Responsibilities of Ministers, Assistant Ministers and Senior Assistant Ministers

Ministers, assistant ministers and senior assistant ministers

The minister

·       Parochial appointments: right of "nomination"

·       Other appointments

·       Taking up a new appointment 

·       Term of office of a minister

·       Retirement of a minister

·       Locum tenens and acting ministers

Assistant ministers and senior assistant ministers

·       Appointment

·       Tenure of assistant ministers and senior assistant ministers

·       Retirement of assistant ministers and senior assistant ministers

 

Ministers, assistant ministers and senior assistant ministers

The member of the clergy appointed and licensed by the Archbishop to be in charge of a parochial unit is called the "minister". Older terms for the minister include "incumbent", "rector" (for a parish) and "curate-in-charge" (for a provisional parish).

A deacon or presbyter who is licensed by the Archbishop to assist the minister of a parochial unit on a full-time basis is called an "assistant minister". An older term for an assistant minister is "curate".

With the approval of the minister and the parish council of a parochial unit, a deacon or presbyter may be licensed by the Archbishop as a "senior assistant minister" if he or she –

(a)      has served as an assistant minister in the Diocese, or in an equivalent office in another diocese, for a period of at least 4 years or periods, which in aggregate total at least 4 years, or

(b)      has served as a minister in the Diocese or in an equivalent office in another diocese.

The minister

Parochial appointments: right of "nomination"

The process of selecting a new minister for a parish is set out in the Nomination Ordinance 2006. Central to this process is the entitlement of parishes to elect 5 lay persons (parish nominators) to take part in the selection process.

Under clause 5 of the Nomination Ordinance 2006, a parish has the right to take part in the selection process (ie the right of nomination) only if it has fulfilled the following conditions –

(a)      during the financial year before the vacancy occurred the local revenues of the parish were not less than the sum of the following amounts –

(i)       that part of the minimum stipend for a minister recommended by the Standing Committee which was required to be paid as stipend to the minister during that period, and

(ii)      that part of the fixed component of the travel allowance for a minister recommended by the Standing Committee which was required to be paid during that period, and

(iii)     that part of the fixed component of the cost recoveries charge payable by a parish under the Cost Recoveries Framework Ordinance 2008 which was required to be paid during that period, and

(b)      during the financial year before the vacancy occurred the rector was –

(i)       paid or provided with a stipend or benefits in lieu of stipend the amount or value of which, in total, is not less than the minimum stipend recommended by the Standing Committee for a minister, and

(ii)      paid or provided with a travel allowance or travel benefits in lieu of at least the amount recommended by the Standing Committee for a minister, and

(iii)     provided with the free use of a residence or otherwise housed in accommodation approved as suitable by the Archbishop, and

(c)      at the date of the occurrence of the vacancy all cost recoveries charges (including any arrears) due and payable by the parish under the Cost Recoveries Framework Ordinance 2008 have been paid.

The Nomination Board for a parish consists of the regional bishop, the regional archdeacon or the assistant to the regional bishop as chairman, 4 persons appointed every 3 years by the Synod and 5 persons elected each year by the parishioners. It meets when the parish has no minister or the minister's resignation has been accepted by the Archbishop, and the parish has met the various requirements.

Through a process of consultation, the Board "nominates” a member of the clergy to the Archbishop to be licensed (that is, appointed) as a minister.  If the Archbishop declines to accept the nomination, or if he accepts the nomination but the member of the clergy declines the Archbishop's offer, the consultative process starts again.

When a vacancy occurs, and before any other action is taken, the regional archdeacon may meet with the parish nominators to make sure they understand these complex procedures.

In a single-church parish, or a parish which is administered as a whole, the parish nominators are normally elected at the annual general meeting of parishioners.  In a multi-church parish, the parish nominators must be elected –

(a)      at a special general meeting of parishioners called by the minister and wardens of the principal church, or

(b)      if the Regional Bishop-in-Council approves, at the annual general meetings of the churches of the parish in such proportions as the Regional Bishop-in-Council appoints, or

(c)      if the Regional Bishop-in-Council approves, at a combined annual general meeting or other general meeting held in accordance with the Parish Administration Ordinance 2008.

