You are here Resources Diocesan Handbook Diocesan Policies and Guidelines J. Chaplaincies and Congregations

Diocesan Policies and Guidelines

J. Chaplaincies and Congregations


J1  Chaplaincies and congregations of the Diocese

(a) Section 1 of the Diocesan Constitution provides that the Diocese consists of chaplaincies and congregations.

  • a chaplaincy is a formally constituted body (our equivalent of a parish).
  • a congregation is either a constituent part of a chaplaincy, or a worshipping group under the care of a priest but not yet formally constituted as a chaplaincy.

(b)  A list of the chaplaincies and congregations of the Diocese can be found in the Diocesan Yearbook.

J2  Establishment of a new Chaplaincy

(a)  Section 3 of the Diocesan Constitution provides that the Bishop, with the consent of the Standing Committee of the Diocesan Synod, may establish new chaplaincies and dissolve existing chaplaincies.

(b)  The normal procedure for the establishment of a new chaplaincy is as follows:

  • A letter to the archdeacon from the congregation, requesting the establishment of an independent chaplaincy.
  • In the case of a congregation, which is part of an existing chaplaincy, a letter from the chaplain, and a resolution of the 'chaplaincy' Council, sent to the archdeacon, expressing their views on the establishment of the new chaplaincy.
  • Agreement with the Bishop of the way in which the requirements of the canons for the celebration of worship will be met in the new chaplaincy.
  • Approval by the Bishop, on the advice of the diocesan registrar, of the proposed constitution of the chaplaincy (see J3 - The Constitution of a Chaplaincy).
  • Acceptance by the Diocesan Board of Finance (or its Finance and Property Committee) of a report on the stipend, housing and expenses the chaplaincy intends to provide for its chaplain.
  • A resolution (normally proposed by a representative of the archdeaconry) of the Standing Committee of the Diocesan Synod in the form:
    'that this Standing Committee supports the proposal that the Bishop shall declare the congregation of (name) to be a chaplaincy of the Diocese.' 
    The Standing Committee of the Diocesan Synod normally meets in May and October each year.
  • A formal Declaration by the Bishop establishing the chaplaincy and appointing its first chaplain.

J3  The Constitution of a Chaplaincy

(a)  Each chaplaincy has a constitution based on the ecclesiastical and canon law of the Church of England, specifically

  • Synodical Government Measure 1969 (No 2)
  • Diocese in Europe Measure 1980
  • Constitution of the Diocese in Europe 1995

and the current editions of

  • Canons of the Church of England (2000)
  • Church Representation Rules (2001)

(b)  The ecclesiastical and canon law of the Church of England are automatically binding on all chaplaincies, chaplaincy officers, and persons holding the Bishop's Licence or Permission to Officiate. The only exception is when an ecclesiastical law is in direct conflict with national law. In such a case, national law takes precedence, but only to the extent of the point at issue. The diocesan registrar must be informed of any such conflict.

(c)  Each chaplaincy must, under §25 of the Diocesan Constitution, take steps to be recognized as a juridical person in the country or countries in which it is situated. The advice of the diocesan registrar should, if necessary, be sought in this matter. Reference should be made to these legal instruments in any document prepared for local declaration and registration (see Supplement 2) but their provisions need not be quoted.

(d)  A chaplaincy constitution must provide for its own amendment at an annual or special chaplaincy meeting.  Proposed amendments must be submitted to the diocesan registrar not less than three months before the chaplaincy meeting at which they are to be considered. They must receive the Bishop's approval before coming into force.

(f)  When a Chaplaincy Council begins to consider amending its Constitution, the archdeacon should be consulted, so that forms of words agreed in the archdeaconry or country concerned may be preserved.  The archdeacon should also receive copies of all correspondence with the Bishop or the diocesan registrar on the subject of a chaplaincy Constitution.

(g)  A model chaplaincy constitution is included in the appendices of this Handbook.  (Model constitutions incorporating the local law of specific countries may be available from the Diocesan Office.  See Supplement 2.)

