Canons of the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey:
Annual Meeting of the Diocesan Convention
SECTION 1. The Convention shall meet on the first Friday following the first Sunday in March at Trinity Cathedral in the City of Trenton unless another time or place of meeting is appointed by the Ecclesiastical Authority.
SECTION 2. At each meeting of the Convention there shall be such services of the Church as the Ecclesiastical Authority may appoint.
See also: Constitution Article III
Diocesan Convention Credentials of Members
SECTION 1. The Ecclesiastical Authority, one week before the date set for any meeting of the Convention, shall certify to the Secretary the names of all clergy canonically resident in the Diocese, annexing the names of their respective cures or stations or engagements, specifying those who have been ordained, or received in the Diocese, within the year immediately preceding, with the dates of their ordination or reception; from which list the Secretary shall prepare, in conformity with the constitution, a roll of all the clergy entitled to votes or seats in the Convention.
The Ecclesiastical Authority shall at the same time also certify the names of all members of the
clergy ordained by The Episcopal Church or by bishops of churches in communion with it, not
canonically resident in this Diocese but licensed to officiate in this Diocese, who shall also be
entitled to have seat and voice but not vote at the Convention, annexing the names of their
respective congregations, if any, and the date of their license to serve in the Diocese.
Any Bishops other than the Bishop Diocesan serving in the Diocese, and any retired Bishop
canonically resident in the Diocese, shall be entitled to a seat, voice, and vote at the
Should any dispute arise as to the status of any member of the clergy, it shall be referred to a special committee appointed by the President, which shall report on each case immediately, and the action of the Convention thereon shall not be called in question during the same session.
SECTION 2. The certificates of the election of Lay Deputies shall be in a form approved by Convention and shall be forwarded to Diocesan Congregations during the month of November in each year. The completed certificate shall be signed by the Rector or Vicar or clerk of the vestry, or by the wardens or any two trustees of the Congregation. The signed certificate shall be returned to the Secretary of Convention care of the diocesan offices by the later of (a) January 15 or (b) three days following the annual meeting of the Congregation.
SECTION 3. In case any Deputy shall not be able to attend a meeting of the Convention an alternate shall be admitted to represent the Parish at the meeting. The Alternate shall be designated by the Rector, or in case there be no such Rector, by the Wardens.
SECTION 4. There shall be a Committee on the Credentials of Lay Deputies appointed by the President of the Convention at the annual meeting thereof to serve until the adjournment of the next annual Convention. The Committee shall consist of not fewer than five persons who shall be members of the Convention at the time of appointment.
SECTION 5. On or after August 1, but not later than October 1, the Committee on the Credentials of Lay Deputies shall notify any Diocesan Congregation entitled to representation in the Convention, of any deficiencies for which such representation may be denied pursuant to the provisions of Article II, Section 6 of the Constitution. Such Congregation shall have a period of thirty days within which to supply the deficiencies. The Committee shall report to the Convention any Diocesan Congregation failing to meet the requirements for representation after such period. No Diocesan Congregation whose deputies were seated at the preceding annual meeting of the Convention shall be denied a seat for failure to comply with the requirements of Article II, Section 6 of the Constitution in the absence of such notice.
See also: Constitution Article II — Membership
Loss of Representation Constitution Article II, Section 6
Rules of Order and Dispatch of Business
A committee on Rules of Order composed of two members of the clergy and three lay persons, at least one of whom shall also be a member of the Balloting Committee, shall be appointed by the Bishop at the opening of each annual meeting of the Convention, who shall consider and report upon all proposed amendments to the Rules of Order and shall watch the dispatch of business at all sessions, and propose rules to prevent congestion. The present rules shall continue in force until amended or repealed.
At the annual Convention the Ecclesiastical Authority shall appoint an Assistant Secretary. And whenever there shall be a vacancy in the office of Secretary of the Convention the duties shall devolve upon the Assistant Secretary, if there be one; if not, upon the Secretary of the Standing Committee, until the vacancy is filled.
See also: Constitution Article IV
Elections in Diocesan Convention
SECTION 1. In all elections, the number of votes necessary for a choice shall be a majority of the total number of ballots cast.
