New clergy disciplinary process takes effect today

Bishop Steve writes to clergy in Maine today –

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

The 2009 General Convention of the Episcopal Church completely revised Canon Title IV, which sets forth disciplinary procedures for clergy. The revision sets expectations and standards for clergy behavior and makes “amendment of life and reconciliation” part of every disciplinary proceeding. To comply with the new canons, our Diocesan Convention last fall created a new Diocesan Canon 27 (“Of Misconduct of a Priest or Deacon”). Both the new Title IV and Diocesan Canon 27 are effective as of July 1, 2011.

The revised Title IV canons make clergy discipline first and foremost a process of discernment, mediation and pastoral response rather than one that is legalistic and judicial.  The process now models those used in the medical, legal and social work professions.

For a brief overview of the expectations and procedures and to read the rest of Bishop Steve’s letter to the clergy, click here.

Last fall at each diocesan convention, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont approved an agreement that – starting today – allows our three northern New England dioceses to collaborate and share responsibility for clergy discipline by forming a joint Disciplinary Board.  A copy of that agreement may be found here.

Title IV as passed by General Convention in 2009 may be found here.  The Diocese of Maine should be proud of one of its own in this new and important church policy.  Chancellor Joe Delafield, of St. Alban’s, Cape Elizabeth, served as the lead author of the new Title IV and worked for more than three years in crafting it and helping to bring it to passage.

As you might expect, not everyone is happy with the new Title IV particularly as it relates to discipline for bishops.  Here’s a story from Episcopal News Service about that.


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