The Constitution currently allows dioceses to merge only when both merging dioceses have sitting bishops. We propose a constitutional change which will make it possible for dioceses to merge when one or both merging dioceses do not have a sitting bishop. We think this is important because it is precisely in transitional moments when new possibilities may emerge. The current process — with its many safeguards and checks — remains otherwise unchanged.
D003: Amend Article V of the Constitution
Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That Article V, Section 1 is amended to read as follows:
A new Diocese may be formed, with the consent of the General Convention and under such conditions as the General Convention shall prescribe by General Canon or Canons, (1) by the division of an existing Diocese; (2) by the junction of two or more Dioceses or of parts of two or more Dioceses; or (3) by the erection into a Diocese of an unorganized area evangelized as provided in Article VI. The proceedings shall originate in a Convocation of the Clergy and Laity of the unorganized area called by the
Bishop Ecclesiastical Authority for that purpose; or, with the approval of the Bishop Ecclesiastical Authority, in the Convention of the Diocese to be divided; or (when it is proposed to form a new Diocese by the junction of two or more existing Dioceses or of parts of two or more Dioceses) by mutual agreement of the Conventions of the Dioceses concerned, with the approval of the Bishop Ecclesiastical Authority of each Diocese. In case the Episcopate of a Diocese be vacant, no proceedings toward its division shall be taken until the vacancy is filled. After consent of the General Convention, when a certified copy of the duly adopted Constitution of the new Diocese, including an unqualified accession to the Constitution and Canons of this Church, shall have been filed with the Secretary of the General Convention and approved by the Executive Council of this Church, such new Diocese shall thereupon be in union with the General Convention.