Let us Make a Parish Code of Practice which Promotes Collaborative Ministry for Mission

Paul Otsuka Yoshinao, Bishop of Kyoto  ( 2003/11)


1.               To begin withc

   In Kyoto diocese, from April 2004, all 57 parishes were grouped into 14 Collaborative Ministry for Mission blocks. We changed from a system in which a single parish priest was appointed to each parish to one in which several priests were appointed to a block. This was a big change both for the priests and for all the parishioners.
   In order to carry out faithfully the mission given by our Lord Jesus Christ to the Church in Japan in this 21st century, the first of the third millennium, Kyoto diocese has chosen the path of Collaborative Ministry for Mission. Whatever difficulties it may entail the diocese, following the injunction of our Lord Jesus to gput out into the deeph, is single mindedly, and as one body, engaged in evangelization.
   In view of this, then, it is becoming necessary to further the implementation of Collaborative Ministry for Mission, bearing in mind the various points made below, to look again at the codes of practice governing the way parishes are run, the way of managing blocks, the role of regional assemblies and the code of practice of the Diocesan Council.

2.@     A Church Community which is a Sign of Renewal of Faith and Modern Evangelization

   Collaborative Ministry for Mission is also gfaith renewalh. Collaborative Ministry for Mission is being brought about, little by little, as every single Christian begins to examine her/his own faith and by the community coming together to share with one another about their faith. Naturally, this process of faith renewal requires that we inquire also into our way of being the Church, the assembly of believers.
   The Churchfs reason for existence and its motivation for evangelization comes from God and the origin of the gospel is to be found in the life of Jesus and the activity of his disciples. Jesus, the Son of God, sent by the Father, offered himself up so that all people might be able to live their lives more and more in response to Godfs call. His disciples, having in Jesus Christ (the Saviour) that kind of teacher, built a gcommunity of faithh and pioneered the mission of handing on the words and signs of Christ which transcends nations, customs, place and time. So, Jesus himself was already missionary and the Church is the community which realizes its reason for existence through its missionary activity. We must examine very carefully, therefore, precisely at this time when Kyoto diocese, in order to promote Collaborative Ministry for Mission, is taking a fresh look at its systems and organization, to see whether or not they are a sign for modern society of the Churchfs essential mission of evangelization. We will ascertain this from within the framework of the communityfs faith.
   A new way of administering the parish is emerging out of the changed way of appointing priests to work in the parish. The priests themselves continue their search to find new ways of leadership suited to Collaborative Ministry for Mission. All the parishioners too, more than ever before, continue struggling in various ways to witness to the words and signs of Jesus in their everyday lives.
   It is also beneficial that each parish, whilst bringing out its own special features, is working with the other parishes in the same block to come to a shared understanding of the administration and organization of one anotherfs parishes. It is greatly to be hoped that, in this way, the reformation of faith will infiltrate the Churchfs way of doing things, its structure and organization.

3.@     Management and structure for a parish engaged in evangelization by Collaborative               Ministry for Mission

   The purpose of Collaborative Ministry for Mission is to create a community which can evangelize effectively. Evangelization is the business of the community. The way of operating which is most incompatible with Collaborative Ministry for Mission is that characterized by ga single person bearing responsibilityh or gdeciding aloneh. Collaborative Ministry for Mission is advanced by the fellowship and cooperation of all the people, no matter what their position, who make up the community. It is building a system whose spirit is such that lay people, religious and priests pray together, consult one another, decide things together and implement their plans together.
   If, therefore, the president of the Lay Council or the priest alone is making decisions, that is unacceptable. Representatives of the laity and the priests and, where there are religious, representatives of the religious form a team as the core-group which bears responsibility in the community for promoting Collaborative Ministry for Mission.

4.@   The Necessity of Working towards a Common Form for Parish Codes of Practice

   By contrast with the system of independent parishes which has prevailed until now Collaborative Ministry for Mission requires that parishes, whilst maintaining their independence, will cooperate and inter-relate with other parishes in the same block and that often, and increasingly, they will take part in joint activities. Because of this it may happen that the different systems still operating in different parishes from of old may become an obstacle to the efficient sharing in common activities and new endeavours within the block.
   Furthermore, it has become necessary to coordinate parish level decision-making and the block level decision making.

