The Canons of
the Diocese of Northwest Texas
(Notes: 1. While every attempt is made to insure that this copy of the Canons of the Diocese of Northwest Texas is accurate and current, this is not an official copy of the Canons, and as such is not authoritative. Official copies may be obtained through the diocesan office.2. The Constitution of the Diocese can be found here.)
The following Summary Table of Contents will take you to the individual Canons listed. For a complete table of Contents, click here. To go directly to Canon 1, click here.
Clerical Members of Convention
Lay Delegates to Convention
Business of Convention
Committees of Convention
Secretary of the Diocese
Treasurer of the Diocese
Registrar of the Diocese
Committees and Commissions of the Diocese
The University of the South
Establishment of New Places of Worship
Organization and Recognition of Parishes
Change of Status of Parish or Mission
The Filling of Vacant Cures
Dissolution of the Pastoral Relation
| CANON 31
Mission and Congregation Meetings
Parish Registers and Parochial Reports
Northwest Texas Episcopal Board of Trustees
Real Property, Investments and Incorporation
Church Pension Fund
Church and Diocesan Debt
Ecclesiastical Discipline and Trial Court
Record of Constitution and Canons
Amendment of Canons
Clerical Members of Convention
Section 1. Clergy List. At least two weeks prior to the meeting of any special or annual Convention of this Diocese the Bishop, or in the Bishop's absence, the Standing Committee shall cause to be prepared a list of all clergy canonically resident in this Diocese containing the names of their respective congregations or other ministries in which they may be engaged, or in the case of those who are not so engaged, their place of residence; but no such clergy while suspended from the ministry shall have a place on such list. There shall be indicated on such list the names of all clergy entitled to seats and votes in the Convention as prescribed by Article III of the Constitution and Canons of this Diocese. A copy of this list shall be sent to the Secretary of the Convention and the Chair of the Committee on Credentials.
Section 2. Disputes. If the right of any clerical member to a seat and vote in the Convention is claimed or disputed, the question shall be determined by the Convention after consideration of the findings and recommendations of the Committee on Credentials.
Lay Delegates to Convention
Section 1. Lay Delegate Certification. The election of delegates and alternates to any Diocesan Convention shall be certified in writing by the minister-in-charge of the congregation of which they are the representatives or, in the absence of the minister, by a Warden or by the Clerk of such congregation. Certification of election shall be upon the form approved by the Committee on Credentials and distributed by the Secretary of the Convention.
Section 2. Certificates Sent to Committee on Credentials. The certificates of election shall be delivered to the Chair of the Committee on Credentials not less than ten days prior to the meeting of Convention. From these certificates, the Committee on Credentials shall prepare a list of the lay delegates entitled to seats and votes in the Convention. A copy of such list shall be sent to the Secretary of Convention.
Section 3. Disputes. If the right of any lay delegate to a seat and vote in the Convention is claimed or disputed, the question shall be determined by the Convention after consideration of the findings and recommendations of the Committee on Credentials.
Section 4. Vacancies after Convening of Convention. In the case of failure of one or more delegates or alternates from any congregation in union with Convention to attend the Convention, the minister in charge of such congregation shall make such appointment as may assure full representation in the Convention. In the absence of such minister, the power of appointment shall fall to the Wardens in order of precedence. Any such appointments shall be promptly reported to the Committee on Credentials.
Section 5. Attendance. It shall be the duty of lay delegates to insure by their attendance at all sessions of the Convention that the congregation electing them is at all times fully represented.
Section 6. Acts Binding. If, for whatever cause, a congregation is not represented at any Convention or during any portion thereof, such congregation shall nevertheless be bound by all acts of the Convention.
Section 7. Nonrepresentation. No congregation which shall have failed to pay all of the assessment levied upon it for the preceding fiscal year, or shall have failed to provide to the Diocesan Office by September 1st a copy of the congregationís preceding yearís audit, shall be entitled to vote in the Convention; provided, however, that such vote may be granted by resolution of the Standing Committee and with a two-thirds vote of the Convention. The Treasurer of the Diocese shall report all such delinquencies to the Committee on Credentials no later than ten days prior to the day on which the Convention convenes, and the Committee shall report the same to the Convention in its initial report to certify the presence of a quorum.
Section 8. Term. Delegates may be elected by their congregation for a term up to three (3) years. If a term of greater than one (1) year is selected, the congregation shall provide for staggered terms.
amended 1991, 2001
Secretary of Convention
Section 1. General Duties. The Secretary of Convention shall be the Secretary of the Diocese and shall serve as an ex-officio member of the Committee on Credentials. In addition to the duties prescribed elsewhere in the Constitution and Canons of the Diocese, the Secretary shall have the following duties:
A. To be responsible for the recording of the minutes of the Convention and when approved by the Committee for the Approval of the Minutes, to enter them in the Journal.
B. To send the blank certificates of election of the lay delegates as required by Canon 2.
C. To send to the Secretary of the House of Deputies of the General Convention a proper certificate of the election of clerical and lay Deputies to the General Convention, and to perform such other duties as may be required by the General Convention.
D. To send to each congregation entitled to representation in the Convention the name of the Chair of the Resolutions Committee and the Canon regarding submission of resolutions.
Section 2. Journal. The Secretary of Convention shall attend to the publication, under the supervision of the Bishop, and distribution of a sufficient number of printed copies of the Journal of the Convention which shall contain a directory of Diocesan officers; committees and commissions; a list of the clergy of the Diocese; a list of all congregations in the Diocese; a list of lay delegates present at the Convention; the Bishop's annual address to the Convention; the minutes of the proceedings of the Convention; the Necrology list; a list of the lay readers of the Diocese; and such reports and other items as may be specified. Distribution of said Journal shall be as follows:
A. One copy to every member of the clergy canonically resident in the Diocese.
B. One copy to every lay delegate to the Convention.
C. One copy to the Parliamentarian.
D. One copy to the Clerk of each congregation of the Diocese.
E. Two copies certified to be correct by the Bishop and by the Secretary of the Convention to the Registrar.
F. Two copies of the Journal of the Convention, immediately upon publication, together with Episcopal charges, statements, and such other papers as may show the state of the church in this jurisdiction to be forwarded to the Secretary of the House of Deputies, and one copy to the Archives of the Church. (II.6.3.a))
Section 3. Convention and Journal Expenses. The Secretary shall furnish to the Treasurer of the Diocese within one month after the adjournment of the Convention a statement of all special appropriations allowed by the Convention and not included in any approved budget. The Secretary shall also examine and certify to the Treasurer of the Convention the bills for printing and other expenses of the Journal and for any other official work as appropriate.
Business of Convention
Section 1. Call to Order. At the opening of Convention, the President shall call it to order. In the absence of the Bishop, the President of the Standing Committee shall call the Convention to order and a President pro tempore of the Convention shall be elected from among its members.
Section 2. Quorum. The President shall call for a report from the Committee on Credentials in order to ascertain the presence of a quorum. In the event such a quorum is present, the President shall declare the Convention open and ready for business.
Section 3. Order of Business. The President shall then call for a report from the Committee on Dispatch of Business which shall recommend such changes, if any, as may be appropriate to the Order of Business. For all annual meetings of the Convention, except where there is to be an election of a Bishop, such Order of Business shall include the following:
A. Announcement of committee and commission appointments.
B. Nominations from the floor for offices to be filled by the Convention.
C. Election of officers.
D. Presentation of annual report by the Bishop.
E. Reports of officers.
F. Presentation of the annual budget.
G. Reports of committees and commissions of the Convention and the Diocese as appropriate.
H. Announcement and selection of future sites for Convention.
Section 4. Nominations from the Floor. Nominations from the floor shall be accepted as provided in Canon 6, Section 7.
Section 5. Resolutions. All petitions, memorials and resolutions presented to Convention, other than courtesy resolutions and resolutions from Convocations, must be submitted in writing to the Secretary of the Convention at least forty-five days prior to the convening date of the Convention. In the event such petitions, memorials or resolutions are not so received, they may not be considered by the Convention except upon a majority vote permitting same. Deanery Convocations must send written copies of their resolutions to each congregation. These must be received at least fourteen (14) days prior to the opening session of Annual Convention.
Section 6. Reports. All reports must be submitted to the Diocesan Office at least forty-five days prior to the convening of the Convention.
Section 7. Distribution of Reports and Resolutions. Reports, nominations, resolutions, and other items of business for the Convention shall be distributed to the clerical members and the delegates of Convention at least thirty days prior to the convening of the Convention, except as otherwise provided.
amended 1989, 1993,1998
Committees of Convention
Section 1. Appointment. At least 120 days before the annual meeting of the Convention, the President of the Convention shall appoint the members of those committees enumerated hereafter. Additional committees may be created by the Convention as deemed appropriate. The members of each committee shall serve until their successors are appointed and any vacancies may be filled immediately. The President shall announce the appointments at each annual meeting of the Convention. Except as otherwise indicated, the composition and membership of each committee shall be determined by the President.
Section 2. Approval of Minutes. The Committee for the Approval of the Minutes shall review the minutes of the Convention prior to their being printed in the Journal.
Section 3. Credentials. The Committee on Credentials shall consider all claims and disputes affecting the right to seat or representative privilege in the Convention. It shall approve the form for the certification of election for lay delegates to the Convention, and it shall be responsible for the list of lay delegates entitled to seat and vote in the Convention. The committee shall certify all changes in the delegations of the Convention. The Secretary of the Convention shall be a member of this committee.
Section 4. Dispatch of Business. The Committee on Dispatch of Business shall assist in arranging the agenda for sessions of the Convention, expedite the transaction of business in an orderly manner and present for consideration of the Convention all unfinished or delayed business.
Section 5. Elections. The Committee on Elections shall supervise, in the interest of accuracy and fairness, all elections by ballot of the Convention and also, when requested by the President, determine the results of other voting by the Convention. This committee shall be responsible for the appointment of tellers, who shall be confirmed communicants of a congregation in union with convention, but they need not be members of the Convention.
Section 6. Necrology. The Committee on Necrology shall report to the annual meeting of the Convention a list of clergy and laity who have served at the diocesan level and who since the last annual meeting of Convention have departed this life. The Committee shall offer suitable memorials or resolutions pertaining thereto.
Section 7. Nominating Committee.
A. The Nominating Committee shall consist of at least one clerical member and at least one lay person, from each deanery, of different congregations, appointed for a term of one year by the Bishop, who shall designate one member as chairman of the committee.
B. Nominations, excepting those canonically required to be made by the Bishop, or as otherwise provided, shall be submitted to the chair of the committee on the designated Nomination Form at least sixty days prior to the opening of Convention.
C. The Nominating Form may include comments from the nominee pertinent to the nomination, and it shall include:
(1) The specific office or position for which nomination is made;
(2) Name and congregation of nominee;
(3) Biography of nominee, including current and present church offices and responsibilities;
(4) Comments as to the suitability of the nominee for the nomination;
(5) Statement of willingness to serve if elected;
(6) Statement signed by proposer that nominee is qualified in conformity with Section 6 of ARTICLE VII, and Section 3 of Canon 16.
D. The Nominating Committee shall ensure that there be sufficient qualified candidates to fill all elected positions.
E. Any nomination received after the deadline must be presented in writing at the opening session of the Convention, with all the requirements set forth in Section 7.C.
Section 8. Parliamentarian. The Parliamentarian shall be appointed by the Bishop, and upon request of a committee, shall offer parliamentary assistance to said committee.
Section 9. Resolutions. The Committee on Resolutions shall consider and evaluate such resolutions as shall be referred to it by the President of convention and shall recommend to the Convention such action thereon as it deems appropriate. The committee may offer resolutions of courtesy on its own initiative. The resolutions which shall be referred to the Committee on Resolutions shall be those which do not fall within the purview of any other committee or commission of the Convention or the Diocese.
amended 1989, 1998, 1999
Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised shall be the parliamentary authority for all matters of procedure not specifically covered in this Constitution and Canons or by specific rules of procedure adopted by the Convention.