Other appointments

The Archbishop may licence a member of the clergy as minister of a provisional parish without consultation with the parishioners, although he may consult with the regional bishops.  The Archbishop also has the right to licence a member of the clergy as minister of a parish which does not have the right of nomination.

Taking up a new appointment

It is customary to have a service at which the new minister officiates for the first time. This is preceded or accompanied by an institution by the Archbishop or the regional bishop in which the licence, signifying the appointment, is delivered at an induction by the regional archdeacon or, in his absence, the regional bishop or his assistant, where the minister is introduced to the place of his ministry and to the congregation.

The regional archdeacon or, in his absence, the regional bishop or his assistant, acting for the Archbishop, is responsible for arranging the details of the institution, induction and the following service. He will confer with the wardens (who should arrange for any special printing and for invitations), with the new minister and, if appropriate, the acting minister.

Term of office of a minister

Subject to the terms of his licence, a minister holds office until his death or resignation, or until his licence is revoked.

In relation to the revocation of a licence, section 3(4) of the 1902 Constitutions provides –

"The Synod of each Diocese shall have power to determine by ordinance in what cases the licence of a member of clergy licensed by the Bishop of the Diocese may be suspended or revoked. Any such licence may be suspended or revoked by the Bishop of the Diocese at the request of the member of the clergy, or (after opportunity given to that member of the clergy to show cause) in such of the said cases as the Synod shall by ordinance determine, save as aforesaid, the licence shall not be suspended or revoked, except as a consequence of a judgement or finding of the tribunal or of some other court of competent jurisdiction."

There are several ordinances which provide for the revocation of the licence of a minister –

(a)      Under the Retirements Ordinance 1993 the licence of a minister may be revoked by the Archbishop, on the terms set out in that ordinance, when the minister reaches the prescribed retirement age.

(b)      Under the Parish Relationships Ordinance 2001 the licence of a minister may be revoked by the Archbishop, on the terms set out in that ordinance, if there is a serious breakdown of pastoral relationships between the minister and a substantial number of his parishioners or if the minister's physical or mental health raise grounds for concern as to his capacity to discharge his duties.

(c)      Under the Discipline Ordinance 2006 the licence of a minister may be revoked by the Archbishop, on the terms set out in that ordinance, if a minister is found guilty of an ecclesiastical offence (such as breaches of faith, ritual, ceremonial and discipline by a member of the clergy, and unchastity, sexual abuse, child abuse, drunkenness, neglect of ministerial duties, wilful failure to pay just debts or disgraceful conduct).

Retirement of a minister

Apart from early retirement for health reasons, a minister may retire at or after age 60.

The Retirements Ordinance 1993 requires a minister licensed after 16 October 1969 to retire at age 65, but extensions may be given up to age 70. This involves an application to the Diocesan Retirements Board for an extension of service.

A minister licensed before 16 October 1969 should retire on reaching age 70 subject to the extension procedure in the Ordinance.

Applications to the Retirements Board are to be addressed to the Chairman of the Board at our Sydney Office. First extensions of less than 12 months may be given by the Archbishop upon the recommendation of the Chairman of the Board. Applications for longer periods require attendance at a meeting of the Retirements Board. This Board presently meets each quarter. Further information is available from the Registry.

Enquiries and applications for extensions of service are best made to a regional bishop or the Registrar well in advance of the prescribed date of retirement.

Locum tenens and acting ministers

A locum tenens or acting minister is a member of the clergy in presbyter’s orders who, on the nomination of the minister of a parochial unit, is appointed by the Archbishop to carry the pastoral duties of the minister while the minister is on leave or incapacitated, or if there is no minister, and receives an agreed payment for his services. A nomination for the appointment of a locum tenens is to be made on a form available from the Registry. Sometimes the locum tenens or acting minister is given the right to reside in the rectory, but he is not regarded as a member of Synod unless his document of appointment gives him that right.

Assistant ministers and senior assistant ministers

Appointment

Assistant ministers are licensed by the Archbishop, generally at the request of the minister of the parochial unit. Senior assistant ministers are licensed at the request of the minister and the parish council.

