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Executive Council Considers Title IV

At an Executive Council meeting largely devoted to saying farewell to friends rotating off the council, members got a glimpse of one of the likely hot topics at General Convention in July: Title IV.

Title IV of the church’s Constitution & Canons [PDF] concerns ecclesiastical discipline and pertains only to charges against bishops, priests, and deacons. That section of the canons is lengthy, dense, and internally inconsistent, and members beta-tested an impressive new website that promises to make the subject more transparent.

The site, which will be unveiled officially at General Convention, reflects three years of work by a task force of the Standing Commission on Structure, Governance, Constitution, and Canons, responding to a mandate from the 2015 convention.

The site provides sophisticated navigation that will help participants and observers of Title IV issues to understand the process from their perspective.  As part of its broader mandate, the commission also proposes 21 resolutions related to Title IV, mostly to clarify and correct internal inconsistencies.

Aside from previewing the website, much of the last Executive Council meeting of the triennium focused on transition to the next triennium, and to emotional farewells for the 19 members who are concluding six-year terms. Nineteen other members are midway through their terms. General Convention will elect 10 new members, and the other nine seats will be filled by appointments from the nine provinces of the church.

The council also heard a report on the work of the Commission on Impairment and Leadership, formed after the tragic 2014 accident in which an inebriated bishop killed a bicyclist.  The report recommends a variety of restrictions, training, and improvements to record-keeping.

Episcopal News Service has a roundup by Mary Frances Schjonberg of other routine matters considered by Executive Council.

Kirk Petersen

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