Shared Responsibility for Diocesan Policies and Norms
As partners together with one another and the Bishop, clergy share responsibility for complying with all Canonical and Diocesan policies, including:
- SafeChurch Responsibilities
- Training (Children and People)
- Submission of Compliance Documents
- SafeChurch Vestry Compliance (new link)
- Dismantling Racism
- Participation in Annual Council (add link)
- Participation in Clergy Conference
- Participation in Clericus Meetings
- Maintaining Accurate Parish Registers
- Timely Submission of Annual Parochial Reports (including the 5th page)
- Fulfilling Stated Continuing Education Requirements
- Participation in Learning to Lead (for clergy newly ordained or new to the Diocese)
- Obtaining Re-Marriage Petitions (when applicable)
Failure to comply will impair the Bishop’s ability to provide a letter of good standing or to recommend a priest for positions within or beyond the Diocese of Atlanta.
Clergy Meeting Attendance
All active clergy are required to attend the annual Clergy Conference, Annual Diocesan Council, as well as any called meetings of Council. Clergy also are expected to attend Clericus meetings and Clergy Days, which the Bishop may schedule from time to time. Licensed presbyters are requested to attend the annual Clergy Conference and are encouraged to attend other clergy gatherings. Retired clergy are welcome to attend.
Clergy Required Training
Leading on Purpose
Required for all priests newly ordained or new to the Diocese of Atlanta, Leading on Purpose (formerly L2L) is a seminar designed to instill in participants an understanding of leadership as activity and seeing it as the act of mobilizing a group to make progress on their toughest challenges. Newly ordained priests MUST complete two years in L2L. All other clergy new to the diocese are required to participate in L2L for one year. Participants engage in an active learning community that uses real experiences and the stories of others in the group as illustrations for the curriculum, drawn from the work of Ronald Heifetz and others in both secular and church spheres on the practice of adaptive leadership.
All clergy are required to take Dismantling Racism training which seeks to increase “racial understanding, healing and reconciliation.”
Clergy Disciplinary Process (Title IV)
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.
Since July 1, 2011 (under the revised Title IV canons), all matters are to be reported to an Intake Officer (contact information 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 matter 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 other professions, such as doctors and lawyers.
For more information: Text of Title IV Canons
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 ANY CONDUCT UNBECOMING A MEMBER OF THE CLERGY, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO:
- engaging 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)
- holding or teaching any doctrine contrary to that held by The Episcopal Church
- committing criminal acts
- engaging in dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation
- habitually neglecting public worship, Holy Communion
- engaging in any conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy.
“Conduct Unbecoming” by a Member of the Clergy shall mean any disorder or neglect that prejudices the reputation, good order and discipline of the Church, or any conduct of a nature to bring material discredit upon the Church or the Holy Orders conferred by the Church.
Contacting the Intake Officer
Anyone may contact the 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. The Intake Officer for the Diocese of Atlanta is the Reverend Canon Alicia Schuster Weltner. Contact her by phone, email, or in person by appointment: 404-601-5320 Ext. 123, email@example.com. Her office is at the Diocesan Offices at the Cathedral of St. Philip, 2744 Peachtree Road, NW, Atlanta 30305. You will receive a timely response if you leave a message.
WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT FROM THE 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: Under Title IV, all clergy are required to report to the Intake Officer anything that may constitute an offense and to cooperate with the clergy disciplinary process.
Materials on this page are adapted, with permission, from the pages on Clergy Discipline of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut.
Questions about this material, or Title IV in general, may be addressed to Canon Schuster Weltner.