1 THE CONSTITUTION OF THE DIOCESE OF CALIFORNIA OF THE ECUMENICAL CATHOLIC COMMUNION ARTICLE I The Title and Territory of the Diocese Section 1. Title and Territory. This Diocese shall be known and distinguished as "The Diocese of California of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion," hereinafter also referred to as the Diocese. The Territory of the Diocese shall include the entire State of California, together with the State of Arizona and the State of Oregon until such a time when the states of Arizona, and/or Oregon form their own dioceses. The States of Arizona, and/or Oregon may opt out of participation in the Diocese of California as an entire State with written notice by the duly elected representatives of each affected ECC parish, specialized ministry, and/or religious order within the State that is opting out. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the entire State of California and all its parishes within it shall always be included in the definition of the Territory for this Diocese. ARTICLE II Acceding to the Constitution, Bylaws, and Canons of The Ecumenical Catholic Communion Section 1. Acceding to the Ecumenical Catholic Communion. The Church in The Diocese of California of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion accedes to the Constitution, Bylaws and Canons of that branch of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, known as The Ecumenical Catholic Communion (also referred to herein as the ECC and/or the Communion ). ARTICLE III The Diocese Section 1. The Diocese. A diocese, and specifically this Diocese, is constituted as Local Church (ekklesia), full and complete, and is the heir of the Apostolic Tradition from the Apostolic Community described in the Acts of the Apostles. Thus, a bishop of this Diocese fulfills the role that the apostles of Jesus fulfilled in their communities, and stands in the Apostolic Succession of that role by his/her ordination to the episcopacy. The principal bishop of the Diocese is the Regional Bishop with all the duties and responsibilities as set forth under Article V herein and as described under Canon 67 of the ECC Constitution, Bylaws and Canons where s/he is also called therein and referred to herein as the Ordinary, the Diocesan Ordinary and/or the Diocesan Bishop. Section 2. The Polity and Authority of the Diocese. The polity and authority of the Diocese is vested in and exercised by the Diocesan Synod, comprised of the Diocesan Ordinary, defined herein, and the Diocesan Episcopal Council (also referred to as the DEC ) defined below in Article VI, the Diocesan House of Laity (also referred to as the DHOL ) defined below under Article VIII, and the Diocesan House of Clergy (also referred to as the DHOC ) defined below under Article IX.
2 Section 3. Legislation. Legislation passed by the DHOC and DHOL, if signed by the Ordinary, shall immediately become effective, unless otherwise specified. Disputed legislations requires the review and consensus vote of the DEC in order to become effective, otherwise the measure fails. Under no circumstance may any legislation alter or set aside any of the creeds, including the Nicean, Athanasian, or Apostles creeds, nor any of the Affirmations of Faith set forth in the national ECC Constitution. Any controversies over matters of Faith shall be forwarded and governed exclusively by the Diocesan Bishop, the Presiding Bishop of the ECC, and the Episcopal Council of the national ECC in accordance with the Constitution of the ECC. Section 4. Authority for all Intra-diocesan matters and matters not covered by the National Communion. The Diocese shall have authority in all intra-diocesan matters and all matters that are not vested exclusively to the Presiding Bishop of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion or the national ECC as set forth in its Constitution, Canons and Bylaws. Section 5. Creation of Standing and Ad Hoc Committees. The Diocesan Synod may create standing or ad hoc committees to address issues such as finance, education, development, and social justice, or the like. The Diocesan Ordinary may also create standing or ad hoc committees as required for the administration of the Diocese, in accordance with Article V, section 5 of this Constitution. Section 6. Coordination with the National Communion. The Diocesan Synod shall have the right to coordinate with other dioceses within the ECC for the training of seminarians and clergy, and for development of efforts to aid the financing and cultivation of faith communities, as well as any benefits programs for ordained and lay staff. Section 7. Rules of Order. In addition to the provisions of the Constitution and Canons of this Diocese, all business, including further regulations of legislative action and of nominations and elections shall be by rules of order, either Robert s Rules of Order or the Rules of Parliamentary Procedure, or similar such rules of order, that promote and foster professional, respectful, and Christian-like conduct, and, having once been adopted, shall continue in force until the same, in whole or in part, shall have been amended or canceled. ARTICLE IV The Election of Bishops Section 1. The Election of the Ordinary. The Ordinary, shall be elected by a two thirds (2/3) majority vote of the Electoral College and affirmed by a majority vote of the DEC, if there is one. The Electoral College is comprised of a majority of DHOL members and a majority of DHOC members, respectively, and such majorities shall comprise a quorum for the election purposes set forth herein. The delegates of the electoral college shall each be entitled to cast one vote in the election of a bishop. The Ordinary may be elected for a maximum of two (2) six (6) year terms. Section 2. The Election of Auxiliary Bishops. The Auxiliary Bishops shall be elected by the Electoral College, and confirmed by the Ordinary.
