Constitution of the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey
According to the Constitution and Canons of General Convention of the Church
The Church, in the Diocese of New Jersey, comprising all of the counties of the State of New Jersey, excepting the counties of Sussex, Warren, Morris, Passaic, Bergen, Hudson, and Essex, and the city of Summit, in Union County, as a constituent part of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, accedes to the Constitution and Canons of General Convention of that Church and acknowledges their authority.
SECTION 1. There shall be a Convention of the Church in the Diocese of New Jersey consisting of the Bishop, other bishops serving the Diocese full time as shall be authorized or elected by the Convention and members of the clergy and laity.
SECTION 2. The Bishop and all other bishops to the extent provided by canon shall each have a seat and vote.
Presbyters who are canonically resident in the Diocese at the opening of any meeting of the Convention shall each have a seat and vote.
Deacons who are canonically resident in the Diocese at the opening of any meeting of the Convention shall each have a seat and vote.
Members of the clergy ordained by bishops of churches in communion with The Episcopal Church who are serving in the Diocese but who are not canonically resident in the Diocese shall have seat and vote to the extent provided by canon.
But no members of the clergy shall be entitled to membership who are under ecclesiastical censure; or who shall have failed unless for good reason to exercise their ministries in the Diocese during the six months preceding the meeting of the Convention unless for reasons of age or infirmity; or who, being non-parochial, shall have failed to report to the Bishop their official acts not less than ten days preceding the meeting of the Convention, provided that no members of the clergy shall lose their right to a seat and vote who shall hold office in any ecclesiastical body organized under the General Convention or the Second Province of the Episcopal Church; or who are engaged as Rector, Principal, or Professor in any incorporated literary, or theological institution of the Church, or who shall be Chaplains in the Armed Forces of the United States of America.
SECTION 3. Parishes in union with the Convention meeting all canonical requirements for admission shall be entitled to representation by three Lay Deputies. Provided, however, that any Parish ceasing to function as such, or which does not continue to fulfill the canonical conditions required for admission into union with the Convention, may at the option of the Convention be suspended from representation therein.
SECTION 4. Other churches shall be entitled to such representation in Convention as may be provided by Canon.
SECTION 5. The Lay Deputies with alternates chosen to represent the Parishes and Missions in the Convention of the Diocese shall be elected by the various congregations from the Communicants thereof, but no Lay Deputy shall be entitled to a seat who is under sentence of repulsion from the Holy Communion, and no Lay Deputy shall represent more than one Congregation.
SECTION 6. No Parish or organized Mission shall be entitled to representation in the Convention if it shall have been without a Minister and without regular church services for the two successive years prior to the meeting of the Convention; or if it shall have failed to make to the bishop any annual report required by the Canons within a period of forty-five days from the date when the report is due; or shall have failed to pay the interest on the Parish bonds for the support of the Episcopate, or any assessment levied by the Diocese and the Pension premium for its clergy for twelve months prior to the meeting of the Convention; or if it shall have failed to pay to its clergy the minimum salary required by Canon.
SECTION 7. The Convention shall be the final judge of the qualification of its members.
See also: Credentials of Members — Canon 2
Loss of Representation – Canon 2, Section 5; Canon 73, Section 2(e)
Representation of Churches Other Than Parishes — Canon 52, Section 2; Canon 53, Section 7; Canon 54, Section 11; Canon 55, Section 2, Paragraph (4); Canon 56, Section 6; Canon 57, Section 5.
Members with Seat and Voice — Article IV, Section 3; Article VIII, Section 2; Canon 32.
Meetings of the Convention
SECTION 1. The Convention shall meet annually at such time and place as may be provided by Canon.
SECTION 2. The Bishop, or the Standing Committee, if the Episcopate be vacant or the Bishop be incapable of acting, shall have power to call a special meeting of the Convention by a notice stating the time, place and object thereof, mailed to the members of the clergy and Parishes not less than two weeks preceding the day appointed. At special meetings of the Convention no business shall be transacted other than that stated in the notice.
See also: Canon 1
Officers of the Convention
SECTION 1. The president of the Convention shall be the Bishop of the Diocese. In the absence of the Bishop, the Bishop Coadjutor, when there is one, or the Suffragan when there is one, or, if there be more than one Suffragan, such Suffragan as shall be designated by the Standing Committee, shall preside. In case of a vacancy in the Episcopate, or in case no Bishop of the Diocese shall be present, the Convention shall elect a President pro tempore from among its members.
SECTION 2. A Secretary shall be elected at the annual meeting of the Convention, for a term of three-years, who shall perform the usual duties of the office until a successor is elected.
SECTION 3. A Treasurer shall be elected by the Convention, who shall perform the duties of the office as provided by Canon until a successor is elected. The Treasurer shall be ex officio a member of the Convention with a right to speak. The Treasurer shall give, in such manner as the Convention may determine by Canon, satisfactory security for the faithful discharge of the duties of the Treasurer’s office, and shall present a statement of the Treasurer’s accounts to each annual meeting of the Convention.
SECTION 4. In case of the death, resignation, removal from the Diocese or incapacity of the Secretary, the Treasurer or the Registrar, the Ecclesiastical Authority may declare the office vacant and appoint a successor with the approval of the Standing Committee to serve until the next annual meeting of the Convention.
Transaction of Business
SECTION 1. A quorum for the transaction of business shall consist of one-fifth of the clerical members entitled to vote, together with Deputies from one-fourth of the Parishes entitled to representation.
SECTION 2. In all matters which come before the Convention the members of the clergy and laity shall deliberate and vote as one body, except when a vote by Orders shall be required by the Constitution or Canons of the Diocese, or shall be called for by two clerical members entitled to vote and the Lay Deputies from two Parishes, subject to the provisions of Section 3.
SECTION 3. When a vote by Orders is taken, such vote shall be by ballot; the members of the clergy and Lay Deputies shall vote individually. A concurrent majority in both Orders shall be necessary for a decision.
See also: Canon 5 — Elections
Admission of New Parishes
A new parish may be admitted into union with the Convention by a majority vote; provided it shall produce to the convention evidence of (1) the regularity of its organization and incorporation; (2) the consent of the Ecclesiastical Authority; (3) its promise of conformity and obedience to the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, and to the Constitution and Canons of the General Convention and of this Diocese existing at the time of its admission and as may thereafter be amended; (4) its pledge, pursuant thereto, to hold all assets, real, tangible, and intangible, in trust for the Episcopal Church and the Diocese; (5) its ability to support a minister; and (6) such other requirements as may be provided by Canon.
See also: Canon 48; Revised Statutes of New Jersey, Section 16:12 1 to 12-31
The Standing Committee
SECTION 1. The Standing Committee shall consist of four members of the clergy and four members of the laity, to be chosen by a concurrent ballot of the members of the clergy and laity. The vote shall be by Orders and subject to Article V, Section 3. The clerical members must be of those entitled to seats in the Convention, and the lay members must be communicants of some Parish in union with the Convention of the Diocese. At the first election to be held after the adoption of this amendment to the Constitution the Convention shall elect one clerical and one lay member for a term of one year, one clerical and one lay member for a term of two years, one clerical and one lay member for a term of three-years, one clerical and one lay member for a term of four years and until their respective successors have been elected. Thereafter the successors of those whose terms expire as aforesaid shall be elected for a term of four years. No members elected by the Convention shall be eligible to succeed themselves. As soon as convenient after their election, they shall choose a President and a Secretary from among their members. The proceedings shall be recorded by the Secretary, and be open to the inspection of the Convention.
SECTION 2. A majority of the members of the Standing Committee, the whole having been duly cited to meet, shall be a quorum, and a majority of the quorum so convened shall be competent to act, unless the contrary is expressly required.
SECTION 3. The Standing Committee shall have power to fill vacancies which may occur in their own body or in any body elected or appointed by Convention until the next annual meeting of Convention, unless otherwise provided for by articles of this Constitution, Canons adopted thereunder, or special acts taken by Convention.
The Chancellor of the Diocese
SECTION 1. The Bishop with the concurrence of the Standing Committee, shall appoint at the annual meeting of the Convention or in the case of any vacancy, a Chancellor of the Diocese, who shall be a communicant of the Church and an Attorney-at-Law of the State of New Jersey of at least three-years’ standing. The Chancellor’s duties shall be to advise and represent the Bishop, the Convention and other Diocesan interests when requested. The Chancellor may be removed at any time by concurrent order of the Bishop and Standing Committee.
SECTION 2. The Chancellor shall be entitled to a seat and voice at the meetings of the Convention; and shall be allowed such compensation as the Convention by resolution, may direct.
See also: Canon 24 — Vice Chancellors
The Registrar and the Historiographer
SECTION 1. At the annual Convention, the Ecclesiastical Authority shall appoint a Registrar who shall also be the Historiographer, and who shall continue in office until a successor is appointed. The Registrar’s duty shall be to collect, assemble, and preserve journals, records and other documents relating to the history of the Church in this Diocese; and to exchange the journals of the Convention for those of other Dioceses and Missionary Districts. All such books and papers shall become the property of the Convention and shall be kept in some safe place where the members of the Convention can inspect them.
SECTION 2. The Registrar shall report to each annual meeting of the Convention.
See also: Constitution Article IV, Section 4
Deputies to the General Convention
SECTION 1. At the annual meeting of the Convention held in the second calendar year preceding the regular meeting of the General Convention, four clerical and four lay deputies shall be elected to represent the Diocese at the General Convention. They shall be elected by a vote by orders and subject to Article V, Section 3, and shall hold office until their successors are elected. At the annual meeting of the Convention held in the calendar year next preceding the regular meeting of the General Convention, four clerical and four lay alternate deputies shall be elected to represent the Diocese at the General Convention. They shall be elected by a vote by orders and subject to Article V, Section 3, and shall hold office until their successors are elected. If, during the preceding year, any vacancies have occurred in the office of deputy to the General Convention, the Convention, before proceeding with the election of alternate deputies, shall elect from among those persons nominated for the office of alternate deputy, a sufficient number of persons to fill the vacancies.
SECTION 2. It shall be the duty of each Deputy-elect, at least three weeks before the opening of the General Convention, to notify the Bishop whether the Deputy-elect will attend the Convention.
The Bishop shall appoint an Alternate Deputy to serve as Deputy in case a Deputy-elect shall fail to notify the Bishop of the Deputy-elect’s intention, or shall be unable to attend. Alternate Deputies shall be appointed in order of precedence according to the number of votes received by them at the election. In case of a vacancy in the Episcopate the power hereby conferred on the Bishop shall be exercised by the Standing Committee.
SECTION 3. The order of precedence in which deputies and alternate deputies are elected shall be determined according to the ballot on which they are elected. When two or more persons receive the number of votes necessary for election on the same ballot, the order of precedence shall be determined in the following way. The Chair of the Balloting Committee shall report to the President, according to each order separately, the total number of valid ballots cast, the number of votes necessary for election, the number of votes for the respective candidates, and the percentage of votes received by each candidate as determined by dividing the number of votes received by the total number of valid ballots cast. For each candidate who receives a concurrent majority of the votes in both orders the Chair of the Balloting Committee shall report to the President the percentage of the votes received by the respective candidates in each order and the combined total of the two percentages. Candidates with a higher combined total percentage shall take precedence over those with a lower combined total percentage.
SECTION 4. Within sixty days following their election the Deputies shall meet and elect from their members a Chair and Vice-Chair.
Election of a Bishop
SECTION 1. A Bishop may be elected at the annual or at a special meeting of the Convention.
SECTION 2. The quorum required in this Constitution for the transaction of business of the Convention shall be present at the election of a Bishop and the vote shall be by Orders. A concurrent majority in both orders shall be necessary for an election.
SECTION 3. When a Bishop is to be elected, a special Nominating Committee shall be appointed as provided by Canon.
Upon the death of the Bishop, or during the Bishop’s disability or absence from the Diocese, if there be no Bishop Coadjutor, the Suffragan Bishop, if there be one, or if there be more than one Suffragan Bishop, such Suffragan Bishop as shall be designated by the Standing Committee, shall become the Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese until such time as the Bishop returns to duty or until a new Bishop shall be chosen and consecrated.
Amendment of the Constitution
SECTION 1. Any proposed amendment to this Constitution which may be approved by a majority vote at any meeting of the Convention shall lay over to the next annual meeting. It shall then be acted upon, and if approved by a Vote by Orders shall become a part of this Constitution.
SECTION 2. In case of the division of the Diocese, such immediate amendments as local circumstances shall require may be made in the same mode as is provided for the amendment of the Canons of the Diocese.
See also: Canon 75