On Saturday, April 17, the Episcopal Diocese of Washington convened a Special Convention to debate and vote on a proposed “Canon for Diocesan Stewardship and Parish Viability.” After several hours of considered debate and passage of several amendments, the Convention voted overwhelmingly to adopt the new canon.
The canon’s purpose, as stated on the EDOW website, is “to strengthen the Body of Christ in the Diocese of Washington by helping support and revitalize all communities of faith, ensuring that they have the necessary capacity to achieve spiritual and financial health.” It includes standards of health, governance and viability. The canon grants Diocesan Council the authority to initiate a Health and Viability Assessment of a parish at the request of the Bishop, Standing Committee, a member of Diocesan Council, or the Rector or Vestry of a parish.
You can read the canon in its entirety and the full summary on the Special Convention page of the EDOW website.
Bishop Mariann has asked the Rev. Dr. Robert Phillips, Canon for Leadership Development and Congregational Care, to lead the effort to develop a pastoral approach to inform future implementation efforts of the new canon. His first tasks will be to establish a small advisory team and to consult with other dioceses and church leaders about their implementation strategies. Canon Phillips and the advisory team will make their first report to Diocesan Council in June.