Beginning with her foundation in 1785, Standing Committees have played an important role in the operation of the Episcopal Church. In effect, the Standing Committee serves as a link between the people of the Diocese and the Diocesan Bishop and as a link between this Diocese and the other Dioceses in the Episcopal Church. In East Carolina, the Standing Committee consists of three priests and three laypersons, elected for three-year terms by the Convention of the Diocese. The general duties of the Standing Committee include providing consents for a parish, mission, or Diocesan entity to acquire, dispose of, or encumber the real property of the Diocese; the ordination of individuals to the diaconate or priesthood; and elections and proposed consecrations of bishops in The Episcopal Church. Also, in the event that there is no Bishop the Standing Committee acts as the Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese.