A. The leader of the church, who carries the title Archbishop Primus, is the chief spiritual leader who serves for a term of 20 years.* He or she must be at least 45 years of age. B. The Archbishop Primus sets the mission and goals for the church. The Archbishop Primus selects the diocesan bishops and has the power to remove them by his or her authority.
B. The Archbishop Primus is selected by a majority vote of the council of bishops. This occurs when the existing Archbishop Primus retires, completes his term, or passes away. If the Archbishop Primus is retiring or about to complete his term he/she can recommend a replacement which will be the first vote 2/3 are needed to appoint. If the recommendation does not pass then the council of bishops must put forth candidates. If the council is still not able to reach a 2/3 majority after 6 votes, then a simple majority will be accepted on future votes.
C. The council of bishops is made up of the six diocesan bishops each representing a region of the U.S. (West, Southwest, Rocky Mountains, Midwest, Northeast, and Southeast.) The Archbishop Primus serves as seventh member of the council and a tie breaker. As the diocese grow these regional diocese may be divided into smaller diocese with their own bishop who will report to the regional diocesan bishop or metropolitan.
D. The role of the council of bishops is three fold: select the Archbishop Primus, make changes to the Bylaws/Canons of the church by 2/3 vote or to the Tenets of our Faith (by unanimous vote), Should the Archbishop Primus become incapacitated or be found to have committed criminal or unethical behavior he or she may be removed from office by a two/thirds vote of the six regional bishops.
E. It is our expectation that clergy will work together in a collegiate and civil manner. If for some reason we have a clergy member who is causing division within the church, this person can be removed from the church by their diocesan bishop or the Archbishop Primus.
* This does not apply to Bishop Rafael Seijo and Bishop Edward Vaughan as the change was made after their selection to the post of Archbishop Primus so they serve a life term.
Section II: Ordination A. Ordination to the deaconate and priesthood can be performed at the discretion of each of the diocesan bishops. Our main concern is that their calling is true and that they receive the proper training to perform their duties. All exceptions to these requirements must be approved by the Archbishop Primus. 1. Candidates must be age 21 or older for deacon, 2. Candidates must be age 25 or older for the priesthood.
B. If the Archbishop Primus asks that a bishop ordain a candidate on behalf of the church at large, that bishop must comply if they are in close proximity to the candidate and it would not pose a hardship to them.
Section III: Consecrations A. No consecrations may be performed without the Archbishop Primus' approval. Bishops must be at least 35 years of age with ministerial experience. Any exceptions to the requirements must be approved by the Archbishop Primus.
B. If the Archbishop Primus asks that a bishop consecrate a new bishop on behalf of the church at large, that bishop must comply if they are in close proximity to the candidate and it would not pose a hardship to them.
Section IV: Incardination
A. Incardination will allowed for deacons and priests by any bishop. The only requirement is valid apostolic succession and no criminal history.
B, The incardination of a bishop requires approval of the Archbishop Primus.
Section V: Vacancies
A. In the event that a regional diocese is without a bishop the Archbishop Primus may appoint a priest to serve in the temporary capacity of Archdeacon for a period not to exceed 18 months. At which time the Archbishop will appoint a diocesan bishop or reappoint an Archdeacon for an additional 18 months.
B. The first act of the council of bishops upon the Archbishop Primus' retirement, end of term, or death will be to appoint a new Archbishop Primus within one week.
C. Vacancies on the council of bishops will be filled by the Archbishop Primus, who has the power to add or remove bishops for any reason he deems necessary. If the diocese has a vicar general, that person will assume the position of diocesan bishop upon the retirement, death or promotion of the current diocesan bishop, unless the Archbishop Primus has an objection.
D. The Archbishop Primus may appoint a Vicar General to serve as an assistant to a Diocesan Bishop. The Diocesan bishop can also appoint their own Vicar General after consulting with the Archbishop Primus.
Section VI: Ministerial Freedom:
A. While there is an episcopal structure, it is not the church leaderships desire to dictate how clergy practice their personal ministries. The only requirement is to be in agreement with our beliefs. We do not dictate how the service are conducted, but we do have a expectation that each service will include communion and readings from the book of common prayer. Outside of that churches within the ECC can be low, broad, or high church services.
B. Each ministry under the umbrella of the ECC will determine whether or not it wishes to official incorporate under 501 c3 status or service as an unincorporated religious association under 508 c1A. Any churches that affiliates with us maintain their own property and freedom to leave. We do not require they provide funding to the national church and we do not guarantee to provide any financial support to them. C. We give free reign to practice ministry as one pleases so long as they do no harm to the reputation of the church by their affiliation, do not engage in illegal activities (all illegal activity will be immediately reported to the police), and do not put the church at legal risk by engaging in dangerous activities such as snake handling, etc. In addition anyone performing an exorcism get a waiver of responsibility signed by the person receiving the exorcism and that it be returned to the bishops for approval before any action is taken.
D. The role of the bishops will be to provide moral and spiritual support to the clergy. Their goal is to be servant leaders who develop others in their ministry rather than being traditional "overseers". The structure of the church is meant to maximize individual ministerial freedom. That being said we do expect the chain of command to be respected.
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