Eliminate Provinces

First established over a hundred years ago after decades of discussion, provinces have served their useful purpose. In today’s age of easy travel, we wish to open up collaborative possibilities beyond the constrained boundaries of provinces, to permit shared ministry across current lines, if desired. This layer of denominational structure serves little purpose today other than to ensure geographic diversity on certain committees. We believe that we can ensure continued geographic diversity without rigid lines, similar to our current practice of seeking diversity of race, age, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression. Interest-based provincial networks, such as young adult gatherings, deployment officer gatherings, etc., can continue to meet under this change; there is nothing that requires a governance structure to exist in order to allow an affinity group to meet. Removing the provincial structure allows such affinity gatherings to choose the geographic groupings that make the most sense in their context. This change will free up resources currently spent on maintaining an outmoded structural model.

At the same time, we wish to acknowledge the good work of the dioceses in Province IX, and the particular circumstances of our international dioceses. This resolution calls for their continued support, and for our Presiding Officers to continue to include participation from dioceses outside of the United States in the church’s committees and commissions.

Since Title IV currently uses a Provincial Court of Review, we propose the creation of a single churchwide Court of Review. We believe that a churchwide court will be an equally satisfactory alternative to the current structure.

Eliminating provinces also allows the numbers of members on certain committees to be adjusted, since provincial representation is no longer needed. Specifically, we propose to change the following:

  • Executive Council from 38 members to 30
  • The Joint Nominating Committee for the Presiding Bishop from 29 to 20
  • Increase the Official Youth Presence from 18 to up to 24.

D011: Eliminate Provinces

Resolved, the House of ________ concurring, that the 78th General Convention eliminate provincial structures in the Episcopal Church; and be it further,

Resolved, that the good work of the Province IX Sustainability Project be continued; and be it further

Resolved, that all dioceses outside the United States continue to receive churchwide budgetary resources and staff support as needed; and be it further

Resolved that the Canon I.1.14(c), Canon 1.2.1(a), Canon 1.2.1(b), Canon 1.2.1(c), Canon 1.4.1(c), Canon 1.4.2(a), Canon 1.4.3(c), Canon 1.4.3(d), Canon 1.4.6(e), Canon 1.7.1, Canon 1.9, Canon 1.11.2(f), Canon 1.11.3(c), Canon 1.15.10(a), Canon III.5.1(c), Canon III.11.1(b), Canon III.11.5, Canon III.11.8(a), Canon III.11.9(c)(2), Canon III.11.9(c)(3)(i), Canon IV.5.4, Canon IV.15.1(d), Canon IV.15.2, Canon IV.15.3, Canon IV.15.4, Canon IV.19.5(c)(1), Canon IV.19.19, Canon IV.19.23(b), Canon V.4.1(c), Canon V.4.1(d), House of Bishops Rule of Order XXVII, House of Deputies Rule of Order 9, House of Deputies Rule of Order 22(b), House of Deputies Rule of Order 62 b(ii), and Joint Rule of Order of the House of Bishops and House of Deputies II be amended as follows:

Canon I.1.14(c)

(c) From the sites approved by the General Convention, the Joint Committee, with the advice and consent of a majority vote of the following: The Presidents and the Vice-Presidents of both Houses of Convention, the Presidents of the Provinces and the Executive Council, shall determine the site for such General Convention and proceed to make all reasonable and necessary arrangements and commitments for that meeting of the General Convention. The site and date thus selected shall be deemed to have been appointed by the General Convention, as provided in the Constitution.

Canon 1.2.1(a)

(a) At each General Convention the House of Deputies shall elect one Clerical and one Lay Deputy from each Province as members of the Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop. A Deputy from a particular Province may be nominated only by another Deputy from the same Province, but the election of each member of the Committee shall be by the entire membership of the House of Deputies, with a majority of those voting necessary for election. Prior to the election, the Clerical and Lay Deputies from each Province shall hold a caucus, at which two Clerical Deputies and two Lay Deputies as nominees shall be selected by the caucus, and these shall be the only nominees upon which the House of Deputies shall vote in electing the members of the Joint Nominating Committee. At each General Convention the House of Deputies shall elect six Clerical and six Lay Deputies as members of the Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop. The President of the House of Deputies, after consultation with representatives of youth, shall appoint two persons, age 16-21, as members of the Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop.

Canon 1.2.1(b)

(b) At each General Convention the House of Bishops shall elect one Bishop from each Province as a member of the Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop. A Bishop from a particular Province may be nominated only by another Bishop from the same Province, but the election of each member of the Committee shall be by the entire membership of the House of Bishops, with a majority of those voting necessary for election. Prior to the election, the Bishops from each Province shall hold a caucus, at which two Bishops as nominees shall be selected by the caucus, and these shall be the only nominees upon which the House of Bishops shall vote in electing the members of the Joint Nominating Committee. At each General Convention the House of Bishops shall elect six Bishops as members of the Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop.