3 Section 3. Disputes regarding the Election of Bishops. Any irreconcilable controversies regarding the Election of Bishops shall be forwarded to the national ECC Episcopal Council for resolution. Section 4. Former Ordinaries. Former Ordinaries of the Diocese automatically become Auxiliary Bishops. Those former Ordinaries who have completed their term/s of office and have not been selected or are ineligible to serve for another term, shall automatically become Auxiliary Bishops of the Diocese. Section 5. The Appointment of Suffragan Bishops. The Presiding Bishop of the ECC may appoint Suffragan Bishops to assist the Diocesan Bishop within the Diocese, with the confirmation of the Diocesan Bishop, such confirmation not to be unreasonably withheld. Any objections to such an appointment, by members of the Synod or members of the Diocese shall only be made for reasonable cause in writing setting forth such reasons. Any irreconcilable controversies regarding such appointments shall be forwarded to the national ECC Episcopal Council for resolution. Section 6. Election of the First Diocesan Bishop. The election of the First Diocesan Bishop shall take place at a First Special Meeting called for this specific purpose, due notice having been given to all faith communities within the Territory and election is made by majority vote. Section 7. Subsequent Diocesan Bishop Elections. Subsequent Diocesan Bishop elections shall be made in the Bi-Annual or Special Meetings of the Diocesan Synod. Section 8. Call Emanates from the Diocesan Leadership Council. The call for election of a Diocesan Bishop other than that of the first Diocesan Bishop of the Diocese shall emanate from the DLC, provided that they have solicited names from every Faith Community through their DHOL, DEC and DHOC representatives within the Territory. Notice of such solicitation of names must be sent via and regular mail at least a 30 days prior to the date of the election. ARTICLE V The Diocesan Bishop Section 1. Executive Authority. The Diocesan Bishop, also referred to as the Ordinary, is the Chief Executive of the Diocese and as such administrates and adjudicates in all intra-diocesan matters. She/he is the jurisdictional head of the diocese in the tri-part synodal structure of laity, clergy and bishop. The Ordinary of the Diocese convenes the Diocesan Synod. Section 2. Auxiliary Bishop/s. There may be Auxiliary Bishop/s elected by the Electoral College and confirmed by the Ordinary to serve specific needs. The Auxiliary Bishop/s serves with the Ordinary as an intra-diocesan court of appeal for disputed legislation and cases of misconduct within the Territory as part of the Diocesan Episcopal Council ( DEC ) and therefore shall automatically be members of the DEC with full voting rights, unless prohibited for just cause or by illness.