SECTION 2. In case more than the required number of persons shall have a majority of votes, a sufficient number of those having the highest number of such votes shall be declared elected.
SECTION 3. There shall be a nominating committee composed of one clerical and one lay member from each Convocation. The members shall be elected by Convocation at the Fall meeting thereof to serve for a one-year term beginning at the conclusion of the Diocesan Convention the following March. Vacancies shall be filled by the Dean of the Convocation. The President of Convention shall, before the first day of April, appoint from among the elected members a Chair. The committee shall make suitable nominations for all elective offices. It shall report in writing to the Secretary its nominations. It shall in no way affect the right of any member of the Convention to place names in nomination in accordance with the provisions of these Canons and the Rules of Order of the Convention.
The Chair shall convene the first meeting of the nominating committee no later than June 1. No later than September 1, the committee shall mail to all clergy and churches in the Diocese a list of the offices to be filled at the next Convention and a form on which names may be submitted to the committee recommending persons for nomination. Meetings of the nominating committee shall be open to all clergy and church members in the Diocese. Opportunity shall be given at each meeting of the committee for such visitors to offer advice to the committee.
The Convocational Members of the Nominating Committee may elect up to four additional members-at-large. This election, if there be one, shall be by majority vote of all Convocational Members at a scheduled meeting of the Nominating Committee. In electing the members-at-large, the Convocational Members shall be as inclusive as possible to insure that the committee is representative of the entire membership of the Diocese.
SECTION 4. Nominations for elective offices to be filled by the Convention shall be submitted in writing to the Secretary by the Nominating Committee no later than January 1. Additional nominations, if any, may be submitted after this date to the Secretary of Convention care of the diocesan office by any member of Convention, but no later than 45 days before the meeting of the Convention in the form prescribed by the Convention.
The Secretary shall distribute a list of all nominees so received to all members of Convention no later than 30 days before the meeting of the Convention. A ballot shall be prepared on which shall be printed the names of the nominees submitted in the above manner. The ballot shall indicate which names have been submitted by the Nominating Committee. Provision shall also be made on the ballot that write-in votes may be cast for those nominated from the floor of Convention.
Committee on Validation of the Minutes
SECTION 1. There shall be a Committee on Validation of the Minutes of the Convention, consisting of three persons, who shall not be officers of the Convention or of the Diocese, to be appointed by the president of the Convention.
SECTION 2. It shall be the duty of the Committee to review the minutes of the Convention as prepared by the Secretary, prior to printing. They shall, to the extent practical, submit galleys to the proponents of each action reported, and to all members of the Convention who shall in writing so request. All such persons shall be afforded 14 days for comment before final validation.
SECTION 3. If, subsequent to the printing of the minutes, errors shall be established, the Committee, in consultation with the Secretary, shall so report to the next succeeding Convention, and such report, if accepted by the Convention, shall be incorporated in the minutes thereof.
Deputies to Provincial Synod
SECTION 1. Those persons elected as deputies to General Convention pursuant to Article X, Section 1, of the Constitution of the Diocese of New Jersey shall, by virtue of such election, be deputies to the Provincial Synod of the Second Province of the Episcopal Church. Those persons elected as alternate deputies to General Convention pursuant to Article X, Section 1, of the Constitution of the Diocese of New Jersey shall, by virtue of such election, be alternate deputies to the Provincial Synod.
SECTION 2. It shall be the duty of each deputy-elect, at least two weeks before the convening of the Synod, to notify the Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese whether or not the deputy-elect will attend the Synod. In case any deputy-elect shall be unable to attend, or shall fail to notify the Ecclesiastical Authority of the deputy-elect’s intention, the Ecclesiastical Authority shall appoint a person or persons to serve as deputy to the Provincial Synod from among those elected as alternate deputies. Such appointment shall be made from the alternate deputies according to their order of preference of election as set forth in Article X, Section 3, of the Constitution of the Diocese of New Jersey.
SECTION 3. The Treasurer of the Diocese shall pay to the deputies of the Provincial Synod their traveling and hotel expenses; such sums are to be included in the Diocesan Budget.