Canon 1.2.1(c)

(c) In the event vacancies shall occur in the Joint Nominating Committee after the election of its members due to death, disability, resignation, or other cause within one year of the next General Convention, the vacancies shall not be filled and the remaining members shall constitute the Joint Nominating Committee. In the event such vacancies shall occur more than one year prior to the next General Convention, the Presiding Officer of the House of Bishops shall appoint Bishops and the President of the House of Deputies shall appoint Clerical and Lay Deputies, in all cases from the same Provinces as those Bishops or Deputies whose positions are being filled. An elected or appointed member who shall not be a Deputy to the next General Convention shall continue as a member of the Joint Nominating Committee until the adjournment of such next General Convention. A member of the Committee who transfers from one Province to another or a Lay Deputy who is ordained Presbyter or Deacon, or a Presbyter or Deacon who is consecrated a Bishop, shall not thereby become ineligible to continue to serve on the Joint Nominating Committee through the next succeeding General Convention.

Canon 1.4.1(c)

(c) The Executive Council shall be composed (a) of twenty thirty members elected by the General Convention, of whom four six shall be Bishops, four six shall be Presbyters or Deacons, and twelve eighteen shall be Lay Persons who are confirmed adult communicants in good standing (two three Bishops, two three Presbyters or Deacons, and six nine Lay Persons to be elected by each subsequent regular meeting of the General Convention); (b) of eighteen members elected by the Provincial Synods; (c b) of the following ex officiis members: the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies; and (d c) the Chief Operating Officer, the Secretary, the Treasurer of the General Convention and the Chief Financial Officer, who shall have seat and voice but no vote. Each Province shall be entitled to be represented by one Bishop or Presbyter or Deacon canonically resident in a Diocese which is a constituent member of the Province and by one Lay Person who is a confirmed adult communicant in good standing of a Diocese which is a constituent member of the Province, and the terms of the representatives of each Province shall be so rotated that two persons shall not be simultaneously elected for equal terms.

Canon 1.4.2(a)

Sec. 2 (a) Of the members to be elected by the General Convention, t The Bishops shall be elected by the House of Bishops subject to confirmation by the House of Deputies, and the Presbyters or Deacons and Lay Persons shall be elected by the House of Deputies subject to confirmation by the House of Bishops.

Canon 1.4.3(c)

(c) Should any vacancy occur in the Council through the death or resignation of a member elected by the General Convention or through the change in status of any such member by consecration or ordination, the Council shall fill such vacancy by the election of a suitable person to serve until a successor is elected by the General Convention. The General Convention shall elect a suitable person to serve the portion of any term which will remain unexpired.

Canon 1.4.3(d-g)

(d) Should any vacancy occur in the Council through the failure of any Provincial Synod to elect a member, or through the death, resignation, or removal from the Province of any such member, the President and Provincial Council of the Province shall appoint a suitable person, canonically resident in such Province, to serve until the Provincial Synod shall by election fill the vacancy.

(e d) The Council shall exercise the powers conferred upon it by Canon, and such further powers as may be designated by the General Convention, and between sessions of the General Convention may initiate and develop such new work as it may deem necessary. It may, subject to the provision of this Canon, enact Bylaws for its own government and the government of its several departments.

(f e) In its capacity as the Board of Directors of The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, the Council shall have the power to direct the disposition of the moneys and other property of said Society in accordance with the provisions of this Canon and the orders and budgets adopted or approved by the General Convention.

(g f) The Council shall elect the Church’s members of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) and of other Anglican and ecumenical bodies for which no other procedure is provided. Members of the ACC representing The Episcopal Church shall report to each General Convention using the schedule and format required for Standing Commissions in Canon I.1.2 (j) and (k), and shall provide comprehensive written or oral reports to Executive Council at Council’s next meeting following each meeting of the ACC.

Canon 1.4.6(e)

(e) After the preparation of the budget the Executive Council shall, at least four months before the sessions of the General Convention, transmit to the Bishop of each Diocese and to the President of each Province a statement of the existing and the proposed askings necessary to support the Budget for the Episcopal Church. The Executive Council shall also submit to the General Convention, with the budget, a plan for the askings of the respective Dioceses of the sum needed to execute the budget.

Canon 1.7.1

Sec. 1. In every Province, Diocese, Parish, Mission and Institution connected with this Church, the following standard business methods shall be observed:

(a) All accounts of Provinces shall be audited annually by an independent certified public accountant, or independent licensed accountant, or such audit committee as shall be authorized by the Provincial Council. The Audit Report shall be filed with the Provincial Council not later than September 1 of each year, covering the preceding calendar year.

(b a) Funds held in trust, endowment and other permanent funds, and securities represented by physical evidence of ownership or indebtedness, shall be deposited with a National or State Bank, or a Diocesan Corporation, or with some other agency approved in writing by the Finance Committee or the Department of Finance of the Diocese, under a deed of trust, agency or other depository agreement providing for at least two signatures on any order of withdrawal of such funds or securities. But this paragraph shall not apply to funds and securities refused by the depositories named as being too small for acceptance. Such small funds and securities shall be under the care of the persons or corporations properly responsible for them. This paragraph shall not be deemed to prohibit investments in securities issued in book entry form or other manner that dispenses with the delivery of a certificate evidencing the ownership of the securities or the indebtedness of the issuer.

(c b) Records shall be made and kept of all trust and permanent funds showing at least the following:

(1) Source and date.

(2) Terms governing the use of principal and income.

(3) To whom and how often reports of condition are to be made.

(4) How the funds are invested.

(d c) Treasurers and custodians, other than banking institutions, shall be adequately bonded; except treasurers of funds that do not exceed five hundred dollars at any one time during the fiscal year.

(e d) Books of account shall be so kept as to provide the basis for satisfactory accounting.