4 Section 3. Chief Pastor, Prime Teacher, and Chief Presider. The Ordinary is the Chief Pastor, Prime Teacher and Chief Presider of the Diocese, and therefore, she/he has the right and obligation to safeguard the Catholic faith and officiate within any congregation or elsewhere in the Diocese over the liturgical worship and sacramental ministries of the diocese, as well as the prime teacher in matters of doctrine and practice. Section 4. Ordinary of all Organizations. The Diocesan Bishop is the Ordinary of all religious and benevolent organizations of the Church within this Diocese, and as such may attend and preside at any of their meetings. However, this does not in any way diminish the rights set forth in the Constitution of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion of religious organizations within the Diocese to name a national Bishop, Abbott/Abbess/Major Superior of its organization, such Bishop Abbess/Abbott/Major Superior maintaining his/her status as the bishop in charge of such religious and benevolent organizations regarding the internal rules of such organizations. Specifically, the Diocesan Bishop shall be the Ordinary for all parishes and/or faith communities open for public worship even if they are administered by the religious and/or benevolent organizations or on religious and/or benevolent organization properties. The Diocesan Bishop and the national Bishop Abbess/Abbott/Major Superior shall work together collegially regarding all Diocesan matters except that the Diocesan Bishop and the Diocesan Synod shall continue to have primary jurisdiction for all matters affecting the Diocese. Nevertheless, the Presiding Bishop and the national ECC Episcopal Council shall continue to have appellate jurisdiction over any proceedings. Section 5. Establishing Administrative Body and Ad Hoc Committees. The Ordinary shall be responsible to establish an administrative body, which may include a Chancellor, and other officers, including Vicars episcopal, Vocations Vicars, Vicar General, or the like as deemed necessary in order to fulfill the duties of the Office of Diocesan Bishop. The Ordinary may also establish standing committees or ad hoc committees, such as Standing Committees on Vocations, Liturgy or the like, and to establish Diocesan Seminaries, or the like in order to further the mission of the Diocese and ultimately of the Communion. Section 6. Responsibilities regarding Legislation. The Ordinary shall be responsible to sign or veto all intra-diocesan legislation. A veto may be overridden by a 2/3 majority vote of both the DHOL and the DHOC. Upon such override, the disputed Legislation may be appealed to the Episcopal Council of the ECC if requested by the Ordinary, the Auxiliary Bishops, the DHOL, or the DHOC. Section 7. Participation in the National Communion. The Ordinary, as a Regional Bishop, becomes a voting member of the Episcopal Council of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion once she/he is affirmed by the Synod of the Communion and the Episcopal Council of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion as set forth in the Constitution and Bylaws of the ECC. Auxiliary Bishops are non-voting members of the Episcopal Council of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion.
5 Section 8. Responsibilities. The Ordinary is responsible for the process, procedures, and reception of new communities into the Diocese, of all applications for ordination, of ordinands themselves, of receiving, or not, of all clergy applying for incardination into the Diocese, and is the presider over all ordinations in the Diocese, unless otherwise specified. The Ordinary gives faculties to the Clergy of the Diocese and also withdraws faculties from Clergy for just cause and after due process. The national Ecumenical Catholic Communion shall remain available, if necessary, for appeals on such matters and will be the final arbiter, if necessary. ARTICLE VI The Diocesan Episcopal Council Section 1. The Diocesan Episcopal Council. The Diocesan Episcopal Council (also referred to as the DEC ) is comprised of the Ordinary and any Auxiliary Bishops in good standing. Section 2. Court of Appeal. The DEC serves as a court of appeal for any and all disputed intra-diocesan legislation and misconduct. All irreconcilable controversies by, between, or among Clergy, Laity, Vicars and/or Faith Communities, shall be referred to the Ordinary first for resolution and if no resolution can be found, then the matter shall be forwarded to the DEC for determination. Section 3. Voting Rights of Bishops in the DEC. Only Ordinary and Auxiliary Bishops have voting privileges. Suffragan Bishops, appointed by the Presiding Bishop of the ECC, by virtue of their sacramental status, shall have the ability to participate in discussion, debate, council, consult, and assist the DEC, but shall have no voting privileges thereto. Section 4. Determinations by Consensus. All controversies or resolutions shall be made by a consensus vote of all Voting Bishops. Section 5. Meetings and Ad Hoc Board of Inquiries. The DEC shall prepare protocols for its meetings and may authorize ad hoc boards of inquiry composed of laity, clergy and bishops, for investigation of all matters and/or controversies set before the DEC. ARTICLE VII The Diocesan Leadership Council Section 1. The Diocesan Leadership Council (also referred to herein as the DLC ). The The Initial Diocesan Leadership Council for the Territory is comprised of the Advisory Committee established by the Office of Presiding Bishop of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion upon receipt of request for regionalization by faith communities within the Territory and chaired by the appointed national ECC Vicar of the region. After the election of the First Diocesan Bishop and ratification of this Constitution, the DLC, thereafter shall consist of the two (2) officer members of the DHOC, two (2) officer members of the DHOL, elected by their respective houses, and the Ordinary of the Diocese who shall work together on any matters affecting the Diocese that are not specifically reserved to the Ordinary, the DEC, the DHOL, or the DHOC.