Secretary of the Diocese
In addition to the duties prescribed elsewhere in these Canons or otherwise assigned, the Secretary of the Diocese shall have the following duties:
A. To serve as Secretary of the Executive Council;
B. To serve as a member ex-officio of the CredentialsCommittee;
C. To give notice of election or appointment of all persons elected or appointed at the Convention or any other time during the year, and in the case of a new or special committee, to send a copy of the resolution creating such a committee;
D. To discharge all communications and other duties required by the Executive Council and the General Convention.
Treasurer of the Diocese
Section 1. Duties. In addition to the duties prescribed elsewhere in these Canons or otherwise assigned, the Treasurer of the Diocese shall have the following duties:
A. To act as the financial agent of the Diocese for the receipt and disbursement of funds collected under the authority of the Convention, the receipt and disbursement whereof is not otherwise regulated.
B. As requested, to present to the Executive Council, a report at any meeting thereof as to the financial condition of the Diocese from time to time.
C. To present annually to the Convention a written account of the several funds in the custody of the Treasurer for the previous fiscal year.
D. To deliver to a duly elected successor all funds, credit accounts, papers and books belonging to the Diocese and held in custody and to take a proper receipt thereof.
E. To pay, when due, all regularly budgeted items. The Treasurer shall pay other items only upon warrant of the Executive Council.
F. To make recommendations to the Convention and the Executive Council as to the handling of diocesan accounts and the keeping of all records thereof.
G. To report to the Chair of Credentials any congregation which is delinquent in payment of its diocesan apportionment or assessment for the preceding year.
Section 2. Audit. The accounts and records of the Treasurer shall be audited annually by an independent certified public accountant approved by the Executive Council.
Section 3. Bond. The Treasurer shall be bonded in the amount fixed by the Executive Council.
Section 4. Assistant Treasurer. With the approval of the Bishop, the Treasurer may select an Assistant Treasurer whose duties shall be determined by the Treasurer and Executive Council.
Registrar of the Diocese
In addition to the duties prescribed elsewhere in these Canons or otherwise assigned, the Registrar of the Diocese shall have the following duties:
A. To maintain the list of clergy and of Candidates and Postulants for Holy Orders.
B. To answer proper requests for information; and when authorized by the Ecclesiastical Authority, to issue a certified copy of any statement or any matter of record in the files of the Registrar.
C. To serve as historiographer of the Diocese and to collect and preserve copies of the Journal of the Diocese, THE ADVENTURE, and all other important papers and documents which shall pertain to the historical record of the Diocese and the congregations thereof, except such documents which are a proper part of the current files of other officers of the Diocese.
D. To assist congregations of the Diocese in the process of keeping historical records.
Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor of the Diocese
In addition to the duties prescribed elsewhere in these Canons or otherwise assigned, the Chancellor and, in the absence of or inability of the Chancellor to act, the Vice-Chancellor of the Diocese shall have the following duties:
A. On request of the Ecclesiastical Authority to render opinions as to legal construction of the General Constitution and Canons and of the Diocesan Constitution and Canons.
B. To be the advisor, when requested by each, confidential or otherwise, of the Bishop, the Executive Council, the Standing Committee and the Northwest Texas Episcopal Board of Trustees.
C. To represent the Diocese, unless unable to do so, in all litigation involving the interest, rights or property of the Diocese.
D. On request of same, to give advice and assistance to the congregations of the Diocese.
E. As legal advisor of the Bishop, to be present at any proceedings for the settlement of differences between ministers and their congregation.
F. Neither the Chancellor nor a Vice-Chancellor of the diocese shall serve as Church Attorney or Lay Assessor in this Diocese. The Church Attorney shall not be from the same law firm as the chancellor or Vice chancellor or as the chancellor to the Presiding Bishop or as a Lay assessor. (IV.14.18)
amended 1989, 1998, 2000
Removal of Officers
Section 1. Action of Executive Council. If, while the Convention is not in session, a majority of the whole number of the members of the Executive Council shall deem it necessary or expedient to remove from office any of the officers of the Diocese, the reason therefore shall be communicated to the Bishop in writing, and the Bishop thereupon shall call a special meeting of the Standing Committee to consider the matter.
Section 2. Action of Standing Committee. If upon hearing the charges and the defense, if any, the Standing Committee, or a majority of the whole membership thereof, shall find such removal in the best interests of the Diocese, and if the Bishop shall concur in such judgments, such removal shall be ordered by the Bishop.
In addition to the provisions and duties prescribed elsewhere in these Constitution and Canons and in the General Constitution and Canons or otherwise prescribed, the Standing Committee shall have the following duties:
A. To give approval for the Executive Council to secure short-term loans for budgetary purposes of the Diocese.
B. To approve the creation of debt by congregations.
C. To formulate debt policies for the Diocese and the congregations thereof.
D. To appoint members of the Long Range Planning and Structure Committee.
E. To approve all loans from the Revolving Loan Fund.
F. To grant any alleviation of apportionment or assessment to congregations.
Section 1. Membership. The Executive Council shall consist of the Bishop or Bishops of the Diocese; the Secretary of the Diocese; the Treasurer of the Diocese; the Chancellor of the Diocese; the Vice-Chancellor of the Diocese; and the President of the Episcopal Church Women of the Diocese, members ex-officio. The Canon to the Ordinary shall, ex-officio, have seat and voice but no vote. In addition, there shall be four representatives from each Deanery in the Diocese, elected by the Deaneries for a term of four years. Each Deanery shall establish a system of rotating terms. No elected member of the Executive Council shall be eligible for re-election upon ending a regular term of office until one year shall have elapsed. No elected member of the Executive Council shall serve concurrently on the Standing Committee.
Section 2. Officers. The officers of the Executive Council shall be a President, who shall be the Bishop; a Vice-President, who shall be appointed by the Bishop from among the members of the Council; a Secretary, who shall be the Secretary of the Diocese; and a Treasurer, who shall be the Treasurer of the Diocese. In the absence of the President, the Vice-President shall be the presiding officer.
Section 3. Duties. In addition to the provisions of Article XII. of this Constitution and the duties prescribed elsewhere in these Canons, the Executive Council shall have the following duties:
A. To maintain general supervision of the financial affairs of the Diocese and act as advisor to the Bishop in financial matters and upon request, to act as advisor to the congregations of the Diocese.
B. To determine annually the amounts to be apportioned to the individual congregations for the support of the Diocese and the Church.
C. To prepare the annual budget for approval by Convention.
D. To make adjustments in the Diocesan budget in the interval between Conventions; provided, however, that such adjustments shall not exceed the total amount in the budget as adopted by Convention, and that no line item shall be vetoed in the budget requests of the Program and Development Committees.
E. To formulate and initiate programs in accordance with established priorities of the Convention, Deaneries and the General Convention.
F. To designate the amount of the annual diocesan budget to be allocated for program by the Budget Committee. This amount shall be no less than 2.6% of revenue item 1701 (Support and Revenue, Parishes and Missions).
G. To establish program and development committees and commissions and their duties, as set forth in Canon 15.
amended 1989, 1990, 1992,1995, 2001
Section 1. Name and Area. There shall be four Deaneries in the Diocese with the following titles and encompassing the Episcopal Churches in the counties set forth as follows:
A. Eagle Cove: Callahan, Coke, Coleman, Fisher, Haskell, Irion, Jones,Mitchell, Nolan, Runnels, Scurry, Shackleford, Stonewall, Taylor, Throckmorton, Tom Green. (Abilene, Albany, Ballinger, Coleman, Colorado City, San Angelo, Snyder, Sweetwater, Winters)
B. Llano Estacado: Bailey, Borden, Briscoe, Castro, Cochran, Crosby, Dawson,Dickens, Floyd, Gaines, Hale, Hockley, Kent, Lamb, Lubbock, Lynn, Motley, Parmer, Swisher, Terry, Yoakum (Brownfield, Lamesa, Levelland, Lubbock, Plainview)
C. Panhandle: Armstrong, Baylor, Carson, Childress, Collingsworth,Cottle, Dallam, Deaf Smith, Donley, Foard, Gray, Hall, Hansford, Hardeman, Hartley, Hemphill, Hutchinson, King, Knox, Lipscomb, Moore, Ochiltree, Oldham, Potter, Randall, Roberta, Sherman, Wheeler, Wilbarger (Amarillo, Borger, Canadian, Canyon, Childress, Clarendon, Dalhart, Dumas, Hereford, Pampa, Perryton, Quanah, Shamrock, Vernon)
D. Permian Basin: Andrews, Crane, Ector, Glasscock, Howard,Loving, Martin, Midland, Reagan, Sterling, Upton, Ward, Winkler. (Andrews, Big Spring, Kermit, Midland, Monahans, Odessa)
Section 2. Dean. The Dean shall be a member of the active clergy resident in the Deanery and shall be appointed by the Bishop. The Dean shall not serve ex-officio on the Executive Council but may serve as one of the elected clerical members of the Deanery. A vacancy in the office of Dean shall be filled by appointment of the Bishop. The Dean shall convene the clericus of the Deanery, and shall be pastorally concerned for the clergy and congregations of the Deanery. The Dean shall represent the Deanery at special events and shall be accountable to the Bishop for the conduct of this office.
Section 3 Chair and Vice-Chair. A chair and vice-chair of the Deanery shall be elected by the Convocation for two year terms. The chair and vice-chair shall be of different orders and shall, in consultation with the Dean, be responsible for the administration of the Deanery. A vacancy in either position shall be filled by appointment of the Dean. The Chair, if present, shall preside.
Section 4. Convocations. There shall be at least three meetings of the Deanery each year, one of which shall be held prior to the Annual Convention, to elect representatives to Executive Council andsuch committees as directed by the Executive Council.
A. Membership. All clerical and lay members of Convention resident in the Deanery shall be entitled to a vote. All other clergy canonically and actually resident in the Diocese, and all communicants in good standing and registered in a congregation in the Deanery shall have seat and voice.
B. Vacancies. At any Convocation the minister- in-charge of a congregation shall have authority to fill vacancies in his delegation from among the elected alternates in his congregation. In the absence of such minister, the Wardens, in order of precedence, shall have power of appointment.
C. Duties. The principal duties of the Convocations shall be:
(1) Development and implementation of programs of the Convention, the Executive Council of the Diocese, and such committees as directed by the Convocation. By vote of the Convocation in regular meeting, the Deanery may also authorize the creation of program within the Diocese, to be coordinated with the appropriate diocesan committee. Diocesan funding for deanery programs will be allocated by the Budget Committee on an equal matching funds basis only.
(2) Election of two clerical members and two lay persons to serve for a four year term on the Executive Council. The terms shall be rotating and at all times the Deanery shall be represented by two clergy and two lay persons. Vacancies shall be filled by the Convocation.
(3) Election of deanery representative members to program and development committees, as specified by the Executive Council. Vacancies shall be filled by the Convocation.
(4) Election of a chair and vice-chair.
Section 5. Financial Records. Financial records of the Deanery shall be kept in accordance with established business practices. Such records shall be submitted annually to the Executive Council.
Section 6. Deanery Board. A Deanery may establish a Deanery Board with membership and duties as established by the Deanery.
Section 7. Rules. The Deanery may make rules and bylaws in the furtherance of its purposes and not inconsistent with the Constitution and Canons of the Diocese.
amended 1989, 1991, 1994, 1995, 2001
Committees and Commissions of the Diocese
Section 1. Establishment. To facilitate the work of the Diocese, the Convention or the Executive Council may from time to time establish such committees and commissions with such duties as it may determine, and unless otherwise provided, the Bishop shall appoint members thereto. The Bishop shall be, ex-officio, a member of all committees and commissions established under this Canon, except the Nominations Receiving Committee.
Section 2. Term of Office. All members of committees and commissions shall serve for the term specified in the Canons or until their successors are elected. They shall not be eligible to serve more than two consecutive terms, except as otherwise provided.
Section 3. Qualifications. Members of all Diocesan committees and commissions shall be confirmed communicants in good standing, canonically resident but not necessarily domiciled in the Diocese, and shall be financial supporters for the previous year of the congregation where membership is held, as shown on the records of the treasurer.