5.@   A Common System of Working in Blocks

   Then there is another matter: it has become necessary for there to be common guidelines for managing the Collaborative Ministry for Mission Block. This is particularly desirable where formal decision-making in the block is concerned.
   From 2003, for example, we established Block Accounts and it is now necessary that there be a forum for discussing the estimated budget and final version of these accounts. For this to take place we need a set of rules governing the block which is recognized by all its constituent parishes. It is vital that there be common guidelines for this rather than each block making its own separate set of rules. Concerning this I published gCollaborative Ministry for Mission Block Management Guidelinesh on October 18, 2003 (q.v.).

6.@ The meaning of changing from gLay Organizationh to gParish Councilh

@ The Problem of there being a gLay Organizationh.

   The diocese, a part of the Community People of God we call a gParticular Churchh, is made up of clerics (the bishop, priests, deacons), lay people and religious (people living the consecrated life). The people who make up this community, making use of the gifts each has been given and serving one another, are running this Particular Church. A parish is an established community which forms part of this particular church (CL 515). The priests, laity and religious, united as a single community, run the parish. The title elay organizationf can give rise to the misunderstanding that the laity alone are running the parish. I think that at this time, in order to promote Collaborative Ministry for Mission, it is desirable that the institution be abolished and that the name not be used. I donft know in detail where the idea of setting up elay organizationsf in parishes in Japan came from but in view of the teaching of the second Vatican council about the Church I think it was a doubtful concept even before the introduction of Collaborative Ministry for Mission.
  From the point of view of the Parish as an entity, even if we allow that the gLay organizationh really connotes the parish community, the term carries with it the suggestion that its membership is limited to lay people; even if we allow that the leadership and responsibility of the priest is acknowledged as a matter of course I think it may lead to the misunderstanding that the priest has somehow been isolated from the rest of the faithful.

   I feel that, as the spirit of Collaborative Ministry for Mission has gradually spread, we need to change the names of all bodies stemming from the eLay Organizationf, like the eLay Councilf and the eGeneral Meeting of the Laityf to reflect the fact that we make decisions as a parish.

A Relief from the strain of being gchairman of the lay organizationh

   Because the responsibility of being echairman of the lay organizationf is considerable and the physical and mental burden placed on the person who is chosen for this position is such that when it is time to elect a new one there is great difficulty in finding someone to take on the position, and also because there are rare cases in which the chairman assumes a domineering position, it is a fact that even before the introduction of Collaborative Ministry for Mission several parishes have already abolished the system of having a single chairman and shared the responsibility among a group of people. With the introduction of Collaborative Ministry for Mission this tendency has become stronger.

B From eLay organizationf to eParish Pastoral Councilf

   From the above considerations I think that the eLay Organizationf is not something which builds up the parish; I would like to reaffirm the understanding of parish which holds that all the people of the parish make up a single community. The Officers of the faithful are not, therefore, the head(s) of a lay organization but lay representatives of the whole parish. It is for that reason that I want to move in the direction of changing the titles of the ehead of the lay organizationf and the edeputy head of the lay organizationf. In future leaders, as lay representatives of the people, will work together with the body of priests appointed to their parish to promote Collaborative Ministry for Mission.

C The Nature of the Pastoral Council

   To repeat myself, the Parish Pastoral Council is not an organization, like the lay organizationon, made up of all the members of the parish but an organization within the parish which takes responsibility for decision making.
  It is what is known in the Catholic Churchfs Canon Law as a consultative body. In Japanese there are two expressions difficult to distinguish in English: gKyogikaih and gHyogikaih. The first of these is a body made up of people of the same status who, working cooperatively, make decisions which they put into practice. The second, in the sense used by the Catholic Church, is a body called together by a responsible party to advise him. Their decisions are afterwards submitted to him for approval, at which time he may, on own judgment, decide differently.
   In every diocese, for example there is an organization called the priestsf senate. This is a structure whereby a group representatives chosen by the body of priests working in the diocese attend a meeting called by the bishop so he may consult with them about matters of importance. All the priests in the diocese are not members of the senate; they send representatives they have chosen to attend. The members of the senate collect opinions from their brother priests and present them to the bishop. From time to time he may listen to the opinions of all the priests. The result of the discussions of the priestsf senate are given to the bishop as econsultative opinionsf. When the bishop accepts and affirms their decision it is validated and put into practice by the whole diocese. Sometimes, if there is an important reason for doing so, the bishop may reach a different conclusion from the priestsf senate.
   In the same way the Parish Pastoral Council, made of representatives of the various pastoral and missionary activity groups and the parish officers who are ecouncilorsf, is called together by the group of priests in charge appointed by the bishop. There is a point of difference here between the former elay organizationf of which all the lay Christians were members, and the Parish Pastoral Council of which all are not members. What all the people affiliated to the parish form is the parish community; there is no need for a separate elay organizationf different from this
   It is not, therefore, simply a matter of changing the name from eLay Organizationf to eParish Pastoral Councilf. The Parish Pastoral Council is an organization within the parish, a small part of it, which has the responsibility for the smooth running, regulation and organization of the parish.
   Another point which must be made is that the people who put these decisions into practice are not the members of the Parish Pastoral Council. Their decisions are put into effect by all the people of the parish, principally the people who make up the Pastoral and Missionary Sections described below. Any events or activities will be sponsored not by the Parish Pastoral Council but in the name of the Parish as a whole.

