Policy and Procedure Manual
The Episcopal Church in Western Oregon has established personnel practices and policies to provide both clergy and lay leadership with consistent guidelines for fair and effective relationships between clergy and congregations. This manual is intended to serve as a resource to all congregations in the Episcopal Church in Western Oregon recognizing that congregations are unique and will need to adapt some practices in order to apply them effectively. The following are procedures, best practices, and diocesan policies, all offered to congregations as helpful sources of information on a wide range of church matters.
The Episcopal Church in Western Oregon’s Constitution and Canons
Each parish and mission in the diocese is required to operate under the Constitution and Canons of the diocese and have bylaws designed for that local congregation. Bylaws can be amended and revised as needed and in compliance with the Diocesan Constitutions and Canons.
“The ministry of lay persons is to represent Christ and his Church; to bear witness to him wherever they may be; and, according to the gifts given them, to carry on Christ’s work of reconciliation in the world; and to take their place in the life, worship, and governance of the Church” BCP p. 855
All baptized persons are called to ministry as a part of the Body of Christ. Christians engage in this ministry where they work and live, within and beyond the local congregation. (See also Title III of the Episcopal Church Canons) These ministries support the church’s life of worship and fellowship and require licensing but not ordination.
- Pastoral Leader: A lay person licensed to exercise pastoral or administrative responsibility in a congregation under special circumstances.
- Worship Leader: A lay person who regularly leads public worship under the direction of the member of the clergy or other leader exercising oversight of the congregation or other community of faith.
- Lay Preacher: A lay person licensed to preach.
- Eucharistic Minister: A lay person authorized to administer the consecrated elements at a celebration of the Holy Eucharist.
- Eucharistic Visitor: A lay person authorized to take the consecrated elements directly following a celebration of Holy Eucharist to members of the congregation who, by reason of illness or infirmity, are unable to be present at the celebration.
- Catechist: A person licensed to prepare persons for baptism, confirmation, reception, and the reaffirmation of baptismal vows.
Members of the clergy are those persons who have received theological and other particular education, training, and examination and have been ordained by the Church. (The process to prepare for Holy Orders is outlined in Section 4.2.) The ordained ministry of bishops, priests, and deacons differ in the following ways:
“The ministry of a bishop is to represent Christ and his Church, particularly as an apostle, chief priest, and pastor of a diocese; to guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the whole Church; to proclaim the Word of God; to act in Christ’s name for the reconciliation of the world and the building up of the Church; and to ordain others to continue Christ’s ministry.” [BCP p. 855]
- Diocesan Bishop: A diocesan bishop is the chief pastor of the diocese who acts as president of the Diocesan Corporation, presiding over the Annual Meeting of the Diocesan Convention and Diocesan Council.
- Bishop Coadjutor: A bishop coadjutor, when elected, assists the diocesan bishop, assumes such duties as are assigned, and automatically succeeds to the post at the death or retirement of the diocesan bishop.
- Suffragan Bishop: A suffragan bishop, if there is one, serves at the pleasure of the diocesan bishop and assumes such duties as are assigned but does not have the right of succession upon death or retirement of the diocesan bishop.
- Assistant Bishop: See Canon 12.5 of the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church
- Assisting Bishop: See Canon 12.9 of the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church
“The ministry of a priest is to represent Christ and his Church, particularly as pastor to the people; to share with the bishop in the overseeing of the Church; to proclaim the Gospel; to administer the sacraments; and to bless and declare pardon in the name of God.” [BCP p. 856]
A priest’s pastoral and sacramental responsibilities are set forth in the Ordinal of the Book of Common Prayer, p. 531. Priests are called by parishes (with the concurrence of the bishop) or are appointed to mission congregations and other positions by the bishop. Priests also have the responsibility of “taking part in the councils of the church” and are generally expected to spend a portion of their time in the work of the church beyond the local congregation.
“The ministry of a deacon is to represent Christ and his Church, particularly as a servant of those in need; and to assist bishops and priests in the proclamation of the Gospel and the administration of the sacraments.” [BCP p. 856]
A deacon’s pastoral and sacramental responsibilities are set forth in the ordinal of the Book of Common Prayer. [BCP p. 543] deacons are assigned by the bishop. When assigned to a congregation, a deacon is supervised by the priest in charge on behalf of the bishop.
Often, a deacon will be engaged in work beyond the usual boundaries of parish life, “bringing the hopes, needs, and concerns of the world to the church.” They may also be engaged in providing services originating with the diocese.
Internet Use & Security
All users of the church email are urged to follow this basic practice: Do not send messages that you would not be willing for everyone to read.
Email Protocol in a Congregational Setting:
- Email is a service provided to parish staff to assist them in the performance of their duties.
- Internet searches should be job-related and support business or professional activities. Staff should not “surf the web” on church time, create personal web pages, or otherwise use church facilities to access the Internet for any inappropriate or illegal activity, or for reasons unrelated to church business and staff job responsibilities, except as noted under personal use.
- Communications should be job-related and professional in content and tone.
- Exercise sound judgment and common sense when distributing email messages.
- Ensure that the correct email address is used for the intended recipient(s).
- All communications and information transmitted, received, or stored in parish computer systems belong to the church and may be monitored. Staff should have no expectation of privacy.
- Include signature footer with name, affiliation and email address.
- Email is neither secure nor private; never treat email as truly confidential.
- Personal use will be allowed on an occasional and limited basis subject to these criteria:
- Use is brief and occurs infrequently.
- Use does not interfere with the performance of official duties.
- Use does not interfere with or disrupt the work of others.
- Use does not compromise the security or integrity of the church computer systems.
- Use does not violate any provision of church email and internet policy.
This message is intended for the sole use of the individual and entity to which it is addressed and may contain information that is privileged, confidential and exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you are not the intended addressee, nor authorized to receive for the intended addressee, you are hereby notified that you may not use, copy, disclose or distribute to anyone the message or any information contained in the message. If you have received this message in error, please immediately advise the sender by reply email and delete the message. Thank you very much.
Required Trainings & Background Checks
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 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.
The goal of this training:
- To make ourselves and others aware of the sin of racism and other forms of discrimination.
- To equip us to confront racism and other forms of discrimination in ourselves and in our communities.
- To transform ourselves and the world to become the beloved community.
Anti-Racism Church training is required for the following people in the diocese:
- Active clergy and postulants
- Diocesan staff
- Convocation presidents
- General Convention deputies
- Members of the Standing Committee, Diocesan Council, Commission on Ministry, and the Board of Trustees
Lay leaders of local congregations who are interested in multi-cultural ministry are encouraged to take the training as well. This training must be renewed every 5 years. More information is available here.