(f e) All accounts of the Diocese shall be audited annually by an independent Certified Public Accountant. All accounts of Parishes, Missions or other institutions shall be audited annually by an independent Certified Public Accountant, or independent Licensed Public Accountant, or such audit committee as shall be authorized by the Finance Committee, Department of Finance, or other appropriate diocesan authority.

(g f) All reports of such audits, including any memorandum issued by the auditors or audit committee regarding internal controls or other accounting matters, together with a summary of action taken or proposed to be taken to correct deficiencies or implement recommendations contained in any such memorandum, shall be filed with the Bishop or Ecclesiastical Authority not later than 30 days following the date of such report, and in no event, not later than September 1 of each year, covering the financial reports of the previous calendar year.

(h g) All buildings and their contents shall be kept adequately insured.

(i h) The Finance Committee or Department of Finance of the Diocese may require copies of any or all accounts described in this Section to be filed with it and shall report annually to the Convention of the Diocese upon its administration of this Canon.

(j i) The fiscal year shall begin January 1.

Canon 1.9

CANON 9: Of Provinces

Sec. 1. Subject to the proviso in Article VII of the Constitution, the Dioceses of this Church shall be and are hereby united into Provinces as follows:

The First Province shall consist of the Dioceses within the States of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.

The Second Province shall consist of the Dioceses within the States of New York and New Jersey, the Dioceses of Haiti and the Virgin Islands, and the Convocation of American Churches in Europe.

The Third Province shall consist of the Dioceses within the States of Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

The Fourth Province shall consist of the Dioceses within the States of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Louisiana, except for the portion thereof consisting of the Diocese of Western Louisiana.

The Fifth Province shall consist of the Diocese of Missouri, and of the Dioceses within the States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

The Sixth Province shall consist of the Dioceses within the States of Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado.

The Seventh Province shall consist of the Dioceses of Western Louisiana and of West Missouri, and of the Dioceses within the States of Arkansas, Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico.

The Eighth Province shall consist of the Dioceses within the States of Idaho, Utah, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, California, Arizona, Alaska, and Hawaii, the Diocese of Taiwan and the Area Mission of Navajoland.

The Ninth Province shall consist of the Dioceses of this Church in Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Honduras, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela.

Sec. 2 (a) When a new Diocese or Area Mission shall be created wholly within any Province, such new Diocese or Area Mission shall be included in such Province. In case a new Diocese or Area Mission shall embrace territory in two or more Provinces, it shall be included in and form part of the Province wherein the greater number of Presbyters and Deacons in such new Diocese or Area Mission shall, at the time of its creation, be canonically resident. Whenever a new Diocese or Area Mission shall be formed of territory not before included in any Province, the General Convention shall designate the Province to which it shall be annexed.

(b) By mutual agreement between the Synods of two adjoining Provinces, a Diocese or Area Mission may transfer itself from one of such Provinces to the other, such transfer to be considered complete upon approval thereof by the General Convention. Following such approval, Canon I.9.1 shall be appropriately amended.

Sec. 3. For the purpose of the Province the Synodical rights and privileges of the several Dioceses within the Province shall be such as from time to time shall be determined by the Synod of the Province.

Sec. 4. There shall be in each Province a Synod consisting of a House of Bishops and a House of Deputies, which Houses shall sit and deliberate either separately or together. The Synod shall meet on a regular basis as determined by each Province for the purpose of organizing and carrying out the responsibilities of the Province as provided in the Canons.

Sec. 5. Every Bishop Diocesan of this Church, having jurisdiction within the Province, every Bishop Coadjutor, Bishop Suffragan, and Assistant Bishop, and every Bishop whose episcopal work has been within the Province, but who by reason of advanced age or bodily infirmity has resigned, shall have a seat and vote in the House of Bishops of the Province.

Sec. 6 (a) The President of each Province may be one of the Bishops, Presbyters, Deacons, or Lay Persons of the Province, elected by the Synod. The method of election and term of office shall be determined by the rules of the Synod.

(b) When the person elected is not a Bishop, a Vice-President shall be elected who shall be a Bishop member of the Province. In this event the Bishop so elected shall serve, ex officio, as President of the House of Bishops of the Synod, and shall represent the Province in all matters requiring the participation of a Bishop.

Sec. 7. Each Diocese and Area Mission within the Province shall be entitled to representation in the Provincial House of Deputies by Presbyters or Deacons canonically resident in the Diocese or Area Mission, and Lay Persons, confirmed adult communicants of this Church in good standing but not necessarily domiciled in the Diocese or Area Mission, in such number as the Provincial Synod, by Ordinance, may provide. Each Diocese and Area Mission shall determine the manner in which its Deputies shall be chosen.

Sec. 8. The Provincial Synod shall have power: (a) to enact Ordinances for its own regulation and government; (b) to perform such duties as many be committed to it by the General Convention;

(c) to deal with all matters within the Province; Provided, however, that no Provincial Synod shall have power to regulate or control the internal policy or affairs of any constituent Diocese; and Provided, further, that all actions and proceedings of the Synod shall be subject to and in conformity with the provisions of the Constitution and the Canons for the government of this Church; (d) to adopt a budget for the maintenance of any Provincial work undertaken by the Synod, such budget to be raised in such manner as the Synod may determine; (e) to create by Ordinance a provincial Council with power to administer and carry on such work as may be committed to it by the General Convention, or by the Presiding Bishop and the Executive Council, or by the Synod of the Province.