7.           Concerning Parish Activities in the Future     

@   The necessity of having the same epastoral activity sectorsf in each parish

   In any parish, for Church management and activities (Missionary and Pastoral work) there have to be sectors which deal with liturgy, faith education (Sunday school etc.), Communication, finance and upkeep of buildings even though the names of these groups may differ. In order that any one at all may take part in these groups there has to be a set of regulations governing the number of committee members and the way in which they are to be elected. (I realize that in some small communities there is no documentary set of regulations). With the advent of Collaborative Ministry for Mission which implies cooperative action between parishes in some areas of pastoral and missionary activity, these different names and division of roles can become an inconvenience. It would be advantageous to Collaborative Ministry for Mission if the major pastoral and missionary activity units were to have the same names throughout the diocese.

A   A revision of our view of evangelization from now on.

   There is a need now not only to think of changing the names of the various parish committees dealing with different kinds of pastoral and missionary activity but also to look afresh at the activities themselves in every parish and the way in which they are divided up to see if they are an effective response to the evangelical needs of modern society. This will mean that every Christian must wake up to her/his own apostolic role, and acquire a deeper consciousness of the Churchfs evangelizing role towards society at large. At the same time, we need to develop an attitude of service within the Church so that we can all work together, according to our abilities, as a united body.
   The making of a new code of practice is, therefore, an opportunity not only to reshape the various parish pastoral committees but to look again at the way in which the parish is responding to its present circumstances and the way in which it divides up its pastoral and missionary work. The parish, as a community, needs to examine these matters together.

B The Menfs group, Womenfs group etc. (groups which are defined in terms of gender or age difference).

   The time has come to look again at, and evaluate, the system of parish management based on a division of the members into a menfs group, womenfs group, young peoplefs group which has prevailed for a long time and which has undeniably good points. The spirit of Collaborative Ministry for Mission is, however, one which encourages people to participate in the parish mission and ministry of service in teams which are formed irrespective of age or gender according to peoplefs abilities and inclinations.
   Each sector of activity and service is a single team. Godfs gifts are given to people without limit and when people respond to that and take part in the work of the Church as believers the work of God is realized through the expression of faith in the form of a pastoral and missionary community.
   We may expect that the transition from a long established system based on groups formed according to gender and age to one based on differences of role or activity will be accompanied by difficulties. Where Menfs group and Womenfs group continue, they will become voluntary groups like those described below.

C The system of regional meetings

   Depending on the size of the parish and the particular characteristics of a region there will be cases in which it is not possible to form a system of pastoral activity units. When the area of the parish is very great, for example, it may be that some parishioners are simply unable to take part in group activities. In that case it would be of great benefit to form regional groups whose members could encourage and help one another in the business of promoting Collaborative Ministry for Mission.
   For that reason they could use a system of eparish regionsf in which there is a community (team) in each region which will meet to pray together and engage in the ministry of service.

D Independent ecommunities of choicef for pastoral activity.

   Within the system of pastoral activity sectors any parish may, in response to its own special characteristics of those of the area in which it is situated, establish sectors to deal with particular kinds of pastoral and missionary activity over and above those set up to deal with the five pastoral activity units which will be common to every parish of the diocese.
   In addition any members of the parish may, according to their interests and talents, join together, informally, to engage in pastoral activities which are not included in any of the major sectors. These should be, however, seen as part of the parishfs pastoral activity and not be thought of as individual enterprises having no connection with the Church.
   Understood in this way the members of these small groups may also be represented on the parish pastoral council. In this way their efforts will be recognized as an organic part of the parish pastoral and missionary effort.

E Every Christian is a member of the Parish.