(h)  It is recommended that where a chaplaincy is made up of two or more different centres of worship, the chaplain and council secretary should contact the diocesan registrar early in the process of declaration or emendation or a constitution.

J4  Electoral Roll

(a)  Section 28 of the Diocesan Constitution summarises the rules governing electoral rolls in this Diocese. For more detailed guidance see the Synodical Government Measure 1969 (No 2) and the CRR currently in force.

(b)  A model application form used in this Diocese is included in the supplements of this Handbook.

J5  Annual Chaplaincy Meeting

Section 29 of the Diocesan Constitution summarizes the rules governing annual chaplaincy meetings in this Diocese. For more detailed guidance see the Synodical Government Measure 1969 (No 2), and the CRR currently in force.

J6  Chaplaincy Councils

Sections 30 and 32 of the Diocesan Constitution summarize the rules governing chaplaincy councils in this Diocese. For more detailed guidance see the Synodical Government Measure 1969 (No 2), and the CRR currently in force.

J7  Annual Review of Stipend

(a)  The Conditions of Service are agreed at the time of each appointment of a chaplain or assistant chaplain. This applies to both stipendiary and non-stipendiary appointments.

(b)  It is a requirement that the stipend and other financial elements are reviewed in January of each year thereafter, taking account of changes in any grants that are to be received.

  • An Annual Review of Stipend etc is not required for non-stipendiary appointments.
  • An Annual Review of Stipend etc for any chaplain or assistant chaplain taking up his/her post after 30 September of the preceding year is not necessary until the January of the following year.
  • The churchwardens and the treasurer of the Chaplaincy Council should discuss with the chaplain, and with any assistant chaplain, what changes, if any, should be made to the financial and other material provision for the chaplain and/or assistant chaplain, and should make the necessary arrangements for the Chaplaincy Council to implement these changes.
  • The Annual Review of Stipend form provided by the Diocesan Office must be completed, signed, and forwarded to the archdeacon for countersigning.
  • The archdeacon will send the Annual Review of Stipend form to the Diocesan Office for signature by the diocesan secretary on behalf of the Bishop.
  • A copy of the fully signed form will be sent to chaplain or assistant chaplain named, and also the churchwardens for the chaplaincy records.
  • The Annual Review of Stipend must not be used as a pretext for a Chaplaincy Council to discuss the way in which any chaplain or assistant chaplain carries out his/her ministry. As stated in Section E, the churchwardens have a duty to tell the Bishop or the archdeacon of anything concerning the welfare of their chaplain or chaplaincy, which he should know.

J8  Chaplaincy Accommodation

(a)  Furnished accommodation

  • The general practice of the Diocese is that each chaplaincy provides suitable, fully furnished and equipped, accommodation for the chaplain and his/her family.  This practice applies also to any stipendiary assistant chaplain.  As well as furniture, the house or flat should have good adequate bedding, kitchen equipment, china, glass and cutlery.
  • An inventory (separate from that of the church mentioned in section F10) should be kept of the contents of a chaplaincy house. It should be checked at each vacancy, and items replaced as necessary. With the goodwill of the chaplain it may be checked annually.
  • The archdeacon is responsible, particularly when there is a vacancy, for examining the accommodation and the furniture and fittings provided, and reporting its state to the Bishop.

(b)  Unfurnished accommodation:

  • Where a chaplaincy does not provide fully furnished accommodation for a stipendiary chaplain or assistant chaplain, this fact must be clearly stated in the Chaplaincy Profile or Job Description. It must also be included in the Conditions of Service. See section D.

