A182 Discipline of Priests and Deacons at the Provincial or Church Wide Level

Original version

Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the Standing Commission on Structure, Governance, Constitution and Canons be directed to study, consider, and propose amendments to the Canons to provide for the discipline of Priests and Deacons on the provincial, church wide or other basis besides by each and every diocese and report its recommendations to the 80th General Convention; and be it further

Resolved, That any proposed amendments shall provide for the Bishop Diocesan of the Diocese in which the Presbyter or Deacon who is or may be a Respondent under Title IV is canonically resident to have the same role that the Bishop Diocesan of the Diocese conducting the proceedings under Title IV currently has; and be it further,

Resolved, That any and all Disciplinary Boards for Presbyters and Deacons be composed solely of Presbyters, Deacons and lay persons; and be it further,

Resolved, That any proposed amendments consider providing for provincial or church wide for Intake Officers, Church Attorneys, Advisors, Conciliators, Investigators, and Disciplinary Board; and be it further,

Resolved, That any proposed amendments consider including provisions requiring the Disciplinary Board to have one or more persons in the role of lay assessor, however titled in the amendments, to provide canonical and legal advice to Disciplinary Boards and Panels, including the Reference Panel; and be it further,

Resolved, That consideration be given to how costs for proceedings might be shared between the General Convention budget, provincial budgets, and the diocese of canonical residence of the Presbyter or Deacon who is or may be a Respondent.

Explanation

Many dioceses struggle to conduct Title IV proceedings especially if a matter is referred for Conciliation, Conference Panel proceedings or Hearing Panel Proceedings. In nearly all cases the people involved, such as the President of the Disciplinary Board, members of Panels, and Church Attorneys, are handling a Title IV matter for the first time. Procedural mistakes are common. The cost to a diocese can be substantial and, sometimes, prohibitive.

It is difficult for some dioceses to recruit and adequately train or have available when needed all the persons needed to carry out a Title IV proceeding.

Having a provincial, church wide or other basis for the Church’s disciplinary structures would better assure that all persons carrying out varying aspects of a Title IV proceeding would be adequately trained and that experience would be gained and shared within and between those persons and positions over time. A provincial, church wide or other system would reduce by 90 - 100 fold the number of people needed across the church to fill all the positions required for each diocese to have a fully functioning Title IV system in place.

It has also been reported that the outcomes for very similar misconduct can vary widely, depending on the diocese involved, and that some sort of consistency in outcomes would be a benefit of a provincial, church wide or other system.


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