One of the ways in which Diocesan staff hope to assist parish leaders and employees is to help with what we call “good endings”. This means that those leaving employment are cared for during the transition and that remaining leaders have what is needed to move forward effectively. There are times, however, when a parish seeks to involuntarily end employment for a lay or clergy employee, including the Rector, and the Diocese can provide support during such instances. 

Voluntary Separation

The lay employee or clergy person:

  • Informs parish leadership in writing of the last date of service.
  • Works with parish leadership to announce the departure.
  • Ensures leaders’ access to files and records.
  • Returns all parish property.

Parish leadership:

  • Confirms the end date of compensation and benefits and informs those responsible for terminating benefits. Request to Cancel Benefits 2021 
  • Calculates the amount and value of any unpaid leave, typically only vacation.
  • Conducts an exit interview, recording suggestions for improvements and reasons for leaving.
  • Documents return of parish property and access to all records and files.
  • Cancels access to parish financial records, database and related systems.
  • Updates the job description before starting a recruitment process to fill the vacancy.


The decision to retire may be one of both joy and anxiety. Participants in the retirement plans of the Church Pension Group (CPG) will need to notify CPG at least three months in advance of the desired date of retirement. A packet of information is forwarded to you from CPG and it may be helpful to contact a financial advisor or tax professional when making decisions about future pension payments. You may also schedule a one-to-one appointment with a CPG retirement specialist. By planning in advance, you will find the process much less anxiety producing.

Rectors, Priests-in-Charge, and Interims should contact The Rev. Dr. Robert Phillips, Canon for Leadership Development and Congregational Care, to begin planning the transition process with the parish.

If you have concerns about health benefits in retirement or would like to discuss the transition from Active to Retiree health  benefits, please contact Kathleen Hall, Director of Human Resources and Administration.

Canonically resident clergy of the Diocese of Washington may be eligible for financial support through the Seton Belt Trust to offset the cost of healthcare in retirement. Please contact Kathleen Hall for additional information.

Involuntary Separation & Title III

Parish leaders are strongly encouraged to consult with Diocesan staff before involuntarily ending employment with any lay or clergy employee, aside from the Rector. In these consultations, Diocesan staff verify appropriate rationale and documentation, mechanisms for support during the transition period which may include a severance agreement, and discuss how the larger parish community will be informed. Please contact Kathleen Hall, Director of Human Resources and Administration, for additional information.

A Vestry discerning whether to involuntarily end employment with the Rector should contact the Bishop or a senior member of the Bishop’s staff immediately. The canonical procedure under the supervision of a bishop to discern whether or not the pastoral relationship between a rector and vestry should be dissolved is known as Title III.

Title IV

Title IV refers to the section of the Episcopal Church’s canons that deals with ecclesiastical discipline and provides the canonical process adopted by the Church to encourage accountability, reconciliation, and pastoral response when a member of its clergy (deacons, priests, or bishops) is accused of misconduct.

Any person having knowledge of possible misconduct by a clergyperson may provide the information to one of the diocesan Intake Officers.

The current Intake Officers for the Diocese of Washington are:

The Rev. Jeffrey B. McKnight:  301-655-6990
Ms. Ana-Mita Betancourt:  202-286-3165