The Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana is governed by its Constitution and Canons. Brief descriptions of each governing body as well as various important committees follow bellow. Reports of the actions of the various bodies listed below since 2002 can be obtained within the relevant diocesan journal for each year.
The Standing Committee consists of three presbyters and three lay persons elected by the diocesan convention, each of whom serve a term of three years. No member may serve more than two consecutive terms. The Standing Committee oversees the legal and canonical life of the diocese. In the absence of a Bishop or Bishop Coadjutor, the Standing Committee functions as the Ecclesiastical Authority. The current members are:
The Rev. Matthew D. Cowden, President
The Rev. Susan B. Haynes, Secretary
Mrs. Pamela Barnes Harris
The Rev. Corinne U. Hodges
Mr. Timothy C. Gray
Mr. Timothy P. McLaughlin
The Diocesan Council consists of the Ecclesiastical Authority, or the designate of the Ecclesiastical Authority, as presiding officer, nine elected officers, as well as the Secretary and Treasurer of the diocese. One cleric and one lay person are elected from each of the three Deaneries, each of who serve a term of two years. Three persons are elected at-large by Diocesan Convention. No member may serve more than two consecutive terms. The Diocesan Council helps to oversee the financial and programmatic resources of the diocese.
The legislative power of the Diocese is vested in the Convention. Both clergy and lay persons deliberate as one body. Parishes are entitled to send three delegates and missions send one. Conventions are held annually, rotating around the diocese from one parish to another.
Commission on Ministry
The Commission on Ministry (COM) is comprised of both clergy (priests and deacons) and lay persons. The COM is to interview persons who desire to discern if they have a calling to ordained ministry whether it be for diaconate or priesthood. In consultation with the Bishop and the Standing Committee, the COM is the integral decision making body in the ordination process.
The COM is also responsible for reviewing applications for Continuing Education grants for clergy and laity.
The Diocese of Northern Indiana Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit corporation that supports the religious, educational, and charitable work of the diocese. It oversees funds in the following areas: education, outreach, congregation revitalization, and new congregations. Parishes, missions, and organizations affliated with the diocese may apply to the Foundation for loans.
Congregational Revitalization & Development
The Congregational Revitalization & Development Committee is the body through which the diocese actively seeks out opportunities for growth and determines diocesan support. Its mission is to develop plans with congregations for revitalization by presenting the Gospel, implementing strategies for renewal of faith, and strengthening actions for mission; and to organize and implement plans for the expansion of God's Kingdom in our diocese through the development of new congregations.
The Social Outreach Committee oversees a fund in the diocesan accounts which provides for the interest generated to be available for distribution for worthy projects or ministries within the diocese. A small committee with persons representing various areas of the diocese meets several times a year to consider applications for financial assistance from the fund. Such projects should fit within the parameters of helping those in need which our Lord Jesus articulated, as recorded in Matthew 25:35-36: "I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me." The primary responsibility of the social outreach committee is to receive, evaluate, and respond to requests for funds from parishes within the diocese. A secondary purpose of the committee is to make recommendations to the Diocesan Council as to possible recipients of the funds designated for the Millennium Development Goals.
General Convention Deputation
The General Convention is the governing body of the Episcopal Church that meets every three years. The Convention is a bicameral legislature that includes the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops. The work at Convention is carried out by deputies and bishops representing each diocese. During its triennial meeting deputies and bishops consider a wide range of important matters facing the Church. Our diocese sends a delegation of four clerical and four lay deputies, in addition to our bishop. Our diocesan convention elects deputies two years prior to the year in which they will serve.
For the Unity of the Church
O God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Savior, the Prince of Peace: Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions; take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatever else may hinder us from godly union and concord; that, as there is but one Body and one Spirit, one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may be all of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.