Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That Canon IV.1 is hereby amended to read as follows:
By virtue of Baptism, all members of the Church are called to holiness of life and accountability to one another. The Church and each Diocese shall support their members in their life in Christ and seek to resolve conflicts by promoting healing, repentance, forgiveness, restitution, justice, amendment of life and reconciliation among all involved or affected. This Title applies to Members of the Clergy, who have by their vows at ordination accepted additional responsibilities and accountabilities for doctrine, discipline, worship and obedience. This Title’s provisions regarding Sexual Misconduct and the accountability thereof, also apply to lay persons employed by the church and church institutions, and lay people serving in volunteer roles of leadership, who by their public service commit themselves to the internal accountability of the Church.
And be it further
Resolved, That Canon IV.3 is hereby added to read as follows:
Sec. 1 A Member of the Clergy shall be subject to proceedings under this Title for:
- knowingly violating or attempting to violate, directly or through the acts of another person, the Constitution or Canons of the Church or of any Diocese;
- failing without good cause to cooperate with any investigation or proceeding conducted under authority of this Title; or
- intentionally and maliciously bringing a false accusation or knowingly providing false testimony or false evidence in any investigation or proceeding under this Title.
Sec. 2 A Member of the Clergy shall be accountable for any breach of the Standards of Conduct set forth in Canon IV.4.
Sec. 3 Any person, lay or ordained, employed by the Church or a church-affiliated institution, or any person serving in a volunteer position of leadership within the Church, shall be accountable for any act of misconduct as set forth by Canon IV.4.h(1), (5) or (6).
Sec. 3 Sec. 4 In order for any conduct or condition to be the subject of the provisions of this Title, the Offense complained of must violate applicable provisions of Canon IV.3 or IV.4 and must be material and substantial or of clear and weighty importance to the ministry of the Church.
And be it further
Resolved, That Canon IV.6 is hereby amended to add:
Sec. 1 Each Diocese shall provide for and publicize methods and means of reporting information concerning Offenses.
Sec. 2 Information concerning Offenses may be submitted to the Intake Officer in any manner and in any form.
Sec 3. In the event of an offense committed by a lay person, information concerning the offense shall be brought to the Intake officer.
Sec. 3 Sec. 4 Any person other than the Intake Officer who receives information regarding an Offense shall promptly forward the information to the Intake Officer. A Bishop Diocesan shall forward information to the Intake Officer whenever the Bishop Diocesan believes that the information may indicate conduct constituting one or more Offenses. Sec. 4 Sec. 5 Upon receipt of such information, the Intake Officer may make such preliminary investigation as he or she deems necessary, and shall incorporate the information into a written intake report, including as much specificity as possible. The Intake Officer shall provide copies of the intake report to the other members of the Reference Panel and to the Church Attorney. Sec. 5 Sec. 6 If the Intake Officer determines that the information, if true, would not constitute an Offense, the Intake Officer shall inform the Bishop Diocesan of an intention to dismiss the matter. If the Bishop Diocesan does not object, the Intake Officer shall dismiss the matter. The Intake Officer shall provide written notice to the Complainant, the subject Member of the Clergy, and the Bishop Diocesan of the decision of dismissal, the reasons therefor, and the Complainant’s right to appeal the decision within thirty days of the date of the notice and shall send a copy of that notice and the written intake report to the president of the Disciplinary Board. If the Complainant wishes to appeal the dismissal, the Bishop shall appoint an Advisor for the Complainant within 15 days of the date of the notice of dismissal. The Advisor shall assist the Complainant in preparing and signing a written statement of the acts complained of, which statement shall be sent by the Advisor to the president of the Disciplinary Board, along with a statement that the Complainant appeals the dismissal. The intake report and any related information, in the case of a dismissal, shall be retained by the Intake Officer and may be considered in connection with any additional information that may come to the Intake Officer thereafter concerning the subject Member of the Clergy.
Sec. 7. When the matter involves a lay person, it proceeds according to the provisions of Canon 6. Sec 6, with the following provisions.