J9  Removals

(a)  Costs

The costs of moving a chaplain's or assistant chaplain’s possessions to – and provided that a minimum of three years has been served, from – the chaplaincy (including the cost of insurance during removal) are allocated as follows —

  • Where the Chaplaincy Council provides fully furnished accommodation its responsibility is limited to paying for the transport of the chaplain's or assistant chaplain's personal effects (clothes, books, etc.). A chaplain or assistant chaplain who chooses to bring extra furniture is responsible for the cost in both directions.
  • Where the Chaplaincy Council does not provide fully furnished accommodation it is responsible for the total cost of the removal, and insurance, of the chaplain or assistant chaplain, his/her family and his/her furniture in both directions.
  • When a chaplain or assistant chaplain moves within the Diocese, the cost of the removal, and insurance, is to be divided between the two chaplaincy councils concerned.
  • When a chaplain or assistant chaplain moves to a post in another diocese, the cost of the removal, and insurance, to the port of entry is paid by the Chaplaincy Council and from the port of entry onwards by the receiving diocese.
  • When a chaplain or assistant chaplain resigns and is not taking up another appointment, the Chaplaincy Council pays the cost of the removal, and insurance, to the port of entry of the country of residence immediately prior to joining the Diocese.  This is a minimum requirement.
  • When a chaplain or assistant chaplain retires from the Diocese, the Chaplaincy Council pays the cost of the removal, and insurance, to the port of entry of the country of residence immediately prior to joining the Diocese. This is a minimum requirement.
  • Requests to any vary the policy given, must be made in writing by the churchwardens to the diocesan secretary.  Reasons must be given.  If approval is given, the variation must be written into the Conditions of Service at the beginning the appointment.
  • Before accepting a quotation from a removal company, a chaplain or assistant chaplain must seek authorisation from the churchwardens or Chaplaincy Council.  A chaplain or assistant chaplain is advised to seek a minimum of three quotations for removal in order to ensure that costs are reasonable.
  • Chaplaincy councils should be aware that if a chaplain or assistant chaplain remains in post for more than five years, it is likely that additional personal effects will have been accumulated and, as a result, the cost of the return removal will be more than the original even taking into account any rise in the cost of living.

(b)  Resettlement Grants

  • When accommodation is provided fully furnished, Resettlement Grants are not paid in the Diocese.
  • When the accommodation is unfurnished, a Chaplaincy Council should consider making a grant to a new chaplain to cover such things as carpets and curtains which may need to be altered or replaced. Such an arrangement must be included in the Conditions of Service. (See Section D.
  • When chaplains or assistant chaplains retire, Resettlement Grants are not given.

(c)  Insurance

  • Chaplaincy councils and chaplains are each responsible for the insurance of their own property in a chaplaincy house.

J10  Use of the Chaplaincy House

A chaplaincy house is for the exclusive use of the chaplain and his/her household. All keys should be surrendered to him/her when he/she arrives.

  • No one has a right of access to the chaplain's home.
  • Where there is a customary agreement, included in the chaplain's Conditions of Service, that some room or rooms are used for chaplaincy purposes, the chaplain may at his/her discretion give keys to others to allow access.   Unless these rooms are separated from the rest of the house, those using them must be careful to respect the privacy of the chaplain and his/her household.

J11  Clergy Widows, Widowers and Dependents

(a)  Conditions of Service must provide that, if a chaplain (or assistant chaplain) dies in office, and in occupation of chaplaincy accommodation:

  • The widow or widower has the right to remain in the chaplain's (or assistant chaplain's) accommodation for up to three months while alternative arrangements are made; and
  • The Chaplaincy Council will be responsible for the costs of removal, and insurance, to the country of residence immediately prior to joining the Diocese of the widow or widower's personal effects.

(b)  Churchwardens will naturally wish to care for the children or other dependents of a chaplain who has died in office, and should consult the archdeacon about the proper consideration to be extended in each situation.

J12  Vacancy in a Chaplaincy

This section gives advice to churchwardens and others who have responsibility for a chaplaincy during a vacancy.  See also D:  Appointments.

(a)  When it is known that a vacancy will occur the churchwardens should consult the suffragan bishop about the provision of pastoral care and the ministry of word and sacrament during the vacancy.

(b)  The churchwardens should keep the archdeacon informed of this consultation.

(c)  Having consulted the suffragan bishop, once the chaplaincy is vacant the duty of providing pastoral care and the ministry of word and sacrament lies with the archdeacon and the churchwardens.

(d)  During a vacancy no changes in the worship of a chaplaincy may take place without the written approval of the Bishop.