SECTION 4. The deputies to the Provincial Synod shall report to each annual meeting of the Convention held in the year following any meeting of the Provincial Synod.
SECTION 1. The Bishop shall appoint the Archivist of the Diocese for a three-year term. The person appointed shall have sufficient education and experience as to be able to fulfill the responsibilities of the office.
SECTION 2. The responsibilities of the Archivist shall include:
- Periodically publish inventories of archival materials.
- Sort and catalog the present holdings of the Diocese.
- Assist researchers in the use of archival materials.
- Develop and maintain a Records Retention Service to easily make available the records generated by the various departments in the Diocese.
- Assist Parish archivists in developing and maintaining appropriate local level archives.
- Prepare archive-related material for publication.
- Increase archival holding through correspondence with individuals and other sources.
- Provide for the safekeeping of all archival material.
SECTION 3. Whenever a Parish or Mission shall be declared extinct, or dissolved, the charters, registers, and other papers and records shall be delivered immediately to the Archives. This pertains to all Parishes and Missions already dissolved by merger.
SECTION 4. When a presbyter or deacon dies or leaves this Diocese, the Bishop’s file will be placed in the Archives.
SECTION 5. It shall be the duty of the Archivist to make an annual report to the Convention on the condition of the Archives.
SECTION 1. Prior Consents for Elections of Bishops Coadjutor or Suffragan. Before an election of a Bishop Coadjutor or Bishop Suffragan can be authorized, the election process, including a budget provision for the election and the position, must be approved by a regular or special meeting of the Diocesan Convention.
(a) Whenever the Bishop of the Diocese wishes to call for the election of a Suffragan Bishop or a Bishop Coadjutor, the Bishop shall give written notice to all members of the Convention not later than sixty days before the annual or special meeting of the Convention at which the request will be considered.
(b) The Diocesan Council, with the assistance of the Finance and Budget Committee, shall prepare and adopt a proposed financial plan to defray all expenses to be incurred in connection with the election, in a manner that incorporates the expenses into the Diocesan Budget over a period not to exceed three years. The plan shall include appropriations for the work of the Bishop Search and Nomination Committee and the Transition Committee provided for in this Canon, the cost of the Electing Convention, and the cost of the Consecration Service. The plan shall also set the proposed initial level of compensation for the new bishop and provide for the moving expenses of the new bishop. A copy of the proposed financial plan shall be mailed to all members of the Convention not later than thirty days before the meeting of the Convention referred to in subsection (a) of Section 1 of this canon.
(c) The Convention shall act first on the Bishop’s request for the election of a Bishop Coadjutor or Suffragan, and if that is approved the Convention shall then consider the financial plan proposed by the Council. The Convention may adopt the plan as proposed, adopt a modified version of the plan, or reject the plan. Only if the Convention approves both the resolution consenting to the election and the financial plan may the Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese proceed to seek the consent of a majority of the Bishops exercising jurisdiction and of the Standing Committees of The Episcopal Church for such election to go forward. Upon receipt of such consents, the Ecclesiastical Authority shall promptly begin the process of electing a Bishop Search and Nomination Committee as set forth in Section 4 of this Canon.
SECTION 2. In the event of the death of the Bishop Diocesan, the dissolution of the pastoral relationship between the Diocese and the Bishop Diocesan, or upon the Bishop Diocesan’s giving notice of resignation or retirement, the Ecclesiastical Authority shall promptly begin the process of electing a Bishop Search and Nomination Committee as set forth in Section 4 of this Canon. Simultaneously, the Diocesan Council shall prepare and adopt a financial plan as described in subsection (b) of Section 1 of this Canon for the election of a successor, to be mailed to all members of the Convention not later than thirty days before the next annual or special meeting of the Convention. The Convention may adopt the plan as proposed or adopt a modified version of the plan.
SECTION 3. Composition of the Bishop Search and Nomination Committee. When a bishop is to be elected, there shall be a Bishop Search and Nomination Committee consisting of 16 Convocational Members and six Members-At-Large, elected in the following manner:
(a) One member of the clergy and one lay person shall be elected in each convocation of the Diocese in accordance with the provisions of Section 2 of this Canon.
