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 accountabilities for doctrine, discipline, worship and obedience.”
Under the canons, all matters will be reported to an intake officer (find contact information below). Matters might then be resolved through pastoral care, mediation, an agreement with the bishop, an investigation or any combination of these. An investigation may result in formal mediation, and, if necessary, a hearing.
The process 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.
Visit www.titleiv.org for comprehensive information about the clergy disciplinary process.
Find the Title IV canons, starting on page 200 of the Episcopal Church Constitution and Canons, here:
Constitution and Canons 2018--English
Constitución y Cánones 2018--Español
Time limit on initiating proceedings suspended through 2021
In July 2018, the Episcopal Church's General Convention adopted Resolution D034, which suspends for three years the canon that places a time limit on initiating proceedings in cases of clergy sexual misconduct against adults. There is no time limit on reporting clergy sexual misconduct against children and youth under age 21.
As a result of this resolution, from Jan. 1, 2019, until Dec. 31, 2021, those who wish to bring a case of sexual misconduct against a member of the clergy will be able to do so, regardless of how long ago the alleged misconduct occurred. Allegations of misconduct can be made to the intake officer in the diocese where the alleged misconduct occurred, or, if the allegation is against a bishop, to the Office of Pastoral Development.
Scroll down to find contact information for intake officers in the Diocese of Massachusetts.
Clergy 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
Members of the clergy are required to report to an intake officer anything that may constitute an offense and to cooperate with the clergy disciplinary process.
Contacting the intake officers
Anyone may contact the diocesan intake officer of their choosing to report concerns about the behavior of a member of the clergy (priests, deacons, bishops). This initiates a process to hold clergy accountable for their behavior.
The intake officers will listen with respect; offer pastoral care and response; create a written report regarding the concern(s) presented; and answer questions about the process.
The intake officers for the Diocese of Massachusetts are:
Starr Anderson serves as a congregational consultant for the Diocese of Massachusetts, is a member of Consultants for Tomorrow's Church, Today and is the director of Christian education and adult Bible study at St. James's Church in Groveland. She is a former clinical administrator at Massachusetts General Hospital and served as lay vicar of All Saints' Church in West Newbury from 2007 to 2009.
The Rev. Thea Keith-Lucas
The Rev. Thea Keith-Lucas has served as Episcopal chaplain to MIT since 2013. She was ordained to the priesthood in 2006 and previously served for five years as the rector of Calvary Church in Danvers, which is now part of All Saints' Episcopal Church of the North Shore.
Diocesan Disciplinary Board:
The Disciplinary Board is an elected body of members of the clergy and laity whose purpose is to carry out certain requirements of the church's canons concerning clergy discipline, including conference and hearing panels.
Members of the Diocesan Disciplinary Board (terms end in November of the year listed):
The Rev. Nancy Gossling (2019)
The Rev. Joel Ives (2019)
Brian Litzenberger (2019)
The Rev. Chris Wendell (2019)
B. Judy Fenner (2020)
Julie Shea (2020)
Daniel Clevenger (2021)
The Rev. Dr. Karen Coleman (2021)
The Rev. Edwin Johnson (2021)
#MeToo Task Force
Sexual misconduct in the church is committed by clergy and lay persons alike. To support healing and create a more respectful and honest culture, the #MeToo Task Force of the Diocese of Massachusetts has created an online form to provide an opportunity for those who have experienced, witnessed or perpetrated sexual harassment or abuse to share their story and, if they wish, to receive pastoral support. Visit our #MeToo page to access the form and find more information.