(e)  A proposal for a major change in the way that a chaplaincy organises its affairs should always be discussed with the archdeacon.

(f) Role of the Churchwardens

  • Except where a Priest-in-Charge is appointed, the churchwardens are responsible to the Bishop for the life of the chaplaincy.
  • According to §31 (b) (ii) of the Constitution they have the formal duty of ensuring 'that the services of the chaplaincy are maintained with reasonable frequency'. 
  • When there is no resident priest the archdeacon (or another priest appointed by the Bishop or suffragan bishop) will help to provide continuity in pastoral care.

 (g)  Provision of Pastoral Care and Ministry

  • In some chaplaincies there is an assistant chaplain, or a resident priest with the Bishop's Permission to Officiate, who will be able to provide pastoral care and the ministry of word and sacrament.
  • In other chaplaincies there is no resident priest to carry out these duties. In such a case the Bishop or suffragan bishop will normally appoint a chaplain locum tenens (usually called a 'locum') with Permission to Officiate until a chaplain is instituted.
  • In some cases, especially if the vacancy is expected to be lengthy, the Bishop will licence a Priest-in-Charge, who has all the duties and rights of a permanent chaplain, including chairmanship of the Chaplaincy Council.
  • During a vacancy no ordained minister may publicly celebrate the sacraments, nor may anyone, ordained or lay, preach at divine worship, unless he or she holds the Licence of the Bishop of the Diocese, or has received, through the suffragan bishop, Permission to Officiate, or is covered by provisions in Section C (The Ordained Ministry) or Section E (The Lay Officers of the Church)
  • A list of priests who hold the Bishop's Permission to Officiate, and who are willing to undertake locum duties in the Diocese, is available from the assistant diocesan secretary.
  • The assistant diocesan secretary is available, if necessary, to help in the process of finding a locum priest.
  • The churchwardens are responsible for making the travel arrangements for the locum priest (and spouse).

(h)  Expenses

  • The Chaplaincy Council is responsible for paying reasonable expenses to any ordained or authorised minister who conducts services.
  • Advice on expenses should be obtained from the archdeacon. 
  • In addition, the archdeacon may authorise the payment of an honorarium to a retired or non-stipendiary minister.

J13  Locum Priests

 (a)  Responsibilities

  • A locum priest is responsible for maintaining the normal pattern of chaplaincy life including baptisms, marriages and funerals.
  • A locum priest is neither Chairman nor a member of the Chaplaincy Council.
  • The Vice-Chairman of the Chaplaincy Council may invite a locum priest to attend meetings and to speak.

(b)  Costs

    The Chaplaincy Council is normally responsible for paying:

  • The fares of a locum priest and any accompanying spouse 
  • Authorised expenses incurred by a locum priest.
  • An honorarium at a rate set by the Diocesan Office (currently £150 a week).  Variations to the set amount must be agreed with the Diocesan Office.

In the Diocese in Europe, fees for weddings and funerals are paid into Chaplaincy funds and not to the priest.

(c)  Arrival

    The churchwardens should make arrangements for the locum priest to be:

  • Met on arrival at the airport or seaport.
  • Installed in the chaplaincy accommodation.
  • Briefed on the affairs of the chaplaincy.
  • Informed of any that are sick at home or in hospital, or in other pastoral need.
  • Given helpful domestic information about the accommodation.
  • Given any local information, which will helpful for day-to-day living purposes i.e., location of shops, bus/train services etc
  • Reimbursed as necessary for travel expenses, expenses of office.
  • Informed of the arrangements made for the payment of the honorarium.

(d)  Departure

  • On the day of departure, the churchwardens should make arrangements for:
    • The locum priest to be taken to the airport or seaport.
    • The chaplaincy accommodation to be made ready for the next locum priest or new chaplain.
  • Before departure, the locum priest should:
    • Leave for their successor(s) a brief report of anything of importance, which occurs during their ministry in the chaplaincy.
    • Send a copy of the report to the archdeacon and suffragan bishop.
Share this page: