Roles and responsibilities


Each archdeacon assumes these responsibilities:
  • assisting the bishop in pastoral care in the archdeaconry and watching, inquiring into and reporting on those things that the archdeacon believes may need the bishop's consideration;
  • from time to time visiting the clergy and churchwardens in the archdeaconry to provide advice on problems and to be pastor to the clergy;
  • ensuring the provision of priestly services in parishes without clergy and providing advice on clergy appointments and deployment in the archdeaconry;
  • arranging, as appropriate, for services of induction for new incumbents or regional deans in the archdeaconry;
  • assisting/advising regional deans in their duties;
  • visiting each parish annually (or asking the regional dean to visit) to ensure that each parish in the archdeaconry is complying with civil and canon law;
  • acting as a member of committees as required.
    (Clergy Personnel Policy, 2008)

The Archivist is custodian of official, administrative, and property records of the Diocese, its parishes, and its congregations. The wide-ranging collection in his/her care includes copies of all bequests, parish registers, appointments, vestry minutes and synod journals; the original Canons, By-laws and Regulations record; photographs, private papers, and artifacts considered to be of historical value, and much more. Other duties include encouraging routine deposits, appraising (i.e., deem worthy of retention) papers and artifacts, doing research for Synod Office staff, and issuing official copies of certificates and transcripts. (Regulation 3.36)

Assistant curate
Assistant curates are usually newly ordained clergy appointed to serve under the supervision of an incumbent. The position provides a newly ordained person with an opportunity to participate in all aspects of parish ministry with a view to developing skills and gaining experience in ordained ministry. The assistant curate is accountable to the incumbent with regard to the work of the parish. During an assistant curacy, duties and responsibilities are to include regular participation in all these areas: ministry of word and sacrament; ministry of pastoral care; programs for various ages and interest groups within the parish; parish administration; work in the deanery and diocese. A wide range of work is needed to ensure worthwhile experience and sound development in ordained ministry.
(Clergy Personnel Policy, 2008)

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Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor
Members of the legal profession appointed by the Bishop to advise Synod on legal, procedural and other related matters.

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Deacons assist bishops and priests and have a special responsibility to minister in Christ's name to those who are poor, sick, suffering, and in any kind of need. Prior to ordination to the diaconate the candidate is expected to have a personal spirituality that demonstrates an integration of body, mind, and spirit working towards wholeness. This spirituality manifests a maturity that is demonstrated not only in regular participation in the liturgical life of the community, but also in an explicit commitment to spiritual growth, and a disciplined life of prayer. In addition, the candidate must demonstrate competence in the scriptures and church history, ethical decision-making, worship, and one or more influential area(s) of diaconal ministries (e.g. workplace ministries, outreach ministries, social advocacy ministries, environmental advocacy ministries, etc.), as well as knowledge of Christian theology. (The Deacon in the Diocese of Ottawa: Competencies & Customary, 2013)

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The Dean of Ottawa is next in precedence after the bishop and any suffragan or assistant bishop. At the request of the bishop, the dean represents the bishop at meetings or activities in the diocese or in the wider community. He or she is regional dean of the Deanery of Christ Church Cathedral and may also be the cathedral's incumbent. (Clergy Personnel Policy, 2008)

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Incumbents are to share responsibilities with churchwardens and lay leaders in the parish. The primary role of the incumbent is to oversee all aspects of parish life and to provide leadership, encouragement, and spiritual support in the parish and in the wider community.

