What is Diocesan Council?
Diocesan Council is a decision-making body of the Diocese of Maine that is comprised of two elected members from each of the eight diocesan Areas. The Bishop, who presides, is also a voting member. The Bishop may also appoint up to four at-large members to help make it a more respresentative body. The Chairs of the four diocesan commissions also serve on Council - and if there are commission co-chairs - they exercise one vote, though if present both have seat and voice. The Chair of the Diocesan Council Finance Committee is also a full member. Currently there are 25 members: 16 members represent Areas, five are commission chairs, two are at-large members, one is the chair of the Finance Committee and, finally, the Bishop.
What does it do and how often does it do it?
Since the most representative expression of the Diocese of Maine meets only once a year at Diocesan Convention to make decisions about elected offices, the annual budget and resolutions, Diocesan Council serves as "the convention between conventions." It generally meets four times a year. At its September meeting considers and approves a draft budget for the upcoming year for Convention to consider in October. It may also form task force and study groups to do the work of the Diocese. It makes mid-year budget adjustments, and evaluates proposals for new ministry initiatives.
How does one come to serve on Diocesan Council? The Area representatives to Diocesan Council are elected for staggered two-year terms each fall. A council member may serve for up to six years or three full terms.
The Official Stuff: What our Canons have to say about Diocesan Council:
Of the Diocesan Council
(1) The congregations and the clergy of the Diocese shall be grouped in Areas in such number and manner as the Bishop and Diocesan Council, in consultation with the clergy and congregations, shall from time to time determine.
(2) There shall be a Diocesan Council composed of the following members:
Two members, one lay and one clergy, representing each of the Areas of the Diocese;
The Chairperson of the Finance Committee; the Treasurer of the Diocese;
and no more than four members appointed by the Bishop.
(3) Selection of members shall be as follows:
a. In addition to the Bishop Diocesan of Maine, if there be any Bishop Coadjutor or Bishop(s) Suffragan, whose duties include service on the Council, each such bishop shall likewise be a member.
b. Each Area shall elect two members to serve staggered terms of two years. Each member shall be elected in accordance with procedures established or approved by the Council, either from the clergy of the Area, as eligible under Article III.3.1 of the Constitution of the Diocese of Maine, or from the lay members, who are communicants in good standing of their respective congregations within the Area. The names of those elected shall be communicated to the Bishop for review, and presented at Convention.
c. The Bishop may appoint not more than four members to the Diocesan Council at any time the Bishop may deem convenient, to serve until the final adjournment of the second Diocesan Convention held after their appointment. If there be no Bishop, the Standing Committee shall have the power of appointment.
(4) No person having served as a member of the Diocesan Council for six consecutive years shall be elected or appointed to the Diocesan Council until after the expiration of one year following the sixth year of service. For the purpose of this Canon, the period between annual Diocesan Conventions shall be deemed one year.
(5) Vacancies in the number of members of the Diocesan Council elected by an Area may be filled by the Area or by Diocesan Council. The appointing authority may fill vacancies in the number of appointed members of the Diocesan Council. In all cases such elections or appointments shall be for unexpired terms only.
(6) The Bishop or the Convener appointed by the Bishop shall preside at all meetings of the Diocesan Council. In the absence of both, the Council shall have the power to choose its own presiding officer.
(7) The Diocesan Council shall administer and carry out the work of the Episcopal Church within the Diocese of Maine, subject to such directions as the Diocesan Convention may give. Within 30 days of adjournment of the annual Diocesan Convention, Diocesan Council shall schedule and publish the dates of Council meetings for the ensuing twelve months; Diocesan Council shall, in advance of such scheduled meetings, make the proposed agenda available to the members of the Diocesan Council and to the Areas.
(8) At least six weeks before the date set for the Annual Diocesan Convention, the Council shall prepare an estimate of the amount of money required for the work of the Diocese during the next ensuing year -- that is, from January 1 to December 31. The Council shall determine and recommend to Convention the assessments required to carry out the ministry of the Diocese.
(9) The Diocesan Council shall establish a Finance Committee.
(10) In addition to establishing a Finance Committee, the Diocesan Council may establish such other commissions, committees, and task forces as it may deem advisable.
March 7, 2020 - St. John's Episcopal Church, Thomaston
December 13-14, 2019 - Embassy Suites Hotel, Portland
Diocesan Council Minutes