Diocesan Governance: How the Diocese Is Organized
Trustees, Standing Committee, Council
The Bishop, elected by Convention, is the head of the diocese and its ecclesiastical authority. He oversees and guides it in combination with the Convention, the Standing Committee and the Diocesan Council. Click on the tabs below for more information on these. The rules and by-laws governing the diocese are known as the Diocesan Constitution and Canons. For these, click the links in the menu to the left of the page.
Real Estate Inquiries
As per Standing Committee Policy - All inquiries before submitting applications concerning church real estate property to Standing Committee should be sent to Standing Committee Secretary (see sidebar for contact information).
The trustees manage the real and personal property and endowment funds, in order to enhance and further the mission of the Diocese as it is determined by Convention and Council.
Reflecting the same aversion to autocracy and the same impulse toward the separation and balancing of powers that drove the American Revolution and our national Constitution, the Constitution of Episcopal Church in the United States requires every Diocese to have an elected Standing Committee.
Functions of the Standing Committee
The Standing Committee:
- serves as Council of Advice to the Bishop, either when summoned by the Bishop or on its own accord when disposed to advise the Bishop
- approves or disapproves
- applications of all persons seeking Candidacy to the diaconate or priesthood
- all parish applications to encumber or dispose of property, according to established guideline. Guidelines for sale or lease of parish real estate.
- elections in this and other dioceses of all Diocesan, Coadjutor and Suffragan Bishops
- acts as the Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese in the absence or disability of our Bishop
- preserves all proceedings with regard to the ecclesiastical trial of a clergy person.
- reports annually to the Convention on its completed official acts, except those that pertain to its functions as a Council of Advice to the Bishop.
The Bishop and the Standing Committee
The Bishop is not a member of the Standing Committee and does not attend its meetings; it has, however, been the practice this diocese for the Bishop and the Standing Committee to meet and share views at the beginning of each monthly meeting.
Membership of the Standing Committee
Our Standing Committee has four clerical and four lay members, who serve staggered four-year terms. When a member has completed a full, four-year term he or she must rotate off for a minimum of one year. Thus each year at Convention, we elect one clerical and one lay member.
For further information please contact Sara Saavedra.
Further insights into the role of Standing Committees
A readable and concise description of the origins and role of standing committees in dioceses of the Episcopal Church was written a few years ago by Gordon Gritter, M.D., President of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of El Camino Real. You can read it by clicking here.
The Council is the executive body mandated by the Diocesan Constitution to encourage and support the people of the diocese as they carry out the mission of the Church—in most cases in local congregations and groups of congregations.
The Council has Powers to Adopt Emergency Resolutions
The Council of the Diocese may also adopt emergency resolutions, on matters not reserved to the Standing Committee, to express the position of the Diocese between Diocesan Conventions. These resolutions automatically lapse as diocesan position statements unless the next Diocesan Convention adopts them.
Membership of the Council
- the Bishop or his/her designee, who acts as the President
- all other Bishops of the Diocese (Coadjutor (if any), Suffragan, Assistant)
- the Treasurer of the Diocese
- the President of the Episcopal Church Women
- 18 members elected by Convention on staggered three-year terms
- six members appointed by the Bishop at his or her pleasure
Commissions and Committees of the Council
The Council comprises a number of separate commissions and committees, which and are responsible for carrying out much of its work:
Christian Formation Commission, which is dedicated to moving individuals of all ages to growth in faith and in the practice of the Christian life.
Congregational Development Commission, which is responsible for supporting, advising and assisting congregations as they strive to grow in numbers and spirituality.
Global Mission Commission, which coordinates and oversees efforts at diocesan and local levels to support missionary aspects of congregational life, both in their own communities and further afield, including connecting congregations with global mission opportunities and relationships.
Social Concerns Commission, which urges and helps every congregation within the Diocese to include social witness as part of its common life by raising issues of social concern, advocating for social change, and providing congregations with the tools they need in order to work for that change. Visit the Social Concerns pages.
Leadership Development Commission, which works to bring forward lay leaders within congregations and the diocese.
Budget and Finance Committee, which allocates funding from diocesan resources in response to requests (“askings”) from eligible diocesan bodies, and recommends a budget for the following year to the Diocesan Convention.
Congregational Support Committee, which provides advice and financial support to parishes that have insufficient pledge or endowment income to balance their books without assistance. Visit the Congregational Support pages.
The Canon to the Ordinary