Canonical Amendments

Guidelines for Submitting Amendments

Canonical Amendments Submitted

C-1: Canon 27 - Presentment and Trial of a Presbyter (Prior to July 1, 2011)

Section 1.  Presentments and trials of Bishops, Priests and Deacons within the Diocese of Virginia shall be in accordance with the provisions of Title IV of the Canons of the General Convention as such canons are amended from time to time.  The Standing Committee is designated as the Diocesan Review Committee. 

Section 2.  At each the 2011 regular meeting of Council, the Council shall elect an Ecclesiastical Trial Court consisting of six (6) priests or deacons and five (5) lay persons, who shall serve until the later of June 30, 2011 or the final disposition of any matter before the Ecclesiastical Trial Court on June 30, 2011.  The priests and deacons shall be canonically resident in this Diocese and the lay persons shall be persons eligible under the Canons for election as Lay Delegates to the electing Council.  No member of the Standing Committee shall be eligible to serve on the Ecclesiastical Trial Court.  

Section 3.  Vacancies on the Ecclesiastical Trial Court, other than for cause under Title IV.4.8 of the Canons of the General Convention, shall be filled by majority vote of the Executive Board.  The person elected to fill the vacancy shall be a person of the same order as the person who has vacated.  

Section 4.  The Ecclesiastical Trial Court shall convene within two (2) months after each regular meeting of Council and shall elect from its membership a Presiding Judge and shall appoint a Church Attorney, and one or more Assistant Church Attorneys, if deemed appropriate by the Ecclesiastical Trial Court, who shall be duly licensed attorneys, as described in Title IV.15.1 of the Canons of the General Convention, all of whom shall serve until the later of June 30, 2011 or the final disposition of any matter before the Ecclesiastical Trial Court on June 30, 2011.  If the Presiding Judge or the Church Attorney resigns, or is otherwise disqualified from serving, the Ecclesiastical Trial Court shall (a) elect a successor Presiding Judge or Church Attorney, or (b) elect an acting Presiding Judge or acting Church Attorney to serve with regard to matters involving the disqualifying circumstances. 

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C-2: Canon 27 - Presentment and Trial of a Presbyter (Prior to July 1, 2011)

Sec. 1.  Adoption of Title IV of the Canons of the General Convention.  Those provisions of Title IV of the Canons of the General Convention that are applicable to the Diocese are hereby incorporated as part of this Canon.  To the extent, if any, that any of the provisions of this Canon are inconsistent with provisions of Title IV, the provisions of Title IV shall govern.

Sec. 2.  Disciplinary Board.  The Disciplinary Board shall consist of eleven (11) persons, six (6) of whom are priests or deacons and five (5) of whom are lay persons.    

  • (a) Priests or Deacons.  The priests or deacons who are members of the Disciplinary Board shall be canonically resident in this Diocese.
  • (b) Lay Members.  The lay members of the Disciplinary Board shall be persons eligible under the Canons for election as Lay Delegates to Council.
  • (c) Election of Members.  The members of the Disciplinary Board shall be nominated by the Standing Committee and elected by Council to serve for staggered terms of up to three years and arranged into three classes.

   At the 2011 regular meeting of Council, the Council shall elect members to the Disciplinary Board, for terms beginning July 1, 2011.

   The six (6) priests or deacons will be elected for initial staggered terms of one, two and three years, respectively.  Two will be elected for one (1) year; two will be elected for two (2) years and two will be elected for three (3) years, whose terms will expire at the conclusion of the regular meetings of Council in 2012, 2013 and 2014, respectively.

   The five Lay Persons will be elected for initial staggered terms of one, two, and three years, respectively.  One will be elected for one (1) year; two will be elected for two (2) years; and two will be elected for three (3) years, whose terms will expire at the conclusion of the regular meeting of Council in 2012, 2013 and 2014, respectively.

   A Disciplinary Board member who has served two complete three-year terms shall be ineligible to serve again until one year has elapsed.

   Members of the Standing Committee shall be eligible to serve on the Disciplinary Board.