Sec. 9. The Synod of a Province may take over from the Executive Council, with its consent, and during its pleasure, the administration of any given work within the Province. If the Province shall provide the funds for such work, the constituent Dioceses then members of, and supporting, such Province shall receive proportional credit therefor upon the quotas assigned to them for the support of the Program of the Church, provided that the total amount of such credits shall not exceed the sum appropriated in the budget of the Executive Council for the maintenance of the work so taken over.

Sec. 10. Within sixty days after each session of the General Convention, the Presidents of the two Houses thereof shall refer to the Provincial Synods, or any of them, such subjects as the General Convention may direct, or as they may deem advisable, for consideration thereof by the Synods, and it shall be the duty of such Synods to consider the subject or subjects so referred to them at the first meeting of the Synod held after the adjournment of the General Convention, and to report their action and judgment in the matter to the Secretary of the House of Bishops and to the Secretary of the House of Deputies at least six months before the date of the meeting of the next General Convention.

Sec. 11. Each Provincial Synod shall keep minutes, journals or other records of its meetings, and shall transmit one copy of the records to the Secretary of the House of Deputies, and one copy to the Archives of The Episcopal Church. The Synod shall also transmit copies of any unpublished inactive records to the Archives.

Sec. 12. The President of each Province shall annually submit to the Executive Council a written report on the ministries, programs and other work of the Province, including a description of how funds appropriated by the General Convention have been used, and shall report on their work to the Executive Council, on the date and in the form specified by the Executive Council.

Canon 1.11.2(f)

(f) An Area Mission which shall have been undertaken under the sole auspices of this Church, with a Bishop of this Church assigned to give episcopal oversight, shall be entitled to representation in the Provincial House of Bishops and the Provincial House of Deputies in the Province of which it is a part.

(g f) In the event of a vacancy in the office of Bishop assigned jurisdiction in an Area Mission, the charge thereof shall devolve upon the Presiding Bishop, with the power of appointing some other Bishop as his substitute in such charge, until the vacancy is filled by the House of Bishops.

Canon 1.11.3(c)

(c) In every Missionary Diocese there shall be an annual Convention, composed of the Bishop or Bishops, the other Clergy of the Diocese, and Lay Delegates from the organized Congregations. Such Convention shall elect a Standing Committee, in accordance with the diocesan Canons, which shall have the powers and duties set forth for Standing Committees in Canon I.12 and in other Canons of the General Convention. It shall also elect Clerical and Lay Deputies and alternate Deputies to the General Convention, in accordance with its diocesan Canons, and the provisions of Article I.4 of the Constitution. If the Missionary Diocese is a member of a Province of this Church, it shall also provide for Clerical and Lay Deputies and alternate Deputies to the Synod, in accordance with the diocesan Canons and the provisions of the Ordinances of the Province.

Canon 1.15.10(a)

(a) With the permission of the Presiding Bishop, the Bishop in Charge and the Council of Advice may (i) engage a Diocese of this Church to provide the needed Disciplinary Structures to fulfill the requirements of the Canons of this Church, or (ii) establish among the Congregations of the Convocation the needed Disciplinary Structures to fulfill the requirements of the Canons of this Church. In either case, the Provincial Court of Review shall either be that of the Diocese providing the needed Disciplinary Structures or that of the Province of the Convocation; and, for the purposes of implementing the provisions for Ecclesiastical Discipline (Title IV) of a member of the Clergy, the Bishop in Charge shall serve the function reserved for the Bishop Diocesan, except that the Presiding Bishop must approve any Accord, any Agreement for Discipline and the terms of any Order, and pronounce the Sentence.

Canon III.5.1(c)

(c) In case of a vacancy in the episcopate in a Diocese, the Ecclesiastical Authority may authorize and request the President of the House of Bishops of the Province Bishop of another diocese to take order for an ordination.

Canon III.11.1(b)

(b) In lieu of electing a Bishop, the Convention of a Diocese may request that an election be made on its behalf by the House of Bishops of the Province of which the Diocese is a part, subject to confirmation by the Provincial Synod, or it may request that an election be made on its behalf by the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church.

Canon III.11.5

Sec. 5. Upon receipt of the consents and assurance of the acceptance of the election by the Bishop-elect, the Presiding Bishop shall take order for the ordination of the Bishop-elect either by the Presiding Bishop or the President of the House of Bishops of the Province of which the Diocese for which the Bishop was elected is part, and two other Bishops of this Church, or by any three Bishops to whom the Presiding Bishop may communicate the testimonials.

Canon III.11.8(a)

(a) Within ten days after the election of a Bishop Diocesan, a Bishop Coadjutor, or a Bishop Suffragan by a Diocesan Convention, delegates constituting no less than ten percent of the number of delegates casting votes on the final ballot may file with the Secretary of the Convention written objections to the election process, setting forth in detail all alleged irregularities. Within ten days after receipt thereof, the Secretary of the Convention shall forward copies of the same to the Bishop Diocesan, the Chancellor and Standing Committee of the Diocese, and to the Presiding Bishop, who shall request the Court of Review of the Province in which the Diocese is located to investigate the complaint. The Court of Review may invite response by the Bishop Diocesan, the Chancellor, the Standing Committee and any other persons within the Diocese for which the Bishop was elected. Within thirty days after receipt of the request, the Court of Review shall send a written report of its findings to the Presiding Bishop, a copy of which report the Presiding Bishop, within fifteen days, shall cause to be sent to the Bishop Diocesan, the Chancellor, the Standing Committee and the Secretary of the Convention of the electing Diocese. The Secretary shall send a copy of the report to each of the delegates who filed objection to the election process.

