The Canons and Constitution of the Diocese of Olympia describe various approvals required for certain financial transactions in congregations, including property transactions (buying, selling, remodeling, etc.), and loans (from the Diocese or from a bank). The Diocese has had a policy in place for many years that describe these transactions and the required approvals (from the Board of Directors and/or the Standing Committee). That policy was called the “Congregational Authority to Act”.
Over the last 18 months, the Board of Directors and the Standing Committee have been revising this policy. The new policy is called the “Guide to Congregational Financial Transactions”. There were two primary reasons for rewriting this policy.
First, the old policy was hard to read. The requirements for parishes and missions are different, and the old policy made it hard to see those differences. The new policy separates out transactions that parishes and missions do.
Second, the Joint Finance Panel (JFP), which has existed for ten years, has taken on a new role. JFP is made up of members from the four governing bodies (Diocesan Council, Standing Committee, Board of Directors, and the Office of the Bishop). Because JFP can bring to bear information from all four governing bodies, it is now one of the first steps in the process of getting approval for any of these financial transactions. JFP reviews the request and makes a recommendation to the Standing Committee and/or the Board of Directors (depending on the request and whether it is from a parish or a mission). The new policy makes it clear when requests must be referred to JFP.
Any parish or mission wishing to engage in any financial transaction should consult this Guide to find out what approvals are required and the steps to take to get those approvals.