Section 4. Attendance. A committee or commission shall have the power to declare a vacancy to exist when any member shall have failed to attend three successive regular meetings without presentation of what appears to the committee or commission to be a reasonable cause.
Section 5. Budget Requests. All committees and commissions shall make annual budget requests to the Convention through the Executive Council Budget Committee for all programs under their jurisdiction. Committees and commissions may send a representative to meet with the Executive Council Budget Committee concerning such budget request.
Section 6. Reports. The committees and commissions shall report their activities and make recommendations to the annual meeting of the Convention next following their appointment or election. All such reports must be submitted to the Diocesan Office no later than forty-five days prior to the opening of Convention.
Section 7. Quorum. A majority of the members shall constitute a quorum for the committees and commissions.
amended 1995, 2001
There shall be the following Administrative Committees established under the provisions of Canon 15 and enumerated below. From the members of the committees, the Bishop shall appoint the chair of the committee.
Section 1. Church Pension Fund. The membership of the Church Pension Fund Committee shall consist of two clerical members and two lay members appointed for a term of one year by the Bishop, who shall fill any vacancy. The committee shall be informed of and inform the clergy and laity of the Diocese on all matters concerning the Church Pension Fund and shall receive reports from said Fund. Requests for estate or retirement planning may be referred to this committee.
Section 2. Constitution and Canons. The Bishop shall appoint two members each year for a three year term. The membership of the Constitution and Canons Committee shall consist of six members. The Bishop shall fill any vacancy. The Chancellor of the Diocese shall be an ex-officio member of the committee. The Committee on Constitution and Canons shall review all proposed amendments to the Constitution and Canons of the Diocese for form and canonical consistency. The committee may originate proposed amendments and may recommend adoption or rejection of amendments. The committee shall present to the next succeeding Convention of the Diocese any canonical changes made necessary by action of General Convention. The committee is authorized to make nonsubstantive or technical changes to the Constitution and Canons in the interval between Conventions as may be needed.
Section 3. Convention Planning. The Convention Planning committee shall consist of the Executive Secretary of the Diocese, who shall serve as secretary of the committee; the host priest (if any); the chair of the Diocesan Liturgical Committee; the host arrangements chair (if any); three members appointed by the Bishop for three year terms; and the Canon to the Ordinary, who shall serve ex-officio. The Convention Planning Chair shall be appointed by the Bishop. The committee shall plan, coordinate and supervise all arrangements for the Annual Diocesan Convention, as well as any other Diocesan activity requested by the Bishop or the Ecclesiastical Authority.
amended 1989, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1999
The Commission on Ministry
Section 1. Membership. At each Annual convention the Bishop shall nominate and the Convention shall confirm a Commission on Ministry to consist of not fewer than six (6) members, which shall include both clergy and lay persons, and their term of office shall be four years; provided however that should there be no nomination and confirmation at Convention, they shall continue in office until their successors are nominated and confirmed. Members may be re-appointed at the discretion of the Bishop. A vacancy occurring between annual meetings of the Convention may be filled by appointment of the Bishop until the next annual meeting of the Convention. The Bishop shall be ex-officio a member of the Commission. No more than one person at any time shall simultaneously serve as a member of both the Commission on Ministry and the Standing Committee.
Section 2. Chairman. The Chairman of the Commission shall be appointed by the Bishop as soon as practicable following the annual meeting of the Convention.
Section 3. Duties.
A. The Commission on Ministry shall assist the Bishop in implementing provision for the development and affirmation of the ministry of all baptized persons in the Church and in the world:
(1) In determining present and future needs for ministry in the Diocese.
(2) In supporting the development, training, utilization, and affirmation of the ministry of all baptized persons in the Diocese and in the world.
B. The Commission shall assist the Bishop with regard to the needs for ordained and Lay professional ministries in the Diocese.
(1) In determining present and future needs for ordained and Lay professional ministries in the Diocese.
(2) In recruiting and selecting persons for Holy Orders and in guiding and examining Postulants, Candidates, and Deacons in training for Priesthood.
(3) In providing for the guidance and pastoral care of Clergy and Lay Persons who are in stipendiary and non-stipendiary positions accountable to the Bishop.
(4)In promoting the continuing education of the Clergy and of Lay Professionals.
Section 4. Responsibilities. The Bishop and Commission shall actively solicit from the clergy and laity of parishes, college and university campus ministry centers, and other communities of faith, nominations of persons whose demonstrated qualities of Christian commitment, leadership and vision, and responsiveness to the needs, concerns and hopes of the world mark them as desirable candidates for positions of leadership in the Church. The Commission shall invite such nominees to engage in a process of discernment appropriate to the cultural background of the nominees by which to ascertain the type of leadership, lay or ordained, to which they may be called. When this discernment process has been completed, the Commission shall commend to the agencies with their procedures as established under Sections A and B above, those whose vocation is to lay ministry, and shall present to the Bishop those whom it wishes to support as Postulants for ordination to the Diaconate or Priesthood, and who have indicated their willingness to be so nominated.
Section 5. Rules. The Commission may adopt rules for its work, subject to the approval of the Bishop; Provided, they are not inconsistent with the Constitution and Canons of this Church or of the Diocese. These rules may include provision for committees of the Commission to act on its behalf; however, ultimate responsibility shall remain with the Commission as a whole to report to the Bishop concerning an applicant's fitness and readiness for admission as a Postulant or Candidate, for ordination to the Diaconate, and, if requested by the Bishop, to the Priesthood. (III.1.)
Section 6. Reports and Minutes. The Commission shall report to each Annual Convention of the Diocese. It shall keep written minutes of its meetings.
amended 1992, 1998, 2000, 2001
Conference Center Governing Board
Section 1. Membership and Term of Office. There shall be a Governing Board of the Conference Center composed of sixteen (16) members. The Bishop shall appoint twelve (12) members, who shall be canonically resident in the Diocese, who shall serve rotating terms of three (3) years, and two (2) members from the youth of the Diocese, who shall serve for one year. In addition, the Youth Chair of the Diocesan Churchwomen shall be a member ex-officio. The Director of the Conference Center shall serve ex-officio, with voice, but without vote. The chair shall be appointed annually by the Bishop.
Section 2. Duties. The members of the Governing Board shall be responsible for the operation and programs of the Conference Center and shall be accountable to the Executive Council.
Section 3. Meetings. The Governing Board shall meet at least three times each year.
Section 4. Budget. The Governing Board shall annually submit a proposed budget to the Convention through the Executive Council for all programs under its jurisdiction and shall meet with, or send representatives to meet with the Executive Council at least once each year prior to the annual meeting of the Convention.
Section 5. Director. The Bishop may appoint a Director of the Conference Center, whose duties shall be designated and published by the Bishop. The salary and other benefits of the Director shall be established by the Executive Council upon recommendation of the Governing Board. Such Director shall be ex-officio a member of the Conference Center Governing Board with voice, but without vote.
Section 6. Subcommittees. There shall be such subcommittees of the Board as may appropriately be responsible for the areas of business, finance, program, staffing, planning and policy. Chairs of such subcommittees shall be appointed annually by the Chairman of the Board, in consultation with the Bishop.
Section 7. Reports. The Governing Board shall report to the Bishop and to the Convention through its chair. It shall keep written minutes of all its meetings.
Commission on Episcopal Schools
Section 1. Membership. There shall be a Commission on Episcopal Schools, established under Canon 16, and composed of the Head of each of the schools of the Diocese or a representative appointed by the Head. The Bishop shall fill any vacancy in the Commission. The Bishop shall serve ex-officio as a member of the Commission and shall appoint the chair.
Section 2. Certification. The Commission shall establish and, from time to time, revise minimum standards for the official certification of all Episcopal schools of the Diocese. Only schools so certified, or granted provisional acceptance by the Commission, shall be officially endorsed and recognized by the Diocese and granted the privilege of using the name "Episcopal." Certification of a school may be withdrawn by action of the Commission if any school fails to maintain minimum standards. The Commission may authorize, at any time, an Evaluating Committee to visit an Episcopal school.
A. Any Parish or diocesan unit desiring to establish an Episcopal school shall notify the commission. It shall be the responsibility of the Commission to determine the merits of this application and consult with the applicant in an advisory capacity with respect to the establishment of an approved Episcopal school.
B. Application for certification shall be investigated by a committee, appointed by the Commission, which may recommend certification or provisional acceptance to the Commission.
Section 3. Definition. An Episcopal school within the Diocese is defined as any certified school sponsored by (a) a Parish or Mission, (b) a religious community, (c) other recognized Episcopal Church organizations, or (d) a charitably incorporated educational institution, offering the daily curriculum of studies embodying any of the grades from nursery through grade twelve and that practices the faith and worship of the Episcopal Church. The ultimate control of an Episcopal school shall rest (1) with the Rector in the case of a school sponsored by a Parish, (2) with the Head and Board of Directors or Trustees of a charitably incorporated educational institution, (3) with the Head of the community in the case of a religious community or other recognized Episcopal Church organization, or (4) with the Bishop in the case of a Mission.
Section 4. Bishop's Visitation. The Bishop shall make an annual visit to each Episcopal school during the school term.
Section 5. Reports. Each Episcopal school shall submit an annual report to the Commission and shall submit necessary information at other times upon request.
Section 6. Guidelines. The Commission shall establish guidelines for its procedures.
The University of the South
Section 1. Relationship. The University of the South, at Sewanee, Tennessee, a corporation jointly owned and operated by this and other Dioceses of the Church, is hereby recognized as an educational institution partially supported by the Diocese of Northwest Texas.
Section 2. Trustees. In conformity with the Constitution of the University of the South, the Bishop of this Diocese and the Bishop Coadjutor if there be one, shall be members of the Board of Trustees of the University ex-officio; and one member of the clergy and two confirmed communicants of this Diocese shall be elected Trustees of the University of the South by the Convention for a term of three years or until their successors are elected. Trustees may be re-elected without interim, and any successors shall be of the same order, clerical or lay. Vacancies shall be filled by appointment of the Bishop or the Ecclesiastical Authority for the unexpired term.
Section 3. Duties of the Trustees. It shall be the duty of the Trustees of the University of the South to:
A. Attend the meetings of the Board of Trustees.
B. Promote Church support of and student enrollment in the University.
C. Make annual report to the Convention on the condition and progress of the University.
The Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest
Section 1. Relationship. The corporation known as the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest ("ETSS"), organized and existing as a non-profit corporation under the laws of the State of Texas, is hereby recognized and designated as an institution of the Diocese of Northwest Texas.
Section 2. Representation on the ETSS Board of Trustees. In conformity with the ETSS By-laws, as amended, the following persons shall be elected to the Board of Trustees of the Seminary in the following manner: five Bishops and six other members of the clerical order, one from each Diocese in Province VII exclusive of the Diocese of Texas, shall be nominated by the ETSS Committee on Trustees in consultation with the Provincial Bishops; one confirmed lay communicant from each Diocese in Province VII, exclusive of the Diocese of Texas, shall be nominated by the Committee on Trustees in consultation with the respective dioceses. Said nominees shall be elected by vote of the ETSS Board of Trustees. The Bishop of the Diocese of Texas, three other members of the clerical order, and six confirmed lay communicants from said diocese shall serve as members of the ETSS Board of Trustees. Seven at-large members shall serve as trustees, five of whom shall be nominated by the Committee on Trustees and elected by the board, and two of whom shall be appointed by the Chair of the board. Two clergy representatives from the associated alumni shall serve as trustees. All of the foregoing trustees shall have seat, voice, and vote at all meetings of the board. Four non-voting members shall serve as trustees, including two representatives from the ETSS faculty and two representatives from the student body.
Section 3. Term. Trustees shall be elected for a term of four years, with the possibility of being re-elected for one additional four year term. Where applicable, vacancies shall be filled for any unexpired term by appointment of particular Diocesan Bishop in Consultation with the ETSS Committee on Trustees and Chair of the Board.
