Report of the Constitutionand Canons Committee

The Diocesan Committee on Constitution and Canons proposes that the diocese join a regional compact (Compact) for Title IV matters. Bishop Breidenthal and the bishops of the Dioceses of Ohio, West Virginia, Northwestern Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, and Western New York have approved and recommend the Compact for adoption by all six dioceses this year. The Regional Disciplinary Review Board would replace individual Title IV Disciplinary Boards, effective January 1, 2021 if all six dioceses approve the Compact at their 2020 conventions.

There are no cost implications to this change. It would mean greater efficiency in how Title IV matters are handled, increased unbiased attention to Title IV matters (as persons from outside a diocese are more likely not to know or prejudge matters involving members of the clergy within a diocese) and consistency with The Episcopal Church canons, which allow for inter-diocesan boards.

No other matters involving constitutional or canonical changes were referred to our Committee by the applicable deadline.

Joseph J. Dehner. Chancellor
Eric Landen (Vice Chancellor)
Russell Rosler,
Wayne Sheppard
The Rev. Anne Warrington Wilson

Resolution to Amend the Canons of The Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Southern Ohio to Adopt the Regional Disciplinary Board Compact 

Whereas, representatives of the Diocese of Southern Ohio and representatives of the Dioceses of Northwestern Pennsylvania, Ohio, Pittsburgh, Western New York, and West Virginia have worked to negotiate a Regional Disciplinary Board Compact (the “Compact”) to develop and share resources necessary to implement Title IV of the Canons of the Episcopal Church governing allegations of misconduct by a clergyperson, also known as ecclesiastical discipline;

Whereas, the Compact is authorized by Section 3(i) of Canon 5 of Title IV of the Canons of the Episcopal Church which states that any Diocese may agree in writing with one or more other Dioceses to implement this Title IV of the Canons of the Episcopal Church;

Whereas, the Compact was negotiated by Chancellor Joseph Dehner and adoption of the Compact is supported by Bishop Thomas E. Breidenthal and the Diocesan Council; and

Whereas, adoption of the Compact requires the amendment and modification of The Canons of the Episcopal Church in The Diocese of Southern Ohio (the “Diocesan Canons”) and the Committee on Constitution and Canons consisting of Chancellor Joseph Dehner, Vice Chancellor Eric Landen, Rev. Anne Warrington Wilson, Russell Rosler, Esq., and A. Wayne Sheppard, Esq. has prepared the amendments and modifications to the Diocesan Canons, as set forth below (the “Amendments”).

Therefore be it resolved, that the 146th Convention of the Diocese of Southern Ohio hereby amends the Diocesan Canons to incorporate the Amendments effective January 1, 2021 (the “Effective Date”), on the condition that the Dioceses of Northwestern Pennsylvania, Ohio, Pittsburgh, Western New York, and West Virginia have likewise adopted the Compact on or before the Effective Date, as determined by Chancellor Joseph Dehner in his reasonable discretion.

Be it further resolved, that upon the Chancellor’s determination that Compact has been adopted by the Dioceses of Northwestern Pennsylvania, Ohio, Pittsburgh, Western New York, and West Virginia on or before the Effective Date, the Secretary of the Convention is hereby directed to incorporate the changes shown in the Amendments into the Diocesan Canons.

There are two proposed changes to the Canons; the first is adding two definitions to the Preliminary Canon. The second is changing the language of Canon XVIII. The full text of all the changes can be found here.

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