Safe Church Training
Safe Church training provides tools to prevent sexual misconduct and is required for all clergy, lay employees, and volunteers within the congregations and organizations of the Episcopal Church in Western Oregon. The following people are required to take the various training: Safe Church, Safe Communities
- All members of the clergy, whether stipendiary or non-stipendiary
- All interns and persons in the ordination process
- All paid employees
- All unpaid lay leadership (wardens, treasurers, vestry/BAC members, members of other boards)
- The following ministers licensed under Canon III.4: Pastoral Leaders, Worship Leaders, Preachers, Eucharistic Ministers, Eucharistic Visitors, and Catechists
- All volunteers (age 16 and over) who work with children and youth. Volunteers aged 12-14 are welcome to take the training with a parent. We do not recommend this training for children under 12.
- Other persons who have pastoral relationships (Stephen ministers, spiritual directors, counselors, peer mentors, life coaches, etc.)
The training is offered online through the Praesidium Academy platform. It should take participants around 5-6 hours total to complete. Effective January 1, 2023, training must be renewed every three (3) years.
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. Lay employees and volunteers must also have this training and their certification must be kept by the faith community with which they are affiliated. Certifications from other dioceses and denominations which are based on the materials developed by Praesidium for the Church Pension Group (such as the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Oregon) may be used to fulfill this requirement. No other training programs are accepted. The only clergy who may be exempted from these requirements are retired clergy who certify to the bishop that they are completely retired and do not exercise their ordained ministry in any context.
More information regarding Safe Church Training is available here.
Background Checks for Lay Employees and Volunteers
The Episcopal Church in Western Oregon requires background checks of the following lay employees and volunteers:
- All paid staff
- All volunteers who work with children and youth
- Volunteers who have pastoral relationships, such as spiritual directors, Stephen ministers, and Lay Eucharistic Visitors
- Church treasurers
Background checks will be handled at the diocesan level using Praesidium as recommended by the Church Pension Fund. The following checks are conducted:
- Multi-state criminal background check
- National sex offender registry check
- Alias search
- Social Security number verification
Each faith community should have a designated Local Background Check Administrator. This person keeps track of members of the congregation who are required to have a background check, contacts them by email to let them know how to begin the process, and maintains the faith community’s listing of those who have successfully completed the background check requirement.
Any reports with discrepancies will come back to the diocesan office, where they will be screened using the same criteria the State of Oregon uses to screen foster families. If the background check meets the diocesan criteria, the person and the congregation will be notified that the background check has been completed. If the background check indicates a potential issue, the applicant will be notified under the terms of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Final decisions about a person’s ability to serve will be made by the bishop and missioner for thriving congregations.
More information regarding Background Checks is available here.
PERSONNEL PRACTICES FOR CLERGY
Vacancies, Searches, and Hiring
Rector or Vicar: The search for an ordained person to fill a vacancy as rector, vicar, or priest-in-charge is an important event in the life of a congregation. While the focus is to call the next priest, it is important that the congregation use this interim time to acknowledge the impact of the transition on the congregation. Interim periods allow time for prayer and reflection in preparation for a new beginning.
Congregations seeking to call their next priest should contact either the missioner for thriving congregations or the bishop for assistance. The senior warden will make this contact in most cases.
The diocese offers assisted searches for all faith communities seeking to call a priest. The missioner for thriving congregations will assist with the profile for the faith community (often referred to as the “parish profile”). The profile accompanies the vacancy posting along with the position details. The missioner for thriving congregations will receive applications from candidates and will assist the bishop in vetting before they are sent to the search committee. The search committee reviews and vets the applications and determines which names to recommend to the vestry/BAC.
Priest-in-Charge: In some cases, congregations may opt for a modified process whereby the congregation develops a profile to be given to the bishop, who will then suggest a few specific priests to be interviewed for the position of priest-in-charge. The congregation would then interview the candidates and decide if they are willing to accept one of the bishop’s suggestions. In this case, the new priest would serve for a specific, agreed upon amount of time in the position and then be eligible for election as rector or vicar.
Appointed: In certain cases, the bishop may appoint a priest to a position for a time to stabilize a challenging situation. This is done in consultation with parish leaders.
Compensation & Benefits
A compensation policy for full-time stipendiary clergy in the diocese was established by convention in 1983, revised in 1985, and again in January 1991. The objectives of the policy are to provide guidance to the congregations and clergy to establish fair and appropriate compensation throughout the diocese using criteria that recognize differences in the complexities of the job of a priest in charge in both small and large congregations, and the norms of the Episcopal Church. The policy provides for mutual ministry reviews, Letters of Agreement setting forth expectations of both clergy and congregation and a method of placing congregations in ranges of administrative complexity.
The policy states a cash stipend be provided by the congregation in an amount equal to or greater than that listed in the Stipend, Housing, Utilities (SHU) Chart authorized by the diocesan council and updated annually by the diocesan personnel committee. SHU for part-time clergy shall be calculated by applying their full-time equivalent (FTE) to the amount scheduled for the position based on the range and years of experience in the equivalent range. The nine ranges address a minimum for the transitional diaconate, six types of congregations, and compensation levels for a suffragan bishop (if there is one) and the diocesan bishop. The ranges are calculated from data contained in the parochial reports received by March 1 of each year.
For Supply Clergy Compensation, see below.
Housing and Utilities
Housing and utilities are provided by the congregation to stipendiary clergy in one of two ways:
- Provide a house and directly pay for utilities, maintenance, repairs, mutually agreed improvements, and telephone (except for personal charges); or
- Authorize a housing allowance in an amount requested by the priest and approved by the vestry or BAC prior to payment to the clergyperson.
Church Pension Fund Contributions
Pension premiums for stipendiary clergy are paid by the congregation. Participation in the Church Pension Fund by stipendiary active clergy is mandatory and is provided by the vestry/BAC through the faith community’s budget.
Premiums for medical and dental insurance, for stipendiary clergy assigned to parishes and missions, whether full or part-time (20 hours per week, 1,000 hours per year, minimum), and their eligible dependents, shall be at least 80% paid by the congregation, and no more than 20% by the clergy. Premiums for diocesan staff clergy are paid through the diocesan budget.
Group Life and Other Insurance
Group Life Insurance is provided for all diocesan clergy employed half-time or more. Beneficiaries of this policy are determined by the clergy, and premiums are paid by the congregations for their clergy and the diocesan budget for staff clergy. There are additional death benefits provided by the Church Pension Fund. Worker’s Compensation Insurance premiums are paid by the congregation.
