Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That Canon III.12.10 is hereby amended to read as follows:
Sec. 10 Reconciliation of Disagreements Affecting the Pastoral Relation between a Bishop and Diocese.
When the pastoral relationship between a Bishop Diocesan, Bishop Coadjutor or Bishop Suffragan and the Diocese is imperiled by disagreement or dissention, and the issues are deemed serious by a Bishop of that Diocese or a two-thirds majority vote of all of the members of the Standing Committee or a two-thirds majority vote of all the members of the Diocesan Convention, any party may petition the Presiding Bishop, in writing, to intervene and assist the parties in their efforts to resolve the disagreement or dissention. The written petition shall include sufficient information to inform the Presiding Bishop and the parties involved of the nature, causes, and specifics of the disagreements or dissention imperiling the pastoral relationship. The Presiding Bishop shall initiate such proceedings as are deemed appropriate under the circumstances to attempt to reconcile the parties, which may include the appointment of a consultant or licensed mediator, and shall include appropriate pastoral care for all affected parties and individuals. The parties to the disagreement, following the recommendations of the Presiding Bishop, shall labor in good faith toward that reconciliation. If such proceedings lead to reconciliation, said reconciliation shall contain definitions of responsibility and accountability for the Bishop and the Diocese. In the event reconciliation has not been achieved within nine (9) months from the date of the Presiding Bishop’s initial receipt of communication from the Diocese, the parties to the disagreement shall meet and decide whether or not to continue attempting to reconcile under this Section or to end proceedings under this Section. If the parties do not agree, proceedings under this Section shall end. The parties shall notify the Presiding Bishop of their decision in writing. If the parties agree to continue attempting to reconcile, either party may end the further proceedings at any time by written notification to the Presiding Bishop and the other party.
This Canon provides a way for dioceses and Bishops to seek help for disagreements before they so imperil their working relationships so as to lead to a dissolution of relationship. Further clarity is needed in the Canon to provide structure as to how long to expect a mediation process to last, and to emphasize the necessity of pastoral care for Bishops and diocesan leaders.
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