6 Section 2. Functions Prescribed. The powers, functions and duties of the DLC shall be in conformity with those set forth by the Constitution and Canons of The Ecumenical Catholic Communion, and by the Constitution and Canons of this Diocese. ARTICLE VIII The Diocesan House of Laity Section 1. The Diocesan House of Laity. The Diocesan House of Laity, also referred to herein as the DHOL, is comprised of members of participating faith communities within the Diocesan territories. Each faith community (i.e. parochial, religious, and nonparochial specialized ministry communities), shall elect two (2) delegates to serve for (2) years, up to three terms. Section 2. Delegate Requirements. The Delegate must be at least 18 years of age, shall have received the sacrament of Confirmation, who shall be a member in good standing of the faith community, not a member of the Clergy, and selected by his/her diocesan faith community to represent the people of that community. Section 3. Policies and Procedures. The DHOL shall establish its own policies and procedures of its governance, including establishing a Rule of Order as set forth in Article III, Section 2 of this Constitution. Issues of finance and budget shall originate in DHOL, and thereafter shall be deliberated in the DHOC. Should the matter be affirmed by the DHOC, then the matter shall be sent to the Ordinary for approval or veto. ARTICLE IX The Diocesan House of Clergy Section 1. The Diocesan House of Clergy. The Diocesan House of Clergy, herein referred to as the DHOC, is comprised of all ordained ECC clergy within the Territory. The DHOC will be comprised of both voting and non-voting clergy. Each faith community (i.e. parochial, religious, and non-parochial specialized ministry communities), is entitled to two (2) Clergy delegates with voting rights, one of whom is the faith community s pastor (or senior cleric for religious and/or specialized ministry), and the secondary delegate must be an additional priest or deacon elected to represent the faith community for all matters including the Diocesan Synod. All non-voting clergy shall have the ability to participate in discussion, debate, council, and consult in all DHOC matters. Section 2. Primary Clergy Delegate Requirements and Term. The Primary Clergy Delegate must be an ordained ECC priest or deacon, or a principal and/or president of an educational institution and/or seminary of the Diocese, or a head of religious order within the Diocese. This delegate must be the ordained pastor or senior cleric of the faith community and shall serve for the duration of his/her pastorate. The pastor of a diocesan parish must be a priest in good standing of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion. The senior cleric of a non-parochial faith community must be a head of
7 religious order or a special ministry officially recognized and accepted by the Communion and the Diocese. The principal or president of an educational institution, including the principal or president of any seminaries within the Territory may also serve as the primary delegate to the DHC for that faith community, if it is a faith community of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion. Section 3. Secondary Clergy Delegate Requirements and Term. The Secondary Clergy Delegate to the DHC from each parish must be an ordained ECC priest or deacon chosen by due process to represent the faith community. If the secondary delegate to the DHC represents a religious order or special ministry, that faith community must be recognized and accepted by the Communion and the Diocese. Section 4. Faith Communities Whose Pastor is a Bishop. Since Bishops are not permitted to serve in the DHOC, faith communities whose pastor is a bishop, shall designate(1) clergy representative in lieu of the bishop to serve as the Primary Clergy Delegate of that parish, religious organization or specialized ministry. Section 5. Liturgy and Liturgical Issues. Issues regarding liturgy and liturgical functions shall only originate in either the DHOC or the DEC, and after reaching a majority vote in the originating house, shall be then forwarded to either the DHOC or DEC, as applicable, to be deliberated and voted upon by the receiving house. Section 6. Policies and Procedures. The