Title IV

Title IV

Clergy Disciplinary Process

The General Convention of the Episcopal Church in 2009 revised the canons known as Title IV to make clergy discipline first and foremost a process of discernment, mediation, and pastoral response rather than one that is legalistic and judicial. The process now models those used in the medical, legal, and social work professions. The revised canons went into effect on July 1, 2011.

Canon 1 of Title IV sets the theological context for the process:  “By virtue of Baptism, all members of the Church are called to holiness of life and accountability to one another. The Church and each Diocese shall support their members in their life in Christ and seek to resolve conflicts by promoting healing, repentance, forgiveness, restitution, justice, amendment of life, and reconciliation among all involved or affected. This Title applies to Members of the Clergy, who have by their vows at ordination accepted additional responsibilities and accountability for doctrine, discipline, worship, and obedience.”

Contacting the Intake Officer

Doug Franzen, Chancellor: chancellor@episcopalmn.org
Rebecca Bernhard, Intake Officer: bernhard.rebecca@dorsey.com

The intake officer will:

  • Listen with respect
  • Offer pastoral care and response
  • Create a written report regarding the concern(s) presented
  • Answer questions about the process

Please note: Members of the clergy are required to report to the intake officer anything that may constitute an offense and to cooperate with the clergy disciplinary process.

You can also find more information on the Title IV website for The Episcopal Church.

An Overview of the Process

All matters are reported to an intake officer.  Matters might then be resolved through pastoral care, mediation, an agreement with the bishop, a pastoral directive (Canon IV.7.1), an investigation or any combination of these.  An investigation may result in formal mediation, and, if necessary, a hearing.

The process now allows for resolution through whatever means will move those affected toward justice, restitution, amendment of life, repentance, healing, forgiveness and reconciliation.  This can include a variety of interventions for all involved and, if necessary, the suspension or removal of the cleric from ordained ministry.

The Title IV canons are available in the Constitution & Canons for The Episcopal Church.  (The Title IV Canons begin on page 135 of the PDF)

You can also find more information on the Title IV website for The Episcopal Church.

An Overview of the Standards of Conduct

Members of the clergy should:

  • 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

Members of the clergy should not:

  • Engage 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)
  • Hold or teach any doctrine contrary to that held by the Episcopal Church;
  • Commit criminal acts
  • Engage in dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation
  • Habitually neglect public worship, Holy Communion
  • Engage in any conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy

See below for further information on Title IV.

For questions or concerns, please email Chancellor Doug Franzen