Automobile transportation is provided by the congregation in one of two ways:
- Provide an automobile expense account from which automobile expenses based on the mileage rate (recognized by the IRS for income tax expense deduction purposes) will be paid based on the submittal of actual mileage accumulated while on church business.
- Provide an automobile, including insurance, maintenance, and work-related operating expense. (If a car is provided, then accurate records must be kept to document when it is used for church business and when it is used for personal activities, and any personal use is taxable and must be reported to the IRS.)
Professional expenses such as subscriptions to professional journals, dues for memberships in professional organizations, reimbursement for entertainment expenses, etc. are subject for mutual agreement.
All active clergy are required to engage in continuing education in accordance with Title III, Canon 7.5 for deacons and Title III, Canon 9.1 for priests. Adherence to these national canons is mandatory. Although there is no national canonical requirement for lay professionals to seek continuing education, the Episcopal Church in Western Oregon believes it is also important for lay professionals to continue to update their learning.
A Continuing Education allowance is provided by the congregation. Priests are also entitled to up to two weeks of continuing education leave each year that is not charged as annual leave. The diocesan minimum for Continuing Education Allowance is $500 per year for full-time clergy. Continuing Education Allowances for all other staff members should be pro-rated based on this standard.
A Discretionary Fund is provided for the priest-in-charge of a faith community to use for pastoral emergencies and assistance to those in need. A deacon, when assigned to a faith community, may request the use of the fund for needs identified in the course of their diaconal ministry. The fund may be established either by assigning the undesignated offering one Sunday a month for that purpose or by line item in the congregation’s budget.
Vacation, Leave, & Sabbatical
Vacation and Leave
Clergy should have at least one non-work day in which they have no scheduled duties or functions. When duties prevent regular time off, then appropriate compensatory time is encouraged. The congregation should be made aware of the clergyperson’s scheduled time off (sabbath time) and are expected to respect it.
Vacation leave of one month (30 calendar days) each year with a normal stipend and allowances is the norm for all stipendiary clergy.
Day(s) off are a matter of mutual agreement, as is the weekly schedule of full stipend clergy. Two days off each week is the minimum expected.
Emergency and other leaves for illness, death in the family, and other emergencies may be allowed under conditions established by mutual agreement with the vestry or BAC. Effective January 1, 2023, the Family and Medical Leave Act of Oregon provides paid leave. This Act requires the employer and employee to participate in a payroll tax to generate a fund to support the FAMLA.
Participation in other diocesan activities such as clergy conferences, department or committee work, retreats, family camps, diocesan camps, and other conferences are considered job-related responsibilities and do not count as days off, vacation or study leave time.
Supply clergy will be provided by the congregation during authorized leaves and may be provided by negotiation at other times.
Time spent in prayer, professional study, spiritual retreat, and theological reflection is not considered “time off.” Rather, such activities are essential to the exercise of a priestly vocation.
The bishop and clergy with a cure in the Episcopal Church in Western Oregon are encouraged to take periodic sabbatical leaves. Provision for sabbatical leave is to be included in Letters of Agreement, specifying the conditions acceptable to clergy and congregation. These guidelines will serve as a useful beginning point for discussion. Consultation is available from the diocese.
The decisions around which congregation and clergy plan for sabbatical leave should include consideration of ongoing parish life and the financial situation of the congregation. Advance plans should begin at least nine months before the proposed sabbatical.
Sabbatical leave is for the welfare of both the rector/vicar and the congregation and is to be taken during the tenure of the rector/vicar, not at termination, and will not be paid as compensation when the rector/vicar leaves the parish. At the end of a sabbatical leave, the rector/vicar must return to this congregation for one calendar year or more.
The usual length of sabbatical leave is three months after five years of service. Sabbatical time does not accumulate. Other terms, such as a longer leave or greater frequency of leave, may be negotiated in a Letter of Agreement. Credit for time served toward a sabbatical in one position does not transfer to a new position unless specifically granted as a benefit in the initial Letter of Agreement.
During sabbatical leave, the normal compensation package is maintained. Sabbatical expenses, including travel, meals, tuition, and housing, are to be negotiated.
The vestry/BAC should utilize this time to engage in a parallel time of study or reflection. Their work should complement the study and reflection of the priest’s sabbatical plans. The vestry/BAC will determine the overall program needs of the congregation during the time of the sabbatical, a Sabbatical Management Plan will be developed by the vestry/BAC or its designated committee.
The Sabbatical Management Plan is to be completed and approved three months prior to the leave. The plan includes:
- Details and accountabilities, including financing
- The clergy sabbatical plan
- The congregation’s sabbatical plan
- Procedure for engaging the congregation in the sabbatical
- Provision for clergy re-entry into the life of the community
- Return celebration
Mutual Ministry Review
Mutual Ministry Review (MMR) is a process developed to assist congregations and clergy leaders to engage one another using a process of reflection and conversation regarding their ministry as a faith community. The process emphasizes and supports the ministry focus of the congregation as mutually established with shared responsibility around outcomes. Congregations familiar with the mutual ministry review process may pursue a review on their own. However, a best practice is to request assistance from the diocese in order to engage a consultant for this work. This approach allows everyone in the MMR process to fully engage as a participant.
The missioner for thriving congregations provides guidance and consultation for mutual ministry reviews.
An effective mutual ministry review requires a continuous planning process to assure the congregation’s commitment to the mission statement and the translation of that statement into goals, objectives, and specific plans.
The process takes place at a time and location free from distractions and interruptions. Participants are the clergy, vestry/BAC, and may include other elected officers and those involved with leadership roles for education, music, worship, youth, outreach, etc. Those participating should be committed to the concept of growing in mutual ministry, and expect to participate fully throughout the year.
MMRs may be undertaken annually but should take place no more than every three (3) years. The congregation’s review of mission and ministry since the last MMR can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Congregations should develop a process that fits their needs within the guidelines offered above.
Plans developed for the congregation, the clergy, and lay leadership can be refined, coordinated, and specific action plans prepared. The plans should be specific and accurately describe desired outcomes, who will participate, what resources are required, how progress and success will be measured, and when a review of the plan will take place.
The mutual ministry review process is intended to provide an opportunity for the unique strengths, gifts, and experience of the clergy and laity to be identified and supported for the spiritual enrichment of the entire faith community.
Covenants of Ministry
Covenants of Ministry (also called Letters of Agreement) are required for every clergyperson working regular hours on staff in a congregation or for the diocesan office, whether stipendiary or non-stipendiary.
A Covenant of Ministry for rectors/vicars must include:
- Preamble – indicating the name of the congregation and the clergy person and/or other parties involved, the effective dates of the formal relationship, and any other understandings about the agreement.
