It has been another busy year for the Committee on Canons. While last year we were responsible for getting the constitution and canons of the diocese back in line with the National Canons of The Episcopal Church, this year we propose further changes to clarify the canons of the diocese. These changes will be summarized below, and are available for review by clicking here.
First, I want to recognize the other members of the committee who have worked tirelessly to get the changes ready for this convention. The members of the committee are the Rev. Lou Hays, the Rev. Phillip Wainwright, the Rev. Canon James Shoucair, Lionel Deimel, and Joan Gundersen. Also, I would like to thank Andy Roman, the Chancellor of the Diocese, and Bishop Kenneth Price for their willingness to work with the committee and help us to craft our changes. Thanks to all of these people for their work.
Our changes this year take three forms:
First we have constitutional changes which require a second reading to become effective. In order to pass, these must be voted on again in the same version they were passed at our last convention.
Article III – This article defines deputations at our diocesan convention. The change in this article is a clarification of who is eligible to be a deputy at convention, both lay and clergy. This change has already been passed at our last convention and needs to be passed a second time to become effective.
Article XII – This article defines how deputies are elected to General Convention and Province 3 Synods. It restores our pre-2008 wording for the constitution of the diocese. This change has already been passed at our last convention and needs to be passed a second time to become effective.
Article XIII – This article describes how parishes are admitted to the diocese. It restores our pre-2008 wording for the constitution of the diocese. This change has already been passed at our last convention and needs to be passed a second time to become effective.
The second group of changes proposed is first readings of constitutional changes. These changes will need to be passed by this convention and then passed by the next convention in the same version in order to take effect.
Article X – This article defines the makeup of the Board of Trustees for the diocese. The change here will be in the number and election of the members of the Board of Trustees. This is due to the proposed change in districts for the parishes in the diocese.
Article XI – This article defines the makeup of the Diocesan Council. It is a change to have the makeup of the council is two lay delegates and one clergy delegate for each district.
Third are the canonical changes that we are proposing. These changes will take effect at the end of the current convention, if passed, and consist of the following changes:
Canon XVIII, Section 1 – A proposal is being put forward to change the number of districts in the diocese. It will be a minimum of four (4) and a maximum of six (6) districts. This will allow for a better balancing within the districts of the parishes in the diocese. A proposed redistricting is included in this change, with parishes being broken into four districts.
Canon XVIII, Section 3 – A proposal is being put forward to change the method for filling vacancies on the Board of Trustees and Diocesan Council for an unexpired term. It corrects an omission in the current canon.
Canon IV – A proposal is being put forward to add an additional Section 5, which will define the Growth Fund. This is to give a formal definition of the Growth Fund, which does not currently exist in the current constitution.
Canon X – A proposal is being put forward to change the name of the Committee on Canons to the Committee on Constitution and Canons.
Canon XIX – A proposal is being put forward for a new canon to define the procedure for Ecclesiastical Discipline, as defined by a new Title IV of the Canons for the Government of The Episcopal Church. This new Title IV was passed by the last General Convention, and it is a requirement of the diocese to have a method of implementing this procedure in place as of July 1, 2011.
Canon XXI – A proposal is being put forward to clarify the authority and responsibility of the Rector or Priest-In-Charge. This will correct our Canon to match the Canons of The Episcopal Church.
Canon XXX – A proposal is being put forward to define the makeup and election of the Commission on Ministry. This change clarifies the makeup of the commission in the diocese.
Canon XXXIII – A proposal is being put forward to identify the beginning and ending dates of the terms of elected offices in the diocese. This had never been made clear in the constitution of the diocese and is a new canon.
These changes will be discussed at diocesan hearings on September 1, 2010 at St Paul’s Church in Mt. Lebanon at 7:00 p.m.
It has been a privilege to serve on this committee and with these very talented people. We have accomplished a lot of work over the past few years, and while there is still more work to do, I believe with the changes which have been proposed, the Canons of the Diocese of Pittsburgh are in very good shape.
Steve Stagnitta – Chair, Committee on Canons