DHOC shall establish its own policies and procedures of its governance, including establishing a Rule of Order as set forth in Article III, Section 2, and shall meet electronically or physically, as agreed to by a majority of the DHOC membership, no less two times per year. ARTICLE X Meetings of the Diocesan Synod Section 1. Bi-Annual Meetings. The Church in the Diocese shall physically assemble in a Diocesan Synod at least once every two (2) calendar years. The Ordinary of the Diocese convenes the Diocesan Synod. Section 2. Special Meetings. Special Meetings of the Diocesan Synod may be called as provided for in the Canons. Section 3. Voting in Between Synod Sessions. Auditable electronic voting is hereby allowed as a method for passage of proposed canons, if necessary, for the DLC, DEC, DHOL, DHOC, or the Ordinary, in between Diocesan Synod meetings. ARTICLE XI The Officers of Diocesan Synod Section 1. Presiding Officer. Prior to the election of the First Diocesan Bishop, the Presiding Bishop of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion shall be the President of the Diocesan Synod. Thereafter, the duly elected Ordinary is ex officio President of the Diocesan Synod.
8 Section 2. In Case of the Absence of the Ordinary. In case of the absence of the Ordinary, the Auxiliary Bishop, if there be one, shall preside. If there is no Auxiliary Bishop available, then the Vicar General, if there be one, otherwise, then the President of the Diocesan House of Clergy shall act as the President Pro Tempore of the Diocesan Synod. Section 3. Other Officers. At the Primary Diocesan Synod, there shall be elected for each house, the DEC, the DHOL, and the DHOC, the following other officers: the Secretary, one or more Assistant Secretaries as required, the Historiographer, and a Registrar to serve until the adjournment of the first Diocesan Synod, and thereafter for each Bi-Annual Synod to serve until its adjournment.. ARTICLE XII Admission of New Faith Communities Section 1. Admitted after Presenting Credentials. A New Faith Community shall automatically be admitted for full participation in the Diocese; provided, it shall have presented credentials of admission that it has been admitted into, complied with and accedes to the Constitution, Canons and Bylaws of, the Ecumenical Catholic Communion. Section 2. Forfeiture of Membership. Any Faith Community that relinquishes membership in the Ecumenical Catholic Communion, shall automatically forfeit membership in the Diocese. ARTICLE XIII Diocesan Funding Section 1. The Diocesan Synod Can Raise Money. The Diocesan Synod shall have the power to raise money by such means as it may determine, to be designated as the Diocesan Fund, from the congregations of the Diocese, by Canon or by Special Vote, for the regular expenses of the Diocese, and for such other purposes as the Diocesan Synod may from time to time approve and direct; provided, that a Special Vote shall approve of such by a two-thirds vote of the DHOC and a two-thirds vote of the DHOL. ARTICLE XIV Ownership of Real Property and other Church Property Section 1. Ownership of Real Property. The Diocese, any Faith Community, Parish, and/or Religious Order seeking to own Real Property for Church Use and purchased with funds raised for such a particular purpose, shall do so by means of a Corporation or Trust, established to hold title and set out in particular all ownership rights, if any, to the said property in the name of the Diocese, Faith Community, Parish, and/or Religious Order for which said funds were raised and for the Church Use it was designated. Such property shall not be sold, given or transferred to any other person, entity or jurisdiction without the approval of the Board of Directors of the respective Corporation or Board of Trustees of the respective Trust. Property held under this section shall be the sole property of that Diocese, Faith Community, Parish, and/or Religious Organization and
