Canon XIII: Ecclesiastical Discipline

Canon XIII: Ecclesiastical Discipline

Section 1. A) Relation To Canons of General Convention. This Canon adopts policies, procedures and structures to implement in the Diocese provisions for discipline set forth in Title IV of the Canons of General Convention (“Church Canons”) for priests and deacons who, by their vows at ordination, have accepted both responsibility under and accountability for the doctrine, discipline and worship of The Episcopal Church (the “Church”). In the event any provision of this Canon is in conflict with or inconsistent with Title IV of the Church Canons, the provisions of Title IV shall prevail.

B) Definitions. The capitalized terms herein shall have the meanings attributed to them in Canon IV.2 of the Church Canons unless otherwise defined herein. All references herein to the Bishop shall mean the Bishop Diocesan, or a Bishop Suffragan if specific jurisdiction for matters contemplated by Title IV of the Church Canons has been assigned to that Bishop Suffragan.

Section 2. A) Disciplinary Board. A court to be known as the Disciplinary Board (“Board”) is hereby created for the Diocese of Connecticut, with a membership as set forth below.

  1. The Board shall consist of nine (9) members, five (5) of whom are members of the Clergy and four (4) of whom are Laity.
  2. The Clergy members of the Board shall be priests or deacons who are geographically resident within the Diocese and who have been canonically resident within the Diocese for at least 3 years.
  3. The lay members of the Board shall be adult Communicants in Good Standing and voting members of a Parish or Mission in the Diocese.
  4. Employees of the Diocese, current members of the Standing Committee, those individuals specified in the first sentence of Canon IV.5.3(c) of the Church Canons and any persons affiliated in the practice of law or otherwise with any of those individuals are ineligible to serve as a member of the Board. Persons who will be eligible to serve on the Board on the date on which their term would commence, may be nominated for and may be elected to the Board even if they would not be eligible to serve on the Board at the time of their nomination or election.
  5. Members of the Board may be removed by the Bishop, with the advice and consent of the Standing Committee, whenever in the judgment of the Bishop the best interests of the Diocese would be served thereby.
  6. The members of the Board shall be nominated by the Bishop and elected by the Convention. Each member shall be elected for a three (3)-year term; except, if a member is elected to fill a vacancy, the term of such member shall be the unexpired term of the member being replaced. The term of the member shall commence on the first (1st) day of the year following election. The terms of office of the Board shall be staggered and arranged into three classes. Members of the Board may serve no more than three (3) consecutive, full three-year terms but may be nominated for election to the Board in the second year after the end of that person’s third consecutive term.
  7. Vacancies on the Board shall be filled as follows:
    1. 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 of the same order as the member to be replaced.
    2. The Bishop shall appoint a replacement Board member in consultation with the Standing Committee from the same order as the former member.
    3. Persons appointed to fill vacancies on the Board shall meet the same eligibility requirements as apply to elected Board members.
    4. With respect to a vacancy created by any reason other than pursuant to a challenge as provided below, the term of any person selected as a replacement Board member shall be until the next Annual Convention. With respect to a vacancy resulting from a challenge, the replacement Board member shall serve only for the proceedings for which the elected Board member is not serving as a result of the challenge.
  1. The term of office of any member of a Hearing Panel whose original term expires after a matter has been referred to that Panel shall be extended until forty (40) days after the entry of an Order by that Panel.

B) Preserving Impartiality. In any proceeding under this Title, if any member of a Conference Panel or Hearing Panel of the Board shall become aware of a personal conflict of interest or undue bias, that member shall immediately notify the President of the Board and request 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 subjects of the challenge shall promptly consider the motion and determine whether the challenged Panel member shall be disqualified from participating in that proceeding. If the
member is excused, the President shall appoint another member of the Board from the same order as the excused member to the panel to fill the vacancy created by the challenge, in a manner consistent with Canon IV.6.7 of the Church Canons.

C) President. Within sixty (60) days following the Annual Convention, the sitting President of the Board shall convene those individuals who will constitute the Board as of January 1, and those individuals shall elect a President from among their members to serve a one-year term commencing on the first (1st) day of the year following the election. If, at the relevant time, there is no sitting President, the Intake Officer shall convene the meeting.

D) Intake Officer. The Intake Officer shall be appointed from time to time by the Bishop. The Bishop may appoint one or more Intake Officers according to the needs of the Diocese. All information concerning an alleged Offense shall be reported to an Intake Officer. The Bishop shall publish the name(s) and contact information of the Intake Officer(s) throughout the Diocese.

