aware of the needs and assets of the surrounding community.  Deacons may represent a congregation on interfaith clergy organizations, or other committees, boards, or event deemed central to the deacon’s outreach ministry and mission. The deacon is a non-voting member of the vestry (seat and voice but no vote), and the hours should be included in the covenanted hours.


Financials Relating to a Deacon

The Diaconate is a non-stipendiary call. Expenses related to conference fees, continuing education and mileage are paid by the faith community. Any other expenses that the church agrees to pay should be specified in the Covenant of Ministry. Mileage from home to church is not reimbursed (but is tax-deductible).

A deacon is restricted from holding any additional paid positions in a church where the deacon is assigned, except with written permission from the bishop.

Other expenses relating to the deacon’s ministry for church (e.g. books, and materials, tools) should be negotiated prior to the deacon’s assignment and also stated if supported fully or partially by the church’s budget in the Covenant of Agreement.


Tithing as a Deacon

As a matter of spiritual wellness, a deacon is expected to commit to donating a regular financial gift to the church to which they are assigned, to a social service ministry of their choice, or to a diocesan outreach ministry.


Role during a Transition

Diaconal ministry in a time of transition is complex and challenging. Almost every situation is unique requiring careful assessment on the part of the deacon and the bishop. When the priest of a congregation resigns or retires, the bishop will consider assigning the deacon to a different ministry setting based on the needs of the faith community during the transition.  The bishop, after conferring with the deacon and the wardens, may conclude not to reassign the deacon. If this is the case, the unique issues during a transition must be thoroughly explored and addressed by the deacon with the bishop, the wardens, and if possible, with the former priest before he or she departs; and certainly, with the bishop and wardens on a continuing basis during the transition time.

Within two months of the transition, a new Covenant of Ministry should be negotiated between the deacon and the wardens of the congregation, particularly for any change in responsibilities. The deacon may be consulted on certain aspects concerning diaconal responsibilities for the church profile (e.g. pastoral care, outreach, and community ministries). The deacon may not: serve on the search committee, be involved in any part of the search process, or express any opinion regarding the candidates.

During the transition, no matter how extended, the deacon is never to be engaged by the church leaders, parish administrator or congregation, as having administrative authority as a decisionmaker.  Deacons should clarify their roles in order to not be mistaken as clergy supply,  They should maintain their diaconal role and responsibility in keeping with their Covenant of Ministry.


Assignment of Interim, Priest-in-Charge or Rector

When an interim, priest-in-charge, vicar or rector is called to fill the vacancy, the bishop, in consultation with the deacon, will reassess the deacon’s assignment.


Liturgical Duties of a Deacon

The rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer, the Canons, and the diocesan bishop’s expectations always guide the liturgical functioning of the deacon. The priest shall encourage the deacon to function in all roles specific to the diaconal order. 

During any worship service, the deacon will usually: carry the Gospel Book in the processional and place it on the altar; proclaim the Gospel; bid the Prayers of the People and the Confession of Sins, prepare the table for Eucharist (if there is such), receive the gifts, stand by the celebrant during the Great Thanksgiving, elevate the cup at the Words of Invitation, and give the dismissal.  The deacon may also bear the chalice to communicate the wine and clear the table after communion. When it is the custom, the deacon may cense the Gospel book.


Serving with the Bishop  

When the bishop is the celebrant, the deacon should perform all functions reserved for the deacon. In processions, the deacon(s) immediately precede the bishop.

As the Bishop’s Deacon, the deacon assists the bishop with all aspects of the visitation, including:

  • Assist the bishop arriving and setting up, and upon departure. Assist in assuring things run smoothly.
  • Offer to point the Presider’s book
  • Sets and clears the table as is the deacon’s normal Sunday practice
  • As the bishop instructs, hand her the crozier and miter as needed.
  • At the conclusion of the Eucharist retrieve the miter and crozier and bring to where bishop will pronounce the final blessing



The priest is primarily responsible for preaching the Gospel to the congregation. However, the deacon and the priest/vicar shall work out a preaching schedule which allows the deacon to proclaim the Gospel on a regular basis during the liturgical year.


Great Vigil of Easter 

It is the prerogative of a deacon to carry the Paschal Candle to its place, and to chant the Exsultet.  Deacons likewise assist at Baptism and the Eucharist according to their order. BCP 284


Holy Baptism

When a deacon assists at baptism, their duties are outlined on pages 298 and 312 of the Book of Common Prayer. They may read the prayers for the candidate, assist the celebrant by pouring the water into the font (but not saying the Blessing Prayers over the water), holding the towels, oil stock, prayer book and otherwise serving. Deacons should not be the sole officiant at baptisms unless the bishop has granted permission to do so.  In such instances, the deacon may administer the water and the words of baptism but does not make the sign of the cross on the forehead. In the absence of a priest, the deacon may provide the pre-baptismal counseling. 


Holy Matrimony 

The guidelines for participation in Holy Matrimony are contained on pages 422 and 437 in the Book of Common Prayer. Alongside the presiding priest, a deacon may deliver the charge, ask for the Declaration of Consent, read the Gospel, read the Prayers of the People, and perform other assisting functions at the Eucharist. 

In the Episcopal Church in Western Oregon, a deacon is permitted to officiate a marriage ceremony when a priest is unavailable. The marriage must be recorded in a parish record book, and prior approval of the priest of that parish is required. The bishop and convener of deacons must be notified when a deacon officiates at Holy Matrimony. Under no circumstance is the deacon permitted to offer the nuptial blessing, which is to be omitted when a deacon presides. 