Before licensing an assistant minister or a senior assistant minister, the Archbishop may require an undertaking from the minister about the work to be undertaken by the assistant minister or senior assistant minister, or any other matter relating to the office to be exercised by that person.

Tenure of assistant ministers and senior assistant ministers

Under clause 3 of the Assistant Ministers Ordinance 1990 each assistant minister and a senior minister holds office subject to –

(a)      the terms of his or her licence or authority, and

(b)      where the assistant minister or the senior assistant minister is entitled to or is paid a stipend or any other benefit - due notice of the termination of the payment of the stipend or benefit given by or on behalf of the person or persons who pay or provide the stipend or benefit.

In the case of an assistant minister, the period of due notice of the termination of the payment of the stipend or benefit is at least 3 months.

In the case of a senior assistant ministers, special rules apply –

(a)      notice of termination of the payment of the stipend or benefit must not be given without prior consultation with the parish council of the parochial unit or during the period of 3 months after the date on which a new minister is licensed or appointed to the parish, and

(b)      the period of due notice is the longest of –

(i)       3 months, and

(ii)      the period of notice, to a maximum period of 9 months, calculated at the rate of 1 month's notice for each year (or part thereof) of continuous service or as assistant minister or senior assistant minister, or both, in that parish, and

(iii)     such other period of notice, if any, not being less than 3 months, which, at the time the senior assistant minister was licensed as senior assistant minister, was agreed between the senior assistant minister and the Archbishop, the minister, the parish council and, if the person or persons who pay or provide the stipend or benefit are not the minister or the parish council, the person or persons who pay or provide the same.

When a vacancy occurs in a parochial unit, an assistant minister ceases to hold office in the parochial unit on the 90th day after the new minister is licensed unless -

(a)      the assistant minister has resigned or terminated the appointment within the 90 days, or

(b)      the new minister has applied to the Archbishop for continuation of the assistant minister's licence and an appropriate agreement has been entered into between the new minister and the assistant minister.

The term of office of a senior assistant minister does not cease by reason only of a vacancy occurring in the parochial unit or upon a new minister being licensed to the parochial unit. In accepting a licence to the parochial unit, the new minister is taken to have –

(a)      adopted any obligation on the part of a former minister expressed in the senior assistant minister's licence as if the new minister was named in the licence as the person subject to that obligation, and

(b)      adopted any agreement in relation to the office of the senior assistant minister made between the former minister and the senior assistant minister with the approval of –

(i)       the Archbishop, and

(ii)      the parish council of the parochial unit, and

(iii)     if the senior assistant minister is entitled to or is paid a stipend or is entitled to any other benefit and the person or persons who pay or provide the same is not or are not the minister or the parish council of the parochial unit - the person or persons who pay or provide the same.

Retirement of assistant ministers and senior assistant ministers

Apart from early retirement for health reasons an assistant minister and a senior assistant minister may retire at or after age 60.

The Retirements Ordinance 1993 requires assistant ministers and senior assistant ministers licensed after 16 October 1969 to retire at age 65, but extensions may be given up to age 70. This involves an application to the Diocesan Retirements Board for an extension of service.

Assistant ministers and senior assistant ministers licensed before 16 October 1969 should retire on reaching age 70 subject to the extension procedure in the Ordinance.

Applications to the Retirements Board are to be addressed to the Chairman of the Board at our Sydney Office. First extensions of less than 12 months may be given by the Archbishop upon the recommendation of the Chairman of the Board. Applications for longer periods require attendance at a meeting of the Retirements Board. This Board presently meets each quarter. Further information is available from the Registry.

Enquiries and applications for extensions of service are best made to a regional bishop or the Registrar well in advance of the prescribed date of retirement.

 


If you have any questions about Ministers, assistant ministers and senior assistant ministers please email us at infosec@sydney.anglican.asn.au

The contents of this document are for general information only. No person should rely on the contents of this document without first obtaining advice from a qualified professional person. Neither the Anglican Church Diocese of Sydney nor any organisation thereof is responsible for the results of any action taken on the basis of the contents of this document, nor for any error in or omission from this document.

 

Current as at 1 March 2010