Under the provisions of Canon III.9.12, when the pastoral relationship in a parish between a Rector and the Vestry or Congregation "is imperiled by disagreement or dissension, and the issues are deemed serious by a majority vote of the Vestry or the Rector," either party may petition the Ecclesiastical Authority, in writing, to intervene and assist the parties in their efforts to resolve the disagreement. The written petition must include sufficient information to inform the Ecclesiastical Authority and the parties involved of the nature, causes, and specifics of the disagreements or dissension imperiling the pastoral relationship. The Ecclesiastical Authority will then initiate such proceedings as are deemed appropriate by the Ecclesiastical Authority, which may include the appointment of a Consultant or Mediator. 

We at CanonLawyer, Inc. can act as consultants and advisors to Rectors or Vestries in the reconciliation process, and, as experienced mediators, we will accept appointment by Bishops as Mediators and Consultants. 

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Canon III.9.13 provides that if for any urgent reason a Rector or majority of Vestry based on a vote in a duly-called meeting, desires a dissolution of the pastoral relation, and the parties cannot agree, either party may give notice in writing to the Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese with a copy available to the Rector or Vestry. If the parties have participated in mediation or consultation processes under III.9.12, a separate report from the mediator or consultant will be submitted to the Ecclesiastical Authority with copies available to the Rector and Vestry. The Bishop will then appoint a committee to meet with the Rector and the Vestry and render a report to the Bishop, after which the Bishop will render a "godly judgment" which will be binding on both the Rector and the Parish.

We at CanonLawyer, Inc. can assist Bishops, Priests and Vestries with respect to Dissolution of the Pastoral Relation under Title III.   The dissolution process can be long and difficult, and the results can be extremely damaging to both the Priest and the Parish.  We can help.  We can act as consultants and advisors to either Rectors or Vestries, and, as experienced mediators, we will accept appointment by Bishops as Mediators and Consultants.     


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