Canon III.11.9(c)

(2) The Convention of a Missionary Diocese may, in lieu of electing a Bishop, request that such election be made on its behalf by the Synod of the Province, or the House of Bishops of the Province subject to confirmation of the Provincial Council, or the Regional Council of Churches in communion with this Church of which the Diocese is a member. A Certificate of the Election, signed by the presiding officer and the Secretary of the Synod or Provincial House of Bishops, or Regional Council, and a testimonial in the form required in Canon III.11signed by a constitutional majority of the Synod, Provincial House of Bishops or Regional Council, shall be transmitted by its presiding officer to the Standing Committee of the Missionary Diocese on whose behalf such election was made. The Standing Committee shall thereupon proceed as set forth in Canon III.11, the above Certification of Election and Testimonial serving in lieu of evidence of election and testimonial therein required.

(3 2) The Convention of a Missionary Diocese may, in lieu of electing a Bishop, request that such election may be made on its behalf by the House of Bishops. Such choice shall be subject to confirmation by a majority of the Standing Committees of the several Dioceses. The medical certificate as required in Canon III.11 shall also be required of Missionary Bishops-elect.

(i) When the House of Bishops is to elect a Bishop for a Missionary Diocese within a given Province, the President of the Province may convene the Synod of the Province prior to the meeting of the House of Bishops at which a Bishop for such Missionary Diocese is to be elected. The Synod of the Province may thereupon nominate not exceeding three persons to the House of Bishops for that office. It shall be the duty of the President of the Province to transmit such nominations, if any be made, to the Presiding Officer of the House of Bishops, communicate the same to the Bishops, along with other nominations that have been made, in accordance with the Rules of Order of the House. Each Province containing a Missionary Diocese shall, by Ordinance, provide the manner of convening the Synod and making such nomination.

(ii i) The evidence of such choice shall be a certificate signed by the Bishop presiding in the House of Bishops and by its Secretary, with a testimonial, or certified copy thereof, signed by a majority of the Bishops of the House, in the form required in Canon III.11, which shall be sent to the Presiding Officer of the House of Deputies, or the Standing Committees of the several Dioceses.

(iii ii) When the Presiding Bishop shall have received a certificate signed by the Presidents and Secretaries of a majority of the Standing Committees, that the election has been approved, and shall have received notice of the acceptance by the Bishop-elect of the election, the Presiding Bishop shall take order for the consecration of the said Bishop-elect either by the Presiding Bishop and two other Bishops of this Church, or by three Bishops of this Church to whom the Presiding Bishop may communicate the certificates and testimonial.

Canon IV

All references in Title IV to “Provincial Court of Review” shall be amended to read “Court of Review”.

Canon IV.5.4

Sec. 4. In each Province there shall be a court to be known as the Provincial Court of Review, with jurisdiction to receive and determine appeals from Hearing Panels of Dioceses within the Province as provided in Canon IV.15 and to determine venue issues as provided in Canon IV.19.5.

(a) The Provincial Court of Review shall consist of: (i) one Bishop of the Province; two Priests, or one Priest and one Deacon; and two lay persons; and (ii) one Bishop, one Priest or Deacon, and one lay person to serve as alternates as hereinafter provided. Each Priest or Deacon, whether a member or alternate, shall be canonically resident in a Diocese of the Province different from any other Priest or Deacon, and each lay person, whether a member or alternate, shall reside in a Diocese of the Province different from any other lay person. The Priests, Deacons and lay persons shall be members of the Disciplinary Boards of their respective Dioceses.

(b) The members and alternates of the Provincial Court of Review shall be appointed annually by the president of the Province. The Provincial Court of Review shall select a president from among its members.

(c) The persons appointed to the Provincial Court of Review shall continue to serve until their respective successors have been appointed, except in case of death, resignation or declination to serve.

(d) No member of the Provincial Court of Review may serve in any matter originating from the Diocese in which such member serves on the Disciplinary Board. In such event, the alternate shall serve.

(e) In the event that any member of the Provincial Court of Review is excused pursuant to the provisions of Canon IV.5.3(c), or, upon objection made by either party to the appeal is deemed by the other members of the Provincial Court of Review to be disqualified, such member’s alternate shall serve.

(f) In the event of any Provincial Court of Review member’s death, resignation or declination to serve, or disability rendering the member unable to act or is ineligible to serve under Canons IV.5.4(d) or (e), and in the further event that there is no alternate available to serve, the president of the Provincial Court of Review shall declare a vacancy on the Provincial Court of Review. Notices of resignation or declination to serve shall be communicated in writing to the president of the Provincial Court of Review.

(g) Vacancies on the Provincial Court of Review shall be filled by appointment by the president of the Province of persons qualified as provided in Canon IV.5.4(a).

(h) The Provincial Court of Review shall appoint a clerk who may be a member of the Court, who shall be custodian of all records and files of the Provincial Court of Review and who shall provide administrative services as needed for the functioning of the Court.