  • (d) Vacancies.  Vacancies on the Disciplinary Board shall be filled as follows:    
          (i) Upon the determination that a vacancy exists, the President of the Board shall notify the Bishop of the vacancy
          and request appointment of a replacement member.  
          (ii)    The Bishop shall appoint a replacement Disciplinary Board member in consultation with the Standing  
          Committee.   
          (iii)    With respect to a vacancy created for any reason other than pursuant to a disqualification as provided in Section 3
          below, the term of any person selected as a replacement Disciplinary Board member shall be the unexpired term of
          the member being replaced. With respect to a vacancy resulting from a challenge, the replacement Disciplinary Board
          member shall serve only for the proceeding for which the regularly elected Disciplinary Board member is not serving
          as a result of the challenge.
  • (e) President.  Within sixty (60) days following the annual Council, the Disciplinary Board shall convene to elect a President to serve until the next Annual Council.

Sec. 3.  Preserving Impartiality.  In any proceeding under this Canon, if any member of a Conference Panel or Hearing Panel of the Disciplinary Board shall become aware of a conflict of interest or undue bias, that member shall immediately disqualify himself or herself and notify the President of the Disciplinary Board and request appointment of a replacement member of the Panel.  Respondent’s Counsel and the Church Attorney shall have the right to challenge any member of a Panel for conflict of interest or undue bias by motion to the Panel for disqualification of the challenged member.  The members of the Panel not the subject of the challenge shall promptly consider the motion and determine whether the challenged Panel member shall be disqualified from participating in that proceeding.

Sec. 4.  Intake Officers.  The Intake Officers shall be appointed from time to time by the Bishop after consultation with the Disciplinary Board.  The Bishop shall appoint at least two Intake Officers according to the needs of the Diocese, with at least one male and one female.  The Bishop shall publish the names and contact information of the Intake Officers throughout the Diocese.

Sec. 5  Investigator.  The Bishop shall appoint one or more Investigators as needed in consultation with the President of the Disciplinary Board.  Every Investigator shall be required to maintain confidentiality subject to Canon IV.11(5).

Sec. 6.  Church Attorney.  Within sixty (60) days following each annual Council, the Disciplinary Board shall appoint a Church Attorney, and one or more Assistant Church Attorneys, if deemed appropriate by the Disciplinary Board, who shall be duly licensed attorneys, and who will perform the functions as described in Canon IV.2. Attorneys appointed to serve as Church Attorney shall serve until the next regular meeting of Council.  Persons selected to serve as Church Attorneys shall be persons eligible under the Canons for election as Lay Delegates to Council, but need not reside within the Diocese.  The Church Attorney may be removed by the Bishop, in consultation with the Standing Committee, for cause.  If none of the Church Attorney or Assistant Church Attorneys are able to act on a specific matter due to a conflict of interest, undue bias or unavailability, the Disciplinary Board shall appoint a duly licensed attorney who is eligible under the Canons for election as a Lay Delegate to Council to act as Church Attorney for such matter.

Sec. 7.  Pastoral Response Coordinator.  The Bishop may appoint a Pastoral Response Coordinator, to serve at the will of the Bishop in coordinating the delivery of appropriate pastoral responses provided for in Canon IV.8. The Pastoral Response Coordinator may be an Intake Officer but shall not be a person serving in any other appointed or elected capacity under this Canon.

Sec. 8.  Advisors.  In each proceeding under this Canon, the Bishop shall appoint an Advisor for the Complainant and an Advisor for the Respondent.  Persons serving as Advisors shall hold no other appointed or elected position provided for under this Canon, and shall not include the Chancellor or Vice Chancellors of this Diocese or any person likely to be called as a witness in this proceeding or otherwise involved in the proceeding.

Sec. 9.  Clerk.   The Board shall appoint a Board Clerk to assist the Board with records management and administrative support.  The Clerk may be a member of the Board.

Sec. 10.  Lay Assessor.  The Disciplinary Board may appoint a duly licensed attorney for advice on matters of law, procedure and evidence affecting proceedings before the Conference and Hearing Panels.  The Lay Assessor need not reside in, or be a member, of the Diocese.

Sec. 11.  Costs and Expenses.  The reasonable costs and expenses of the Disciplinary Board, the Intake Officer, the Investigator, the Church Attorney, the Disciplinary Board Clerk, the Pastoral Response Coordinator and the Lay Assessor, if any, shall be the obligation of the Diocese of Virginia, subject to budgetary constraints as may be established by the Executive Board.