Section 4. Duties of the Trustees. It shall be the duty of the Trustees of the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest to:
a. Share in the Vision Statement of the Seminary, and be willing to make service as a trustee a high priority by consistent attendance at board meetings, supporting the Seminary as an informed advocate and with personal financial resources as able, and by participating in all fundraising efforts when requested.
b. Recruit potential trustees who can serve the identified needs of the Seminary congruent with its Vision Statement.
c. Promote church support of and student enrollment in theSeminary.
d. Make annual reports to his/her diocesan council on the condition and progress of the Seminary.
Establishment of New Places of Worship
A. Formation of Mission Congregations
Section 1. Petition. Fifteen or more adult baptized persons resident in the Diocese, desiring to have the ministries of this Church, may on their own initiative or in consequence of initiative of the Bishop and Mission Committee, petition the Bishop for recognition as a Mission or Congregation of this Church as follows:
a. They shall set forth their desire to become a Mission or Congregation, together with their reasons;
b. They shall declare their adherence to the doctrine, discipline and worship of this Church, General and Diocesan, and their willingness to conform to rules which are or may hereafter be established for Missions and Congregations of the Diocese by duly constituted authority;
c. They shall affix their signatures and indicate in each case the congregation of their present religious affiliation.
Section 2. Location.
a. The central properties (place of worship) of a new Mission or Congregation may not be located within two miles of the central properties of an existing congregation in union with the Convention, except by consent of the Ecclesiastical Authority and the Vestry or Bishop's Committee of the existing congregation.
b. If the proposed Mission or Congregation is within the limits of a town where there is an existing congregation, the Bishop shall give written notice to the ministers in charge of such congregations and each member of the Mission Committee. Within not less than thirty nor more than sixty days following such notice, a public meeting, in the presence of the Bishop and members of the Mission Committee shall be held. Opportunity shall be given for the ministers-in-charge and the communicants of such congregations, and the petitioners to be heard.
Section 3. Study. Following initial approval of the petition by the Bishop and the Mission Committee, a demographic study of the prospective location and an on-site study shall be made by appointed Diocesan representatives.
Section 4. Approval. The original petition and the results of the studies required in Section 3 of this Canon shall be forwarded to the Executive Council for approval, along with the recommendations of the Bishop and the Mission Committee. If the Bishop, the Mission Committee and the Executive Council, after reviewing the petition, studies and supporting documents approve the formation of the Mission or Congregation, this approval shall be communicated in writing to the petitioners.
Section 5. Parochial Missions. A Parochial Mission may be formed by the Rector and Vestry of a Parish, in accordance with Sections 1, 2, 3 and 4 of this Canon. Such Parochial Mission shall be under the jurisdiction of the Parish of which it is a part; its Vicar and Rector's Committee shall be appointed by the Rector with the approval of the Bishop; and it shall be subject, except as otherwise provided, and as applicable, to the provisions of these Canons in regard to Missions. A Parochial Mission shall be organized with the intent that it become a Diocesan Mission within five years.
B. Admission into Union with Convention.
Section 1. Time Requirement. A Mission or Congregation shall have been organized in accordance with this Canon for one calendar year before applying for admission into union with Convention.
Section 2. Review of Documents. Before admission into union with Convention the Mission Committee shall review the original petition of the Mission or Congregation; the application signed by a majority of the members of the Bishop's or Rector's Committee requesting that the Mission or Congregation be admitted to union with Convention; the customary certificate of election of lay delegates and alternates; a general statement of the financial condition of the Mission or Congregation; and such other documents as may be required. If approved by the Mission Committee, the documents shall be presented to the next annual meeting of Convention.
Section 3. Vote by Convention. The Convention, after hearing the recommendation of the Mission Committee, may by majority vote admit the Mission or Congregation to union with Convention and give seat and vote to the lay delegates.
Organization and Recognition of Parishes
Section 1. Requirements. The requirements for the status of a Parish seeking union with Convention are as follows:
A. It shall be governed by a Rector and a Vestry elected in accordance with these Canons.
B. It shall have a communicant membership of not less than seventy-five adults of legal age, canonically resident in the Parish.
C. It shall have been a Mission or Congregation for at least twelve months, during which time it shall have paid its apportioned share of the Diocesan budget, been financially self-supporting and have a current statement of its financial condition.
D. It shall possess a church building adequate to the current and immediately foreseeable future needs of the congregation.
E. It shall have provision for the stipend, housing and adequate insurance of the Rector and other clergy of the Parish.
F. It shall be incorporated under the laws of the State of Texas.
Section 2. Recognition. A Mission or Congregation desirous of becoming a Parish shall present to the Bishop a petition requesting such recognition and signed by a majority of the communicants canonically resident in the Mission or Congregation, and documents showing that the requirements of Section 1. above have been satisfied. Such petition shall be signed at a special meeting called by written notice at least one week in advance to consider the petition and elect a provisional Vestry and a provisional Rector.
Section 3. Certification. The Bishop shall certify to the Mission Committee and to the Secretary of Convention that the Mission or Congregation, having satisfied the requirements for Parish status, is to be recognized as a Parish as of the date of certification.
Section 4. Review by Credentials Committee. Before admission to union with Convention, the Bishop shall submit to the Credentials Committee the petition of the Mission or Congregation and related documents as requested.
Section 5. Vote by Convention. The Convention, after hearing the recommendation of the Credentials Committee, may by majority vote admit the newly created Parish into union with Convention.
Change of Status of Parish or Mission
Section 1. Causes. A change of status shall be considered by the Convention for the following reasons:
A. Failure to pay within three months after the end of the fiscal year the amount of salary agreed upon for a Rector or Vicar; the Church Pension Fund assessments; hospitalization and group life insurance premiums; or the full amount of the apportioned share of the Diocesan budget.
B. Persistent failures to comply with the conditions and requirements for its organization and conduct as a Parish or Mission.
C. Failure by a Vestry to fill a vacancy in the Rectorship within one year; provided, however, that the Bishop may extend the time for filling the vacancy to two additional years.
D. Pursuant to a recommendation of the Bishop in Canon 28, Section 6.B. relating to dissolution of a Pastoral relation.
Section 2. Parish. After full investigation of the failures cited in Section 1. of this Canon and upon concurring action of the Bishop and the Standing Committee, said Parish may, by a two-thirds vote of the Convention, either be dissolved in its entirety or declared to be a Mission or Congregation.
Section 3. Mission. After full investigation of the failures cited in Section 1. of this Canon and upon concurring action of the Bishop and the Mission Committee, said Mission may, by a two-thirds vote of the Convention, either be dissolved in its entirety or declared to be a Congregation.
Section 4. Conveyance of Property and Records. In the event that a Parish or Mission is to be dissolved in its entirety, such property as it may own shall be delivered and conveyed to the Northwest Texas Episcopal Board of Trustees prior to dissolution. In the case of a Parish, the corporation shall be dissolved following conveyance of its property. All records shall be delivered to the Registrar of the Diocese.
Section 5. Governance. In the event the new status shall be a Mission or Congregation, its members shall be governed in accordance with the provisions relating to same contained in these Canons.
The Filling of Vacant Cures
Section 1. Notification and Services. When a Parish or Congregation becomes vacant, the Wardens or other proper officers shall promptly notify the Bishop. If the authorities of the Parish shall for thirty days have failed to make provision for worship services, it shall be the duty of the Bishop to take such measures as he may deem expedient for the temporary maintenance of worship services therein. (III.17.1.)
Section 2. Election of Rector. No election of a Rector shall be held until the name of the Priest whom it is proposed to elect has been made known to the Bishop, if there be one, and sufficient time, not exceeding thirty days, has been given to the Bishop to communicate with the Vestry thereon, nor until such communication, if made within that period, has been considered by the Parish or Vestry at a meeting duly called and held for that purpose. A Rector shall be elected by a two-thirds vote of the Vestry, voting by ballot, after open nomination at a meeting of the Vestry duly convened. (III.17.2.)
Section 3. Call. The call of a Rector-elect shall be in writing and must express distinctly any special conditions, together with stipulations of salary or support; which call when accepted and when the Priest is in residence, shall be a legal contract, and the salary as accrued shall be a debt of the Parish, recoverable by process of law if necessary; provided, however, that the amount may be increased or diminished as the parties may from time to time agree in writing and record in the minutes of the Vestry.
Section 4. Notice of Election. Written notice of the election, signed by the Wardens, shall be sent to the Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese. If the Ecclesiastical Authority be satisfied that the person so chosen is a duly qualified Priest, and that the Priest has accepted the office, the notice shall be sent to the Secretary of the Convention, who shall record it. Sex shall not be a factor in the Ecclesiastical Authorityís determination of whether such person is a duly qualified Priest. Such notice shall be sufficient evidence of the relation between the Priest and the Parish. (III.17.3.)
Section 5. Assistant Clergy.
A. All assistant Clergy, by whatever title they may be designated, shall be selected by the Rector, subject to the approval of the Vestry, and shall serve under the authority and direction of the Rector.
B. Before the selection of an assistant, the name of the Member of the Clergy proposed for selection shall be made known to the Bishop and sufficient time, not exceeding thirty days, shall be given for the Bishop to communicate with the Rector and Vestry on the selection.
C. Any assistant selected shall serve at the discretion of the Rector but may not serve beyond the period of service of the Rector except that, pending the call of a new Rector, the assistant may continue in the service of the parish if requested to do so by the Vestry of the parish and under such conditions as the Bishop and Vestry shall determine.(III.14.1.)
Dissolution of the Pastoral Relation
Section 1. Resignation or Removal of Rector. Except upon mandatory resignation by reason of age, a Rector may not resign as Rector of a parish without the consent of its Vestry, nor may any Rector canonically or lawfully elected and in charge of a Parish be removed therefrom by the Vestry against the Rector's will, except as hereinafter provided. (III.21.1.)
Section 2. Pre-Dissolution Mediation. Prior to the invocation of this Canon, the Rector and Vestry, or either of them, are encouraged to seek counseling and mediation from the Bishop on any dispute which the parties have. This request should be made before the parties request dissolution. If requested, the Rector, Vestry and Bishop can engage in any counseling or mediation to which the parties agree. No expense shall be incurred by the parties without prior express written agreement. Nothing determined herein shall be binding on the parties without their express written consent.
Section 3. Disagreement. If for any urgent reason a Rector or Vestry desires a dissolution of the pastoral relation, and the parties cannot agree, either party may give notice in writing to the Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese. Whenever the Standing Committee is the Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese, it shall request the Bishop of another Diocese to perform the duties of the Bishop under this Canon. (III.21.2.)
Section 4. Mediation. Within sixty days of receipt of the written notice, the Bishop, as chief pastor of the Diocese, shall mediate the differences between Rector and Vestry in every informal way which the Bishop deems proper and may appoint a committee of at least one Presbyter and one Lay Person, none of whom may be members of the Parish involved, to make a report to the Bishop. (III.21.3.)
Section 5. Procedures. If the differences between the parties are not resolved after completion of the mediation, the Bishop shall proceed as follows: (III.21.4)
A. The Bishop shall give notice to the Rector and Vestry that a godly judgment will be rendered in the matter after consultation with the Standing Committee and that either party has the right within ten days to request in writing an opportunity to confer with the Standing Committee before it consults with the Bishop.
B. If a timely request is made, the President of the Standing Committee shall set a date for the conference, which shall be held within thirty days.
C. At the conference each party shall be entitled to representation and to present its position fully.
D. Within thirty days after the conference, or after the Bishop's notice if no conference is requested, the Bishop shall confer with and receive the recommendation of the Standing Committee; thereafter the Bishop, as final arbiter and judge, shall render a godly judgment.
E. Upon the request of either party the Bishop shall explain the reasons for the judgment. If the explanation is in writing, copies shall be delivered to both parties.
F. If the pastoral relation is to be continued, the Bishop shall require the parties to agree on definitions of responsibility and accountability for the Rector and the Vestry.
G. If the relation is to be dissolved:
(1) The Bishop shall direct the Secretary of the Convention to record the dissolution.
(2) The judgment shall include such terms and conditions including financial settlements as shall seem to the Bishop just and compassionate.
