Clergy Disciplinary Process
Clergy have, by their ordination vows, accepted additional responsibilities and accountabilities for doctrine, discipline, worship and obedience. This process of accountability, as set out in Title IV of the Constitution and Canons for the Government of The Episcopal Church ("Title IV"), seeks to promote justice, restitution, amendment of life, repentance, healing, forgiveness and reconciliation among all involved or affected by clergy misconduct.
Before July 1, 2011, clergy disciplinary matters were brought to the bishop or the Standing Committee. Since July 1, 2011 (under the revised Title IV canons) all matters are now reported to an Intake Officer (contact info below) who will create a written report. Following that, the matter could be resolved by pastoral care, mediation, an agreement with the bishop, an investigation, or any combination of these.
If it moves to an investigation, some of those matters could go to a more formal mediation and if necessary, a hearing. The resolution of the process could be anything that will move those affected to justice, restitution, amendment of life, repentance, healing, forgiveness and reconciliation. This could include suspension or removal from ordained ministry.
The clergy disciplinary process is similar to that used in licensing other professions, such as doctors and lawyers.
For more information:
- Text of Title IV canons (PDF)
- Training Material for Title IV (PDF)
- Letter from the bishops to the clergy of the diocese June 2011
Clergy standards of conduct
- Maintain confidentiality
- Safeguard property and funds of the church
- Conform to the canons of The Episcopal Church and the rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer
- Abide by ordination vows
- Obtain consent of the bishop before engaging in secular employment
- Obtain consent of the bishop to be absent from the diocese for more than two years
Clergy should not:
- Engage in sexual misconduct (includes sexual behavior with: a member of the congregation; employee; volunteer; person in high school; person under 18 years of age; person legally incompetent; someone with whom the clergy has ever had a pastoral relationship)
- Hold or teach any doctrine contrary to that held by The Episcopal Church
- Commit criminal acts
- Engage in dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation
- Habitually neglect public worship, Holy Communion
- Engage in any conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy
Contacting the Intake Officer
Anyone may contact a diocesan Intake Officer to report concerns about the behavior of a member of the clergy (priests, deacons, bishops). This initiates a process to hold clergy accountable for their behaviors. There are three official Intake Officers for the Diocese of Connecticut: Mr. Chester Fairlie, the Rev. Terry Wysong, and Tokunbo Green, Esq. All are screened, qualified, and trained. You may wish to choose a particular Intake Officer over the other for various reasons. You will receive a timely response if you need to leave a message.
- Contact for Mr. Chester Fairlie: email@example.com or by cell at 860-501-2131.
- Contact for the Rev. Terry Wysong: firstname.lastname@example.org or her home phone at 860-426-1856.
- Contact for Ms. Tokunbo Green (info to come in Oct/Nov 2018)
What can you expect from an Intake Officer?
- You will be listened to with respect.
- You will be offered pastoral care and response.
- The Intake Officer will create a written report regarding your concerns.
- The Intake Officer will answer your questions about the process.
NOTE: Effective July 1, 2011 clergy are required to report to the Intake Officer anything that may constitute an offense and to cooperate with the clergy disciplinary process.
Chester Fairlie is a long-term Episcopalian and lay minister at St. John's, Niantic. Chester serves on the parish pastoral care team and as an attorney in New London, Ct. concentrating on crime victim support. He has participated in chaplaincy training at the hospital in New London and volunteers with the Hospital Pastoral Care Office. He is married to Joan, and they have three adult daughters. Chester can be reached confidentially by email at email@example.com or by cell at 860-501-2131.
The Rev. Terry Wysong is a retired priest of the Diocese of CT. After almost 20 years of service in lay ministry on vestries, as treasurer, in choirs and other roles, Terry was ordained priest in 1996. She served as assistant to the rector at St. James's, West Hartford for four years, two years as an interim rector, and then five years as rector of St. Paul's in Southington. Since retiring, she has served on various committees for our Diocese, and also volunteers as an on-call chaplain for Mid-State Hospital in Meriden. She is married to Bryan, and they have four grown daughters, and six grandchildren. Terry can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or her home phone at 860-426-1856.
Both Chester and Terry Wysong bring sensitivity to concerns raised under Title IV proceedings.