1.) Should the lay minister be an employee of the Church under the supervision of a clergy person, that clergy person may, at any time, issue a pastoral instruction to the lay minister or employee. A pastoral instruction must: (a.) be made in writing (b.) be made in agreement with the Bishop Diocesan, (c) otherwise agree with the provisions of Canon 7. Sec 2 with regards to pastoral directions.
2.) Directions provided by the Clergy or the Reference Panel may include actions such as limiting committee involvement, requiring parish transfer, limiting contact with priest, removal from parish, or firing—in the event of employment by the Church.
Sec. 6 Sec. 8 In the event of an appeal of a dismissal, the president of the Disciplinary Board shall, within thirty days of the receipt of the appeal, review the intake report and either affirm or overrule the dismissal. The president shall promptly notify the Complainant and the Complainant’s Advisor, the subject Member of the Clergy and the subject Member’s Advisor, if any, the Intake Officer, and the Bishop Diocesan of the decision. If the decision is to overrule the dismissal, the president shall refer the intake report to the Reference Panel within 15 days. Sec. 7 Sec. 9 If the Intake Officer determines that the information, if true, would constitute an Offense, the Intake Officer shall promptly forward the intake report to the Reference Panel. The president shall promptly select from the Disciplinary Board, a Conference Panel and a Hearing Panel, and shall designate a president of each Panel. At the same time as forwarding the intake report to the Reference Panel, the Intake Officer shall send a notice to the subject Member of the Clergy informing him or her of the nature of the alleged Offense(s), the identity of any persons who have been designated as Complainants, and describing the next procedural steps that the Member of the Clergy can anticipate. The notice shall also remind the Member of the Clergy of his or her duty under Canon IV.3.1(b) to cooperate in the subsequent proceedings. Sec. 8 Sec. 10 The Reference Panel shall meet as soon as possible after receiving the intake report to determine how to refer the report. Referral options are (a) no action required other than appropriate pastoral response pursuant to Canon IV.8; (b) conciliation pursuant to Canon IV.10; (c) investigation pursuant to Canon IV.11; (d) to the Conference Panel pursuant to Canon IV.12; or (e) referral for possible agreement with the Bishop Diocesan regarding terms of discipline pursuant to Canon IV.9. Referral decisions shall require the approval of a majority of the Reference Panel. The Reference Panel shall monitor the progress of each referral on a monthly basis to ensure that the matter is progressing in a timely fashion. Until such time as the matter is referred to a Hearing Panel, if the Reference Panel determines that the matter has reached an impasse or is not progressing in a timely fashion, it may re-refer the matter. Once a matter is referred to a Hearing Panel, Canon IV.15.1 shall govern any issue regarding the progress of the matter. Sec. 9 Sec. 11 If the determination of the Reference Panel is to take no action other than an appropriate pastoral response, the Panel shall notify the Complainant and the subject Member of the Clergy of the determination and the basis for the determination to take no action other than an appropriate pastoral response. If the referral is to conciliation, the provisions of Canon IV.10 shall apply. If the referral is to investigation, the provisions of Canon IV.11 shall apply. If the referral is to the Bishop Diocesan for possible Agreement and an Agreement is not reached within 90 days of the referral, the Reference Panel will re-refer the matter, in accordance with Canon IV.6.8. Sec. 10 Sec. 12 All communications and deliberations during the intake and referral stages shall be confidential except as the Bishop Diocesan deems to be pastorally appropriate or as required by law.
In the research done by the House of Deputies Taskforce on Sexual Harassment and Abuse, it quickly became clear that a major element in this issue was the unchecked behavior of some laity within the church--whether in a parish setting, or employed in an institutional setting. Because the current provisions of Title IV apply only to ordained clergy, should a lay leader offend against a clergy person, the only response up until now has been to remove the clergyperson--the victim--from the situation. This has been experienced as an additional layer of trauma, and often has led to additional bad behavior on the part of the layperson in question.
This proposed revision would hold both volunteer lay leaders and employed laity in church-affiliated institutions accountable to the same standards of behavior as the clergy, and provide a mechanism for addressing bad behavior before it escalates. At the same time, it retains the distinction between the clerical and lay orders, with regards to theology and obedience to the bishop.
View Current Version