Sec. 12.  Records.      

  • (a)  Records of Proceedings.  Records of active proceedings before the Disciplinary Board, including the period of any pending appeal, shall be preserved and maintained in the custody of the Clerk.   
  • (b)  Permanent Records.  The Bishop shall make provision for the permanent storage of records of all proceedings under this Canon at the offices of the Diocese and the Archives of the Episcopal Church, as prescribed in Title IV of the Canons of the General Convention.

Sec. 13.  Miscellaneous    

  • (a) The provisions of Sections 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 of this Canon shall be effective July 1, 2011.  During calendar year 2011 only, any act that is to be completed within a specified number of days after the date of Annual Council shall instead be completed within that same number of days after July 1, 2011.     
  • (b) The provisions of Canon 27 of these Canons, as in effect prior to the adoption of these amendments, shall remain in effect through June 30, 2011.

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C-3: Amend Constitution, Article III, "Composition of Council, Section 1(e)
Proposed:  Article III of our Diocesan Constitution be amended as follows:

Section 1

(a) The Council shall be composed of the Clerical order and the Lay order.

(b) The Clerical order shall consist of the Bishop or Bishops and all other ministers canonically resident in the Diocese of Virginia. No member of the Clerical order under ecclesiastical censure shall be entitled to a seat in the Council.

(c) The Lay order shall consist of two classes, namely: (1) the Lay Delegates from the church and (2) the Lay members ex officio.

(d) There shall be only one Lay Delegate from each church, to be chosen by its Vestry. But from every church having more than three hundred confirmed communicants in good standing reported to the Diocesan authorities in the last annual report, there shall be an additional Lay Delegate for each three hundred confirmed communicants in good standing, or major fraction thereof, above the first three hundred.

(e) The Lay members of the Standing Committee, the Lay members of the Executive Board, the Chancellor, the Presidents of the Regions, the President of the Episcopal Church Women of the Diocese, five lay persons, not over 21 years of age at the time of election, to be elected on or before May 1 as Youth Delegates by five of the Regional Councils designated on an annual rotating basis by the Standing Committee one Youth Delegate (not over 21 years of age) elected by each Regional Council on or before May 1, and two lay persons, not over 25 years of age at the time of election and participants in an Episcopal higher education ministry in the Diocese, to be elected by the Standing Committee on or before May 1 as Collegiate Delegates shall be members of Council ex officio.

(f) Each elected Delegate and ex officio member shall have one vote.

Section 2. The Lay Delegates shall serve for the regular meeting for which they are chosen, and, unless other delegates be chosen, for any special meeting held prior to the next regular meeting of the Council.

Section 3. All Lay members of the Council shall be adult confirmed communicants in good standing, as defined in the General Convention Canon I.17., of the Episcopal Church, in the Diocese of Virginia.

Submitted by Region VIII Council

Background:
This proposed Constitutional amendment seeks to authorize each Regional Council to elect one Youth Delegate to Annual Council.

In his 2010 Pastoral Address Bishop Johnston identified “youth and young adult formation” as the very top priority for our diocese.  In all seven of his town hall meetings in 2009 our Bishop heard a unanimous call to continue our diocese’s very strong tradition of developing leaders for the church and for the world.  Our Episcopal Church recognizes an “adult communicant in good standing” to be a person who is at least 16 years of age, yet most congregations do not elect delegates that represent the voices of active and faithful Christians in our churches between the ages of 16 and 21.

Region VIII is one of the five regions whose Council elected a Youth Delegate to this year’s Annual Council.  Under the present Constitution it will be three years before the youth members of Region VIII are given the opportunity to share their gifts for leadership as delegates.  Given the strength of gifts for leadership in the candidates from which we chose, and given the identified priority for youth and young adult formation, we believe that there is an opportunity here for us to broaden the participation of young people which will not only serve as a formation opportunity, but as a leadership development opportunity.  

Leadership development necessarily means that we provide opportunities for learning as well as opportunities for leading, and widening the opportunity for youth and young adults to participate as leaders in our diocese will not only strengthen their leadership, but will strengthen our discernment in council.

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