(i) The rules of procedure for appeals to the Provincial Court of Review are as provided in Canon IV.15, but the Provincial Court of Review may adopt, alter or rescind supplemental rules of procedure not inconsistent with the Constitution and Canons of the Church.

Sec. 4. There shall be a Court of Review for the church with jurisdiction to receive and determine appeals from Hearing Panels of Dioceses as provided in Canon IV.15 and to determine venue issues as provided in Canon IV.19.5.

(a) The Court of Review shall consist of: (i) one Bishop; two Priests or one Priest and one Deacon; and two lay persons; and (ii) two Bishops, four Priests or Deacons of whom at least three shall be priests, and four lay persons to serve as alternates as hereinafter provided. Each Priest or Deacon, whether a member or alternate, shall be canonically resident in a Diocese different from any other Priest or Deacon, and each lay person, whether a member or alternate, shall reside in a Diocese different from any other lay person. The Priests, Deacons and lay persons shall be members of the Disciplinary Boards of their respective Dioceses.

(b) The members and alternates of the Court of Review shall be appointed annually by the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies. The Court of Review shall select a president from among its members.

(c) The persons appointed to the Court of Review shall continue to serve until their respective successors have been appointed, except in case of death, resignation or declination to serve.

(d) No member of the Court of Review may serve in any matter originating from the Diocese in which such member serves on the Disciplinary Board. In such event, the alternate shall serve.

(e) In the event that any member of the Court of Review is excused pursuant to the provisions of Canon IV.5.3(c), or, upon objection made by either party to the appeal is deemed by the other members of the Court of Review to be disqualified, such member’s alternate shall serve.

(f) In the event of any Court of Review member’s death, resignation or declination to serve, or disability rendering the member unable to act or is ineligible to serve under Canons IV.5.4(d) or (e), and in the further event that there is no alternate available to serve, the president of the Court of Review shall declare a vacancy on the Court of Review. Notices of resignation or declination to serve shall be communicated in writing to the president of the Court of Review.

(g) Vacancies on the Court of Review shall be filled by appointment by the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies from persons qualified as provided in Canon IV.5.4(a).

(h) The Court of Review shall appoint a clerk who may be a member of the Court, who shall be custodian of all records and files of the Court of Review and who shall provide administrative services as needed for the functioning of the Court.

(i) The rules of procedure for appeals to the Court of Review are as provided in Canon IV.15, but the Court of Review may adopt, alter or rescind supplemental rules of procedure not inconsistent with the Constitution and Canons of the Church.

Canon IV.15.1

Sec. 1. In the event that proceedings before the Hearing Panel are unreasonably delayed or suspended, and are not resumed within sixty days following a written request for resumption of proceedings from the Church Attorney or the Respondent, the Church Attorney or the Respondent may file a written request with the Provincial Court of Review for an order directing the Hearing Panel to resume the proceedings. The Court of Review shall consider the request as follows:

(a) The person filing the request shall provide copies of the request to the presidents of the Hearing Panel and of the Disciplinary Board. The request shall include a statement of the status of the proceedings and the reason, if known, for the delay or suspension of proceedings, and a description of all actions taken by the person filing the request or by any other person to resolve any impediment to the proceedings or other cause for the delay.

(b) Within fifteen days of receipt of the copy of the request, the president of the Hearing Panel shall file a response to the request with the Provincial Court of Review, with a copy to the Church Attorney, the Respondent and the president of the Board.

(c) The Provincial Court of Review shall convene, either personally or telephonically by online or telephone conference, to consider the request and the response, if any, from the Hearing Panel. The Court shall then either issue an order directing resumption of the proceedings or an order declining to direct resumption with an explanation of the reasons therefor. The order issued by the Provincial Court of Review shall be binding upon the Hearing Panel.

(d) In the event a Hearing Panel, having been ordered to resume proceedings, either refuses to do so or is unable to do so, the Church Attorney or the Respondent may request that the Provincial Court of Review order the transfer of the proceedings to a Hearing Panel of another Diocese within the same Province, including an order to the Board of the originating Diocese to transmit the complete record of the proceedings to the successor Hearing Panel.

Canon IV.15.2

Sec. 2. Within forty days after issuance of an Order by a Hearing Panel, the Respondent or the Church Attorney may appeal to the Provincial Court of Review, by serving written notice of the appeal upon the Bishop Diocesan, with copies copy of the notice to the presidents of the Hearing Panel and the Province. The notice of appeal shall be signed by the Respondent’s counsel or the Church Attorney and shall include a copy of the Order from which the appeal is taken and shall state the grounds of the appeal.

Canon IV.15.3

Sec. 3. Any Order from a Hearing Panel finding that a Respondent did not commit an Offense involving a question of the Doctrine, Faith or Worship of the Church may be appealed by the Bishop Diocesan upon the written request of at least two Bishops Diocesan of other Dioceses within the Province who are not members of the Provincial Court of Review. Such an appeal shall be taken on the question of the Church’s Doctrine, Faith and Worship only, and may not seek to reverse the finding of the Hearing Panel of noncommission of other Offenses. An appeal under this section may be taken by service of a notice of appeal by the Bishop Diocesan upon the Respondent, the Church Attorney and the presidents of the Hearing Panel and the Province within forty days after the Order of the Hearing Panel is received by the Bishop Diocesan.