   I have explained above about groups to take care of the essential sectors of parish management and activities, but there is another important point. Membership of the parish is not limited to those who participate in the management and pastoral activity sectors; every Christian is a member of the parish community. Anyone who feels that he has no need to be involved in the pastoral and missionary work of the parish and leaves it to others is not a proper member of the community. At the same time, however, there are those whose health, or work and family commitments are such that they are simply unable to take an active part in these activities. Membership of the community is not limited to those whose contribution to Church life is visible. People can take part in and serve the Church in a real sense through their daily prayer and sacrifices. Also the spontaneous activities of individual members of the parish are an important part of the parish pastoral effort whether or not they are done through its various formally constituted pastoral sectors. We hope, therefore, that as far as possible every Christian will take his share of the burden as an active member of the parish community but we must take care to avoid an atmosphere which excludes those who are unable to do so. 

Translation of some Key Terms used in this document. (Words placed in brackets are sometimes used, sometimes not.)

              鋳iq                     Collaborative Ministry for Mission

              K                                   Code of Practice

              Mk                                Lay Organization

              ubNiՒc                    Body of Priests (appointed to a block)

                  ]c                     Parish (pastoral) Council

                                       Parish Officer

              ]cψ                            Councilor

                                              (pastoral) Activity Sector

[Text of the Guidelines]

Catholic Diocese of Kyoto: Guidelines for Producing a Parish Code of Practice 

 In order continually to promote Collaborative Ministry for Mission we think all the parishes of Kyoto diocese should express its spirit and ethos in the very structure of the Church community. For the administration of the parish to be suitable to and smoothly put into practice Collaborative Ministry for Mission we would like you to produce a code of practice according to the guidelines presented below.
 Furthermore, in order that the codes of practice of all the parishes of Kyoto diocese may be referred to by others and easily understood we require that several terms used in them should be common to all. 

1.  Producing a Code of Practice

1-1              Clauses required by the gguidelinesh to be included

   You are not being asked to produce an entirely new code of practice; you should use the existing code of practice as a basis (where there is no written code of practice build on the current practice) and incorporate the various clauses listed in these guidelines into the new parish code of practice. If, however, communities attached to gchapels of easeh and similarly small scale groups wish, because of their small size, to omit some of the required clauses they should seek the guidance of the group of priests appointed to their block and, through their moderator, obtain the permission of the bishop in advance.

1-2            A common understanding throughout the diocese

   Before putting pen to paper to write a new code of practice study the elements of a new shape of administration for Collaborative Ministry for Mission outlined in the introduction to this document until you are sure you have understood them and only then make the necessary adjustments to your current mode of administration.

1-3         Latitude for the individual parish

    These guidelines cover matters relevant to what needs to be fixed so as to put into effect elements which must be part of any code of practice, but there are also a lot of details which each parish can look into and decide about for itself. Please feel free, having understood the guidelines, to decide these other matters in accordance with the customs and tradition of your parish and in the light of your current way of administering it.

1-4                  The timescale of the project

   It is envisaged that it will take three years to produce a code of practice. If the process begins in January of 2004, by December of 2006 every parish should be operating according to its new code of practice.

1-5         Approval by the Bishop

   The idea is that after each parish has completed its deliberations its code of practice will be put into effect by the approval of the bishop. When, therefore, the new code of practice has been completed and has the consent of the group of priests appointed to the block please hand it in to the diocese. When the bishop approves it, it will be in force. At that time, in some cases, it is possible that the bishop will recommend some minor changes. Since this process could take several months please consult the diocese as early as possible.

2.  Establishing a gParish Councilh

2-1         The establishment and name

   First of all, disband the existing gLay Organizationh in the parish. Then every parish will set up a new gParish Councilh. It will be known as gCatholic Church Councilh.

2-2        The name of the Code of Practice of the gParish Councilh

   The name of the code of practice will be gCatholic Church Council Code of Practiceh.

2-3        Objectives

   The Parish Council will be established so that, sharing a vision with the Universal Catholic Church and the Diocese of Kyoto, by administering the parish in a manner conducive to Collaborative Ministry for Mission it will become an evangelizing community.

2-4        Chairmanship

   The body of priests appointed to the block in which the parish has been placed will preside over the parish council. In some cases religious appointed by the bishop may be included in this group.

2-5        Council Members

   The membership of the parish council will be made up as follows:
@ gParish Officersh chosen as representatives of the laity,
A representatives of each pastoral activity unit,
B representatives of other groups.

