Canons of the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey:
Part VII — GENERAL CANONS
SECTION 1. The Fiscal Year shall begin January 1.
SECTION 2. All accounts having to do with the receipt and expenditure, or investment or reinvestment of money of all diocesan or congregational organizations, including all discretionary accounts and funds, shall be audited at the close of each year by a certified public accountant, a public accountant, or such audit committee as shall be authorized by the Audit Committee of the Diocese. The person or persons conducting the audit shall in no way be connected with the subject matter of the account.
SECTION 3. Treasurers and custodians, other than banking institutions, shall be adequately bonded; except treasurers of funds that do not exceed $500.00 at any one time during the fiscal year.
SECTION 4. The discretionary funds of all bishops, priests and deacons of the Diocese shall be managed in accordance with the guidelines set forth in the Manual of Business Methods in Church Affairs issued by the Office of the Treasurer of the Episcopal Church.
SECTION 1. All real and personal property held by or for the benefit of any parish, mission, congregation, or corporation of this Diocese is held in trust for this Diocese and the Episcopal Church. The existence of this trust, however, shall in no way limit the power and authority of the parish, mission, congregation, or corporation of this Diocese otherwise existing over such property so long as the particular parish, mission, congregation, or corporation of this Diocese remains a part of and subject to the Constitution and Canons of this Diocese and the Episcopal Church.
SECTION 2. No sale, conveyance or mortgage of any real estate other than burial lots in churchyards or cemeteries, and no lease for a longer term than one year shall be made by any parish, mission, congregation, or corporation of this Diocese without the previous written consent of the Bishop and a majority of the Standing Committee of the Diocese, or in case of a vacancy in the office of Bishop, or of the Bishop’s absence from the Diocese, then of a majority of the Standing Committee.
Parochial Registers and Reports
(a) In every Congregation the Warden or Wardens shall provide a parish Register.
(b) It shall be the duty of every Minister in charge of a Congregation, or if the Congregation be vacant, the Wardens and Members of the Vestry, to record in the Parish Register all Baptisms, Confirmations, Marriages and Burials, and the names of all Communicants within the Minister’s Cure.
(c) The registry of every Baptism shall be signed by the officiating Minister, and the said registry shall include the complete name of each child or adult baptized, together with the place and date of Baptism, the place and date of birth, and the names of the parents and sponsors or witnesses.
(d) The registry of every Confirmation shall include the complete name and the age of the confirmed, and when and where the confirmed was baptized; and each page of the register of Confirmation shall indicate the date and place of administration, and shall be signed at least once by the officiating Bishop and the presenting Minister.
(e) The registry of every Marriage shall be signed by the officiating Minister, by the contracting parties, and by at least two witnesses; and the said registry shall include the place and date of marriage, the status of the contracting parties immediately before the marriage, their age and place of residence, and the names of their parents.
(f) The registry of every Burial shall be signed by the officiating Minister, and the said registry shall include the complete name, the age, the status in the Church, last residence, the date and cause of death, and the date and place of burial of the person buried.
(g) Every Minister in charge of a Congregation shall make out and continue, as accurately as possible, a list of all families within the Minister’s Cure, including the names of each member thereof, and of all individuals not included as members of a family; which list shall indicate whether each person is a baptized, a confirmed, or a communicant member of this Church; and the said list shall remain in the Congregation for the use of the Minister’s successor.
(a) Every Minister in charge of a Congregation, or, if there be no such Minister, a Warden thereof, shall prepare annually for the year ending December 31st preceding, a report of the Congregation, upon the form as provided by National Canon I.6.1, and shall send the said report, not later than March 1st, to the Bishop.
(b) Every Minister not in charge of any Parish or Congregation shall also report the Minister’s occasional services for the year ending December 31st preceding, and shall send the said report, not later than March 1st, to the Bishop; and if there have been none, the Minister shall state the cause or reasons which have prevented the same.
(c) The above reports, or such part of them as the Bishop may deem proper, shall be entered in the Journal of the Convention.
(d) The officers of each Parish or Mission shall prepare annually a report of the compensation of each member of the clergy employed by the Parish or Mission upon the blank form provided by The Standing Commission on Clerical Compensation, and shall send the said report, not later than March 1st, to the Bishop. The report shall be signed by a Warden, the Treasurer and the member of the clergy.
(e) If the proper report be not made by any Congregation through its Minister or Warden by March 1st of each calendar year, it shall be the duty of the Bishop to cause inquiry to be made into the condition; and if the said report is not in the Bishop’s hands within a period of forty-five days from the date when it is due, such Congregation shall not be entitled to representation in the Convention.