Canon IV.15.4

Sec. 4. If an appeal is taken from a Hearing Panel of a Diocese which is non-provincial, the appeal shall be taken before the Provincial Court of Review geographically closest to that Diocese.

Canon IV.19.5(c)

(c) If objection is made by the Bishop Diocesan of the Diocese of canonical residence as provided in Canon IV.19.5(b), the Bishop Diocesan of the Diocese of canonical residence and the Bishop Diocesan of the Intake Officer’s Diocese shall promptly agree as to which Diocese will assume jurisdiction over the matter and conduct proceedings. If the two Bishops cannot promptly agree, the disagreement will be resolved as follows:

(1) If they are in the same Province, either may promptly request the president of the Provincial Court of Review to decide which Diocese shall conduct the proceedings. If they are in different Provinces, e Either may promptly request the president of the Disciplinary Board for Bishops to decide which Diocese shall conduct the proceedings.

(2) The requesting Bishop shall provide a copy of the request to the other Bishop. A reply to the request may be made by the non-requesting Bishop within fifteen days of service of the request.

(3) The president shall have the discretion to hear from the Bishops Diocesan or the Church Attorneys for the respective Dioceses, either personally or telephonically by online or telephone conference, concerning the request and any reply. The president shall have the discretion to request additional submissions from the Bishops Diocesan or the Church Attorneys.

(4) The president shall decide which Diocese shall conduct the proceedings within thirty days of service of the request.

Canon IV.19.19

Sec. 19. No Chancellor or Vice Chancellor of a Diocese shall serve as Church Attorney in that Diocese. No Chancellor or Vice Chancellor of any Province shall serve as Church Attorney in any Diocese of that Province or any provincial proceeding. Neither the Presiding Bishop’s Chancellor nor the Chancellor to the President of the House of Deputies shall serve as Church Attorney in any proceeding. The Church Attorney in any proceeding shall not be from the same law firm as any Chancellor or Vice Chancellor otherwise disqualified under this section.

Canon IV.19.23(b)

(b) The necessary costs and expenses of the Provincial Court of Review shall be the expense of the Province General Convention.

Canon V.4.1(c)

(c) The term of any Member of the Clergy specified to be filled by virtue of a provincial or diocesan canonical residence shall become vacant upon the change of canonical residence to another diocese or to a diocese in a different province, as the case may be.

(d) The term of any Lay Person specified to be filled by virtue of a provincial or diocesan residence shall become vacant upon the change of residence to another diocese or to a diocese in a different province, as the case may be.

House of Bishops Rule of Order XXVII

There shall be an Advisory Committee, composed of Bishops who are the Presidents or Vice-Presidents of each Province, which will act as advisory council to the Presiding Bishop between meetings of the House of Bishops. The Committee shall elect its own officers. The Presiding Bishop shall be authorized to appoint an Advisory Council for consultation and advice in the performance of the duties of the office. The Committee shall elect its own officers.

House of Deputies Rule of Order 9

Provided, that, when the number of members equals or exceeds the number of Provinces, there shall normally be at least one member from each Province. The size of all Committees, unless otherwise noted, shall be at the discretion of the President. The President shall be a member, ex officio, of all Committees. The Presiding Officers are encouraged to continue to appoint persons from International Dioceses to the committees and commissions of this church.

House of Deputies Rule of Order 22(b)

(b) Resolutions may be introduced only by:

(1) Deputies.

(2) Dioceses.

(3) Provinces.

(4 3) Standing Commissions.

(5 4) Standing, Joint, and Legislative Committees.

(6 5) The Executive Council.

(7 6) Other Boards and Agencies created by and required to report to the General Convention.

(8 7) The House of Bishops by Messages.

House of Deputies Rule of Order 62 b(ii)

(ii) up to 18 24 youth (not more than two youth from each Province) who are duly authorized representatives known as The Official Youth Presence shall have seat and voice in a designated section on the floor of the House.

Joint Rules of Order of the House of Bishops and House of Deputies

  1. (a) There shall be a Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget, and Finance, consisting of 27 persons being members of the General Convention (one nineBishops, andtwo eighteen members of the House of Deputies, either Lay or Clerical, from each Province), who shall be appointed not later than the fifteenth day of December following each regular Meeting of the General Convention, the Bishops to be appointed by the Presiding Bishop, the Deputies by the President of the House of Deputies.

Explanation
During the 20th Century, the Provincial structure played a key role in the governance of this Church in a world where communication and travel were not easily accomplished. Given the connectedness of the world today, our ability to foster relationships across the Church is stronger than ever before, while the artificial boundaries of the Provinces have, at times, stymied the ability to collaborate. By eliminating Provinces, room will be made to develop relationships based on affinity, irrespective of geographic happenstance in order to further the mission of the Church. At the same time, the particular gifts and needs of international dioceses are recognized. This resolution calls for their continued support, and for our Presiding Officers to continue to include participation from dioceses outside of the United States in the church’s committees and commissions.

8 Comments

  1. Lisa Fox

    I think this is worthy of consideration, but carefully.

    I have heard of Provinces that work together very effectivel (such as Province 4), sharing resources and networking together. The same cannot be said of my province, so far as I know. It only meets every three years (in the spring before General Convention). The members of Provincial Synod do not actually know each other. Elections from the Province to churchwide bodies are a farce, since those attending the Provincial Synod each 3 years are unlikely to know the candidates outside their own diocese. In short, my experience tells me that our Provincial structure has been unhelpful.