Ministration to the Sick   

A deacon may lay hands over or anoint a sick person using oil previously blessed by the bishop and by substituting “us” for “you” and “our” for “your” in the concluding prayers.


Burial of the Dead   

In the absence of a priest, a deacon may preside at service for the burial of the dead, the committal and the internment, but may not consecrate the grave. 


The Daily Offices   

Deacons and lay leaders may officiate at all Daily Offices.



If appropriate, the deacon may also sprinkle holy water (already blessed by a priest), as in receiving the body in a memorial service; or administer healing oil (already blessed by the bishop) in a healing service, or at the bedside of the sick or dying.

A deacon may not:  Pronounce a blessing on anyone or anything, Bless the waters of baptism, or give the sign of the cross over the candidate for baptism at the words of baptism; give a marriage blessing; bless or dedicate any object designated for use in a consecrated space (e.g., wall hangings, a new Gospel book or vestments) or consecrate a gravesite.



Any rector, vicar, or interim priest/priest-in-charge is considered the priest in charge of the congregation. They are:

  • Responsible for maintaining parish records, personnel matters, abuse prevention programs, licensing lay ministers by the bishop’s office, the completion of an annual parochial report, and annual audits.
  • Charged with the supervision of all staff, clergy, and lay. They are to ensure all lay employees have a personnel folder that contains an application, appropriate background and reference checks, IRS form W-4, and an I-9 form as required.
  • Provide regular review and evaluation of all staff and document that process in personnel files which are kept locked in the church offices.
  • Responsible for seeing that vestries and BACs have the appropriate insurance coverage, financial reports, and internal controls and are in compliance with diocesan requirements concerning audits.

A priest in charge may receive reports of sexual misconduct or abuse and must immediately inform the bishop or diocesan intake officer and receive instruction before taking action. The exception is Mandatory Reporting: Clergy are subject to Oregon law requiring the reporting of child abuse and elder abuse and must be familiar with and strictly comply with all applicable laws and rules. Clergy are to take counsel with the bishop and chancellor of the diocese when addressing these matters.

Assisting Priests

Assisting priests serve at the pleasure of the priest in charge of the congregation and are called to support the work of the priest in charge. Assisting priests must have a letter of agreement.

In the event of serious disagreements between assisting clergy and the priest in charge of the congregation, every effort should be made to reconcile, and consultation should be sought if the parties cannot resolve the situation themselves.

If assisting priests come to believe that they cannot offer the appropriate support to the priest in charge of the congregation, they should contact the bishop’s office for a consultation.

Licensed Priests

Licensed priests are encouraged to participate fully in diocesan life. Licensed clergy are subject to the same expectations outlined for all clergy. If they wish to be deployed as supply clergy, they must be conversant and in compliance with the policies of the Episcopal Church in Western Oregon.

Licensed priests who serve as a priest in charge of congregation or as assisting clergy on the staff of diocesan congregations will automatically be relicensed. However, licensed clergy who are not serving in this manner are required to make an annual report to the bishop and to request licensing for the next calendar year, if that is their desire. If no report and request for a license is received, they will be removed from the list of licensed clergy and must reapply to be reinstated.

Licensed priests serving as priests in charge of a congregation or assisting clergy on the staff of diocesan congregations are expected to register for the annual meeting of the diocesan convention. Although diocesan canons do not provide such licensed clergy a vote at the annual meeting, it is customary to grant them seat and voice when the convention organizes for business. Only those clergy who are canonically and physically resident, or serving as a vicar or priest in charge in the Episcopal Church in Western Oregon may vote. (See Article 4 of the Diocesan Constitution.)

Licensed clergy not serving as heads of congregations or as assisting clergy may register for the annual meeting of the diocesan convention as visitors and are encouraged to do so.

ELCA clergy may be considered for license, if requested by a head of congregation. Such clergy must present, in addition to the standard licensing requirements, a letter from their bishop approving the license application. If they are not residing in their home synod, they must also have approval from the Lutheran bishop in whose synod they reside.


The bishop of the Episcopal Church in Western Oregon makes all ministry assignments for curates.

A rector may not recruit or hire a seminarian or a curate without the bishop’s permission.

Seminarians from outside the diocese are required to release their full canonical file from their sponsoring diocese before placement. This includes spiritual autobiography, postulancy letter, candidacy letter, psychological and physical evaluations, evaluations, and reports from Commissions on Ministry and Standing Committees. They must also have the formal release of the bishop of their sponsoring diocese. For assistance, contact the missioner for thriving congregations.


All clergy canonically resident or licensed and in good standing may submit their name and material to the bishop’s office along with a request to be included on the list of names given to congregations beginning a search.

Eligibility for deployment in the Episcopal Church in Western Oregon is determined by the bishop and based upon the individual’s qualifications.

Deployment of Retired Clergy

The Church Pension Group governs the salary retired clergy may earn. The bishop must apply for an exemption from these guidelines. This must be submitted at least three months before the deployment begins. The Church Pension Group will not approve requests of clergy who retire and wish to be re-deployed to the congregation from which they retired. The work-after-retirement rules can be found on the Church Pension Group website (

All retired clergy active in ministry must meet the bishop’s expectations of clergy.

Interm Deployment

All questions regarding interim deployment should be directed to the missioner for thriving congregations.

Candidates for interim positions within the Episcopal Church in Western Oregon are expected to meet the bishop’s expectations of clergy, regardless of canonical residence or active/retired status.