9 remains the property of that entity even if it withdraws from the Ecumenical Catholic Communion and/or the Diocese. Section 2. Sale of Property owned by Faith Communities. If Property, real or otherwise, is owned by a Faith Community, Diocese, Parish and/or Religious Order, any funds derived from the sale or transfer of such property shall be deposited into the account of the Faith Community, Diocese, Parish and/or Religious Order who sold the property and shall not inure to the benefit of an individual person except any lien holders of record. Section 3. Disposal of Property after Cessation of Existence. If the Diocese, Faith Community, Parish, and/or Religious Order ceases to exist, the Property it owns, both real and otherwise, shall be disbursed as its governing documents may direct. In the absence of express instructions for the disbursements of the property owned by any Diocese, Faith Community, Parish, and/or Religious Order in such circumstances, title and ownership of the said property shall pass to the Diocese, Faith Community, Parish, and/or Religious Order that assumes its pastoral care. Section 4. Retention of Property Rights for Private Persons. All property, real or otherwise, purchased by private persons for Church use, remains the property of the private person, subject to all ownership rights appertaining thereto. ARTICLE XV Contractual and Business Arrangements by Faith Communities Section 1. Employer of Record. Each faith community of the Diocese is the employer of record for its clergy and staff, with responsibility for regulations regarding due process in the hiring and termination of all clergy and staff, as well as notification to the ECC of any grievance or claim of misconduct on the part of the pastor, staff members, or any clergy. Section 2. Clarification of Roles and Authority. Each faith community must clarify the authority of the pastor (or other chief administrator) regarding other staff members as well as additional responsibilities of the pastor s (or chief administrator s) office. Section 3. Responsibilities for Contracts. Each faith community is responsible for any and all contracts or letters of understanding for the purchase of property, real or otherwise, all employment relationships, including those regarding employment of its pastor, other clergy and staff members, and any other significant contractual relationship affecting the faith community. ARTICLE XVI Incorporation Section 1. Corporate Title. The Church in this Diocese shall be incorporated under the laws of the State of California under the name and title of "The Diocese of California of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion.
10 ARTICLE XVII Adoption and Amendment of Constitution Section 1. To Become Effective on Adoption. The Constitution shall be considered adopted and ratified by a majority vote of the members of the DHOC and the DHOL and its ratification by the Ordinary. This Constitution shall become effective on its adoption. Section 2. Method of Amending. This Constitution may be amended in the following manner: any proposed amendment which shall have been submitted to the DLC not less than 90 days before a Diocesan Synod by either the DHOL, the DHOC, the DEC, or the Office of the Ordinary. An electronic vote shall be taken on the proposed amendment wherein each representative from the DEC, DHOC and the DHOL shall vote. Should the proposed amendment be assented by a 2/3 majority, such a proposed amendment shall be accepted and approved and become effective immediately upon the Diocesan Ordinary s signature. Should the measure not pass in the electronic vote, such proposed amendment shall be introduced at that Diocesan Synod in writing, by the DEC, the DHOL, or the DHOC depending on where the legislation begins, setting forth the Article as amended. When considered and approved by a majority vote of members of both the DHOL and the DHOC, it shall then be referred to the DEC for final consideration and action and shall become effective upon adoption, and the signed approval of the Ordinary. Section 3. Method of Amending on Second Reading. Any proposed amendment to an amendment under consideration in a particular House and on a second reading shall require a unanimous vote of that House in order to send it forward to the next House for consideration, or, it may voted upon by a majority vote of members of both Houses, DHOC and DHOL, for amendment. If not so amended, the Houses, by majority vote, may request that the DLC create an ad hoc committee for a study and report back for final action at the next Diocesan Synod.