- Position Description – Stating the primary duties of the clergyperson as mutually understood by the clergyperson and Vestry/BAC, other complimentary duties assumed by the Vestry/BAC and congregation, supervisory relationship with other clergy and lay paid staff and volunteer staff, and expectations for clergy participation in diocesan and community life.
- Compensation – Amount of Stipend, Housing, and Utilities (SHU) determined by the congregation’s placement in the SHU chart, an indication that a portion of the SHU will be paid in the form of non-taxable housing allowance approved annually by vestry/BAC, and what the pay periods will be.
- Benefits – Spell out the terms of the Pension, Group Medical Insurance, Life Insurance, Dental, and any other insurance, automobile, and other expenses.
- Work Week, Vacation, and Leaves – Typical work schedule and days off, amount of vacation including the number of work days and Sundays, national holidays to be taken not to interfere with worship on major holy days, continuing education leave of up to10 days per year with a budgeted amount to cover the costs, sick leave, sabbatical leave plan, and any other leaves.
- Use of Buildings and Office Space – stating the clergy person’s authority to grant use of buildings to individuals and groups within the limits of the congregation’s Building Use Policy with any use of more than a single occurrence subject to approval by vestry/BAC, and that office space is given for the clergy person containing appropriate telephone and computer connections.
- Ministry Review – annual mutual ministry review at agreed upon time and date when this covenant will be reviewed.
- Termination – state that this happens by mutual consent of the clergy person and vestry/BAC, or by decision of the Bishop. Other Arrangements – if any
- Dated Signatures – of the Clergyperson, Senior Warden of the Congregation, and the Bishop.
The responsibility for finding supply clergy lies with vestries and Bishop’s Advisory Committees, and rectors/ vicars/priests-in-charge. The missioner for thriving congregations maintains a list of supply clergy as a resource for congregations. Clergy wishing to be included on this list should contact the bishop’s office. The list is maintained on the diocesan website here.
Non-parochial clergy and licensed clergy of the Episcopal Church in Western Oregon are eligible to supply, provided that they are in good standing with the bishop and meet the standards expected of clergy.
Resignation, Retirement, or Completion of Assignment
The resignation, retirement, or completion of an Interim assignment necessitates careful adherence to protocols to ensure a healthy and stable transition. Departing clergy who choose to continue living in the community are required to follow diocesan guidelines outlining the length of time the clergy may not engage the faith community in the worship setting, pastoral care, or any facet of functioning in their former role. This practice ought to be undertaken out of consideration for the spiritual health and well-being of the faith community and their new priest or deacon.
Following are a set of guidelines to be communicated in a letter to the congregation distributed shortly after one’s announcement of resignation, retirement, or as may be the case with deacons, a new ministry setting assignment.
- The rector’s or vicar’s resignation or retirement, effective on a certain date, signifies the understanding that all priestly, pastoral, and administrative duties in this parish are terminated as of this date.
- It is further mutually understood that this applies equally to the interim period before another rector/vicar assumes office, allowing the congregation adequate time to reflect on where they’ve been, to explore new directions and ministries, and to clarify the style of leadership they envision. The vestry/BAC will make provision for other interim pastoral and priestly ministries for the congregation.
- The former rector/vicar agrees that they will not officiate or assist with any baptisms, weddings, memorial services, or any other sacramental act in this parish.
- The former rector/vicar will not make any kind of pastoral visit to former parishioners without prior consultation with the interim priest or the new rector/vicar. This practice helps the faith community fully engage their work during a transition to separate from the former priest in preparation to receive their new priest. The former priest may exercise ministry in other churches as invited.
- It is further agreed that the rector/vicar, now and after their retirement, will not take part in any way in the process of the selection of either an interim priest or the new permanent priest, except for an exit interview with the vestry/BAC’s consultant if such is requested. Neither will the former priest make any suggestion of clergy who might be considered for either position nor make any comment on the qualification or lack thereof of any person under such consideration.
- It is expected that the former priest will no longer use the resources of the church office and/or staff.
Here is a sample letter to a congregation from a retiring/resigning priest.
Expectations during Transition
The bishop expects that once a clergyperson leaves a congregation, they will bring closure to pastoral relationships with members of that congregation. The health of the congregation is dependent upon how well this transition issue is managed. Former parishioners should understand from the clergy, in a positive and affirming way, that it is not appropriate to continue a pastoral relationship.
The bishop expects that the clergyperson will accept no further requests from members and former members to provide pastoral services at weddings, funerals, baptisms, or any other occasion of public worship for at least one year.
After one year (in most cases), clergy may only accept unsolicited invitations from the interim rector/vicar or rector/vicar.
Relationships Between Clergy of Different Congregations
Clergy who are settled in a particular cure are expected to exercise pastoral oversight and care of persons in their given cure. To intrude, uninvited, into the cure of another clergyperson is a significant breach of professional ethics.
This proscription applies to retired and non-parochial clergy as well as to clergy with cures. If such a pastoral relationship is established, the clergyperson with oversight must be informed.
PERSONNEL PRACTICES FOR LAITY
The Episcopal Church in Western Oregon is committed to abiding by the state, local and federal laws as they relate to employment conditions and opportunities. The diocese affirms its commitment to a policy of equal employment opportunity in terms of race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, age, marital status, and disability. It strongly recommended that each vestry or BAC within the Episcopal Church in Oregon conduct an annual review of their congregation’s personnel policies to remain consistent with all legal and canonically required policies.
Each faith community has a responsibility to define the employment status of their employees. The following definitions address classifications of employment as they inform employment criteria for hourly exempt, and salaried non-exempt, employees.
Exempt Employees are in a class that is “exempt” from recordkeeping and overtime provisions of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Exempt employees are salaried and must meet the criteria established by the U.S. Department of Labor for classification as “exempt”. Compensatory time off for hours worked in excess of 40 per week may be granted at the discretion of the supervisor. The granting of compensatory time to an exempt employee is not to be interpreted as hourly, non-exempt compensation.
Hourly wage staff are classified as “non-exempt”. Support staff includes secretaries, other office workers and maintenance staff.
The following employer requirements apply:
- Log and keep time and work records.
- Pay at least minimum wage.
- Pay overtime compensation for all hours/time worked in excess of 40 per week.
- Regular full-time employees are those employed to work a normal schedule of 40 hours per week.
- Regular part-time employees are scheduled to work 20 or more hours per week but less than full-time.
- Part-time employees are persons scheduled to work less than 20 hours per week and are paid on an hourly basis. This category of employee is not eligible for employee benefits.
