What is a Diocese?
A diocese is a territorial jurisdiction of a diocesan bishop. The term also refers to the congregations and church members of the diocese. Ecclesiastical dioceses tend to correspond to civil units. For example, at first, the Diocese of Georgia corresponded with the State of Georgia. Later, however, many statewide dioceses were divided into smaller dioceses for pastoral and practical reasons. The state of North Carolina has three dioceses: the Diocese of East Carolina; the Diocese of North Carolina, which includes the area that includes Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Raleigh, Cary, and Durham; and the Diocese of Western North Carolina, which includes the western part of the state, including the western counties in the state and Asheville.
Every diocese in the Episcopal Church has a Standing Committee. When there is a bishop in charge of the diocese, the Standing Committee is the bishop's council of advice. When there is no bishop, bishop coadjutor, or suffragan bishop, the Standing Committee is the ecclesiastical authority of the diocese. A diocese usually meets annually in a diocesan convention. Each diocese is entitled to representation in the House of Deputies by not more than four ordained persons, presbyters or deacons, canonically resident in the diocese, and not more than four lay persons, who are confirmed adult communicants of the Episcopal Church and in good standing in the diocese. Dioceses also elect clerical and lay deputies to the Provincial Synod. The Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church provide guidelines for the division of a diocese.