E) Investigator. The Bishop shall appoint an Investigator in consultation with the Standing Committee. The Investigator may but need not be a Member of the Church. The Bishop may terminate the term of the Investigator with the advice and consent of the Standing Committee. The Diocese may compensate an Investigator for services rendered at the rate described in a written retainer agreement. Whether or not an Investigator is compensated, the Diocese shall reimburse an Investigator for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in a proceeding under this Canon.

F) Church Attorney. Within sixty (60) days following each Annual Convention, the Bishop in consultation with the Standing Committee shall appoint an attorney to serve as Church Attorney for a one-year term commencing on the first (1st) day of the year following the election. The person so selected must be a duly licensed attorney, but need not reside within the Diocese. If the Church Attorney is unable to serve in connection with a particular matter, the Bishop, in consultation with the Board, shall appoint a temporary Church Attorney to serve on that matter. The Bishop may remove any Church Attorney with the advice and consent of the Standing Committee at any time for any cause deemed sufficient by them, in their sole discretion. In the event that the Church Attorney resigns or the position otherwise becomes vacant, the Bishop shall appoint a successor Church Attorney in consultation with the Standing Committee. The Diocese may compensate a Church Attorney for services rendered at a rate described in a written retainer agreement and, whether or not the Church Attorney is compensated, shall reimburse the Church Attorney for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in a proceeding under this Canon. The term of office of the Church Attorney whose original term expires while a matter is pending before him or her shall, at the discretion of the Bishop, be extended until forty (40) days after the entry of an Order, unless earlier removed.

G) 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 Title IV.8 of the Church Canons and this Canon. The Pastoral Response Coordinator may be the Intake Officer, but shall not be a person serving in any other appointed or elected capacity under this Title.

H) Advisors. In each proceeding under Title IV, 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 chancellors or vice chancellors of this Diocese or any person likely to be called as a witness in the proceeding.

I) 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.

J) Formation of Conference Panels and Hearing Panels.

  1. The President of the Board shall form a Conference Panel and a Hearing Panel in each proceeding under Title IV from members of the Board in accordance with the requirements of Canon IV.6.7 of the Church Canons provided, however, that each Hearing Panel shall include at least two members of the clergy.
  2. The President of the Board shall exercise discretion to determine the number of members of the Conference Panel for each matter, provided, however, that the Conference Panel will be comprised of a maximum of three (3) members of the Board. Each Conference Panel shall consist of at least one member of the clergy.

K) Accord. No less than thirty (30) days prior to the issuance of an Accord, the initiating body or party shall notify the Bishop of the intent to issue an Accord and shall confer with the Bishop concerning the proposed terms of the Accord.

L) Order. The opportunity of the Bishop and Complainant to be heard on the proposed terms of an Order by a Conference or a Hearing Panel in accordance with Canon IV.14.7 of the Church Canons shall occur no less than thirty (30) days prior to the issuance of the Order.

M) Agreements. In accordance with Canon IV.5.3(i) of Church Canons, the Diocese may enter into agreements with one or more other Dioceses of The Episcopal Church for the sharing of resources in connection with discipline under Title IV and this Canon.

N) Counsel. The Board may engage counsel for itself or for any Panel for which it deems counsel would be appropriate. Counsel may also serve as Clerk of the Panel. A member of the Board may not act as such counsel.

O) Proceedings. Any proceedings of a Panel established by Title IV may be conducted by telephone conference or similar communications technologies by means of which all persons participating can hear and be heard by all other participants. Participation in proceedings conducted in this manner shall constitute presence in person in the proceeding.


Section 3. A) Expenses Generally. Unless expressly provided otherwise in this Canon, all costs, expenses and fees incurred under Title IV of Church Canons and this Canon shall be the obligation of the person incurring them.

B) Costs Incurred by the Church. The reasonable costs and expenses of the Board, the Intake Officer, the Investigator, the Church Attorney, the Clerk and the Pastoral Response Coordinator shall be the obligation of the Diocese, subject to budgetary constraints as may be established by Diocesan Mission Council.

C) Other Fees and Expenses. In the sole discretion of the Bishop and with the consent of the Standing Committee, the Bishop may recommend to the Mission Council the payment by the Diocese of certain reasonable fees and expenses incurred by a Respondent. Except for the provisions of Canon IV.19.23(b) of the Church Canons, this Canon shall provide the exclusive procedure and method for reimbursement or payment of costs, expenses and fees incurred in a proceeding under Title IV of the Church Canons and this Canon.

Section 4. A) Records of active proceedings before the Board, including the period of any pending appeal, shall be preserved and maintained in the custody of the Clerk, if there be one, otherwise by the Intake Officer.

B) Permanent Records. The Bishop shall make provision for the permanent storage of records of all proceedings under this Title at the Archives of the Diocese and the Archives of The Episcopal Church, as prescribed in Title IV of the Church Canons.