(b) Six additional Members-At-Large, either clergy or lay, shall be elected by the Convocational Members. The election shall be by majority vote of all the Convocational Members. In electing the Members-At-Large, the Convocational Members shall be as inclusive as possible to insure that the Committee is representative of the entire Diocese.
(c) In addition to the elected members, a Chair shall be appointed by the Bishop with the advice and consent of the Standing Committee. If there is no Bishop, the appointment shall be made by the Standing Committee. The Committee, including all At-Large Members, shall elect a Vice-Chair from the members of the Committee.
(d) Lay members of the Committee shall be confirmed adult communicants in good standing of a Parish or Mission within the Diocese. Clergy members shall be canonically resident in the Diocese.
(e) Vacancies among Convocational Members shall be filled by appointment of the Dean of the Convocation. Vacancies among the Members-At-Large shall be filled by the Committee.
SECTION 4. Election of Bishop Search and Nomination Committee Members by Convocations. Convocational Members shall be elected in the following manner:
(a) When the Ecclesiastical Authority announces the call for the election of a bishop, the Ecclesiastical Authority shall appoint a specific Sunday for Special Meetings to be held in each Parish and Mission of the Diocese to elect special delegates to a special meeting in each convocation for the purpose of electing members of the Bishop Search and Nomination Committee. On that Sunday, every Parish and Mission in the Diocese shall hold a special meeting of the Congregation, in accordance with the provisions of the Canons of the Diocese and the laws of the State of New Jersey, for the purpose of electing six special delegates to the special meeting of the Convocation. The Chair of the meeting shall forthwith certify to the Dean of the Convocation and to the Ecclesiastical Authority the names and addresses of the persons elected.
(b) On the fourth Sunday thereafter, the Dean of each convocation shall convene a Special Meeting to elect members of the Bishop Search and Nomination Committee, due notice having been given to each church in the convocation. Those entitled to vote at the meeting shall be the six duly certified Special Delegates from each Parish and Mission in the Convocation and all members of the clergy, canonically resident in the Diocese, who exercise their ministry within the Convocation or who reside in the Convocation. The election shall be by ballot and a majority of the votes cast shall be necessary for election. It shall be the duty of each Dean to certify forthwith to the Ecclesiastical Authority the names, addresses and the telephone numbers of the persons elected.
SECTION 5. Self-Study and Diocesan Profile. The Bishop Search and Nomination Committee shall be responsible for conducting a Diocesan Self-Study. Using information developed by a Diocesan Self-Study, the Committee shall develop a Diocesan Profile. The Committee may engage such professional assistance as it deems reasonable to complete its task.
SECTION 6. Obtaining Candidates.
(a) The Bishop Search and Nomination Committee shall take the steps necessary to encourage the recommendation of qualified candidates and shall circulate the Diocesan Profile and other pertinent information to all clergy, Parishes, and Missions of the Diocese, the Office of Transition Ministry of the Episcopal Church, the Presiding Bishop and all active Bishops of the Episcopal Church notifying them that recommendations are being received, and stating the process for nomination and election.
(b) The Committee shall screen all candidates recommended and shall establish its own procedures for determining which candidates are best suited for nomination. It shall submit a list of no fewer than four nor more than six candidates to be placed in nomination at the Electing Convention.
(c) Not later than one year after it is constituted, the Committee shall report to the members of the Electing Convention and to the Diocese as a whole, the names of the persons to be nominated by it at the Electing Convention, together with a brief biography of each nominee. The committee shall include notice of the Electing Convention with its report. The date of the electing Convention shall not be less than three months nor more than five months after the date the report is issued.
SECTION 7. Independent Nominations. When the Bishop Search and Nomination Committee has announced its list of nominees, there shall be a period of 30 days after the date when its report is issued during which Independent Nominations to the electing Convention may be made. No independent nominations shall be received after that date. The Committee shall provide, upon request, a Nomination Petition Form on which the deadline for submitting independent nominations and the method of submitting them is clearly stated. The Nomination Petition shall require the signatures of at least two persons from at least five Convocations.