2-6        Parish Council meetings

   Meetings of the Parish Council will be called by the body of priests appointed to the block in which the parish has been placed and held at regular intervals. The regular meeting times should be written into the Code of Practice. (In general meetings would take place each month, except August.) Extraordinary meetings may be called at the discretion of the priests in charge. 

2-7         Matters to be discussed

   The Parish Council will discuss and decide upon all matters pertaining to the administration of the parish as a whole. The main areas are outlined below:

@  Making the parishfs basic policy (long and short term) concerning Collaborative Ministry for Mission
A  Deciding the annual schedule of activities based on this policy.
B  Approving the budget and final accounts of the parish as well as any expenditure outside the budget.
C  The setting up and alteration of pastoral activity units and optional groups.
D  Overseeing any modifications to the Parish Council Code of Practice.
E  Dealing with any other important matters.

2-8                Decision making and approval

   The parish council, giving due importance to dialogue in the spirit of the gospel, will makes decisions through the consultation of all members present. The matters decided will be put into effect by being approved by the body of priests in charge of the parish.

3. The gOfficersh

3-1                  Election of Parish Officers

@ The position of gParish Officerh is equivalent to that held up to now by the head of the parish lay organization and his deputy or assistants. Officers are representatives of the laity on the parish                    council whose ministry is church administration.
A The number of these officers to be elected is discretionary but there should be at least three.
B It is a matter of basic policy that the election of these Parish Officers should be carried out together with the body of priests appointed to the block in which the parish has been placed. The group of priests will, therefore, after listening to the opinions of the laity and taking into consideration the circumstances of the parish, decide on the method of election.
C The details of the election procedure (candidacy and nomination, the manner in which the laity vote, term of office, whether or not officers may be re-elected etc.) should be made clear in the code of practice. D It is required, in general, that when there is an election in the church the right to vote and the right to be voted for belongs to all people registered in a parish over 20 years of age.
E gParish Officersh will be formally appointed by the body of priests in charge of the parish.

3-2                 The duties of Parish Officers@@

The Parish Officers, together with the body of priests in charge of the parish, will form the Parish Collaborative Ministry for Mission Team. This team will coordinate all aspects of parish administration.
A They will be responsible for preparing parish council meetings and managing the agenda and minutes of those meetings.
B They will represent the parish at the Block Conference and Regional Council meetings.

4.  The System of Pastoral Activity Sectors

4-1                  Introduction of the system

   A system of pastoral activity sectors will be introduced in all parishes to deal with essential and important pastoral activities. In parishes where such sectors already operate please bring them into line with these guidelines. These units are to be neither part of the Parish Council nor subservient to it; they are agencies for carrying out the policy decisions made by the parish council. 

4-2                 Sectors common to all parishes

   The sectors which need to be established in any parish are: Education, Liturgy, Communication, Property Maintenance, and Finance. These will be the Kyoto Diocese Common Pastoral Units.
   Concerning the activities of these five common pastoral sectors they should include as a minimum those described in the chart below but other activities besides these may be added in response to the actual circumstances of the parish.

Education Sector

Education of catechumens
Faith Development of children and young people (Church school, youth activities)
Faith Development for the laity (Bible study, ongoing adult formation, retreats etc.)

Liturgy Sector

Coordination of Eucharistic Ministers and Worship Leaders
Coordination of a liturgical ministry groups for Mass and Sacramental life
  (e.g. Altar servers, choir, musical accompanists, sacristy, Weddings and Funerals)

Publicity Sector

Editing Parish magazine, managing Parish Web Page
Preparing the news bulletin for weekly Sunday Mass
Collection and care of important documentation, parish archive material etc.

Property Main-
tenance Sector

Maintenance of buildings and other assets on the parish property
Maintenance of fixtures and fittings within buildings
Planning and practical arrangements for cleaning etc

Finance Sector

Overall supervision of parish finances
Collection and calculation of maintenance contributions and other offerings,  keeping a@record of parish accounts etc.

4-3                  Participation by everyone

   The pastoral activity of the parish and its ministries of service should not be left to a part of the community but everyone should take part, each with his own role, and in order to achieve this it is recommended that everyone should be attached to one of the pastoral sectors. It would probably be a good thing if enrollment in a pastoral sector were to be a public act before the community.