Minimum Compensation for Clergy
SECTION 1. Each parish and mission in the Diocese shall provide compensation for its rector, vicar, assistant, interim, or priest-in-charge in accordance with the provisions of this section. Terms of compensation shall be set forth in a letter of agreement, subject to the approval of the Bishop. Compensation shall include cash salary, housing, professional expense reimbursement, Social Security offset, and continuing education allowance, in accordance with the following subsections:
(a) Cash salary shall not be less than the applicable mandatory minimum for position category established in the Clergy Compensation Chart adopted by Diocesan Convention. The clergyperson may agree with the parish or mission to pay a specified portion of such cash salary into a tax deferred savings plan. All churches in the Diocese shall set the compensation for all clergy employees according to a fiscal year that begins on January 1. The employment year for salary schedule purposes will be considered to begin on the 1st of January closest to the date the clergyperson’s employment begins; provided, however, that all dates in July shall be considered closest to January 1st of the following year.
(b) Housing shall be provided in accordance with one of the following three alternatives:
(1) The parish or mission shall pay the clergyperson a housing allowance, not less than the minimum amount established by Diocesan Convention. This provision is intended to apply to situations in which the clergyperson owns a home as a primary residence. In special circumstances the clergyperson may make a written agreement with the parish or mission to accept a lesser amount for a given period of time, but all such agreements must be reviewed and approved in writing by the Standing Commission on Clerical Compensation.
(2) The parish or mission shall provide a rectory, pay the cost of utilities, repairs, and maintenance, and provide a housing equity plan for the clergyperson. As its share of the housing equity plan the parish or mission shall pay a sum not less than the amount set forth in the Clergy Compensation Chart per year into a tax deferred savings plan or other account specified by the clergyperson.
(3) The parish or mission shall rent suitable living quarters for the clergyperson and pay the cost of utilities. It may also provide a housing equity plan. When rented housing is provided in accordance with the provisions of this paragraph, the parish or mission shall, at the time when the member of the clergy is employed, make an agreement in writing with the member of the clergy stipulating the amount of the rent or rental allowance. A copy of the agreement shall be filed with the Commission on Clerical Compensation. This amount shall not be decreased by the parish or mission during the time that the member of the clergy remains employed by the church.
If alternative (1) of this subsection (b) is selected, the clergyperson may require the parish or mission to designate a portion of the cash salary as additional housing allowance in an amount specified by the clergyperson, but this additional housing allowance shall be applied to the requirement for cash salary provided for in subsection (a) of this section.
If alternative (2) or (3) of this subsection (b) is selected, the clergyperson may require the parish or mission to designate a portion of the cash salary as cash housing allowance in an amount specified by the clergyperson, but this cash housing allowance shall be applied to the requirement for cash salary provided for in subsection (a) of this section.
The foregoing requirements of this subsection (b) for housing or a housing allowance shall not apply to priests who are employed full-time as interim rectors or interim vicars or as assistant or associate clergy. The Congregation and such priest shall negotiate a mutually-acceptable written agreement as to compensation, including any agreed-upon housing and/or housing allowance. A copy of the agreement, signed by both parties, shall be filed with the Commission on Clerical Compensation.
(c) The parish or mission shall pay the clergyperson a professional expense reimbursement up to the annual amount set by the Clergy Compensation Chart, or a higher negotiated amount, based on one of the following alternatives:
(1) The clergyperson shall submit periodically to the parish or mission treasurer an accounting of professional expenses incurred and shall be reimbursed for the amount billed.
(2) The parish or mission shall provide the clergyperson with an automobile for professional use and pay the cost of operating it. In addition, the clergyperson shall submit periodically to the parish or mission treasurer an accounting of other professional expenses incurred and shall be reimbursed for the amount billed.
Any unused annual professional expense allowance funds may be accumulated for as much as seven years but are forfeited upon termination of the pastoral relationship. Accumulated funds may be used to cover the costs for sabbatical leave approved by the vestry.
(d) Social Security offset shall be one-half the clergyperson’s Social Security Self Employment Tax on cash salary and housing provided by the parish or mission. If the clergyperson has taken the proper legal steps to be exempt from Social Security, the vestry shall pay the clergyperson an equivalent amount. The clergyperson may direct the vestry to pay all or part of this amount into a tax-deferred saving plan of the clergyperson’s choice. The balance, if any, shall be paid to the clergyperson directly.
(e) The annual amount of continuing education allowance shall be not less than 3% of the minimum cash stipend for a newly ordained full-time Curate or Assistant as established in the Clergy Compensation Chart adopted by Diocesan Convention. The clergyperson is entitled to two weeks of leave time per year with full compensation for continuing education purposes, including retreat time. Both unused leave time and up to $500 of continuing education allowance may be accumulated for as much as seven years. Accumulated leave time and allowance are forfeited upon termination of the pastoral relationship. The leave time and allowance can be used by the clergyperson only in a continuing education pursuit or to cover the costs for sabbatical leave approved by the vestry. If the vestry withholds approval, the clergyperson may appeal to the Standing Committee of the Diocese, and the decision of the Standing Committee shall be final and binding on all parties.
(f) The parish or mission shall pay medical, dental, and life insurance premiums to the extent provided in Canon 36.
SECTION 2. The standards for compensation of Vicars or Rectors who are employed full time as clergy with pastoral charge of more than one Congregation shall be those provided in Section 1 of this Canon. It shall be the joint responsibility of each of the Congregations and of the Board of Missions, if applicable, to see that the provisions of this Section are carried out.