- Temporary employees are persons hired for a limited, pre-determined period of time not to exceed one year. Temporary employees may work any number of hours up to and including full-time. They are not eligible for employee benefits. A temporary employee who subsequently becomes a regular employee will be eligible for benefits on the same basis as a newly hired permanent employee; however, the benefits will not be retroactive.
- Contract employees are those who are employed under a contract between the parish or mission and an individual person or company. All terms and conditions of employment are subject to the provisions of the contract negotiated between the two parties.
Compensation & Benefits
The diocese intends to offer wages and benefits that promote the retention of employees and provide economic rewards associated with job performance. The diocese is guided by the following while acknowledging limitations placed on wage increases by the annual budget:
- Annual wage adjustment based on the growth of the Consumer Price Index for the Portland metro area (CPI-U, Portland) as determined by the U.S. Department of Labor. In the event of declining economic times and a negative CPI-U Portland ratio, wage adjustments will not extend below zero growth.
- Wage increases greater than the CPI-U growth rate are to be presented to and authorized by the bishop.
The diocese expects congregations to offer benefits and wages that promote the retention of employees and provide economic rewards comparable to similar positions in their general geographic area. Each congregation is responsible for checking with non-profit organizations in their immediate area for guidance to determine the rates of pay offered for various types of work similar to those performed for the congregation. Employees are to be paid at least the minimum wage rate established by the Fair Labor Standards Act and those guidelines established by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI). Updates on minimum wage requirements are sent to all employers by BOLI.
Congregations are to provide a pension program, medical and dental coverage to regular full-time and regular part-time employees, and medical coverage for their dependents. A congregation may elect to provide other benefits, such as group life insurance or disability insurance.
Continuing Education and Conferences
Staff attendance at meetings, conferences, seminars, or continuing education, if related to the employee’s job and if requested or approved by the supervisor, is considered normal working hours and is compensated accordingly. Diocesan minimum for Continuing Education Allowance is $500 per year for full-time clergy. Continuing Education Allowances for all other staff members should be pro-rated based on this standard.
It is customary to reimburse for transportation costs incurred in conjunction with voluntary participation in diocesan business. Mileage rates for long-distance travel can strain travel budgets, and some accommodations for lower rates of reimbursement may need to be employed. Check for recent mileage rates set by the IRS as these change annually.
Vacation & Leave
The following are designated as paid holidays for all regular full-time employees. Part-time and temporary employees are not paid for days off.
- New Year’s Eve and Day
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
- Presidents’ Day
- Good Friday
- Memorial Day
- Independence Day
- Labor Day
- Thanksgiving Day and the following day
- Christmas Eve and Day
Additional holidays may be authorized by the bishop. When paid holidays fall on a Saturday or Sunday, they will be observed either on the preceding Friday or the following Monday respectively.
Paid vacations are provided for full-time and part-time employees, both exempt and non-exempt, in the amount of twenty (20) paid days per calendar year, accrued on a basis of 13.3 hours per month. Holidays that fall within the scheduled vacation are not counted as a vacation. Temporary employees are not eligible for vacation. Illness that occurs during scheduled vacation may be charged as personal absence leaves rather than vacation upon presentation of a doctor’s certificate to the employee’s supervisor. At termination, employee will receive pro-rated pay for unused vacation time.
Paid sick leave is intended to minimize the economic effect of illness or accident of the employee or member of the employee’s family as defined by Oregon law. Employees accrue one day per month for sick leave beginning with the first date of permanent employment. Sick days may accrue up to 30 days and have no value upon termination of employment.
Family, Maternity, and Parental Leave
The diocese grants leave to diocesan staff under the provisions of the Family Medical Leave Act and the Military Caregiver Leave Act. Allowable leave for eligible employees can be up to 12 weeks for child care or up to 26 weeks of military caregiver leave to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness during a 12-month period. Refer to FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) and OFLA (Oregon Family Leave Act) for eligibility details.
Special Leave Time
Time off with pay for jury duty, military service, or funerals is granted by the supervisor as circumstances dictate.
With suitable advance notice, unpaid leave time over and above paid leave may be granted by the supervisor for special circumstances.
Unlimited Time Off (UTO)
The diocesan office of the Episcopal Church in Western Oregon moved to unlimited time off (UTO) beginning January 2022. Exempt Employees are permitted to request time off and to ensure that their work assignments will not be compromised by time off. In cooperation with their supervisor, UTO allows employees to manage their work product while also managing personal obligations, family emergencies, and other circumstances.
The normal work week is defined as Monday through Sunday. An employee’s supervisor may establish a variation to the normal work. Variations are to be recorded on the employee’s job description.
Payment of overtime compensation is required to all non-exempt employees working in excess of forty (40) hours per work week. All overtime compensation is to be paid at one and one-half times the employee’s normal hourly pay rate. Only hours worked in excess of forty (40) in the work week are paid at the overtime rate.
Non-exempt employees must be paid overtime compensation when incurred. They may not be granted time off in lieu of overtime compensation (even if it is calculated at time and one-half), and they may not voluntarily “elect” out of overtime compensation. Compensatory time off within the same work week may be granted so that total hours for the week do not exceed forty (40).
The work week is defined by the employer and communicated to employees. Once established, the work week may not be changed for the purpose of avoiding payment of overtime compensation. Employees may be required to work overtime because of the nature of the workload. The supervisor will give as much advance notice as possible when this occurs. Employees may not work overtime hours without advance approval from their supervisor.
The time record ensures accurate payment of wages and overtime and records appropriate breaks. It also provides a record of vacations, holidays, and leave taken. Either the employee or the supervisor may record time for the work week, but both must sign the record to certify accuracy.
Breaks and Lunch Period
Fulltime employees are provided two paid 15-minute rest periods for every four (4) hours of work. Additionally, employees are entitled to up to thirty (30) minutes for a lunch break at a time agreed upon with the supervisor.
Part-time employees are granted the number of rest periods and lunch breaks in proportion to the length of their workday on the same basis as full-time employees.
Performance Reviews & Voluntary Termination
At least once annually, an employee should have the benefit of an evaluation review and appraisal with their supervisor. Reviews are intended to provide a mutual opportunity to celebrate successes, provide clear and reliable feedback, minimize or eliminate unrealistic expectations, and renew professional goals, in addition to evaluating job performance and accountability. The employee’s position description is a critical tool in this review.
This evaluation review normally has two parts: (1) a written self-evaluation by the employee reviewing job descriptions, goals, strengths, areas needing improvement, and general comments; and (2) a written appraisal of the employee’s performance by the supervisor. It is recommended that the employee and supervisor meet to discuss the employee’s self-evaluation, that the supervisor then prepares a written review of the employee’s performance, and then a final meeting is held to share the results of that review. It is appropriate for a new employee to receive quarterly reviews during the first year. Both the employee and the supervisor are to sign the final written statement of the review. The employee is to receive a written copy of the review.