Section 6. Supportive Services. In either event the Bishop shall offer appropriate supportive services to the Priest and the Parish. (III.21.5.)
Section 7. Compliance with Terms. In the event of the failure or refusal of either party to comply with the terms of the judgment, the Bishop may impose such penalties as may be set forth in the Constitution and Canons of the Diocese, and in default of any provisions for such penalties therein, the Bishop may act as follows:
A. In the case of a Rector, suspend the Rector from the exercise of the priestly office until the Priest shall comply with the judgment.
B. In the case of a Vestry, invoke any available sanctions including recommending to the Convention of the Diocese that the Parish be placed under the supervision of the Bishop as a Mission until it has complied with the judgment. (III.21.6.)
Section 8. Extension of Time. For cause, the Bishop may extend the time periods specified in this Canon, provided that all be done to expedite these proceedings. All parties shall be notified in writing of the length of any extension. (III.21.7.)
Section 9. Statements and Charges.
A. Statements made during the course of proceedings under this Canon are not discoverable nor admissible in any proceedings under Title IV of the National Canons, provided that this does not require the exclusion of evidence in any proceeding under the Canons which is otherwise discoverable and admissible.
B. In the course of proceedings under this Canon, if a charge is made by the Vestry against the Rector that could give rise to a disciplinary proceeding under Title IV.1. of the National Canons, the Bishop may suspend all proceedings under this Canon until the Charge has been resolved or withdrawn. (III.21.8.)
Section 10. Expenses. Except as provided in Section 2, any expense incurred under this Canon shall be borne by the Diocese, the Parish and the Rector in such percentages or wholly, as the Chancellor of the Diocese shall in his sole discretion find. If the Rector is to be charged all or part of the expenses, the Chancellor shall direct the Vestry to withhold such sums from any last payment to be made by the Vestry to the Rector.
amended 1991, 2000
Clergy and their Duties
Section 1. Worship and Spiritual Jurisdiction. The authority of and responsibility for the conduct of the worship and the spiritual jurisdiction of the Parish are vested in the Rector, subject to the Rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer, the Constitution and Canons of the Church, and the pastoral direction of the Bishop. (III.14.1.a).
Section 2. Church and Parish Buildings. For the purposes of the office and for the full and free discharge of all functions and duties pertaining thereto, the Rector shall, at all times, be entitled to the use and control of the Church and Parish buildings with the appurtenances and furniture thereof. (III.14.1.c.)
Section 3. Assistant Clergy. All assistant Clergy, by whatever title they may be designated, shall serve under the authority and direction of the Rector or Vicar. (III.14.1.b.)
Section 4. Missionary Cure. In a Missionary Cure, the control and responsibility belong to the Priest who has been duly appointed to the charge thereof, subject to the authority of the Bishop. Such priest shall be ex-officio the chair of the Bishop's Committee. The Bishop may at any time discontinue the appointment of the priest-in-charge of a Mission or Congregation. (III.14.1.d.)
Section 5. Jurisdiction. No Member of the Clergy shall officiate in any capacity or activity within the cure of any other member of the clergy without the request or permission of the incumbent; or in the case of his absence or incapacity, of the Wardens of the Parish, Mission, or Congregation, and if said member of the clergy be not canonically resident in the Diocese and in good standing, without the consent of the Ecclesiastical Authority.
Section 6. Records. All ministers in charge of a congregation shall keep the records required by this Constitution and Canons and the General Canons of the Church.
Section 7. National Canons. Additional powers and duties of Rectors, Vicars and of all other members of the clergy officiating in this Diocese shall be those set forth in the National Constitution and Canons of the Church.
Special Ministries of Lay Persons
A confirmed communicant in good standing may serve as Lay Eucharistic Minister, Lay Reader, Catechist, Lay Preacher or Pastoral Leader if licensed by the Bishop or Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese. Guidelines for training and selection of such persons shall be established by the Bishop. (III.3.1.)
A. A license shall be given only at the request, and upon the recommendations of, the Member of the Clergy in charge of the congregation in which the person will be serving. The license shall be issued for a period of time not to exceed three years and shall be revocable by the Bishop, or upon the request of the Member of the Clergy in charge of the congregation.
B. Renewal of the license shall be determined on the basis of the acceptable performance of the ministry of the licensee and upon the endorsement of the Member of the Clergy in charge of the congregation in which the person is serving.
C. A person licensed in this Diocese under the provision of this canon may serve in another congregation in the Diocese at the invitation of the Member of the Clergy in charge, and with the consent of the Bishop in whose jurisdiction the service will occur.
D. The person licensed shall conform to the directions of the Bishop and the Member of the Clergy in charge of the congregation in which the person is serving, in all matters relating to the conduct of services, the sermons to be read, and the dress to be worn. In every respect, the person licensed shall conform to the requirements and limitations set forth in the rubrics and other directions of the Book of Common Prayer. (III.3.2.)
Section 1. Lay Eucharistic Minister.
A. A Lay Eucharistic Minister is a person licensed to this extraordinary ministry. The Lay Eucharistic Minister shall have one or both of the following functions, as specified in the license:
(1) Administering the elements at any Celebration of Holy Eucharist in the absence of a sufficient number of Priests or Deacons assisting the celebrant;
(2) Directly following a Celebration of the Holy Eucharist on Sunday or other Principal Celebrations, taking the Sacrament consecrated at the Celebration to members of the congregation who, by reason of illness or infirmity, were unable to be present at the Celebration. Persons so licensed may also be known as "Lay Eucharistic Visitors."
B. Qualifications, requirements, and guidelines for the selection, training, and use of Lay Eucharistic Ministers shall be established by the Bishop.
C. This ministry is not to take the place of the ministry of Priests and Deacons in the exercise of their office, including regular visitation of members unable to attend the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist. A Lay Eucharistic Minister should normally be under the direction of a Deacon of the congregation, if there be one. (III.3.5.)
Section 2. Lay Reader. A Lay Reader is a person who regularly leads public worship under the direction of a Member of the Clergy in charge of the congregation. Training and licensing shall be under the authority of the Bishop for those persons recommended by the member of the clergy in charge of the congregation. Prior to licensing, the Lay Reader shall be trained, examined, and found competent in the following subjects: (III.3.7.)
(1) The Holy Scripture, content and background;
(2) The Book of Common Prayer and The Hymnal;
(3) The conduct of public worship;
(4) Use of the voice.
Section 3. Catechist. A catechist is a person licensed to prepare persons for Baptism, Confirmation, Reception, and the Reaffirmation of Baptismal Vows. Prior to licensing, catechists shall be trained, examined, and found competent in the following subjects:
(1) The Holy Scriptures, content and background;
(2) The Book of Common Prayer and The Hymnal;
(3) Church History;
(4) The Church's Doctrine as set forth in the Creeds and An Outline of the Faith, commonly called the Catechism;
(5) Methods of Catechesis. (III.3.6)
Section 4. Lay Preacher. A Lay Preacher is a person licensed to preach. Prior to licensing, the Lay Preacher shall be trained, examined, and found competent in the following subjects:
(1) The Holy Scriptures, content and background;
(2) The Book of Common Prayer and The Hymnal;
(3) The conduct of public worship;
(4) Use of the voice;
(5) Church history;
(6) Christian Ethics and Moral Theology;
(7) The Church's Doctrine as set forth in the Creeds and An Outline of the Faith, commonly called the Catechism;
(8) Appropriate Canons;
(9) Pastoral Care;
Persons so licensed shall only preach in congregations upon the initiative and under the supervision of the Member of the Clergy in charge. (III.3.4.)
Section 5. Pastoral Leader. A Pastoral Leader is a Lay Person licensed to exercise pastoral or administrative responsibility in a congregation under special circumstances and may be licensed to lead regularly the Offices authorized by the Book of Common Prayer. Prior to licensing, a Pastoral Leader shall be trained, examined, and found competent in the following subjects:
(1) The Holy Scriptures, content and background;
(2) The Book of Common Prayer and The Hymnal;
(3) The conduct of public worship;
(4) Use of the voice;
(5) Church history;
(6) The Church's Doctrine as set forth in the Creeds and An Outline of the Faith, commonly called the Catechism;
(7) Parish Administration;
(8) Appropriate Canons;
(9) Pastoral Care.
A Pastoral Leader shall not be licensed if in the judgment of the Bishop or Ecclesiastical Authority, the congregation is able to and has had reasonable opportunity to secure a resident Member of the Clergy in charge. (III.3.8.)
Section 6. Lector. A Lector is a person trained in reading of the Word and appointed without license by the Member of the Clergy in charge of the congregation to read lessons or lead the Prayers of the People.
amended 1998, 2000
Section 1. Annual Meetings. A meeting of every Parish shall be held annually in January for the election of members of the Vestry, for the election of delegates and alternates to the Convention and Deanery Convocation, for the reception of reports and for the transaction of other business which may legally and canonically come before the meeting.
Section. 2. Special Meetings. A special meeting of a Parish may be held at any time on the call of the Rector, on the call of the Vestry if there is no member of the clergy in residence, or upon the written request of the Vestry. Notice of such special meeting shall be given in accordance with the provisions of Section 3. Such notice shall set forth the business for which the meeting has been called, and no other business than that specified in the call shall be in order except by a two-thirds vote of those present.
Section 3. Notice of Meetings. Notice of all Parish meetings shall be given at the regular services of the Church on the two Sundays preceding such meeting. If there be no services on such Sundays, the Wardens shall notify the members of the congregation by mail of the time and place of meeting not less than seven days preceding the date of such meeting.
Section 4. Officers. The Rector shall preside at all Parish meetings; provided, however, that in the absence of a Rector, the Wardens, according to seniority by title, shall preside. The Clerk of the Vestry shall be the Clerk of the Parish and shall discharge the duties of that office at any meeting of the Parish, but in the case of the Clerk's absence or disability, the voters shall elect a Clerk to serve for that meeting.
Section 5. Elections. All elections shall be by ballot, and no person shall be permitted to vote by absentee ballot or by proxy.
Section 6. Qualified Voters. The qualified voters at a Parish meeting shall be adult communicants in good standing of the congregation as shown by the Parish Register, who are at least sixteen years of age, and who are regular contributors to the work of the Church as shown on the records of the Treasurer.
Section 7. Quorum. At any meeting of the Parish, the presence of ten percent of qualified voters of the Parish shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business; provided, however, that a Parish may increase the percentage of qualified voters to constitute a quorum.
Section 1. Membership. The Vestry shall consist of not less than five and not more than fifteen members who shall be confirmed lay communicants in good standing of at least eighteen years of age, canonically resident in the Parish, and who were financial contributors to the Parish in the preceding year as shown on the records of the Treasurer, and who will subscribe to the following declaration:
I do believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God, and to contain all things necessary to salvation; and I do solemnly engage to conform to the doctrine, discipline and worship of The Episcopal Church.
Section 2. Election. The Vestry shall be elected at the annual Parish meeting by a majority vote of the qualified voters present and voting; provided, however ,that if the requisite number of persons are not elected by majority vote on the initial ballot, the Presiding Officer shall, on motion and two-thirds vote of those present and voting prior to any subsequent ballot, declare that the remaining Vestry positions will be filled by plurality vote. In the absence of such motion and two-thirds vote prior to any ballot after the initial ballot, such ballot shall require a majority vote.
Section 3. Term of Office. A member of the Vestry shall be elected for a term of three years, and one-third of the Vestry shall be elected annually. No member of the Vestry after serving a full term in office shall be eligible to serve on the same Vestry for a full year after such service.
Section 4. Vacancies. The Vestry shall have the power to fill any vacancy in their number, and members of the Vestry shall continue in office until their successors are elected. The power of the Vestry to fill any vacancy shall be until the next annual meeting at which time an election shall be held to fill the unexpired term, unless otherwise provided by Parish bylaws.
Section 5. Quorum. A quorum for a meeting of the Vestry shall consist of a majority of all the members, all have been given due notice thereof.
Section 6. Meetings.
A. The Vestry shall meet at least bi-monthly, and it shall be the duty of every member of the Vestry to attend regularly the meetings of the Vestry.
