Convention acts to streamline Title IV process, fund training materials

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Eric Bonetti says: This Summer’s Anti-Racism Training Online Course (Diocese of New Jersey) June 18-July 16 Rector Pittsburgh, PA Fan Lucy Pope says: Rector Hopkinsville, KY An Evening with Presiding Bishop Curry and Iconographer Kelly Latimore Episcopal Migration Ministries via Zoom June 23 @ 6 p.m. ET Rector Washington, DC Family Ministry Coordinator Baton Rouge, LA Rector Smithfield, NC Rector Martinsville, VA Rector and Chaplain Eugene, OR Rector Knoxville, TN Submit a Press Release Assistant/Associate Rector Morristown, NJ Join the Episcopal Diocese of Texas in Celebrating the Pauli Murray Feast Online Worship Service June 27 Rector (FT or PT) Indian River, MI [Episcopal News Service — Salt Lake City] The 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church, meeting here June 25-July 3, approved several Title IV revisions, including adding sanctions for those who may attempt to delay or disrupt the disciplinary process and allocating money to produce training videos and manuals to help streamline proceedings.The Standing Commission on Constitutions and Canons (SCCC), one of the church’s interim bodies that worked throughout the triennium and reported its recommendations to General Convention, had proposed some 25 resolutions that were meant primarily to clarify language in the church’s clergy disciplinary canons known as Title IV.But some significant changes also were approved, including Resolution A127, which added a new section to Canon IV.5 “to provide express authority for the imposition of sanctions upon a party for disruption to the Title IV process.”Convention approved another resolution, A150, and allocated nearly $340,000 to develop churchwide training materials to assist in informing and streamlining the process plus another nearly $225,000 to translate those materials into Spanish and Creole. Convention passed a budget for the 2016-2018 triennium that includes $300,000 for training. Money for translations of work done by the church’s interim bodies that meet between convention was budgeted in a lump sum.Diocese of Utah Chancellor Steve Hutchinson, vice chair of General Convention’s Constitutions and Canons legislative committee that oversaw the bulk of Title IV resolutions, estimated at least $1 million had been spent unnecessarily responding to Title IV issues “that would not have been spent if people within the structure of Title IV in different dioceses had this training.”Title IV complaints involve clergy disciplinary actions covering a broad range of offenses, including financial abuse, sexual misconduct, heresy, violation of ordination vows and other behaviors unbecoming a member of the clergy.The 78th General Convention changes are intended to provide a speedier, more pastoral and accountable process for all parties affected by Title IV actions.According to Resolution A127 approved by convention, sanctions may be imposed upon a respondent, the respondent’s attorney or church attorneys for conduct the hearing panel deems disruptive or contrary to the integrity of the proceedings. Sanctions imposed are to be proportionate to the misconduct and may even include disqualification of counsel. Sanctions may be appealed to the disciplinary board within 10 days of being issued.In other significant action, convention agreed with the SCCC-proposed churchwide training (Resolution A150) after conducting a 2013 survey of bishops, chancellors and others, soliciting feedback regarding 2009 Title IV amendments. After studying more than 100 Title IV issues, the commission “quickly and repeatedly discovered that a steady theme permeated its work — an acute and immediate need for comprehensive training,” according to the commission report to convention.Survey results indicated that the process “often takes too long and costs too much money; that church officials are often uncertain of their authority and duties; and that respondents are often permitted to disrupt and delay the process, causing significant pastoral harm to complainants, injured parties and entire congregations that are held in limbo without effective resolution and closure,” according to the report.In most cases, the commission determined that the problems described “were the result of inadequate training in the Title IV process, not in the canonical process itself,” the report stated. Training materials would include online modules and offline written material for clergy and all persons holding Title IV offices and others in the church community who have questions about Title IV.