A189 Create Task Force to Develop Process for Substance Abuse Screening

Original version

Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That a Task Force or similar body be formed to develop a standardized process of screening persons applying for ordination with respect to their history of and experience with alcohol and substance abuse; and be it further

Resolved, that the Task Force identify best practices for dioceses to follow in evaluating issues of alcohol and substance abuse, including training for Standing Committees, Commissions on Ministry and others involved in the ordination process, as well as training for persons in the ordination process; and be it further

Resolved, That the Task Force prepare a report for the 80th General Convention giving recommendations with respect to alcohol and substance abuse for (1) screening processes for dioceses to employ in the ordination process, including how to best evaluate applicants with a history of addictions who are now living in recovery (2) training for Standing Committees, Commissions on Ministry and others involved in the ordination process, including diocesan staff, and (3) training and other appropriate recommendations for persons in the ordination process; and be it further

Resolved, That the Task Force be composed of three Bishops appointed by the Presiding Bishop, at least two of whom have experience in dealing with clergy with a history of alcohol or substance abuse, and six priests, deacons or lay persons appointed by the President of the House of Deputies, at least 3 of whom have relevant experience in the evaluation and treatment of persons with a history of alcohol or substance abuse and at least one of whom serves as a diocesan Transition Officer who has experience in dealing with clergy who have a history of alcohol or substance abuse. At least three members of this Task Force should be persons living in recovery; and be it further

Resolved, That the Task Force also examine a process for identifying other forms of addiction and their potential impact on ministry; and be it further

Resolved, That the General Convention request the Joint Standing Commission on Program, Budget and Finance allocate $25,000 to the budget to facilitate the work of the Task Force.

Explanation

In its second enumeration recommendation, the Commission on Impairment and Leadership gave recommendations for screening and evaluation of persons in the ordination process and training for ordinands and others with respect to alcohol and substance abuse:

We recommend that the Presiding Bishop and President of the House of Deputies commission a task force or other group to develop a more complete process of screening persons applying for ordination with regard to their history and experience with alcohol and substance abuse. 
Current practices with regard to screening for alcohol and substance abuse vary widely across dioceses and depend significantly on the thoroughness of the candidate’s psychological evaluation and on the bishop’s and commission on ministry’s awareness and capacity to address these issues. 
For example, the standard Oxford questionnaire requests information about an individual’s financial, criminal, and employment background, but it does not adequately explore an applicant’s history of addiction and substance abuse. 
Bishops and commissions on ministry would benefit from education and training in how best to evaluate applicants with a history of addiction who are now living in recovery.

This resolution gives effect to the second enumerated recommendation of the Commission on Impairment and Leadership.


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