Proposed changes to Constitution and Canons

Report of the Constitution and Canons Committee

Your Constitution and Canons Committee offers this report to the 2022 Diocesan Convention.

Diocesan Council suggested consideration of certain changes to the diocesan Constitution and Canons. One request was to clarify deadlines for various submissions and actions, intended to provide a date by which something is due on or before a specific date. We see no impact on the budget if the changes are adopted as proposed in the manner your Committee submitted for approval.

Your Committee considered a request that we review constitutional and canonical language regarding the use of electronic communications equipment in holding a convention and enabling delegate participation. This includes whether changes to existing canons are needed for the 2023 convention to elect a Bishop Diocesan in a hybrid fashion, with some delegates attending in person and others participating virtually.

There is nothing in existing Episcopal Church or our Diocese’s Constitution and Canons that would preclude delegates from participating virtually or in-person or in a hybrid manner. Ohio law governing non-profit entities approves the use of electronic communications equipment to allow for participation in person or digitally. Convention Rules of Order, including a Supplement adopted in 2020, approve the use of electronic communications equipment and virtual meetings. Past conventions have been held virtually with no perceived impediments to participation or delegate voting. Convention may wish to consider further its Rules of Order for the 2023 electing convention. Your Committee does not believe that constitutional or canonical change is needed to enable virtual delegate participation.

Diocesan Council is considering other potential changes it may in the future propose to the Constitution or Canons Committee for review. Your Committee is always open to ideas and comments.

With warm regards,
Joseph J. Dehner, Chancellor

Proposed Canonical Changes
  • List of Clergy entitled to seats

    Section 3. Within one week before Prior to any session of the Convention of the Diocese, the Ecclesiastical Authority shall prepare, or cause to be prepared, a list of Clergy entitled to seats in the Convention. The Ecclesiastical Authority shall cause sSuch list, or a copy thereof, to beshall be authenticated by the Ecclesiastical Authority and filed with the Secretary not later than the seventh day prior to the date of the session. The Secretary who shall record such list it.

    Lay Delegates and their right to seats

    Section 4. (a) Each Congregation that has paid its annual Diocesan Assessments prior to the deadline specified as provided in Article X of the Constitution shall be entitled to seat, voice and vote as follows:

    1. Each mission – two lay delegates
    2. Each parish – four lay delegates.

    Secretary of the Convention

    To give due notice of meeting of Convention

    Section 8. (a) In addition to the offices and duties elsewhere specified, it shall be the duty of the Secretary of Convention to give notice of any meeting of the Convention, in a written or printed letter transmitted by mail to all Clergy canonically resident in the Diocese and/or licensed to officiate in the Diocese and to every Congregation not fewer than at least thirty days before the time appointed. This letter shall contain a notice of the time and place of holding the Convention, a printed copy of Sections 4,5 6, and 7 of this Canon relating to the appointment of Lay Delegates, and a form of certificate of their election.

  • (h) Each Congregation shall inform the Diocese on or prior to December 31 in each year before March 1 of its intention to pay its assessment in respect of such year. If it cannot pay its assigned assessment, the Congregation shall immediately so inform the Finance Office of the Diocese.

  • Section 18. (a) Any Congregation will be considered to be in Good Standing by meeting the following criteria:

    (sections 1-4 remain the same)

    5. The Congregation makes timely reports and prepares and submits to the Bishop or Ecclesiastical Authority the Parochial Report for the year ending December 31 preceding, on or before not later than March 1 of each year.

    6. The Congregation secures an annual audit of all accounts of the Congregation for the year ending December 31 preceding, under procedures authorized by the Finance Committee of the Diocese and reports such audit on or before by September 1 of each year.

    (sections 7-8 remain the same)

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Proposed Constitutional Changes

NOTE: Per Article IX of the Constitution of the Diocese of Southern Ohio, constitutional amendments require approval at two consecutive annual conventions. This is the first reading for the proposed changes.

  • The Election and Authority of a Bishop

    1. The election of a Bishop, of a Bishop Coadjutor or a Suffragan Bishop, for this Diocese shall be made at an Annual session of the Convention, or at a Special session called for that purpose, provided at leastnot fewer than sixty days before the time of such Annual or Special meeting a notice be sent in writing by the Secretary of the Standing Committee to every Episcopal Clerical member of the Convention and to every Congregation canonically in union with this Diocese. The election shall be by concurrent vote of the Episcopal Clergy and Laity, voting by Orders, a majority in each Order on the same ballot being necessary to an election.

  • Special Sessions of the Convention

    The Bishop or the Bishop Coadjutor shall have power to call Special sessions of the Convention when the Bishop may judge it important for the good of the Church, or when applied to for that purpose by the Standing Committee; and in case of a vacancy in the Episcopate, or the continued absence of the Bishops from the Diocese for six months, the Standing Committee shall have power to call a Special session of the Convention, and shall also do so, if applied to for that purpose by any five Presbyters or Vestries of the Diocese.

  • Suspension or Dissolution of a Congregation

    Any congregation may be suspended from the right of representation in the convention, or its connection with the diocese may be wholly dissolved by a vote of two-thirds of each order, whenever the same be deemed conducive to the interests of the Church. Any Congregation which has not paid its full assessment for the preceding calendar year by the earlier of (i) June 30 of any year or (ii) the seventh day by one week before the scheduled date for the Annual meeting of the Convention in such year if that precedes June 30, shall, ipso facto, be deprived of Lay representation in that year’s Convention unless excused by vote of the Convention.

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