    However, if we are looking toward a more networked and grassroots based Church structure, the Provincial structures could be a great asset. They could be a very effective way to share talents and resources, since they are regionally based and could more easily assemble stakeholders to develop and share resources. Because they are geographically nearby, fewer expenses would be incurred in meetings compared to national meetings.

    In short, I’m conflicted about this proposal. If my diocese sends money to our province, then I expect that’s a wasted resource. However, if we want to be a more networked church, then collaboration at the provincial level could be a marvelous resource and incubator. But I think it would require a whole different level of energy and leadership within some of the provinces.

    As you can tell, my experience of my own province makes me think it’s easily dispensable in its current form. But I think provinces could be tremendously valuable incubators of innovation if they had the right leadership and structure.

    Reply
  2. Richard Miller

    As the recent past president of province 4, I fully agree with Lisa’s comments regarding the effective use of networking within provincial structures, especially in province 4. Members of province 4 meet in synod the year before and the year of general convention. A network of several ministries contribute to the overall ministry of the province and offers defined connections for those in need of resources of the province.

    Province 4 financial support comes form the dioceses within the province, grants and general convention (declining over previous trienniums). Instead of eliminating this kind of success, it should be used as an example and duplicated in the other porovinces.

    Reply
  3. Brian S. Reid

    The provinces may once have served a purpose but do no longer, not even for the purpose of networking. What does the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania have in common with the Diocese of Washington or the Diocese of West Virginia have in common with the Diocese of Pennsylvania except that we are all in Province III? Networking for common ministry would make much more sense if the dioceses of Western New York, Northwestern Pennsylvania, and West Virginia could work together since we are all so similar in size, resources, and demographics. But currently we are in two different provinces. These proposals would permit us to work together more readily and would certainly not forbid the members of Province IV from continuing their effective joint work.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Fox

      Brian, I’ve been pondering your comment for a few days. At first I didn’t “get it” that you’re talking about dioceses that face similar issues but are in different provinces. Now I realize my Diocese of Missouri is in much the same situation as you describe. We are the only diocese in our province that doesn’t front one of the Great Lakes. I dare say we have more in common with Arkansas or West Missouri (which are in different provinces than we) than we do with our so called “provincial brothers” in Michigan and Ohio.

      So I can go along your desire to work with “neighbor dioceses” who are more like “affinity groups.”

      How would we structure them? I can imagine there would be different affinities across different issues of mission and ministry.

      And how shall we fund them? I was rather startled when I learned that our diocese pays an “assessment” to our Province. Let’s say the static structure of 9 Provinces goes away and is replaced by geographic affinity groups of dioceses. if we move away from that arbitrary Province and move into a new model of cooperation. Let’s say dioceses form their own geographic “affinity groups” made up of neighbor dioceses that face similar demographics, geography, etc., rather than the 9 provinces we now have, which are drawn up on rather arbitrary maps. How shall we fund the work of those new “affinity dioceses”? [Might we even call them “companion dioceses” within TEC? ] For it’s all well and good to identify the dioceses with whom we share concerns, but without some funding, nothing significant will happen.

      Mind you, I am open to a whole different concept of “affinity dioceses” rather than our current Provincial Structure. But how would we make that happen logistically and financially? At the moment, I don’t know. Perhaps you and others have ideas.

      Reply
  4. Kit Wang

    Province 1 continues to work closely between its member dioceses. While there may be other ways to collaborate that are working currently, right now the Province woorks very well in New England. Would hate for that resource to go away.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Fox

      Kit, your comment reminds me that there are two provinces about which I heard good news of effective work Provinces I (in New England) and IV (in The South). It strikes me that these two geographic provinces also share a “culture.” Most of the others are arbitrary regions that do not. Perhaps there’s some wisdom in there.

      Reply
  5. Ken Howard

    While a couple of the provinces are wonderful examples of effective networking, I think the are they exception that proves the rule that by-and-large the provinces are bureaucratic structures in search of a purpose, and which waste what little actual power they have in obstructionism. Neither are the structures themselves essential to the networking that does happen. My guess is that if the money saved by eliminating the provinces could be left in the dioceses, those that wanted to continue networking could do just as well or better maintaining the networks directly.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Fox

      Ken, your comment makes me realize I have perhaps been guilty of a bit of intellectual hypocrisy on the issue of retaining or eliminating provinces. That’s probably a good thing. As we get closer to the opening of GC, it’s my hope that more issues will begin to clarify for me.
      I’ve been arguing from my wish that a provincial structure could be an effective base for networking. On the other hand, in GC2012 I supported the Structure Committee’s resolution to eliminate all but two of the Standing Committees, and I’m behind the analogous resolution for GC2015. In both cases, I’ve argued it makes sense to eliminate all but the essential structure and then, if a need is clear, build back what structure is necessary.
      I have come to the conclusion that the same should hold true of the provinces. Obviously two of them (Provinces I & IV) are working effectively. Most of the others seem not to be. Therefore, let’s let the current provincial structure die and see what is needed for effective networking. The dioceses in Provinces I & IV may vote to continue something like a province; others may find different groupings and structures and fund them in ways analogous to the current provincial funding.

      Reply

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