B. Special meetings may be called by the Rector, and shall be called by the Rector at the written request of three members of the Vestry, including on Warden. Notice of such special meeting shall be in writing to the members of the Vestry not later than twenty-four hours prior to the hour fixed for the meeting; provided, however, that a Vestry meeting may be held at any hour without notice with the consent of the Rector and the presence of all members of the Vestry.
C. There shall be no meeting of the Vestry unless the Rector, if there be one, and a majority of the Vestry be present, provided, however, that if the Rector be absent from the diocese for a period of sixty days, or if when duly notified of such meeting, the Rector shall decline or neglect to be present, the Vestry shall be competent to transact business if a majority, including one Warden, be present.
D. The Rector, or such other member of the Vestry designated by the Rector, shall preside in all the meetings of the Vestry. (I.14.3)
Section 7. Duties. The Vestry shall have charge of the temporalities and shall attend to all business matters of the Parish, including the providing and keeping in good order a house of worship and all the necessary furniture and appointments of the same and the payment of all Parish obligations and dues. The Vestry shall be agents and legal representatives of the Parish in all matters concerning its corporate property and the relations of the Parish to its Clergy. (I.14.2.)
Wardens and Vestry Officers
Section 1. Time of Appointment or Election. Wardens and Vestry officers shall be appointed or elected at the first Vestry meeting held after the annual meeting of the Parish.
Section 2. Senior Warden. A Senior Warden, who shall be an elected member of the Vestry, shall be appointed by the Rector or elected by the Vestry, as provided in the Parish Bylaws or by resolution of the annual meeting.
Section 3. Duties of Wardens.
A. In the absence of the Rector, and in period of vacancy in the Rectorship, the Senior Warden, or in his absence, the Junior Warden shall be in charge of the Parish.
B. It shall be the duty of the Wardens to supervise the care, protection and maintenance of the Church and other buildings of the Parish, to see that they are kept in decent repair and to guard them from use prohibited by law of the Church. They shall also see that all things needed for the orderly worship of God and for the proper administration of the sacraments are provided at the expense of the Parish, and they shall discharge such other duties as may devolve upon them by provisions of the law of the church.
Section 4. Junior Warden. The Vestry shall elect from its number a Junior Warden.
Section 5. Treasurer. The Vestry shall elect a Treasurer who may or may not be a member of the Vestry. The Treasurer shall perform the usual functions of such office as well as other duties as may be prescribed by the Parish.
Section 6. Clerk. The Vestry shall elect a Clerk from among its members. The Clerk shall be the secretary to the Vestry and the annual meeting and shall perform the duties required of such office as well as other duties as may be prescribed by the Parish.
Section 7. Chancellor. The Vestry may elect a Chancellor from the communicant membership who shall be the legal advisor to the Vestry and the Parish, and who may or may not be a member of the Vestry.
Mission and Congregation Meetings
Section 1. Meetings. A meeting of the members of every Mission and Congregation of this Diocese shall be held annually as set forth in Canon 30 of these Canons, as applicable to the congregation. The qualifications for voters shall be same as prescribed by these Canons for voters in the election of a Vestry of a Parish, and so far as may be applicable, the manner of giving notice of and the conduct of meetings of Missions and Congregations shall be the same as prescribed by these Canons for the meetings of Parishes, except as otherwise provided.
Section 2. Presiding Officer. The minister-in-charge of the Mission or Congregation shall be, ex-officio, chair of the meeting and shall preside unless the Bishop is present, but in the absence of both the minister-in-charge and the Bishop, the Bishop's Warden shall serve as chair pro tempore; provided, however, that if the congregation is without a minister in charge, the Bishop may appoint a chair pro tempore.
Bishop's Committees of Missions and Congregations
Section 1. Bishop's Committee. In the case of a Mission other than a Parochial Mission, the Bishop shall annually appoint in January a Bishop's Committee to consist of not less than four and not more than ten members. The Bishop shall designate one member of the Committee as Bishop's Warden and one member of the Committee as Junior Warden. No member of the Bishop's Committee may serve more than three consecutive years.
Section 2. Congregations. In the case of a Congregation, the Bishop shall appoint a Bishop's Warden and such other members of the Bishop's Committee as he deems appropriate.
Section 3. Discontinuance of Appointment. The Bishop may at any time remove from office any member or members of the Bishop's Committee and appoint others in their place.
Section 4. Vacancy. A vacancy in a Bishop's Committee shall be filled by the Bishop.
Section 5. Quorum. A quorum of the Bishop's Committee shall consist of a majority of the members thereof.
Section 6. Meetings.
A. The Bishop's Committee shall meet at least bi-monthly, and it shall be the duty of every member of the Committee to attend regularly the meetings of the Bishop's Committee.
B. Special meetings may be called by the Bishop, Vicar, or minister-in-charge, and shall be called at the written request of three members of the Bishop's Committee, including one Warden. Notice of such special meeting shall be in writing to the members of the Bishop's Committee not later than twenty-four hours prior to the hour fixed for the meeting; provided; however, that a meeting of the Bishop's Committee may be held at any hour without notice with the consent of the Bishop, Vicar or minister-in-charge and the presence of all members of the Bishop's Committee.
C. There shall be no meeting of the Bishop's Committee unless the Bishop or Vicar or minister in charge, if there be one, and a majority of the Bishop's Committee be present; provided, however, that if the Vicar or minister-in-charge or Bishop be absent from the Diocese for a period of sixty days, or if when duly notified of such meeting, the Vicar, minister-in-charge or Bishop shall decline or neglect to be present, the Bishop's Committee shall be competent to transact business if a majority, including one Warden, be present.
The Wardens and Bishop's Committee Officers
Section 1. Bishop's Wardens. The Bishop shall designate one member of the Bishop's Committee as the Bishop's Warden and one member of the Bishop's Committee as Junior Warden. So far as is applicable, the Wardens shall perform the duties of Parish Wardens as set forth in Canon 32 of these Canons and as interpreted by the Bishop.
Section 2. Treasurer. The Bishop's Committee shall elect a Treasurer, who may or may not be a member of the Bishop's Committee. The Treasurer of a Mission or Congregation, or the Wardens in case of disability of the Treasurer, shall make monthly report to the Bishop of the financial condition of the Mission or Congregation, showing receipts, disbursements, resources and liabilities and perform such other duties as may be prescribed.
Section 3. Clerk. The Bishop's Committee shall elect a Clerk from among its members. The Clerk shall serve as secretary to the Bishop's Committee and shall perform the duties required of the office as well as such others duties as may be prescribed.
Parish Registers and Parochial Reports
Section 1. Parish Register. A Parish Register shall be provided for every congregation in this Diocese by the Vestry or Bishop's Committee.
A. Every minister-in-charge of a congregation or Warden when there is no minister shall keep the Parish Register and shall make the proper entries therein as required by the General Canons of the Church.
B. Upon dissolution of a congregation, the Register shall immediately become the property of the Diocese, and the Bishop shall take charge thereof.
C. The Register shall be examined by the Bishop during his official visitation to the congregation.
D. Failure to keep proper and complete record in the Parish Register shall be cause of removal from office by action of the Ecclesiastical Authority in the instance of Vicars and Wardens, of censure of Rectors with action toward removal if failure is persistent.
Section 2. Parochial Report. A report of every Parish and other congregation of this Diocese shall be prepared annually for the year ending December 31 preceding, in the form prepared and approved under authority of the General Convention, and shall be filed not later than March 1 with the Bishop of the Diocese, or, where there is no Bishop, with the Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese. Every report shall be filed in duplicate. (I.6)
Northwest Texas Episcopal Board of Trustees
Section 1. Membership. The voting membership of the Board shall consist of five lay confirmed communicants elected by the Convention for a term of five years on a rotating basis, the Treasurer, and the Bishop of the Diocese of Northwest Texas, who shall be the President. The Bishop may appoint one of the Trustees to serve as Vice President. In the absence of the Bishop, the Vice President shall be the presiding officer. A vacancy may be filled by the remaining Trustees until the next Convention.
Section 2. Ex-Officio Members. The Chancellor and the President of the Standing Committee, or the President's designated representative, shall be ex-officio members of the Board without vote. The Bishop may appoint a Secretary, who shall serve as a member ex-officio, without vote.
Section 3. The Bishops' Temple- Quarterman Fund of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Northwest Texas. The net annual income for the Fund shall, as and when distributed in the discretion of the Northwest Texas Episcopal Board of Trustees, be used for supporting mission work of the Church and the Diocese of Northwest Texas, subject to the approval of the Annual Convention of the Diocese. The capital appreciation of this Fund will be retained in the Fund and reinvested.
Section 4. Duties. The Trustees of the Northwest Texas Episcopal Board of Trustees or a successor entity shall have the rights, duties, obligations and powers granted to Trustees by the Texas Trust Act subject to the Uniform Management of Institutional Funds Act, as each may be amended from time to time. Whenever legally possible the terms of Canon 38 of these Canons shall apply.
Section 5. Limitations. This canon shall not confer upon the Trustees the power of the Finance Committee of the Diocese, which is reserved to the Executive Council.
Section 6. Dissolution. Should the Diocese of Northwest Texas cease to exist as a Diocese under the Canons of the Episcopal Church or be otherwise dissolved or discontinue existence, then, in such event, all of the property of the Diocese, real, personal or mixed, of whatever character and kind, and wheresoever situated after payment and satisfaction of all debts and obligations of the Diocese, shall be given, transferred and conveyed to other charitable, educational, or religious organizations duly qualified as a charitable organization under Section 501(c )(3) Internal Revenue Code of 1954 as amended, as selected by the Northwest Texas Episcopal Board of Trustees of such corporation in Northwest Texas, such Trustees being hereby authorized to execute any and all instruments necessary to accomplish these actions.
amended 1989, 1990, 1995
Real Property, Investments and Incorporation
Section 1. Custodian. The Diocesan corporation known as the "Northwest Texas Episcopal Board of Trustees" is hereby constituted the custodian of the real property and investment funds of the Diocese and the Mission and Congregations thereof, and of the schools and institutions and shall have charge of all monies and properties collected, bestowed, devised or provided for the support of the Episcopate and the other work of the Church; provided, however, that other wholly owned corporations may be created and given custody of appropriate portions of the real property and the funds. Beneficial ownership of the real property and investment funds of the Missions and Congregations shall be in said Missions and Congregations.
Section 2. Conveyance of Land. When any conveyance of land to the corporation shall be made for a particular purpose, such land shall be held for such purpose; and the proceeds thereof shall not be diverted therefrom either permanently or temporarily, until the said purpose no longer exists, which fact shall be ascertained and declared by the Executive Council at a regular meeting, and shall be reported to the following annual meeting of the Convention.
Section 3. Trust and Permanent Funds. All trust and permanent funds belonging to this Diocese or any unincorporated Parish thereof shall, if the same can lawfully be done, be deposited and thereafter left with one or more trust companies or banks organized under the laws of the United States of America or this State and authorized to receive the same, or with the corporation known as the "Northwest Texas Episcopal Board of Trustees," and a full and detailed statement of all such trust or permanent funds shall be presented annually to the Convention upon a form to be prescribed by the Executive council. The Northwest Texas Episcopal Board of Trustees shall from time to time make rules and regulations with respect to the deposit of such trust funds and the management thereof as shall be proper and shall report such rules and regulations so adopted by it annually to the Convention.
Section 4. Insurance of Real Property. All real property and improvements thereon belonging to the Diocese or any Parish thereof shall be adequately insured against fire and vandalism, such insurance to include extended coverage. The amount of insurance thereof shall be determined in the first instance by the proper officers of the Diocese or Parish owning such property, but subject thereafter to the direction of the Executive Council, and to that end, the Executive Council is hereby vested with general authority to compel the adequate insurance of such real property by the Diocese or any Parish thereof.
Section 5. Audit. All accounts of the Diocese shall be audited annually by an independent Certified Public Accountant, as shall be authorized by the Executive Council. (I.7.1. (f).)
Section 6. Incorporation of Parishes.
