The Diocese of Olympia governance is through a series of groups and committees. Generally speaking, the diocesan governance includes boards, councils, commissions and events that provide overall leadership for the Diocese of Olympia. The authority of the Diocese is vested in and exercised by the Bishop, the Convention and the Standing Committee.
Diocesan Governance Groups
The Constitution and Canons is the fundamental document by which a diocese functions. The constitution describes who we are and, among other things, our relationship to The Episcopal Church. The canons define the regulations and rules for implementation and structure. Changes are proposed and adopted at each annual convention. A new revised version of this document is published each year.
The Convention meets annually to conduct the business of the diocese. It elects diocesan offices; ratifies a budget; sets assessment levels; admits congregations as missions or parishes; votes on resolutions; elects a General Convention deputation; and hears the bishop’s annual address. Clergy and elected delegates from congregations attend. The Journals of Convention record the actions of each convention and contain reports, statistics and financial information.
The Diocesan Council is the convention in recess and has three main focus areas: fiduciary responsibility; public relations, to include outreach, facilitated conversations and connectedness; and program administration and support. The Diocesan Council develops an annual operating budget and oversees budget and program goals. It supports the work of commissions, committees and task forces; proposes the annual assessment rate; prayerfully responds to the needs of congregations; actively works to move us from operations to mission; and serves as a sounding board for the bishop.
The Budget & Finance Committee makes recommendations to the Diocesan Council. The committee’s reach includes assessments and reviewing budget requests. It’s responsible for developing and recommending the operating budget for adoption by the Diocesan Council and ratification by the Diocesan Convention.
The Diocesan Staff provides leadership, program oversight, and new ministry development to the diocese. The staff develops resources to congregations, ministries and institutions, as well as regions, individuals and clergy. Staff members, with commissions and committees, carry out the work of the diocese at all levels: local through national.
The Board of Directors – Diocese of Olympia, Inc. – is the diocesan corporation. It provides stewardship, control, and investment of trust funds to the diocese. It also holds the legal title to all diocesan property, approves construction plans for all mission property, as well as holding loans for construction and renovation projects. It oversees and manages the redevelopment of properties. The Board has three subcommittees: the D.I.F. (Diocesan Investment Fund Committee); Property Insurance Committee; and a Commission on Church Architecture.
The Standing Committee is the council of advice for the bishop and has many responsibilities both locally and nationally. This includes participation in the consent process for ordination, judicial responsibilities in cases of clergy misconduct, and responsibilities to include giving or withholding consent to the election of bishops within the wider Episcopal Church. The Standing Committee becomes the ecclesiastical authority in the absence of the bishop, which means they function as the bishop if our diocese were between bishops or the bishop were incapacitated for a lengthy period of time.
Ten Regional Ministry Areas – geographical regions – facilitate convention preparation, focus on local issues and provide connections between congregations. The regions are: Mt Baker, Sno Isle, Be Attitudes, Holy C, Eastside, Evergreen, Rainier, Peninsula, Willapa, and Columbia.
A Joint Finance Panel (J.F.P.), appointed and directed by the bishop, enhances a clear flow of information among all governing bodies enabling each to make sound decisions. The J.F.P. is the formal Audit Committee for diocesan funds. It has no approval authority, only recommending power with a goal to share/discuss all major financial issues working within the respective canonical bodies prior to approval, as well as review financial requests from congregations with recommendations to the action group.