Skip to main content

Questions and Answers on the Proposed Canons

Thank you for your questions on the proposed canons. Questions will be listed and answered progressively below as we head into Diocesan Convention Business Day November 4, 2017.

The following questions have been submitted to the “Ask the Constitution and Canons” Committee website containing Committee proposals for updating the Canons to be presented at Convention on November 4, 2017

Q: In Title XII, on page 45, there is a definition of "Communicant" which does not refer to age.  In several places in the Canons, e.g. Title I, Canon 5, Section 1 about Lay Deputies to General Convention, we modify the term Communicant with the word "adult," but we do not define "adult,” Does this need to be addressed? Does the Diocese have a position on whether or not a Communicant (non-adult) can serve on a Vestry? This will be an issue in many Parishes.  Thank you.

From the Committee:

The definitions in the proposed Canons are crafted to be synchronous with the Canons of The Episcopal Church, which in all cases take precedence over Diocesan Canons.   Thus the answers to your excellent question lie in the Canons of The Episcopal Church.

The TEC Canons Title I, Canon 17 state the following in “Of Regulations Respecting the Laity”:

Section 1.  “(a) All persons who have received the Sacrament of Holy Baptism with water in the Name of … , whether in this Church or in another Christian Church, and whose Baptisms have been duly recorded in this Church, are members thereof.”

“(b) Members sixteen age and over are to be considered adult members.”

Section 2.  “(a) All members of this Church who have received Holy Communion in this Church at least three times during the preceding year are to be considered communicants of this Church.”

“(b) For purposes of statistical consistency throughout the Church, [emphasis added by EDUSC CCC] communicants sixteen years of age and over are to be considered adult communicants.”

The proposed EDUSC Canons do not change the statement in the prior canons that the be election of vestries shall be from “among the adult Communicants in Good Standing is such Parish or Mission.”

Q: Title V, Canon 1, Section s 1(a) and 1(b) (page 15) dealing with timing on the Statement of Mission does not give the time in which the preliminary SOM is to be provided to the congregations and Convocations, nor does it give a time frame in which the congregations and Convocations are to respond with any comments and recommendations.  Yet in Title VII, Canon 4, in the section titled Responsibilities of Convocations, page 25, it states that DEC will provide the preliminary SOM not later than the date of the second quarter Convocation meetings.  Should this DEC/SOM requirement not be in Title V, Canon 1 or in Title III, Canon 2 (responsibilities of the DEC) since it deals with the responsibility of DEC and not the Convocations? Also, it would be helpful if the time frame was to have the preliminary SOM to congregations and Convocations at least a week before the 2nd quarter Convocation meetings to allow delegates a chance to be familiar with it prior to the Convocation meeting.  Similarly, should there not be a time frame in which the Convocation should respond back to DEC with any comments or recommendations. Neither of the above Canons requires a response, nor does it require any response to be in by a particular time.  Title V, Canon 1, Section 1(b) "After sufficient time has been made for comment and recommendation" the process moves forward.   

From the Committee:

Throughout its work the Committee on Constitution and Canons has attempted to make the Canons legally sufficient in every way as well as readily usable by the many volunteers who operate the Diocese.   Because of feedback from the Convocations and a pending resolution before this Convention about the role of the Convocations in the SOM process the committee did reassert the role of Convocations in Title VII, Canon 4.  DEC is fully responsible for the SOM and all aspects of it; the SOM Committee if fully responsible for the development of the proposal each year.  In recent years a detailed schedule of dates and responsibilities has been developed before the process begins.  It has been held to strictly for the last three years.  In general, these operational matters should be managed by the responsible authority and details about dates and response times and such should be developed and enforced by DEC.  To do that well attentive management responsibility is needed on both an annual and day-to-day basis.  The Committee feels that is the work of DEC and creating management efficiency and creativity in such processes does not belong in the Canons, but with the body charged with overseeing the management and ministry of the Diocese.

Q.  Title Viii, Canon 8, Section 5, Overlapping Parish or Mission Boundaries, page 35.  There appears to be no guidance on Parish and/or Mission boundaries.  Do we default to the Canons of TEC on this issue (See Title I, Canon 13, Constitution and Canons, 2015)?

From the Committee:

The Canons of TEC take precedence over Diocesan Canons and the Committee feels that the provision in the TEC Canons that such boundaries are “left to the action of the several Diocesan Conventions” is appropriate.

Q.  The Committee, through Canon Hazel, has received input from a participant in the governance of TEC.  We are delighted to hear from Louisiana and to note that these web question opportunities work all across the nation.  The message from The Rev. Sharon Alexander states:  I am on the Standing Commission on Structure, Governance, and Constitution & Canons…   The first question posted in the Q&A is about the position of Procedural Officer in Title IV.  It might be helpful to know that SCSGCC is proposing to eliminate the definition of Procedural Officer from Canon IV.2 since that place is the only place the term is used (the proposed 2015 amendments adding a Procedural Officer were rejected).  So, unless something weird happens at GC, the reference to Procedural Officer in Canon IV.2 will be removed.”

From the Committee:  

The Committee has thanked The Rev. Alexander for her input.  Her information seems to verify our pattern that unnecessary detail from TEC Canons can allow our work to go forward without always having to amend our Canons to comply.

Q:  Title VI Canon 2 does not mention the appointment of a Procedural Officer as required by TEC Title IV Canon 2. How will a Procedural Officer be appointed? 

From the Committee:

The question deals with one of many procedures of the Disciplinary Board to deal with “Ecclesiastical Discipline” as governed by Title IV of the Canons of The Episcopal Church.To try to insure clear and readable Canons for EDUSC your Committee referenced the applicability of the TEC Canons in Title VI, Canon 1, and did not always repeat detailed  requirements of TEC which are applicable to procedures of EDUSC but only used from time to time.

Thus, as prescribed by Title IV, Canon 2 of TEC Canons, the Procedural Officer for EDUSC will “… be appointed for a term of not less than one year by the Bishop Diocesan in consultation with the president of the Disciplinary Board ….”

Q:  Title V, Canon 1, Sec 1c stated all changes to the SOM must be summited in writing to the Sec. of Convention at least 5 days before convention. A few years ago convention failed to approve the SOM and changes had to be made in order for it to pass. How will similar issues be addressed?

From the Committee:

The proposed Canon does require that any “motion to amend the SOM that is to be made on the floor of Convention must be in writing and must be received by the Secretary to Convention not later than five business days prior to Convention.”  The proposal is designed to recognize and protect the absolute right of Convention to amend and approve the SOM on the floor.  It is also designed to recognize that such motions often contain large amounts of technical, numerical and explanatory information – particularly since a motion to add to the SOM must contain proposed cuts to the SOM to maintain a balanced total.  Without written information the delegates can study in advance, this is often very difficult to do.  If all motions are filed in advance, the delegates can evaluate them each and all and resolve in their own minds actions that will balance the SOM and advance the mission of the Diocese.  The matter of a few years ago actually became a procedural discussion and such matters can be worked out by responsible debate among the delegates.


Alternatively, you may use the email contact form below.


Email *

Message *