4-4                 Consideration for those who are unable to join any pastoral sector

   It is not the case, however, that the pastoral activities of the parish are limited to participation in one of the pastoral sectors. Freely and spontaneously undertaken activities because of their individual circumstances by individual members, and these members themselves, are also important for the church. Activities undertaken outside the parish pastoral units should, therefore, be recognized by the parish; some suitable means should be sought by which people engaged in these activities may take part in the parish council.
   You need to think also of some system whereby any lay person may freely state an opinion on matters relating to parish administration.

4-5                 Members of the finance ministry sector

   Because of the nature of its work the members of the finance sector should not be chosen by an open election but nominated by the body of priests in charge appointed to the block in consultation with the parish officers.

4-6                 Responsible representatives from pastoral sectors

   Every pastoral sector should elect one or two responsible representatives to organize the sector. The manner of election, term of office, eligibility for re-election etc should be clearly set out in the parish council code of practice. These representatives will take part in the parish council as gcouncilorsh according to the rules set out in the code of practice.

4-7                 Other Pastoral Sectors

   In addition to the Kyoto Diocese Common Pastoral Sectors any parish may, in response to different needs, set up other pastoral sectors. Although they have not been designated as Diocesan pastoral sectors there are several areas which the diocese of Kyoto is getting to grips with as priorities some of these are described in the chart below, for reference, as possible pastoral sectors.

Cooperation Sector

@Collaboration with the diocesan International Cooperation Committee
A Contact point for foreign nationals living in Japan. Working towards an 
organization for cooperating with them

Youth Sector @Thinking of the future of the church you might set up a youth unit. This would not be like the young adults section which many parishes have had until now with membership based simply on the criterion of age. Building on the present situation in which young people are engaged in activities which transcend the parish and the diocese it would concentrate on this activity as a pastoral unit of the same kind as the others.
Social Activity Sector

@If, as a parish, you decide to take part in social welfare, justice and peace or human rights activities you can set up a pastoral unit with a name like gsocial activity unith.
@This would not place controls on the social activities of individual Christians who engage in volunteer welfare work under their own initiative but act as a means of exchanging information and a point of contact with non-church authorities the local area to meet their requests when the parish as a community is involved in social activities.

4-8        Person responsible for

   There might be, in some parishes, pastoral sectors other than those mentioned above such as gCemetery maintenanceh, gpastoral care of immigrantsh etc. whose activities require a regular point of contact for people or organizations outside the church. The parish council has a responsibility to support and to oversee these activities in so far as they are openly acknowledged as parish works. For this reason, perhaps of the Parish Officers, should be designated as the person responsible for each pastoral sector who will facilitate liaison between that sector and the Parish Council.

5.  Voluntary Organizations

5-1                  Characteristics

   Where there are existing groups such as the Womenfs group and Menfs group (determined by gender), the Young Peoplefs group (determined by age group) and parish area groups (determined by locality) these may continue, under the new system, alongside the pastoral activity sectors but voluntary organizations which differ in character from them. You should avoid, however, handing over completely to these voluntary groups work which belongs to a pastoral activity sector. Voluntary groups may not take the place of pastoral activity sectors; they are there simply to follow their own voluntary objectives which should be integrated into the activities of the parish in such a way as to complement them.

5-2                 Participation in the Parish Pastoral Council

   Voluntary organizations, as the code of practice determines, may send delegates to the Parish Pastoral Council as gCouncilorsh.

6.       The Parish General Meeting

6-1                  Name

   There may be, to replace what was formerly known as the gGeneral Meeting of the Laityh, a meeting which any member of the parish may attend. It will be known as the g Parish General Meetingh.

6-2        It is not the body with the highest decision making authority

   This Parish General Meeting is not the highest decision making body in the parish. The decision making body of the parish is quite definitely the Parish Council. There is no need, therefore, for the General Meeting to approve, for example, the budget and final accounts of the parish.
   The Parish General Meeting, which every member of the parish may and should attend, is an opportunity for decisions made by the Parish Council and approved by the body of priests in charge of the parish to be owned by the whole parish and for any member of the parish freely to state opinions about the administration of the parish.

6-3        Holding the Meeting

   The Parish General Meeting will be called by the body of priests appointed to the block in which the parish is situated. The times and frequency of meetings will be clearly set out in the Code of Practice.

7. Putting the Code of Practice into Effect

7-1                  Approval of the Code

   In a supplementary clause the Parish Council Code of Practice should state clearly that the Code of Practice will be put into effect when it is given Episcopal approval.

7-2         Appendix

   In an appendix the Parish Council Code of Practice will carry the date on which it was given Episcopal approval and the date of amendments.