Full Legislative History
Resolution Number: 2000-D015
Title: Urge Adoption of Guidelines on Employment Practices in the Church Workplace
Legislative Action Taken: Concurred as Amended
Final Text:

Resolved, That the 73rd General Convention call on each diocese to present to its convention principles and guidelines of justice and accountability in the church workplace for discussion and action; and be it further

Resolved, That other Episcopal organizations and institutions discuss and act on principles and guidelines similarly; and be it further

Resolved, That the attached principles and guidelines from the Colloquium of Episcopal Professional and Vocational Associations be a part of that discussion; and be it further

Resolved, That the Executive Council monitor and report back to the 74th General Convention on the progress of these discussions and actions.


If the Episcopal Church is to fulfill its mission to the world to proclaim and to teach gospel values of personal dignity and justice in our common life, we must practice those same values in our everyday Church working relationships. Workplace issues such as wages, pro forma resignations, and regular evaluations should not be addressed apart from the principles of our Baptismal Covenant.

People who work in the Church - including bishops, kitchen aides, presbyters, headmasters, sextons, deacons, secretaries, musicians, youth workers, teachers, administrators, and others - each, according to assigned responsibilities and personal talents, serve the Church's mission.

Therefore, in our various church workplaces - parishes, schools, seminaries, camps, institutions, diocesan and national church administration, and so on - we need to promote the right ordering of relationships by fostering the principles of personal dignity, justice, accountability, and participation. By such principles we seek to promote both the dignity of individuals and the corporate responsibilities of church institutions.

Using such principles, it is imperative that we develop church workplace procedures and policies that honor the rights of individuals while serving faithfully the over-arching common good entrusted to us as the church, that is, the mission of Jesus Christ to the World.

  1. Employment policies and practices in the Episcopal Church - recruitment, selection, training, policy development, salary, benefits, due process, termination, and retirement - must manifest respect for the dignity of every person, in accord with the Baptismal Covenant.
  2. Respect for the mission, ideals, and structures of the organization is expected of all who work within the Church.
  3. Respect for the rights and responsibilities of each worker is essential to church workplaces.


The Call

  1. The format of the calling process is to be publicly stated in writing.
  2. The description of each position and its requirements is to be clearly defined in writing.
  3. A definite calendar and sequence of the process is to be publicly stated in writing.
  4. Members of the calling Community are to be represented in the selection process.

The Covenant Between the Person Called and the Calling Community

  1. The responsibilities of the person called are to be stated in a clear and definite format within a written covenant.
  2. The responsibilities of the calling community to the person called are to be stated in a clear and definite format within a written covenant.
  3. Provision for mutual, annual evaluation is to be included in the written covenant.
  4. The dates for the inception and expiration of the covenant are to be specified with the written covenant.
  5. A complete compensation package, including how and when it will be reviewed, is to be specified within the written covenant.

Continuing the Covenant

  1. The spiritual, mental, physical, and social health of every employee deserves support through opportunities for professional development, spiritual nurture, personal growth, and personal time.
  2. A standard and regular process of mutual reporting by all parties on their covenanted responsibilities is essential to their shared ministry.
  3. All parties share responsibility for fostering a wholesome working environment.

Ending the Covenant

  1. Sufficient notice is to be given by either party intending not to renew the covenant upon its stated expiration.
  2. When a covenant is not renewed, reasons for the decision are to be given.
  3. Appropriate assistance for continuing ministry is to be offered by and to each party.
  4. The covenant may be ended, by mutual agreement, prior to the expiration of its stated term.
  5. If one party believes the provisions of the covenant are not being fulfilled and wishes, therefore, to terminate the covenant prior to the expiration of its stated term:
    1. When applicable, canonical procedures will be followed.
    2. Written documentation, based on the provisions of the covenant must be presented by the terminating party.
  6. The dignity of all parties shall be respected in leave-taking. Leave-taking should be marked by the community in a mutually agreed upon manner.
Citation: General Convention, Journal of the General Convention of...The Episcopal Church, Denver, 2000 (New York: General Convention, 2001), pp. 350-353.