SECTION 3. The standards of compensation for members of the clergy serving part-time for a Congregation in the Diocese shall be not be less than the mandatory minimum level established in the Clergy Compensation Chart for part-time clergy adopted by Diocesan Convention, based upon the clergyperson’s Work Units. (A “Work Unit” is a block of time on the schedule of morning, afternoon, or evening blocks, consisting of two and a half to four hours per block. The assumption is that twelve Work Units is the standard for full-time employment.) The Congregation must pay a Social Security offset and, if the clergy person is not retired, a pension assessment. The amount of professional expense reimbursement and a continuing education allowance shall be prorated for the number of Work Units. Provision of a rectory or a housing allowance, medical, dental, and life insurance coverage, and continuing education leave are not mandatory though strongly recommended to be negotiated between the clergyperson and the Congregation. The Congregation shall enter into a written agreement with the clergyperson setting forth the number of Work Units required and other components of compensation, and a copy of the agreement shall be filed with the Commission on Clerical Compensation. Any proposed compensation below the mandatory minimums must have the written approval of the Standing Commission on Clerical Compensation.
SECTION 4. Upon request and with the written consent of the member of the clergy concerned, the Commission on Clerical Compensation may approve adjustments in the cash salary, housing allowance (if any), and professional expense reimbursement required by Sections 1 through 3 of this Canon if the total of these three items meets the appropriate minimum requirements in these three areas.
SECTION 5. The failure of any parish or mission to comply with the foregoing provisions of this Canon is a violation of Section 6 of Article II of the Constitution of the Diocese.
SECTION 6. The Standing Commission on Clerical Compensation shall annually review the all components of clerical compensation and offer its recommendations of changes, if any, to the parishes and missions by November 1 of each year, as follows:
(a) The Commission shall annually review provisions of Sections 1 and 3 of this Canon with regard to a Cost of Living Adjustment based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index for the Northeast United States for All Urban Consumers (not seasonally adjusted) for a 2-month average of August and September of such year compared with the same period of the prior year, and other compensation factors deemed appropriate by the Commission. The COLA shall be applicable to the clergyperson’s current cash stipend, and subject to confirmation by Diocesan Convention.
(b) The Commission shall review the Clergy Compensation Chart in years divisible by three in order to adjust the minimum salaries of the position categories, housing equity or allowance, professional expense, and continuing education expense as needed based on market and economic factors, such as COLA.
SECTION 7. All proposed changes in the level of insurance benefits provided for in Canon 36, Section 2 shall be submitted to the Commission on Clerical Compensation for its study, report and recommendations, if any, at least sixty days prior to the Convention at which they are to be considered.
New Canons and Amendments
SECTION 1. All proposed amendments of the Constitution or Canons shall be submitted electronically or by mail to the Standing Committee on Constitution and Canons for its study, report and recommendation, if any, on or before the December 1 prior to the Convention at which it is to be considered. No proposed amendment of the Constitution or Canons shall be considered by the Convention unless such proposed amendment shall have been referred to the Standing Committee on Constitution and Canons.
SECTION 2. Amendments of the Constitution shall go into effect in accordance with the provisions of Article XIII. Amendments of the Canons shall go into effect immediately upon their passage, unless otherwise provided.
SECTION 3. Whenever a new or amended canon calls for the election or appointment of members of a body for staggered terms, the initial terms of some members of the body shall be for such reduced number of years as is necessary for an orderly implementation of the canon. When the body is to be appointed, the method of staggering and reduction of terms shall be determined by the Ecclesiastical Authority.
SECTION 4. Following each meeting of the General Convention, the Standing Committee on Constitution and Canons must (a) review any changes to Canons of The Episcopal Church approved by such meeting and (b) propose to the next diocesan Convention amendments to Diocesan Canons so as to conform them to such changes in Canons of The Episcopal Church.
See also: Constitution Article XIII
Openness, Accountability and Full Disclosure
SECTION 1. The Affairs of the Diocese shall be conducted in accordance with the principles of openness, and full disclosure.
SECTION 2. All meetings of Diocesan boards, departments, committees, commissions, and other agencies shall be open. Any member of the Convention or any member in good standing of any church in the Diocese shall be entitled to attend to observe and listen. Visitors may not address the meeting unless they are invited to do so. Information about the time, date and place of meetings shall be made available upon request. Copies of minutes, financial reports and other documents considered during meetings shall be made available upon request. This Section shall not apply to the Diocesan Commission on Ministry or the Standing Committee of the Diocese.
SECTION 3. Complete financial reports shall be made to the Convention of all funds of the Diocese and of all funds under the control of any board of trustees, committee, commission, or other agency of the Diocese.
SECTION 4. Upon request any member of the Convention shall be entitled to receive a copy of any and all financial reports available on an annual, quarterly, monthly, or current basis. This Section shall not apply to discretionary funds of any Bishop of the Diocese.