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Canon 30 – Of Parishes and Aided Parishes

GOVERNANCE
Section 1. 

Any congregation in which the Sacraments are regularly administered, the Gospel preached, and the Ministry and Mission of Jesus Christ actively pursued according to the Doctrine and Discipline of the Episcopal Church, the said congregation also being in communion with the Bishop and the Council of The Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Atlanta and contributing of its time, talents, and financial resources to the support of the Diocese of Atlanta and to the Episcopal Church, shall constitute a Parish in the Diocese of Atlanta with the approval of the Bishop and the Diocesan Council. Active pursuit of the Ministry and Mission of Jesus Christ includes the following items as a minimum:

(a). Regular Worship services throughout the year;

(b). Christian education;

(c). Pastoral care and visitation;

(d). Stewardship of time, talents, and financial resources;

(e). Evangelization; and

(f). Outreach to the community in which it is located.

Section 2.

For administrative purposes, there shall be two categories of Parish in the Diocese of Atlanta: Parish and Aided Parish.

(a). A Parish exists when the congregation, in addition to fulfilling its ministry and mission to the people of God in its community, is self-supporting and also contributes proportionately of its human and financial resources to the ministry and mission of the Diocese and of The Episcopal Church.

(b). An Aided Parish exists when the Diocese of Atlanta or another Parish provides financial assistance to enable it to pursue and implement its ministry and mission.

(c). Whenever the term “Parish” is used in these Canons, it shall include both administrative categories of Parish except in those cases where a provision is made for Aided Parishes. In such excepted cases, the provisions applying to an Aided Parish shall apply to Aided Parishes alone.

(d). An administrative category shall not be changed without securing the approval of the Bishop.

Section 3. 

Each Parish shall be under the pastoral care and supervision of a Minister canonically resident in the Diocese of Atlanta or licensed by the Bishop of Atlanta. Any Minister in Holy Orders who shall be assigned the care of a Parish not an Aided Parish shall be canonically resident in the Diocese of Atlanta.

Section 4.

A Parish may be established in the Diocese of Atlanta in the following manner:

(a). The Bishop of the Diocese of Atlanta may desire to establish a Parish in a given location and contact people in that area, including a reasonable number of Communicants of The Episcopal Church. Alternatively, a reasonable number of Communicants of The Episcopal Church, which includes at least three (3) confirmed communicants aged 18 years or over, may desire to establish a Parish. In either case, the people and the Bishop meet and consult together. If the people and the Bishop desire to continue the endeavor, the Bishop may authorize the people to meet as a worshipping community subject to the Canons of The Episcopal Church and of The Diocese of Atlanta and to any requirements the Bishop of Atlanta may further set forth in writing. The Bishop may assign a Minister to lead the group during this time. When the people desire to establish a Parish, they may apply to the Bishop for permission to make application to the Council. Upon approval by the Bishop, the people may then petition the Council as set forth in subsection (b) below.

(b). After receiving the Bishop’s approval, the people desiring to establish a Parish shall submit three copies of the following petition at least forty days and not more than ninety days before the Diocesan Council to be held next thereafter. The petition shall be submitted through the Bishop of the Diocese of Atlanta who shall refer it to the Diocesan Council with any recommendations. The petition shall be signed by not less than three members of the group aged eighteen years or over who are confirmed communicants of The Episcopal Church. Any Minister in charge of the group, shall approve the petition by signature thereon.

PETITION

We whose names are hereunto signed, and who are confirmed communicants of The Episcopal Church or who are desirous of being confirmed communicants of the Episcopal Church, deeply sensible of the truth of the Christian Religion and conscientiously attached to the Doctrine, Discipline, and Worship of the Church known as the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, and being desirous of further establishing its authority and securing its holy influences for ourselves, our families, and neighbors and those who come after us, do hereby respectfully petition the Ecclesiastical Authority and the Council of the Diocese of Atlanta that we be granted the status of a Parish of The Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Atlanta, under the name and title of N and we do hereby solemnly promise and declare that the said Parish shall forever be held under the Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese of Atlanta, the authority of which we do recognize, and to the liturgy, doctrine, discipline, rites and usages of The Episcopal Church in the United States of America we promise for ourselves and our successors corporate obedience and conformity at all times, so help us God. Furthermore, we solemnly engage and stipulate that all real and personal property of which the Parish is or may become possessed is held in trust for this Church and the Diocese of Atlanta and shall be secured against alienation from the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Atlanta unless such alienation shall be in conformity with its Canons.”

(c). The Bishop shall refer the petition to the Council of the Diocese with any recommendations. The Council of the Diocese meeting next after the submission of the petition shall act on it. Upon approval by the Council of the petition for admission as a Parish, the group is thereupon admitted into union with the Bishop and the Council as a Parish. Its administrative status as a Parish or an Aided Parish is determined by the criteria in Section 2 of this Canon.

(d). Whenever an administrative category is changed from Aided Parish to Parish, the Presiding Officer of the Council at which this takes place shall advise Council of the fact.