“A poorly handled Title IV matter can cause unnecessary – and often irreparable – harm to both relationships and reputations of all parties involved,” according to the commission. “The church has a responsibility to remediate any unnecessary costs, both relational and financial. Consistent and quality upfront training can greatly assist in this regard. More harm to the church can flow from the mismanagement of a claim than from the misconduct itself. The training should be viewed as an investment in a savings plan rather than an unwanted cost.”In other action, convention approved changes to:• Canon IV.6.3 (Resolution A128) clarifying diocesan bishops have “an affirmative duty to forward information to the intake office.” The changes addressed complaints that previously the canon could be interpreted that bishops “could bypass or misuse the Title IV process by selectively withholding information that should reasonably be the subject of the more objective evaluation of the complaint in the Title IV process,” according to the resolution’s explanation.• Canon IV.6.9 (Resolution A132), imposing a 90-day deadline for action in a referral to a diocesan bishop for an agreement. “The change will ensure that the complaint does not languish and that the Title IV process stays on track for a prompt resolution,” according to the resolution.• Canon IV.7.4 (Resolution A133) clarifying terms of compensation for clergy involved in Title IV actions in a way that attempts to be pastoral to both clergy and the congregation involved.A proposed change to Canon IV.19.4 (Resolution A144) clarifying time limits (statute of limitations) for bringing a complaint regarding physical violence, sexual abuse, or sexual exploitation against a person under 21 years of age “does not apply to complaints asserted against the actual perpetrators and any clergy who aided and abetted the conduct” was referred back to the committee for more work.Additionally, General Convention approved a measure (Resolution D076) to direct the SCCC “to study the need to collect information relating to all Title IV proceedings, identify the information to be collected, the methodology to collect and report the information, and the person or office responsible for administration of the process.”The information collected would help to “provide a missing link,” according to Hutchinson, creating an entity to oversee information to help identify additional areas for training, allocation of resources and further revisions.—The Rev. Pat McCaughan is a member of the Episcopal News Service team reporting about the 78th General Convention. Youth Minister Lorton, VA Inaugural Diocesan Feast Day Celebrating Juneteenth San Francisco, CA (and livestream) June 19 @ 2 p.m. PT Seminary of the Southwest announces appointment of two new full time faculty members Seminary of the Southwest Course Director Jerusalem, Israel July 15, 2015 at 10:39 am I commend GC for these steps, and for recognizing the importance of a consistent, timely disciplinary process. Too often, clergy view themselves as the final arbiter of their own behavior–an arrangement guaranteed to cause trouble, both for clergy and the communities they serve. Additionally, no one benefits when a disciplinary proceeding drags on for months. Even in the Heather Cook case, which appears to have been handled expeditiously, it is surprising that it took four months to reach an accord. In clearcut cases such as this, consideration should be given to a “fast track” approach that both maintains due process and rapidly addresses the pain and suffering of those who are the victims of misconduct. Lastly, GC should give thought to requiring the bishop diocesan to provide immediate pastoral care to the parties involved in a Title IV case. Not doing so leaves both the complainant and the respondent without care at a difficult time.center_img Rector Tampa, FL Associate Rector for Family Ministries Anchorage, AK General Convention, Associate Priest for Pastoral Care New York, NY Assistant/Associate Priest Scottsdale, AZ Priest-in-Charge Lebanon, OH Curate Diocese of Nebraska Curate (Associate & Priest-in-Charge) Traverse City, MI Rector Collierville, TN The Church Investment Group Commends the Taskforce on the Theology of Money on its report, The Theology of Money and Investing as Doing Theology Church Investment Group Submit an Event Listing Rector Belleville, IL Rector Albany, NY General Convention 2015 Convention acts to streamline Title IV process, fund training materials By Pat McCaughanPosted Jul 14, 2015 Tags Featured Events Director of Administration & Finance Atlanta, GA Cathedral Dean Boise, ID Ya no son extranjeros: Un diálogo acerca de inmigración Una conversación de Zoom June 22 @ 7 p.m. ET Rector Shreveport, LA The Church Pension Fund Invests $20 Million in Impact Investment Fund Designed to Preserve Workforce Housing Communities Nationwide Church Pension Group Director of Music Morristown, NJ AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to PrintFriendlyPrintFriendlyShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThis New Berrigan Book With Episcopal Roots Cascade Books Assistant/Associate Rector Washington, DC Submit a Job Listing Rector Bath, NC Press Release Service Missioner for Disaster Resilience Sacramento, CA Bishop Diocesan Springfield, IL Remember Holy Land Christians on Jerusalem Sunday, June 20 American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem last_img read more