Supervisors will recommend salary adjustments each budget year, taking into consideration the following:
- the supervisor’s summary from the evaluation review
- salary history
- general economic factors, e.g., cost of living adjustments
- relevant diocesan guidelines
Any employee who intends to resign is requested to give at least two weeks’ notice in writing to their supervisor.
Alcohol & Facility Use Policies
Diocesan Policy on Use of Alcohol
(approved by Diocesan Council March 5, 2016)
These guidelines recognize the long-standing tradition of appropriate and moderate use of beverages containing alcohol in the Episcopal Church, and our Biblical traditions of wine usage in our ancient church, but also recognize that alcoholic beverages are mood-altering substances affecting behavior, can be dangerously addictive when the usage gets uncontrollable, and all aspects of alcohol serving are subject to governmental laws and regulations.
- The church must provide a safe and welcoming environment for all people, including people in recovery from addiction to alcohol.
- Congregations and congregational leaders should be thoroughly familiar with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations concerning alcoholic beverages, and such laws and regulations shall be scrupulously followed.
- Some congregations may decide not to serve alcohol at events or gatherings. Others may decide to permit limited use of alcoholic beverages at church-sponsored events. Both can be appropriate if conducted with restraint and consideration.
- When alcohol is serviced, it must be monitored, and those showing signs of intoxication must not be served. Whenever alcohol is served, the rector, vicar, or priest-in-charge must appoint an experienced member of the congregation to oversee its serving.
- Serving alcoholic beverages at congregational events where minors are present is strongly discouraged. If minors are present, alcohol must be served at a separate station that is monitored at all times to prevent underage drinking.
- Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages must be clearly labeled as such. Food prepared with alcohol does not need to be labeled, provided the alcohol is completely evaporated by the cooking process; however, it is recommended that even in this case, the use of alcohol in cooking be noted on a label.
- Whenever alcohol is served, appealing non-alcoholic alternatives must always be offered with equal prominence and accessibility.
- The serving of alcoholic beverages at church events should not be publicized as an attraction of the event, e.g. “wine and cheese reception,” “cocktail party,” and “beer and wine tasting.”
- Those in charge of ministries or events organized and managed by congregations, inside or outside of church premises, will make certain that alcohol consumption is not the focus of the event and that drinking alcohol is not an exclusively normative activity.
- Food must be served when alcohol is present.
- Church groups or outside organizations sponsoring the activity or event at which alcoholic beverages are served within church premises must have permission from the clergy or vestry/BAC and must be familiar with and scrupulously follow all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations concerning alcoholic beverages. Such groups or organizations must also assume specific responsibility in writing for those persons who might become intoxicated and must provide alternative transportation for anyone whose capacity to drive may be impaired. Consulting with liability insurance carriers is advised, in order to assure that any liability incurred by the use of alcohol is fully covered.
- Alcoholic beverages shall not be served when the business of the Church is being discussed or acted upon.
- Clergy shall consecrate an appropriate amount of wine when celebrating the Eucharist and perform ablutions in a way that does not foster misuse.
- Clergy are urged to consider providing non-alcoholic wine as well as regular wine in the serving of the sacrament at Holy Communion.
Facility Usage Policy
Extra caution is advised when offering any portion of a church campus for rent. Faith communities should understand the limits to renting out property in order that the rental is not earning “unrelated business income” (UBE). This extra income endangers the Church’s exemption from both property and income taxes.
- Single-use users can be either non-profit or for-profit:
- Facility Use Agreement
- Proof of Liability Insurance naming Church as “other insured.”
- On-going users (non-profits):
- Facility Use Agreement or other Agreement (which MUST be either drafted by or reviewed by the Chancellor before it is signed)
- Proof of Liability Insurance naming Church as “other insured.”
- Proof of their tax exemption.
- On-going users (for-profit): Risk of Unrelated Business Income
- Allow the use of the building for free (they may make a contribution, but Church may not require it nor specify the amount).
- Facility Use Agreement
- Proof of Liability Insurance naming Church as “other insured.”
- We don’t allow them to use the building.
- It is possible to enter into paid contracts with for-profit users as long as the contracts are crafted to demonstrate the user as part of the mission and ministry of the church. This requires careful consideration and MUST be done with legal counsel.
- Contract (which MUST be either drafted by or reviewed by the Chancellor before it is signed)
- Proof of Liability Insurance naming Church as “other insured.”
- Allow the use of the building for free (they may make a contribution, but Church may not require it nor specify the amount).
Each congregation of the diocese is required by Diocesan Canons (6.2 for a mission, 6.6 for a parish) to hold an annual meeting each year upon a day and hour determined by the vestry or BAC. Notice of the annual meeting, signed by the rector or vicar or by one of the wardens, is to be posted in a conspicuous place at a main entrance to the church at least one week before the date of the meeting.
The purpose of the meeting is to hear and act upon reports of the rector or vicar, the treasurer, the auditing committee, the church school, and the various commissions, guilds and other organizations; for the election of members of the vestry or BAC, for the election of delegates to the annual meeting of the diocesan convention, and for the transaction of such other business as may legally and canonically come before the meeting.
Voting at the annual meeting is limited to those present and voting by proxy is not permitted. Legal voters of the parish or mission are defined in Diocesan Canon 6.1.c.
The presiding officer at the annual meeting shall be the rector or vicar and if there is no rector or vicar, or in the case of absence or inability to act, one of the wardens shall preside. The clerk of the vestry or BAC shall be the clerk of the annual meeting and all meetings of the congregation. In the absence of the clerk, the meeting shall elect a clerk pro tempore.
Diocesan Program Assessment (DPA)
DIOCESAN PROGRAM ASSESSMENT (DPA)
The program and budget of a mission or a parish represents the ministry priorities and stewardship of that congregation. The budget includes the costs of ministries, personnel (including benefits), buildings, facilities, equipment, maintenance debt service, and the Diocesan Program Assessment (DPA).
The DPA is the primary source of income to fund the operation of diocesan programs as established by the congregations in the process described above, including specifically, all administrative costs of the Diocese of Oregon, the diocesan contribution to The Episcopal Church levied by the Executive Council, all diocesan mission projects, the expenses of Diocesan Convention, the charges of the General Convention, and all charges incurred by the Diocese of Oregon. Additionally, the DPA is the secondary source of funding for the bishop’s salary after the Episcopal Endowment Fund, which is the primary source of funds for this purpose.
