Amendments to the Constitution and Canons

Strikethough words are sections to be omitted. Bold words are sections to be added.

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C-1: Amend Canon 15.4 - Sales or transfers of property owned by the Bishop

Amend Canon 15.4 as follows:

Section 4. The Bishop, or Ecclesiastical Authority, is hereby authorized to acquire by deed, devise, gift, purchase or otherwise, any real property for use or benefit of the Diocese. Property so acquired shall be held and transferred by the Bishop or the Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese in accordance with the provisions of Section 57-16 of the Code of Virginia (1950), as from time to time amended, provided that no such real property shall be alienated, sold, exchanged, encumbered or otherwise transferred for any purpose by the Bishop or the Ecclesiastical Authority without the advice and consent of the Trustees of the Funds of the Episcopal Church in the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Virginia or the Executive Committee of such Trustees, unless prohibited by the instrument by which title to such property is acquired. The Executive Board shall have the care of the Episcopal Residence and other property held by the Bishop or the Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese for which no other custodians are provided and the Bishop or the Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese may delegate all authority with respect to such property, save and except the right to hold, transfer or encumber title to real property, to the Executive Board.

Rationale: Under Canon 15.2, the Standing Committee gives its advice and consent to the Bishop’s approval of the sale, encumbrance, &c. of property owned by churches. Canon 15.4 is the parallel canon for the sale, encumbrance, &c. of property owned by the Bishop, but Canon 15.4 requires the advice and consent of the Trustees of the Funds. Although the Trustees have faithfully performed their duties under Canon 15.4, this amendment proposes to amend Canon 15.4 to require the advice and consent of the Standing Committee for the sale, encumbrance, &c. of property owned by the Bishop. 

Canons 15.2 and 15.4 are part of the checks and balances in our Canons. The Trustees of the Funds are a related organization which is focused on providing investment services to the Virginia Dioceses and their churches and organizations. The Standing Committee is a Constitutional body (Article XV) whose members are directly elected by Convention, which I believe makes it a more appropriate body to provide advice and consent to the Bishop on dispositions of property.  In addition, having one body provide advice to the Bishop on both dispositions of property owned by churches and by the Bishop should provide more consistent and efficient advice to the Bishop. The Standing Committee has indicated its willingness to perform this additional task if this amendment is adopted.

Submitted by: J.P. Causey, Chancellor.

C-2: Amendment to Canon 6 - Archdeacons and Deans.

Section 1.

(a)    The Convention may elect, upon nomination by the Bishop, not more than five Priests as Archdeacons, who shall serve at the pleasure of the Convention. In the event of a vacancy occurring between meetings of the Convention, the Standing Committee shall have power to fill the vacancy, upon nomination by the Bishop, until the next regular meeting of the Convention.

(b)    Archdeacons shall have functional titles, and shall have the duties and powers which are assigned or delegated to them by the Bishop or the Convention, which shall always be defined at the time of their nomination.

(c)     A priest may serve as Archdeacon without resigning his cure. A Dean of a Region may not serve as an Archdeacon.

Section 1.

(a)    The Bishop, with the consent of the Standing Committee, may appoint not more than three Archdeacons to serve at the Bishop’s discretion.

(b)    Archdeacons shall be Vocational Deacons and have functional titles.  They will assist the Bishop in oversight of Deacons, diaconal formation and diaconal assignments.

(c)    An Archdeacon may function in other diaconal ministries while being Archdeacon in dialogue with and at the discretion of the Bishop.

Section 2.

(a)    The Bishop shall appoint, with the advice and consent of the Standing Committee, one Priest in each Region as the Dean thereof. A Dean shall serve at the pleasure of the Bishop, but in no event for more than four consecutive years, and shall be the official representative of the Bishop to the Region.

(b)    A Priest may serve as Dean without resigning his cure.

(c)    The Bishop may appoint an Archdean, with the advice and consent of the Standing Committee.

(d)    The Archdean serves at the pleasure of the Bishop and shall assist the Bishop in the oversight of the Deans and carry out such other functions as may be assigned.

(e)    The Archdean may continue to be a regional Dean or may be another priest appointed especially for that purpose.  An Archdean may serve for a maximum of four consecutive years.

Submitted by the Rev. Deacon Holly Hanback

Rationale for the changes in Canon 6: Under the present Canon, which dates back some years, an Archdeacon was a priest who served in a similar capacity as our current Deans or was a priest assisting the Bishop. In the present time, using the title "Archdeacon" for a priest is anachronistic. The proposed canon restores the original intention of the title "Archdeacon" and properly refers to a vocational deacon with oversight under the direction of the Bishop.

The proposed amendment to Canon 6 updates the Canon to better align with current practices.

C-3: Amend Canon 12.5 - Due date of diocesan pledge

Amend Canon 12.5 as follows:

Section 5. Each Vestry shall advise the Diocese by November 30th not later than thirty (30) days before the date of the convening of the next Annual Convention of the percentage of its annual disposable income that will be shared with the Diocese in support of Diocesan Programs and remit the resultant sum to the Treasurer of the Diocese in regular monthly installments. It shall be the joint duty of the Rector or Vicar and Vestry to submit to the Bishop by the first of February March of each year a parochial report for the year ending December 31st preceding, which report shall be submitted in duplicate on the form prepared by the Executive Council.

Submitted by the Executive Board of the Diocese of Virginia

Rationale: This Canon was not updated when the timing of regular Annual Conventions was changed from February to November. The Canon previously provided that church pledges to the Diocese be made approximately 2 months before Convention to allow time for the Executive Board, the Convention Budget Committee and the Treasurer to prepare a draft budget with the best estimate possible of pledge income from churches, which is the primary category of income to fund the budget. This amendment restores some of that lead time for the orderly preparation an annual budget for The Diocese.  The change in the parochial report due date is because of changes in the submission date and the procedure in which the parochial report is now reported to the National Church.