FRANCISCO-fact: How is the Episcopal Church governed?
Wow! If you followed this Blog, you would know that my favorite answer is: “it’s complicated.”
The above answer is especially true for the Episcopal Church, specifically, and the Anglican Communion more generally.
On a large picture basis, the Episcopal Church (TEC) is a voluntary association of 112 dioceses, primarily, but not exclusively, located in the United States of America. The dioceses are governed by TEC’s Constitutions and Canons, which are overseen by the General Convention, a triennial gathering of lay and ordained deputies and bishops of the constituent dioceses, and they are also governed by their several diocesan Constitutions and Canons.
The diocese, which by ancient tradition, is held to be the smallest unit of the Church, and in the Episcopal Church that means that means that dioceses are incorporated entities made up of a bishop, or bishops, congregations (typically known as parishes), committees, councils, boards, and the annual convention.
There will be more coming in future weeks about each of these levels of governance.
But it is more important to the talk about the local church, in this case, St. Francis. Our church is part of the Langley Parish, which includes St. John’s Church in McLean. St. John’s was also our mother church. Because of these conditions, I cannot call St. Francis a parish, nor can we call St. John’s a parish. Hence, church will have to do.
We are an independent church within the diocese of Virginia, which means we are self-directed and self-governing under the Constitutions and Canons of the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia. As such, we have a Vestry, with nine members, a Senior Warden, Junior Warden, Treasurer, and Register, a Rector, delegates to the diocesan convention, representation in the North Fairfax Region of the Diocese, a tax ID number, and ownership of the buildings and properties on which we worship.
All of the above require governance and oversight. That is the job of the Vestry, and we are still looking for church members who are willing to share the leadership of our ministries and responsibilities for proclaiming the Gospel by serving our neighbors. If you are called contact the Rector (CLICK HERE) or the Senior Warden (CLICK HERE).