The history of the general church spans some two thousand years. The modern parishioner, for the most part, has little to no knowledge of church governance and polity. A simplified version of church government is the Episcopal and Congregational. At first sight, these seem very similar but in fact, are unique and vary greatly, again this is an oversimplification of the system but the congregational system of government lies solely in the hands of the “congregation”. An example of this is most local independent churches who hire or call the pastor of the church at their discretion. The qualifications for the position are defined by the local church body often represented by a board of directors or deacons, who interview potential candidates and hire and dismiss them as they desire.
The second system of government is the Episcopal in which the local church is part of a larger group of churches referred to as a conference. In which the local church has equal representation that has the responsibility to elect a single person (Bishop) who appoints or assigns a pastor to the local church as they view appropriately. This system is often misunderstood by both those governed and the one elected to serve as the Head (Bishop). When duly elected the Presiding Bishop, by the virtue of his election has the sole authority for the appointment process. This appointing is made once a year at an Annual Conference (Meeting) where the clergy and duly elected delegates from the local church gather to do the business of the church.
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