A147 Referring Lay Disciplinary Canon Issue to Standing Commission on Structure, Governance, Constitution and Canons

Final Status: Concurred as Amended

Resolved, That the Standing Commission on Structure, Governance, Constitution and Canons shall study and report back to the 82d General Convention with recommended canonical changes, if any, to

  1. Authorize the Ecclesiastical Authority in the case of elected or appointed officers of a congregation or of the Diocese who are lay persons, or to authorize the Presiding Bishop in the case of elected or appointed officers of General Convention or Provinces who are lay persons, to act promptly to suspend or remove an elected or appointed officer from office in circumstances where:
    1. there is credible evidence to believe that continuation of that elected or appointed lay leader in office poses a serious risk of criminal misconduct, bodily harm, or financial malfeasance, or
    2. the elected lay or appointed officer has been involuntarily committed for treatment, including treatment for substance abuse; or
    3. the elected lay or appointed officer, prior to their election or appointment, failed to disclose to those voting any (1) pending criminal charges or past criminal convictions or diversions for treatment, (2) past or current suspensions or removals from any professional bodies for misconduct, or (3) any past or current protective order against them, or
    4. efforts by the elected or appointed lay officer to obstruct authorized inquiries into any such allegations.

    Any recommendations for canonical changes authorizing such suspension or removal shall also provide for prompt post-suspension or post-removal review before a neutral decisionmaker (diocesan or provincial, as the case may be), which must include other elected or appointed lay officers. In that review, the suspended or removed lay leader will be provided the evidence against them sufficiently before the hearing in order for them to gather responsive evidence and to present their defense to claimed misconduct. The reviewing body shall have the power to reinstate the elected or appointed lay leader if the factual basis for the removal is without substantial foundation.

  1. To study and report back with recommended canonical language, if any, to provide for background checks for lay elected or appointed officers prior to standing for election, particularly for elected or appointed lay officers with authority over financial accounts, church disciplinary proceedings, or recommendations in the approval of clergy ordinations.