D083 Amend Canon III.10.2

Original version

Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the 79th General Convention of The Episcopal Church amend Canon III.10.2 by adding a new subsection (d) to read as follows:

(d) Bishops of Anglican Communion Dioceses Admitted into Union with the General Convention

(1) Upon the admission of a Diocese of the Anglican Communion into union with the General Convention, any existing Bishops of the Diocese may be received into The Episcopal Church pursuant to the provisions of this subsection. The Standing Committee of the Diocese shall by its President, or by some other person or persons specially appointed, immediately send to the Presiding Bishop and to the Standing Committees of the several Dioceses a certificate as to each such Bishop by the Secretary of Convention of the Diocese bearing a certificate of receipt of:

(i) evidence of the Bishop’s having been duly ordered Deacon, Priest, and Bishop, and of the election or appointment to office of Bishop Diocesan or other episcopal office;

(ii) evidence of moral and godly character and of having met theological requirements of the Diocese;

(iii) the written declaration required by Article VIII of the Constitution of the Episcopal Church; and

(iv) certificates from a licensed medical doctor, and licensed psychologist and substance abuse professional, authorized by the Presiding Bishop, that they have thoroughly examined the Bishop as to that person’s medical, psychological and psychiatric condition and for substance, chemical and alcohol use and abuse and have not discovered any reason why the person would not be fit to undertake the work for which the person has been chosen. Forms and procedures agreed to by the Presiding Bishop and The Church Pension Fund shall be used for this purpose.

(2) The Presiding Bishop, without delay, shall notify every Bishop of this Church exercising jurisdiction of the Presiding Bishop’s receipt of the certificate described in Canon III.10(d)(1) and request a statement of consent or withholding of consent. Each Standing Committee, within sixty days after the sending of such certificate, shall respond by sending the Standing Committee of the Diocese for which reception of the Bishop is requested either the testimonial of consent in the form set out in Canon III.10(d)(3) or written notice of its refusal to give consent. If a majority of the Standing Committees of all the Dioceses consents to the reception of the Bishop, the Standing Committee of the Diocese of the Bishop seeking reception shall then forward the evidence of the consents to the Presiding Bishop. If the Presiding Bishop receives sufficient statements to indicate that a majority of those Bishops and a majority of the Standing Committees consent to the reception, the Presiding Bishop shall, without delay, notify the Standing Committee of the Diocese for the Bishop seeking reception and such Bishop of the consent, and

(3) Evidence of the consent of each Standing Committee shall be a testimonial in the following words, signed by a majority of all the members of the Committee:

We, being a majority of all the members of the Standing Committee of ______________, and having been duly convened at ______________, fully sensible how important it is that the Sacred Order and Office of a Bishop should not be unworthily conferred, and firmly persuaded that it is our duty to bear testimony on this solemn occasion without partiality, do, in the presence of Almighty God, testify that we know of no impediment on account of which the Right Reverend A.B. ought not to be received into The Episcopal Church. In witness whereof, we have hereunto set our hands this _____ day of _________in the year of our Lord _________.

(Signed) _______________

(4) In case a majority of all the Standing Committees of the Dioceses do not consent to the reception of the Bishop within sixty days from the date of the notification by the Standing Committee of the Diocese for which the Bishop seeks reception, or in case a majority of all the Bishops exercising jurisdiction do not consent within sixty days from the date of notification to them by the Presiding Bishop, the Presiding Bishop shall give notice to the Standing Committee of the Diocese for the Bishop seeking reception and such Bishop. The Convention of the Diocese may then proceed to a new election.

(5) Following reception and continuing for three years following reception, newly received Bishops shall pursue the process of formation authorized by the House of Bishops. This process of formation shall provide a mentor for each newly received Bishop.

(6) The provisions of Canon III.10.2(a) & (c) shall not apply to Bishops.

Explanation

As recognized by the Report to this General Convention by the Standing Commission on Structure, Governance, Constitution & Canons (Blue Book p. 458), Canon II.10 does not currently address "a process of reception for bishops into The Episcopal Church". This proposal supplies a process for receiving bishops in the limited case of a Diocese of the Anglican Communion becoming received into union with the General Convention as a Diocese of The Episcopal Church. Having such a process was prompted by the request of the Extra-Provincial Anglican Communion Diocese of La Iglesia Episcopal de Cuba to be reunited with The Episcopal Church. If the Diocese of Cuba becomes a TEC Diocese, the question arises as to how to deal with its existing Bishop, or the Bishop or Bishops of any future Anglican Communion Diocese that may enter The Episcopal Church.

All Dioceses of the Anglican Communion are already in full communion with TEC, which means that we recognize each others' orders. Consequently, receiving clergy from such Dioceses should be a simpler process that it would be with churches not in full communion.

The General Convention in 2003 admitted Dioceses of Puerto Rico and of Venezuela. Each was then an Extra-Provincial Diocese of the Anglican Communion, although Puerto Rico had previously been a TEC Missionary District. The 2003 Convention admitted Puerto Rico effective upon approval by both Houses of the admitting resolution; Venezuela's admission was by resolution effective only after certification to Executive Council of completion of certain requirements. In both cases, the existing Bishops were deemed admitted as Bishops of The Episcopal Church along with their Dioceses' admissions.

In 2003, along with the House of Bishops, the House of Deputies had the power to consent to episcopal elections; today that power of consent has been transferred to the Standing Committees of TEC Dioceses. Consequently, it is appropriate that an approval of reception of a fellow Bishop of the Anglican Communion include a process for soliciting the consent of such Standing Committees.

When an existing Anglican Communion Bishop's Diocese is brought into The Episcopal Church, it should not be necessary to require him or her to undergo a further election process. Such Bishops have already been duly elected or appointed under the provisions of their Dioceses.

The present proposal incorporates the procedures of existing Canon III.11, modifying them to provide for consent to reception rather than consent to ordination. It also incorporates the provisions of Canon III.12.1 for a formation process for such Bishops in their new home in The Episcopal Church.


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