A. Any Parish giving evidence to the Bishop and Standing Committee of its ability for self-support shall, subject to the approval of the Bishop and the Standing Committee, incorporate under the laws of the State of Texas.
B. The Board of Directors of such Parish, when incorporated, shall consist of the Rector and the Wardens and Vestrymen of such Parish duly elected according to these Canons. The Board of Directors shall be presided over by the Rector of the Parish, or in the Rector's absence, by the Senior Warden. The Rector shall be the President of the corporation.
C. Such incorporated Parish shall hold title of and administer the real property and trust funds of the Parish; provided, however, that no incorporated Parish shall alienate or mortgage any of its real property without the consent of the Bishop and the Standing Committee. (II.6.2.)
Section 7. Mission Property.
A. The title to real estate, given to or purchased by a Mission, or any property acquired by a Mission shall be vested in the Northwest Texas Episcopal Board of Trustees, until such time as the Mission becomes a Parish.
B. No property of a Mission shall be sold or mortgaged without the consent of the Bishop and the Standing Committee. (II.6.2.)
C. No purchase or donation of a church site shall be made for a Mission without the consent of the Bishop.
D. No property of a Mission shall be rented for any purpose without the consent of the Bishop.
Section 8. Real Property. All real and personal property held by or for the benefit of any congregation is held in trust for this Church and the Diocese thereof in which such congregation is located. The existence of this trust, however, shall in no way limit the power and authority of the congregation otherwise existing over such property so long as the particular congregation remains a part of, and subject to, this Church and its Constitution and Canons. (I.7.4.)
amended 1996, 1998
Section 1. Participation. It shall be the duty of all congregations of the Diocese to participate in and contribute financially for their respective employees to such insurance programs as may be adopted and approved by the Executive Council and Annual Convention. These programs may benefit:
A. All active clergy who receive their principal compensation from Parishes and Missions, and the dependents of such clergy;
B. All retired clergy who at the time of their retirement received their principal compensation from a parish or Mission or who were canonically resident within this Diocese, and their dependents;
C. Surviving spouses (who have not remarried) of all such active or retired clergy, and their dependents;
D. Full-time lay employees who receive their principal compensation from Parishes and Missions, and their dependents.
Section 2. Authority. The Executive Council shall have the authority to determine the type of such program and prescribe the qualifications of the beneficiaries thereof and to determine the terms and conditions of the obligations of the congregations of the Diocese.
Section 3. Duty. It shall be the duty of the congregations to inform the Executive Council, or its nominee, promptly of such facts and information as may be required by the Executive Council for the proper administration of such insurance programs as may be so adopted and approved and to cooperate with the Executive Council in such other ways as may be necessary in order that the Executive Council may discharge its obligations in accordance with such programs.
Section 4. Payment. It shall be the duty of the congregation through its Treasurer or other proper official to pay promptly such sums as may be required under the terms and provision of such insurance programs as may be so adopted and approved by the Convention.
Church Pension Fund
Section 1. Duty. It shall be the duty of this Diocese and of the Parishes, Missions, Congregations and other Ecclesiastical organizations therein, each through its Treasurer or other proper official, to inform the Church Pension Fund of the salaries and other compensations paid to members of the clergy by the Diocese, Parishes, Missions, Congregations or other Ecclesiastical organizations for services rendered, currently or in the past, prior to their becoming beneficiaries of said Fund, and changes in such salaries and other compensations as they occur, and to pay promptly to the Church Pension Fund, the pension assessments required thereon under the Canon of the General Convention, and in accordance with the rules of said Fund.
Section 2. Clerical Duties. It shall be the duty of every member of the clergy canonically resident in or serving in this Diocese to inform the Church Pension Fund promptly of such facts as the Trustees thereof may deem necessary for its proper administration, and to cooperate with said Fund in such other ways as may be appropriate to assist the Fund in the discharge of its canonical obligations.
Section 3. Executive Council Duty. It shall be the duty of the Executive Council to provide for the annual payment to the Church Pension Fund of the premiums payable on behalf of all Bishops, Priests and Deacons under contract with the Diocese.
Apportionments and Offerings
Section 1. Diocesan Apportionments. The pro rata share of each Parish, Mission or Congregation of the total apportionment for the support of Diocesan programs and fulfillment of Diocesan obligations of support of the program of the General Convention shall be determined by the annual meeting of the Convention upon the recommendation of the Executive Council.
Section 2. Bishop's Discretionary Fund. The undesignated plate offering at the official visitation of the Bishop shall be remitted to the Bishop to be disbursed for such needs as may be presented. The items of expenditure in the Discretionary Fund shall not be reported, but the total amount received and expended during the fiscal year shall be reported to the Convention.
Section 3. Clergy Discretionary Funds. A resident member of the clergy serving in a congregation or institution in this Diocese shall have a Discretionary Fund in the name of the tax exempt entity. The alms and contributions not otherwise specifically designated on one Sunday of the month and any special or individual gifts designated by the donors for the Discretionary Fund shall constitute such fund and be deposited therein. The member of the clergy shall make disbursement for such charitable and church related purposes as is deemed fit. The items of expenditure from such funds shall not be reported, but the total amount received and expended during the fiscal year shall be reported at the annual meeting of the congregation or institution and at each meeting of the Vestry or Bishop's Committee.
Section 4. Convention and General Convention Requirements. All ministers in charge of congregations in the Diocese and all Wardens, Vestries and Bishop's Committees, in the absence of such ministers, shall conform to the requirements of the Convention and the General Convention as to raising of monies for missionary or other work of the Church of the Diocese.
Business Methods in Church Affairs
Section 1. Business Methods. In every Parish, Mission, congregation and Institution connected with this Diocese, the following standard business methods shall be observed: (I.7.1)
A. Trust and permanent funds and all securities of whatsoever kind shall be deposited with a federal or state bank, or the Diocesan corporation, or with some other agency approved in writing by the Executive Council, under either a trust or agency agreement, providing for at least two signatures on any order of withdrawal of such funds or securities, provided, however, that this provision shall not apply to funds and securities refused by the depositories named as being too small for acceptance. Such small funds and securities shall be under the care of the persons or corporations properly responsible for them.
B. Records shall be made and kept of all trusts and permanent funds showing at least the following:
(1) Source and date.
(2) Terms governing the use of principal and income.
(3) To whom and how often reports of conditions are to be made.
(4) How the funds are invested.
C. Treasurers and custodians, other than banking institutions, shall be adequately bonded, except for treasurers of funds that do not exceed five hundred dollars at any one time during the fiscal year.
D. Books of account shall be so kept as to provide the basis for satisfactory accounting.
E. All accounts of Parishes, Missions, congregations or other institutions shall be audited annually by such an accounting method as shall be permitted by the Executive Council. All reports of such audits, including any memorandum issued by the auditors or audit committee regarding internal controls or other accounting matters, together with a summary of action taken or proposed to be taken to correct deficiencies or implement recommendations contained in any such memorandum, shall be filed with the Bishop or Ecclesiastical Authority not later than thirty (30) days following the date of such report, and in no event, not later than September 1 of each year, covering the financial reports of the previous calendar year.
F. The Executive Council may require copies of any or all accounts described in this Section to be filed with it and shall report annually to the Convention of the Diocese upon its administration of this canon.
G. All buildings and their contents shall be kept adequately insured.
H. The fiscal year shall begin January 1.
Section 2. Alienation of Property. No Board of Directors authorized to hold, manage, or administer real property for any Parish, Mission, or Congregation or institution, shall encumber or alienate the same or any part thereof without the written consent of the Bishop and Standing Committee. (I.7.3)
Church and Diocesan Debt
Section 1. Approval. No indebtedness shall be incurred by a congregation without the approval of both the Bishop and the Standing Committee.
Section 2. Indebtedness for Permanent Improvement. Indebtedness for permanent improvement, replacements or additions to real estate of equipment for the amount of such indebtedness, plus indebtedness of every kind already existing, shall not exceed three hundred percent of the average annual receipts of the congregation for the past three years.
Section 3. Indebtedness for Current Expenses. Indebtedness for current expenses where the amount of such indebtedness, plus all indebtedness heretofore incurred for current expenses and still existing, shall not exceed twenty percent of the total current receipts of such congregation during the preceding fiscal year; and the payment of all such indebtedness shall be provided for in the budget of the next ensuing fiscal year with reasonable expectation of its payment out of the receipts of the next two years.
Section 4. Exceptions. In computing receipts under Sections 2 and 3 of this Canon, amounts from or for endowments or from or by bequests, except income therefrom not specifically designated and receipts for expenditures other than parochial, shall not be included. Rectories which are separate property from the church shall be excepted from computation of congregation debt.
Section 5. Amortization. Under any circumstances under which approval is required, it shall be granted only when the payment of all indebtedness shall be provided for in a plan of amortization or other method of payment to be submitted to and approved by the same authority.
Section 6. Executive Council. To meet expenses, the Executive Council may borrow no more than five percent of the annual apportionment; provided, however, that with the approval of the Standing Committee, no more than fifteen percent of the apportionment may be borrowed, and any such loan shall be repaid within six months.
Section 7. Revolving Loan Fund. With the approval of the Standing Committee loans may be made from the Revolving Loan Fund to a congregation or a member of the clergy only for the purchase or improvement of real estate. No more than one-half of the corpus of the Fund shall be loaned to clergy. Separate funds shall be maintained for clergy loans and church loans.
Section 8. Refinancing. This Canon shall not apply to the refinancing of existing loans.
Ecclesiastical Discipline and Trial Court
All Ecclesiastical Discipline shall be in accord with Title IV of the National Canons of the Episcopal Church, as adopted by the General Convention.
Section 1. Jurisdiction. The Court for the Trial of a Priest or Deacon is vested withjurisdiction to try a priest and/or deacon who is duly Presented for any one or more of the Offenses specified in Title IV, Canon 1 of the Episcopal Church.
Section 2. Organization of Court.
A. There shall be an Ecclesiastical Trial Court for the Trial of any Priestor Deacon subject to its jurisdiction consisting of five Judges (the "Court"). The Court shall include two adult confirmed communicants in good standing in this Diocese and three clergy canonically resident in this Diocese. (IV.4.A.1.)
B. The Annual Convention of the Diocese shall elect Judges to servethree year rotating terms. All Judges shall serve until their successors are elected and qualified; provided however, there shall be no change in the composition of a Court as to a proceeding pending before it while that proceeding is unresolved.
Section 3. Disqualification for Cause. No person shall sit as a member of a Court in a particular proceeding who is a Complainant, or who is related to the Respondent or Complainant by blood or marriage or who has knowledge of essential or facts involved in the matter, or who has a close personal or professional relationship with the Respondent, any alleged Victim, or any witness in the matter or who reasonably believes himself or herself unable to render a fair and independent judgment, nor shall any person sit who, upon objection made by either party for any reason, is deemed by the other members of the Court to be disqualified. (IV.14.13.)
Section 4. General Provisions. The provisions of Title IV. Canon 14 of theEpiscopal Church shall apply to the Court. (IV.4.A.3)
Section 5. Vacancies, How Created. The death, permanent disability rendering aperson unable to act, resignation or declination to serve as a member of the Court shall constitute a vacancy on the Court. (IV.4.A.4.)
Section 6. Notice of Vacancies. Notice of resignation or declinations to serveshall be given by members of the Court in writing to the Presiding Judge of the Court. (IV.4.A.5.)
Section 7. Vacancies, How Filled. In the case of a vacancy, other than for cause, the remaining Judges shall have power to fill such vacancy until the next Convention of the Diocese when the Convention of the Diocese shall choose a person to fill such vacancy. The person so chosen shall serve during the remainder of the term. The members of the Ecclesiastical Trial Court may be challenged by either the Respondent or the Church Attorney for cause stated to the Court. The Court shall determine the relevancy and validity of challenges for cause. Vacancies caused by challenges determined by the Court shall be filled by a majority vote of the Court from persons otherwise qualified for election under this canon. Vacancies filled by the Court shall be from the same order as the person challenged was when first elected to the Court. (IV.4.A.8.)
