The term is used in the 1979 BCP and earlier editions, and means a self-supporting congregation under a rector, as opposed to a mission or other congregation under a vicar. Some state laws provide for the incorporation of Episcopal parishes, and the election of rectors, wardens, and vestry members. Many diocesan canons distinguish between a fully self-supporting congregation with a full-time priest and one which is not, calling the former "parishes" and the latter "missions." However, other Episcopal dioceses call all congregations "parishes," or simply "congregations." In English canon law, a parish is an area under the spiritual care of a priest. The term is used without any specific definition other than a "Congregation of this Church" in the canons of the Episcopal Church.

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