The Episcopal Church is, by its title, a church which understands the diocese to be the basic unit of the church. Every Episcopal congregation contributes to the diocesan (and national) church as a tangible indication of its support of the church beyond parochial bounds. The DPA is an important statement of trust between the congregations of the diocese and is a means of undertaking Christ’s mission together. Much of the diocesan program is, in turn, of direct or indirect service to local congregations. The DPA, and the budget for its allocation is established annually by the Diocesan Convention. For more information see Canon 5.2.
Calculation of DPA is currently under review.
- This formula and process will be applied until the Convention passes a new approach:
- The amount of DPA owed for any year shall be equal to the Applicable Rate times Assessable Expenses (AME). The Applicable Rate shall equal 10 percent of the Base Amount plus 18 percent of Assessable Expenses in excess of the Base Amount. The Base Amount for any year shall equal $30,000 plus a cost-of-living adjustment for changes after 2009. The cost-of-living adjustment shall be calculated by the same method as used in calculating cost of living adjustments to diocesan stipend, housing and utilities. Assessable Ministry Expenses equals the average of the following for the latest two years as reported by the congregation on the parochial report: “To diocese of assessment, apportionment, or fair share” (line 12) plus “All other operating expenses” (line 14).
- Remedies and Penalties for not Paying DPA are currently under review. Contact the missioner for thriving congregations for assistance.
- Congregation Income Sources:
- The congregation’s income for program and budget typically includes open offerings, annual pledges, contributors (those who give, but do not pledge), special offerings, investments in the Diocesan Investment Fund, market interest from operating cash or dividends from securities owned by the congregation.
- NOTE: Mission congregations should consult with the diocesan finance office about investment of mission funds or stock transfers. Stocks or bonds received by missions can be transferred or sold ONLY by the Board of Trustees of the diocese.
- The resources of a faith community (and by extension those available to the diocese) include the experience and ability of its members, and a portion of money given to them to manage, that is returned for God’s work (a tithe). Stewardship includes an understanding of proportional giving, with the tithe as a goal, prudent management of all financial resources, the control of expenses, annual program and budget plans, proper accounting records/reports, prompt payment of the DPA, and the appropriate care and use of the church campus.
- Fees for Services:
- The church has no schedule of fees for services: pastoral or sacramental. However, any person may show appreciation or thanksgiving for such services by making an offering to the congregation’s program or to the priest’s discretionary fund.
- Checks should be made payable to the church rather than the priest.
Finance & Planned Giving
Offerings established by the canons of the diocese for a specific purpose are to be sent promptly to the treasurer of the diocese by check payable to the Episcopal Church in Western Oregon, noting any special designation on the check. Please see Canon 5.4 for information regarding canonical offerings, which include the Bishop’s Visitation Offering, Theological Education Offering, Thanksgiving Day, and Day of Pentecost Offerings.
A priest’s discretionary fund is designated by The Episcopal Church Canon, Title III.14.24 as the loose plate offering on one Sunday each month. As an alternative, many congregations provide a line item in their operating budget for this purpose.
Other Offerings not canonically required but traditionally forwarded through the diocese include the following:
- The United Thank Offering has two ingatherings each year which are forwarded to the diocesan finance office.
- The Good Friday Offering reflects the national support of The Episcopal Church for the work of the Anglican Communion in Jerusalem and the Middle East.
- Many congregations use Birthday Thank Offerings for local programs or for camping scholarships.
- Concern for world relief and development is expressed through the Episcopal Relief and Development Fund collections.
- Planned giving through bequests in the distribution of an estate or for memorial gifts is an essential part of stewardship responsibility. The diocesan finance officer has programs and materials helpful to encourage provision for the church in wills, bequests, endowments, etc. All congregations are urged to avail themselves of this resource in planning for the future.
A prudent vestry/BAC develops policies for the review and acceptance of memorial gifts. Adequate funding for the installation, maintenance, and review of the appropriateness of church use of a memorial should be confirmed by the governing body before the gift is accepted.
Insurance & Use of Buildings
Group Insurance Program
Every mission congregation participates in the diocesan group insurance program on church property. The policy presently provided by Church Insurance Company covers fire, theft, vandalism, comprehensive liability, director and officer liability, and a ten-million-dollar liability umbrella policy. Parish congregations are free to select a different carrier but are urged to use the same carrier and to participate (as the mission congregations do) in the risk management plan with Church Insurance. Risk management provides a periodic audit and advice of experts with broad experience in the mitigation of exposure to fire, theft, and public safety hazards. Attention to risk management recommendations will enhance the welfare and safety of the congregation and may result in a reduction of the cost of insurance.
BACs and vestries are responsible for a current inventory of all property of the congregation. It is useful to maintain a photographic record and permanently mark for identification all church silver, and other valuables. Inventory records should be stored in the same protected location as other church records.
Annual Insurance Review:
Prudent practice suggests an annual review of all insurable items and a periodic appraisal of buildings and their contents, followed by consideration of appropriate coverage limits with the insurance carrier.
The BAC or vestry may find it appropriate to use a standard form for the use of property and facilities of the congregation by others, for short (several hours), extended, or repeating periods of time. To avoid misunderstandings, confusion, conflict with other parish activity and possible exposure to liability claims, clear policy and documentation of such use is essential.
The use of a facilities checklist will be helpful for BACs and vestries as a starting point in developing appropriate policies in each congregation. It should include:
- Use to be made of the property, including specifying rooms, equipment, number of occupants, parking etc.
- Schedule of days and hours of use, in order to avoid conflict with other activities and to allow rescheduling if necessary.
- Maintenance, clean up, and any restrictions such as food, smoking, alcohol, or activity not appropriate for the space used.
- Utilities, if significant (lights, hot water, HVAC)
- Certificates of Insurance to cover additional liability exposure, naming the diocese as additional insured. “Hold harmless clauses” are not very useful in case of an accident.
- Reimbursement for the use of the property, cost of utilities and repair of equipment or facilities and when and how payment is made.
- Periodic Review and renewal (if indicated) should be clearly provided. “Open-ended” agreements should be avoided.
- Abide by the diocesan-approved Alcohol Use Policy
Long-term use should be by PERMIT or LICENSE with well-defined termination provisions and consequences of default. Oregon has stringent tenant/landlord laws, which make it prudent to avoid terms such as “rent,” “rental,” and “lease.” “Fees for cost reimbursement” is acceptable terminology.
Written confirmation of a permit or license, including acceptance by the user, should be on file in the parish records, and if a mission congregation, a copy sent to the Board of Trustees for approval.
Programs & Budgets
Preparations and decisions about the annual diocesan program and budget involve the bishop, departments, commissions and committees, the management subcommittee of the diocesan council, the convocations, and the annual meeting of the convention of the diocese. A structure is designed to provide opportunity for input from a variety of sources and concerns in the diocese and to ensure that the final product represents a consensus of priorities by those using the programs and those funding them.
Preparing Goals and Budget Requests:
Each department, commission, and committee develops tentative goals and an estimate of the costs necessary to produce the results desired. These tentative plans are reviewed, and the goals and costs are forwarded to diocesan council to collate the costs.
Drafts of the Budget:
During the summer, the diocesan council management sub-committee works on preparing a draft of the budget for consideration by diocesan council at the June meeting. Diocesan council needs to prepare a budget that is balanced; most often the requests far exceed the projected income.
The Proposed Program and Budget:
The budget that is approved by diocesan council is sent on to the convocations for discussion and to the annual meeting of the convention for approval by vote.
Congregation Program and Budget:
Each congregation’s program and budget is developed after the annual meeting of convention and is presented to the annual meeting. A mission congregation budget is subject to some special procedures related to mission, finances, and property matters.
The budget for a parish or mission is developed and administered in accordance with its bylaws.
Property, Buildings, & Redevelopment
A parish Corporation holds legal title to all real property of the parish, in trust for the Episcopal Church in Western Oregon and the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. The Parish Corporation is responsible for the upkeep, maintenance, and operation of all real and personal property owned by the parish, and all expenses incurred in these activities. The parish may, subject to the provisions of Canons 5.3, 6.3 and 6.4, mortgage its property or incur other debt for which it is responsible.
The purchase, lease, mortgage, or sale of real property, and certain modifications of existing improvements to real property, require consultation with, and approval of, the Board of Trustees, and written consent of the bishop and the Standing Committee. Diocesan staff is available to assist with compliance with these requirements and with the scheduling of consultations with the bishop, the Board of Trustees, and the Standing Committee.
A mission congregation is responsible for all costs and expenses, including mortgage payments and other debts, but since it is not incorporated, the Episcopal Church in Western Oregon, through its Board of Trustees, holds title to all mission property.
The mission must notify the bishop and the Board of Trustees, seeking their counsel for proposals to acquire property, expand or make any major improvement to the existing property. Any unbudgeted expenditure that exceeds $5,000, including memorial funds, must have the approval of the Board of Trustees.
Mission congregations proposing new buildings, major changes to existing buildings, furniture and appointments of a permanent nature, or the acquisition of a church organ must submit a proposal, including plans and specifications to the bishop and the Board of Trustees for approval.
A parish or mission interested in redeveloping their property is required to contact the bishop and the redevelopment team as soon as possible. A process along with guidelines for pursuing property redevelopment is forthcoming.
No parish may encumber by execution of a mortgage, trust deed, or contract of purchase or real property, without first receiving the written consent of the bishop and Standing Committee (see Canon 5.3.3). This requirement does not apply when refinancing an existing loan.
Title to the property of all missions is vested in the diocese, and written consent of the bishop and the Board of Trustees must be secured prior to purchase, sale, or otherwise encumbering mission property. (See Canon 6.2.9.)
The above restrictions suggest that it is prudent for a vestry or BAC, before beginning any major design or financing process, to contact the diocesan office for guidance.
Registers, Records, & Reports
Every congregation and institution must have an annual review of the books audit (Due September 1 for the prior year), completed and submitted to the diocesan office.
Accuracy of Records:
The rector of a parish or the vicar of a mission is responsible for ensuring that the registers, records, reports, and mailing list of the congregation are current and accurate. Should a vacancy occur, the registers and records must be given to the wardens and are their responsibility from the time the rector or vicar leaves a congregation until they are delivered to the new rector or vicar.
Accessibility of Records:
Registers and records of a parish or mission are open and available for inspection by the rector, vicar, the wardens, vestry or the BAC, the bishop, or any person deputized by the bishop, and are the property of the diocese to be deposited with the bishop if the congregation is dissolved.
Content of Records:
The vicar or rector is required by Diocesan Canon 7.3 and The Episcopal Church Canon Title III.14.3 to have recorded in the parish register(s) all baptisms, confirmations, marriages, burials, and the names of all communicants of the mission or parish. Standard church registers with appropriate formats for the information required are available from The Episcopal Church suppliers.
NOTE: In all registers that include names, it is important that the index of names and the page of record in the register be kept current. A record search will be facilitated if last names are recorded first in the index.
- The Service Register is a record of all public and private church services. Each entry is signed by the officiating minister and includes the date, type of service, place, time, number of attending, and the number of communions administered.
- A Baptismal Register includes the name and gender of the person being baptized, the names of parents, sponsors, date and place of birth, date and place of baptism, and signature of the officiant.
- The Register of Confirmations records the name of the confirmand, date and place of birth, date and place of baptism, date and place of confirmation, and the signatures of the presenter and bishop.
- The Communicant Register lists the name of the communicant, date registered, and if registered by confirmation, transfer (from which parish/mission), received, or restored. Also recorded are those leaving the congregation, indicating the reason for and date of removal from the register, and the date (and to which parish/mission) if transferred out.
- The Marriage Register records the date and place of the marriage ceremony, the names of the bride(s) and/or groom(s), their ages, marital status, places of residence, parents’ names, and the signatures of the bride, groom, witnesses and the presiding priest.
- The Register of Burial records the name of the deceased, the last place of residence, the date and cause of death, the date and place of burial, and the signature of the officiant.
- Annual Parochial Report:
- It is the responsibility of the rector or the vicar to see to it that the annual parochial report is prepared and submitted to the diocese by March 1 as required by The Episcopal Church Canon Title I.6.2 and by Diocesan Canon 7.4. Canon I.6.2 requires the diocese to forward these annual reports to The Episcopal Church office by May 1. Late submission of the reports means scheduling the data processing out of order, the extra cost of which will be passed back to the delinquent congregations. The annual parochial report is signed by the vicar or rector, a warden, and the treasurer.
- Required Report Data:
- Information required in the parochial report includes statistics and financial data needed to determine an accurate view of the state of the church (in the diocese and the nation). Most of the information is available in the service register, the parish register(s), and the treasurer’s account books. Budget data is required for the coming year for clergy stipends, utility costs, housing allowance, and financial information from all organizations, endowments, trust accounts, and bank accounts.
- Information from the parochial report is also used to annually update the congregation ranges, which are used to determine minimum compensation for full-time clergy (See Annual SHU chart on the diocesan website under Finance and Human Resources).
- Financial Reviews:
- The treasurer assists the vicar or rector by preparing the financial section of the annual report. A review of the treasurer’s books need not be completed before submitting the report, but the proposed date of the review and the name(s) of the reviewer(s) are to be noted in the report.