Section 8. Change of Status. If any Priest elected to an Ecclesiastical Trial Courtis elected a Bishop, or if any lay person elected to an Ecclesiastical Trial Court is ordained prior to the commencement of a Trial, that person shall immediately cease to be a member of the Ecclesiastical Trial Court. If either event occurs following the commencement of a Trial, the person shall continue to serve until the completion of the Trial and the rendering of a Judgment thereon. (IV.4.A.8.)
Section 9. Election of Presiding Judge.
A. Within two months of the adjournment of the Annual DiocesanConvention, the Court shall annually elect from its members a Presiding Judge who shall hold office until the election of his or her successor. If in any proceeding before the Court, the Presiding Judge is disqualified or is for any cause unable to act, the Court shall elect from its members a Presiding Judge, pro tempore. (IV.4.A.2.)
B. When the Court is not in session, if there is a vacancy in the officeof the Presiding Judge, the remaining members of the Court shall elect a new Presiding Judge
Section 10. Appointment of Church Attorney. Within two months from the adjournment of the Annual Convention of the Diocese, the Court will appoint a Church Attorney to serve from three (3) years from the date he is chosen and until a successor is duly appointed and qualified.. The "Church Attorney" shall mean a duly licensed attorney, appointed to investigate matters of ecclesiastical discipline on behalf of the Standing Committee, to represent the Church in the prosecution of Presentments against Priests and Deacons and to represent the Church in an appeal to the Court of Review of the Trial of a Priest or Deacon. The Church Attorney shall not be from the same law firm as a Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor or Lay Assessor. (IV.14.18.)
Section 11. Rules to Govern Procedure. The Court shall be governed by the Rulesof Procedure set forth in Appendix A to Title IV of the National Canons and such other procedural rules or determinations as the Court deems appropriate and not inconsistent with Title IV of the National Canons. (IV.4.A.9.)
Section 12. Federal Rules of Evidence to Govern. The Court shall be governed bythe Federal Rules of Evidence in the conduct of the Trial. (IV.4.A.10.)
Section 13. Clerks. Each Court shall appoint a Clerk and, if necessary, AssistantClerks who shall be Priests or Deacons or adult lay communicants in good standing of this Church and who shall serve at the pleasure of the Court. (IV.4.A.11.)
Section 14. Reporter. Each Court shall appoint a Reporter who shall provide for therecording of the proceedings and who shall serve at the pleasure of the Court. (IV.4.A.12.)
Section 15. Lay Assessors. Each Court shall appoint at least one but no more thanthree Lay Assessors. Lay Assessors shall have no vote. It shall be their duty to give the Court an opinion on any question of law, procedure or evidence. (IV.4.A.13.)
Section 16. Record. The Court shall keep a record of the proceedings in each casebrought before it and the record shall be certified by the Presiding Judge of the Court. If the record cannot be authenticated by the Presiding Judge by reason of the Presiding Judgeís death, disability or absence, it shall be authenticated by a member of the Court designated for that purpose by majority vote of the Court. (IV.4.A.14.)
Section 17. Quorum. No fewer than four of the Judges shall constitute a quorum, but any fewer number may adjourn the Court from time to time.
Section 18. Setting of Trial Date and Plea.
A. Upon receiving a Presentment, the Presiding Judge shall, within thirty (30) days, send to each member of the Court a copy of the Presentment.
B. The Presiding Judge of the Court shall, within not more than threecalendar months from the Presiding Judgeís receipt of the Presentment, summon the Respondent to answer the Presentment in accordance with the Rules of Procedure as set forth in the National Canons.
C. The Respondentís answer or other response to the Presentment inaccordance with the Rules of Procedure shall be duly recorded and the Trial shall proceed; Provided, that for sufficient cause the Court may adjourn from time to time; and Provided, also, that the Respondent shall, at all times during the Trial have liberty to be present, and may be accompanied by counsel and one other person of his or her own choosing, and in due time and order to produce testimony and to make a defense.
D. If the Respondent fails or refuses to answer or otherwise enter anappearance, except for reasonable cause to be allowed by the Court, the Church Attorney may, no sooner than thirty (30) days after the answer is due, move for Summary Judgment of Offense in accordance with the Rules of Procedure. If the motion is granted, the Respondent shall be given notice that Sentence of Admonition, Suspension or Deposition will be adjudged by the Court at the expiration of thirty (30) days after the date of the Notice of Sentence, or at such convenient time thereafter as the Court shall determine. Sentence of Admonition, Suspension or of Deposition from the Ordained Ministry may, thereafter, be adjudged by the Court. (IV.4.A.16)
Section 19. Respondent to be Heard. The Court shall permit the Respondent to beheard in person and by counsel of the Respondentís own selection. In every Trial the Court may regulate the number of counsel who may address the Court or examine witnesses. (IV.4.A.15.)
Section 20. Church Attorney Shall Appear. In all Ecclesiastical Trials, the ChurchAttorney appointed pursuant to this Canon shall appear on behalf of the Diocese, which shall then be considered the party on one side and the Respondent the party on the other. Each Complainant and alleged Victim shall be entitled to be present throughout and observe the Trial and each may be accompanied by counsel and another person of his or her own choosing. (IV.4.A.17.)
Section 21. Proposed Instructions. Before a vote is taken on the findings and in thepresence of the Respondent and counsel, counsel for the parties may submit requested proposed instructions. The Presiding Judge of the Court, after consultation with the Lay Assessors, shall declare which of the proposed instructions shall be issued and shall instruct the members of the Court as to the elements of the Offense and charge them (i) that the Respondent must be presumed not to have committed the Offense alleged until establishment by clear and convincing evidence, and unless such standard of proof be met the Presentment must be dismissed, and (ii) that the burden of proof to establish the Respondentís commission of the Offense is upon the Church Attorney in the name of the Diocese. (IV.4.A.18)
Section 22. Separate Vote Taken. A separate vote shall be taken first upon thefindings as to the commission of an Offense by the Respondent. (IV.4.A.19.)
Section 23. Voting Procedure. Voting by members of a Court on the findings shallbe by ballot. No member shall disclose his or her vote or the vote of any member.
Section 24. Votes Required for Judgment. For a Judgment that the Respondent hascommitted an Offense, the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the Members of the Court then serving for that Trial shall be necessary. Failing such two-third vote, the Presentment shall be dismissed. (IV.4.A.20)
Section 25. Notice of Findings. The Presiding Judge shall cause the Respondent,the Church Attorney, each Complainant, and unless waived in writing, the Victim to be advised of and provided with a copy of the findings of the Court. (IV.4.A.21.)
Section 26. Prohibition on Time to Vote on Sentence. No vote shall be taken on theSentence to be imposed until at least thirty (30) days after the Respondent, Church Attorney, each Complainant and, unless waived in writing, the Victim have been informed of the Judgment and each has had a reasonable opportunity to offer matters in excuse or mitigation or to otherwise comment on the Sentence.(IV.4.A.22.)
Section 27. Matters in Excuse, Mitigation or Comments. All matters in excuse ormitigation or comments on the Sentence shall be served on the Respondent, Church Attorney, Complainants and, unless waived in writing, the Victim. The Court shall provide a reasonable time for responses to the Court which shall also be served as provided above. The Court may schedule hearings on the submission. (IV.4.A.23.)
Section 28. Sentence. The Court shall then vote upon a Sentence to be adjudgedand imposed upon the Respondent and the decision so signed shall be recorded as the Judgment of the Court. The decision of the Court as to all the Charges shall be reduced to writing and signed by those who assent to it. (IV.4.A.25, 26)
Section 29. Communication of Sentence. The Judgment and any Sentence adjudged on a Judgment shall be communicated promptly to the Bishop of the Diocese wherein the Trial was held, the Ecclesiastical Authority, if there be no Bishop, the Standing Committee, the Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese in which the Respondent is canonically resident, the Respondent, each Complainant, and unless waived in writing, the Victim. (IV.4.A.27)
amended 1998, 1999, 2001
Nomination and Election of Bishops
Section 1. Committee for the Nomination of Bishops. Whenever the Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese shall call for the election of a Bishop, Bishop Coadjutor, or Suffragan Bishop and the Convention, where required, shall have given its consent thereto, there shall be a committee consisting of the Chancellor of the Diocese, serving ex-officio; three members, at least one lay and at least one clerical, elected by each of the Deaneries of the Diocese; and following these elections, four persons appointed by the Standing Committee. At least nine (9) members of this committee must be lay persons. All lay members of this committee must be confirmed communicants in good standing in this Diocese.
Section 2. Vacancies . Prior to the first meeting of the committee vacancies shall be filled by the Deaneries or the Standing Committee, as appropriate, from the constituency from which they were selected and in the order which they represent. Vacancies occurring after the first meeting will not be filled
Section 3. Terms of Members. All members of the Committee shall continue as members thereof until the close of the Convention at which the Episcopal election shall have been accomplished, or until the Committee shall have been discharged by action of the Convention.
Section 4. Chair and Secretary of the Committee. Before the first meeting of the Committee the Standing Committee shall appoint a chair and vice chair, one of whom shall be lay and one of whom shall be ordained. The secretary of the Committee shall be elected by the Committee and need not be a member of the Committee.
Section 5. Committee Shall Call for Names. The Committee shall call for, receive, and may propose names of members of the Clergy who may lawfully be elected to the Episcopal office to be filled, and shall fix the time within which such suggested names may be filed with the Committee, but in no event shall the limiting date so fixed be fewer than sixty days prior to the date set for the Convention at which the election is to be held. Any member of the Committee whose name shall be proposed for consideration as a candidate for the Episcopal office may withdraw from such consideration. If that member shall not so withdraw, resignation from the Committee is required.
Section 6. Committee Report. After due consideration, the Committee shall select not fewer than three nor more than five persons whom it deems qualified for such office. The Committee shall prepare a report to the Convention giving the names of the persons so selected, together with biographical information and a photograph of each nominee. Copies of the report shall be mailed to voting Clerical and Lay delegates to Convention as provided in ARTICLE III. Section 2.D of the Constitution of the Diocese of Northwest Texas at least thirty (30) days prior to the convening date of the Convention.
Section 7. Nomination by Committee. The presentation of the report of the Committee at the Convention shall constitute a nomination of each of the candidates therein named.
Section 8. Nomination from the Floor. Nominations may be made from the floor provided that the same written information and photograph as is required of the Committee nominations has been submitted at least thirty days prior to the opening day of the electing Convention. Any nomination from the floor must have the consent of the nominee.
Section 9. Seconding Speeches. No seconding speeches are in order at a Convention to elect a Bishop.
Section 10. Voting. In order to be elected, a candidate must receive a majority of votes of each order, voting concurrently.
Section 11. Convention Eucharist. Upon the conclusion of all preliminary business and all initial nominations, the Convention shall recess for a celebration of the Holy Eucharist.
Section 12. Reconvene and Election. Upon conclusion of the Holy Eucharist, the Convention shall reconvene and proceed to an election. Each ballot shall be preceded by a period of silent prayer.
Adopted 1993; amended 1995
Record of Constitution and Canons
Section 1. Book. The Registrar of the Diocese shall procure and keep a suitable book, entitled "The Constitution and Canons of the Diocese of Northwest Texas," in which shall be recorded the Constitution and Canons of the Diocese, with a certificate of their adoption signed by the President and Secretary of Convention.
Section 2. Recordation. All Constitutions and Canons, and all amendments thereof and additions thereto, hereafter adopted by the Convention shall be certified by the President and Secretary of the Convention, as having been duly adopted, and shall, with the certification of adoption, be recorded in said book and said book shall be taken and regarded as evidence of the due adoption and correctness of all papers recorded therein pursuant to this Canon.
Amendment of Canons
An amendment to these Canons shall be referred in writing to the Committee on Constitution and Canons as provided in Canon 16, Section 2 of these Canons. If adopted by a majority of each of the two Orders voting thereon separately, said amendment shall become effective upon adjournment of Convention, unless a future date shall be specified in the amendment itself.
Adopted, November 3, 1984
October 1985 October 2000
October 1986 October 2001
October 1987 October 2002
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