These responsibilities are based upon and grow from the responsibilities assumed at ordination. They include the following:
  • arrange the liturgies and worship life of the parish, including music, so that the corporate and individual lives and ministries of the parish community are given expression;
  • provide general leadership with a view to fostering a strong spiritual, scriptural and sacramental base within the community so that it may reach out beyond the parish;
  • oversee the pastoral life of the parish, identifying and training pastoral care team members and providing administrative and communication procedures to support a healthy pastoral care ministry and other volunteer ministries in the parish;
  • ensure that dynamic Christian education programs are available to people of all ages in the parish and to oversee their delivery;
  • oversee the administrative work that supports the parish, ensuring that programs and activities are coordinated so as to contribute to the effectiveness of parish life;
  • together with churchwardens, lay leaders and vestry, manage the affairs of the parish with appropriate regard to economy, efficiency and effectiveness;
  • seek opportunities for ecumenical collaboration and for building mutual understanding and respect among churches within the parish;
  • share in the work of the diocese and to support colleagues in ministry, taking part in committee work and diocesan activities;
  • attend inductions, ordinations, meetings of deanery clericus and great chapter, Synod meetings, clergy conferences and information days;
  • keep up to date with changes in Canons, By-laws and Regulations and with other administrative matters that affect the diocese and the parish;
  • keep parish records and report periodically as required;
  • preside at vestry meetings, working with vestry to establish goals, manage the parish's resources, and develop stewardship programs;
  • perform other duties as may from time to time be required by the regional dean, the archdeacon, or the bishop.
  • In parishes where there is staff employed (office staff, caretakers, etc.) the incumbent acts as supervisor. The incumbent owes a duty to act fairly in discharging the duties of supervisor/employer and to abide by applicable statutory and common law.
(Clergy Personnel Policy, 2008)

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Licensed Lay Reader
Primarily, licensed lay readers function as worship leaders. They serve by assisting in and/or conducting services of public worship on a regular basis under the direction of a priest. Lay readers are licensed by the bishop because of the level of responsibility, commitment and training and to provide consistency across the diocese in their function and training.

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Parish Corporation
The Religious Institutions Act of Ontario and the Diocese of Ottawa Canons, Bylaws and Regulations make it clear that the overall responsibility for management of parish finances lies with the incumbent and the churchwardens (the parish corporation). Usually delegated to a parish treasurer are the responsibilities for maintaining accounting records, preparing financial statements, and the maintenance of adequate internal control. In some parishes a finance committee oversees this work.

The Managing Finances in the Parish Handbook is an indispensable reference source with all parish-based financial and administrative information. It is essential reading for all members of the parish corporation. Are controls really necessary for churches? is a must-read for parish treasurers and finance committees.

Managing Finances in the Parish Guidelines (October 2013)
Managing Finances in the Parish (PowerPoint, April 2012)
Are controls really necessary for churches?

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Parish Council
Parish councils act on all matters referred them by their vestry; help incumbents develop policy and Christian education programs; make recommendations on the annual budget, written financial statements (received quarterly, at least), and any other matter affecting parish responsibilities, and encourage regular attendance at church services. They have the rights and duties of vestry between its meetings.

They are to meet regularly, monthly if possible; they elect chairperson and secretary each year; they keep minutes of their meetings. (Regulation 5.02)

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Regional Dean
Parishes in the diocese are grouped into deaneries. Each deanery has a regional dean who carries out these responsibilities:
  • providing the archdeacon with information on secular and ecclesiastical developments that could affect the life of parishes in the deanery;
  • providing for meetings of clergy in the deanery for mutual support, encouragement, communications with diocesan officers, and for transacting other business;
  • providing for meetings of clergy, churchwardens and lay members of Synod in the deanery to conduct relevant business, and to provide for meetings of Great Chapter, with one meeting prior to the annual meeting of Synod;
  • encouraging and supporting incumbents and churchwardens in the deanery in promoting good stewardship;
  • ensuring that the statistical returns from the parishes in the deanery are forwarded to the diocese prior to 21 March of each year;
  • making arrangements for priestly services in any parish in the deanery, when required in an emergency situation;
  • once during the term, visiting each parish in the deanery to inspect buildings, to ensure that required maintenance and repairs have been undertaken, and to review accounts and related reports and to report to the archdeacon on these matters. (The regional dean may meet with the incumbent and churchwardens or parish council to seek to ensure compliance with civil or canon law, and may meet with diocesan officers to clarify matters of concern to a parish, the deanery, and the diocese);
  • assisting the archdeacon in performing duties;
  • performing other duties as required from time to time.
(Clergy Personnel Policy, 2008)

Each annual vestry meeting is to appoint or elect a convenor who maintains a roster of people who help the wardens receive and seat the congregation, take up (and if so requested) count the offering, and maintain order in and about the church during divine worship. (Regulation 5.09)

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