Parish Administration & Leadership Resources
This page lists policies and information relevant to lay leaders, parish administrators, vestry members, and many aspects of church operation. Here you can find forms, guidelines, and links to support managing parish finances, insurance, licensing, parochial reports, and more.
The Canons of the Episcopal Church require annual audits for all parishes, missions, and other institutions. The canons permit the auditing of congregational accounts by "an independent Certified Public Accountant," by "an independent licensed public accountant," or by such a committee as shall be authorized by the Finance Committee, or by the appropriate diocesan authority. While audits by CPAs are preferred, committee audits can be performed using alternative audit procedures to accommodate parishes with limited income.
Church Property & Real Estate Transactions
When a church in the Diocese of Western North Carolina wants to sell (alienate), purchase (encumber), alter existing property, or secure bank financing for property-related transactions (encumber), parish leaders must submit a Property Transaction Form to the bishop's office to receive the required approval from the bishop, Standing Committee, Executive Council and Diocesan Trustees. Parish leaders are strongly encouraged to notify the Canon to the Ordinary with any questions and the intention to submit the necessary form.
Lay leadership keeps our churches and our diocese moving forward. From vestry members and staff to lectors and acolytes, our communities thrive when lay people get involved. Some lay ministries require licensing from the bishop and extra training, while others require only dedication and drive. Explore the Lay Leader Licensing page for details on who needs a license, and check out the Lay Leadership Resources page for helpful information on how to grow and thrive in lay leadership.
A comprehensive, user-friendly manual from The Episcopal Church. The manual supports the increasingly complex work of all treasurers and parish administrators, and it includes forms, such as the parochial report form, with instructions.
Parochial Report - Due March 1st
The Parochial Report, established by the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church, is a tool for collecting data intended to assist The Episcopal Church in planning for its mission. Every church in the Diocese of Western North Carolina must file a parochial report.
Parish Leadership Resources
In this section, you will find resources that support the work and formation of lay leaders in the church.
ECF Vital Practices offers parish leaders, including vestry members, the resources and tools to respond to the changing needs of the Church.
FACTS on Church Growth
A look at the dynamics of growth and decline in Episcopal congregations based on the 2014 Survey of Episcopal Congregations. To view the entire report, visit the Episcopal Church website here to download a copy. A brief summary, Key Characteristics of Congregations Experiencing Growth, has been prepared by the Rev. Jason Lewis. You can download it here.
ChurchNext has numerous paid and free online courses on various topics for parish leaders.
The Alban Institute at Duke Divinity School provides educational materials, books, publications, and consulting services for clergy and congregations. Membership gets you a weekly e-mail and a book discount.
Child and Youth Resources for formation within the youth and young adults in your parish or the diocese.
The Diocese of Western North Carolina offers an annual weekend retreat designed specifically for vestries of small churches. Vestry members spend time with the bishop and members of his staff, learning about their roles and responsibilities, financial oversight, and time for parish planning.
Annual Saturday conference for vestry members, treasurers, and wardens to meet with the bishop and members of his staff for direct guidance on roles and responsibilities, leadership development, and financial oversight. A combined copy of the 2023 presentations can be found here.
A comprehensive guide, prepared by the Diocese of Western North Carolina, on the responsibilities and roles of the vestry.
The Vestry Resource Guide offers an approach for leaders of congregations and faith communities to work together to become an effective, even transformational leadership team. The full guide is available for $15 from Forward Movement here. A free preview is also available at that link.
The Diocese of Western North Carolina offers an annual gathering for church leaders to learn strategies and best practices for planned giving at the parish level. For more information on these gatherings, please get in touch with Canon Augusta Anderson.
The Partnership for ReNEWal (PfR) acts as a midwife for new ways of being church, enabling churches to be agile, resilient, and intentional about living into their divine purpose in today’s shifting religio-cultural environment. Focusing on servant-leadership development and a transformed approach to year-long stewardship, PfR provides concrete goals, tools, and continuing support for the journey.
This program provides the tools to inspire radical generosity and financial stewardship and equip faith communities in this life-changing work. Project Resource programs are periodically taught throughout the Diocese of Western North Carolina.
The Diocese of Western North Carolina is a member of the Episcopal Network for Stewardship (TENS), which is an association of church leaders who understand, practice, and proclaim God's call to generosity.
The ESC is a dynamic and interactive network that connects, inspires, and equips stewardship leaders to transform their churches into faithful and generous givers.
Every Episcopalian is commissioned in baptism to proclaim by word and example the loving, liberating, and life-giving good news of Jesus Christ. Through the spiritual practice of evangelism, we name and celebrate Jesus’ loving presence in the stories of all people - then invite everyone to join us in the journey of faith. The Episcopal Church has prepared this Evangelism Toolkit to help us live into that call.
Other evangelism resources from The Episcopal Church can be found here.
At once “travel guide” and vision for the future, the Transformation series is good news for the Episcopal Church at a time of fast and furious demographic and social change.