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THE CONSTITUTION OF THE EPISCOPAL MISSIONARY CHURCH

Adopted May 23, 1996, at Synod in Columbus, Ohio

ARTICLE I

SECTION 1. Every Bishop in this Church, in good standing, shall be a member of the Council of Bishops.

SECTION 2. There shall be a General Synod of this Church which shall be convened at least triennially by the call of the Council of Bishops and as may be directed by the Canons. A Special Synod may also be called as directed by the Canons.

SECTION 3. The Membership of the Synod shall consist of three orders: the members of the Council of Bishops, every clergyman, in good standing, in this Church, and those Lay Members who are duly elected or appointed to serve as delegates by the parishes of this Church. Each Parish may have at most two Lay Delegates plus one Alternate who shall have all rights of the regular Delegate when he/she is seated for that Parish's absent Delegate.

SECTION 4. A Quorum of a Synod shall consist of a majority in each Order of the Membership, that is: Episcopal, Clerical and Lay. A Quorum is required for the Synod to conduct business. The members of the Synod shall sit and deliberate as one body, except as ordered by this Constitution or by Canon. Any member of the Synod may originate and propose legislation; and freedom of debate shall prevail in all deliberations.

SECTION 5. A vote by orders shall require an affirmative vote by each of the three orders of membership of the Synod.

SECTION 6. A Presiding Bishop of the Church shall be elected by the Council of Bishops from one of its eligible members at the Synod next preceding the retirement date of the current Presiding Bishop. A two-thirds approval vote is required to elect a new Presiding Bishop. The Presiding Bishop-elect shall then be subject to confirmation by a two-thirds vote of each of the Clerical and Lay Orders of the Synod.

The term of office, the duties and the particulars of the election of the Presiding Bishop shall conform to the preceding provisions and to the Canons of this Church.

If the Office of the Presiding Bishop shall become vacant for any reason, the senior Bishop of this Church, by Order of Consecration, shall convene the Council of Bishops within two months of the vacancy, for the purpose of electing a new Presiding Bishop to serve until the next General Synod. This procedure may be omitted if the next General Synod falls within three months of the vacancy in the Office of the Presiding Bishop.

ARTICLE II

SECTION 1. No man shall be ordained and consecrated a Bishop in this Church by fewer than three Bishops, nor without the consent of a majority in the Council of Bishops and a majority in each Council of Advice of a majority of the Dioceses, nor in violation of any of the Canons on the requirements on the ordination and consecration of a Bishop.

SECTION 2. The Council of Bishops may elect special Suffragan Bishops to serve under the Presiding Bishop to direct the work of chaplains for the Armed Forces or other institutions operated by Governments or charities, and for other chaplaincies that include Clergymen of this Church. A Suffragan Bishop so elected shall be consecrated and hold office under such conditions and limitations as may be provided by the Canons of this Church.

ARTICLE III

SECTION 1. Bishops of this Church may consecrate Bishops in other Churches in communion with this Church upon due application therefrom, with the approval of two-thirds of the Council of Bishops and certified by the Presiding Bishop and under such conditions as may be prescribed by the Canons of this Church.

SECTION 2. Bishops so consecrated shall not be eligible to the office of the Presiding Bishop in this Church or be entitled to vote in the Synod, nor shall they perform any act of the episcopal office in any parish of this Church unless requested to do so by the Ecclesiastical Authority thereof. If a Bishop so consecrated shall be duly elected as a Bishop of this Church he shall then enjoy all the rights and privileges given in the Canons.

ARTICLE IV

The Presiding Bishop may establish a Synodical Council composed of one Clerical and one Lay member from each Diocesan Council of Advice. The duties and responsibilities of the Synodical Council shall be directed by the Canons of this Church.

ARTICLE V

SECTION 1. No man shall be ordered Priest or Deacon in this Church until he shall have complied with the Canons of this Church and the Canons of his Diocese. No man shall be ordained and consecrated Bishop, or ordained Priest or Deacon in this Church, unless at the time, in the presence of the ordaining Bishop or Bishops, he shall subscribe and make the following declaration: "I do believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God, and to contain all things necessary to salvation; and I do solemnly engage to conform to the Doctrine, Discipline and Worship of this Church."

SECTION 2. Any man to be consecrated a Bishop in any Diocese or Missionary District of an autonomous Church or Province of a Church in communion with this Church, may, instead of the foregoing declaration, make the promises of conformity required by his own Church.

If any Bishop ordains a priest or Deacon to minister elsewhere than in this Church, or confers ordination as Priest or Deacon upon a Christian Minister who has not otherwise received Episcopal ordination, he shall do so only in accordance with such provisions as shall be set forth in the Canons of this Church.

No man ordained by a foreign Bishop, or by a Bishop not in communion with this Church, shall be permitted to officiate as a minister of this Church until he shall have complied with the applicable Canon or Canons of this Church.

ARTICLE VI

The Synod shall by Canon establish a Court for the trial of Bishops and shall establish a Court of Review of the determination of the trial Court whose makeup shall be determined by the Canons of this Church.

Priests and Deacons canonically resident in this Church shall be tried by a Court instituted by the Canons of his Diocese of residence.

The Synod shall establish an ultimate Court of Appeal, solely for the review of the determination of any Court of Review on questions of Doctrine, Faith or Worship.

None but a Bishop shall pronounce sentence of admonition or of suspension, deposition, or degradation from the ministry, on any Bishop, Priest or Deacon. A sentence of suspension shall specify on what terms or conditions and at what time the suspension shall terminate.

ARTICLE VII

The 1928 Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church, together with the Psalter or Psalms of David, the Form and Manner of Making, Ordaining and Consecrating Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, the Form of Consecration of a Church or Chapel, the Office of Institution of Ministers and Articles of Religion, as now established or hereafter amended by the authority of this Church, shall be in use in all parishes of this Church. No alteration thereof or addition thereto shall be made unless the same shall be proposed in one meeting of the Synod and by a resolve thereof sent within six months to the Clerk of the Vestry of every Parish, to be made known to the Vestry at its next meeting, and be adopted by the Synod at its next succeeding meeting on a vote by orders as provided for in Section 5 of Article I. Provided, however, that the Synod at any meeting shall have power to amend the Table of Lessons and all Tables and Rubrics relating to the use of the Psalms by a two-thirds affirmative vote of the Synod voting by orders. And Provided, further, that nothing in this article shall be construed as restricting the authority of the Bishops of this Church to take such order as may be permitted by the Rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer or by the Canons of this Church for the special forms of worship. With the permission of the Bishop Ordinary of the Diocese, other formularies in conformity with the theology of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer may be used.

ARTICLE VIII

SECTION 1. This Church or Diocese shall hold title to its own property, whether real or personal, in its own name, under the laws of the civil jurisdiction in which it is located; and shall be immune to the temporal claim or jurisdiction of any other body, corporation, or person, civil or ecclesiastical.

SECTION 2. Each Parish shall hold title to its own property, whether real or personal, in its own name, under the laws of the civil jurisdiction in which it is located, and shall be immune to the temporal claim or jurisdiction of any other body, corporation, or person, civil or ecclesiastical.

ARTICLE IX

No alteration or amendment of this Constitution shall be made unless the same shall be first approved at one meeting of the Synod and by a resolve thereof sent to the Clerk of the Vestry of every Parish of this Church to be made known to the Vestry at its next meeting, and be adopted by the Synod at its next succeeding meeting on a vote by orders as provided for in Section 5 of Article I.
 


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