SECTION 8. Final Report of the Bishop Search and Nomination Committee. After the period for receiving independent nominations has expired, the Bishop Search and Nomination Committee shall publish an Election Booklet containing the names, photographs, and biographical sketches of all nominees and such other material about the nominees as the Committee shall choose to include. The Election Booklet shall state which nominees were nominated by the Committee and which were nominated independently, but in every other respect all nominees shall be treated equally. The Election Booklet shall include a detailed statement of the election process including the Proposed Rules of Order and Agenda for the Electing Convention. The Election Booklet shall be distributed to each member of the Electing Convention not less than 30 days before the electing Convention and also made available to the Diocese as a whole.
SECTION 9. Introduction of Nominees to the Diocese. After the Election Booklet has been distributed, the Bishop Search and Nomination Committee shall provide one or more opportunities for members of the Electing Convention to meet and confer with all nominees. Opportunity shall also be afforded all members of the Diocese to meet the nominees. The Committee shall be responsible for establishing the time, place, and format of any pre-Convention meeting of candidates. All such meetings shall be complete at least seven days prior to the Electing Convention.
SECTION 10. Composition and Duties of the Transition Committee. There shall be a Transition Committee consisting of between eight and twelve members. Lay members of the committee shall be confirmed adult communicants in good standing of a Parish or Mission within the Diocese.
Clergy members shall be canonically resident in the Diocese. The composition of the committee and its duties shall be as follows:
(a) Following the organization of the Bishop Search and Nomination Committee by the appointment of its Chair and the election of its Members-At-Large, the Standing Committee shall appoint a Chair for the Transition Committee, and the Bishop Search and Nomination Committee shall choose one of its members to be a liaison member of the Transition Committee. The Chair and the liaison member shall then consult with the Standing Committee to assist it in appointing the remaining members of the Transition Committee. Members should be considered for their aptitude, experience, and expertise in the tasks required of the committee. The committee members should organize themselves at least six months before the expected date of the Electing Convention.
(b) The Transition Committee shall be responsible for planning and overseeing the Electing Convention. Subject to the consent of the Ecclesiastical Authority, and in consultation with the Bishop Search and Nomination Committee, the Transition Committee shall fix the date, time, and place of the Electing Convention. The committee shall strive to ensure that the entire process of nominating and electing a Bishop is conducted in a pastoral manner. The committee shall confer with the Committee on Rules of Order and Dispatch of Business for the Electing Convention to assist it in developing Rules of Order and an Agenda for the Electing Convention. The committee shall communicate regularly with members of the Electing Convention and with the Diocese at large to ensure an active awareness of the entire election process. The Ecclesiastical Authority may for good cause adjourn the date of the Electing Convention and reschedule the same with the advice and consent of the Transition Committee.
(c) The Transition Committee shall provide pastoral and practical assistance to any present bishop, the bishop-elect, and their spouses and families throughout the transition process.
(d) The Transition Committee shall be responsible for planning and overseeing the leave-taking of an incumbent bishop, the relocation of the family of the bishop-elect, and the services of consecration or induction of the bishop-elect.
(e) The Transition Committee should coordinate its tasks as necessary with the Bishop Search and Nomination Committee, the Standing Committee, and diocesan staff.
SECTION 11. Placing in Nomination. At the Electing Convention, the Bishop Search and Nomination Committee shall place in nomination all names listed in the Election Booklet. Nominations from the floor of Convention shall not be permitted. No nominating speeches or laudatory addresses shall be made on behalf of any nominee.
Diocesan Youth Council
The Diocesan Youth Council shall be entitled to seat, voice and vote at Diocesan Convention. The Youth Commission shall elect three persons, who are at least 16 years of age and who are communicants in good standing of a Parish within the Diocese, to serve as deputies to Diocesan Convention. The Co-Chairs of the Youth Council or the Director of Youth Ministry shall certify the election of the deputies to the Secretary of Diocesan Convention.
CANONS 11 & 12 RESERVED