Canon XII – Dissolution of the Pastoral Relationship
12.1 – Resignation
A Rector shall not resign a Parish without the consent of a majority of the Vestry of such Parish; provided, however, that a Rector shall resign a Parish upon attainment of age seventy-two.
12.2 – Removal
A Rector shallnot be removed from a Parish except as provided in Section 12.6(1) hereof.
12.3 – Procedure In The Event of Dispute
If either the Rector or the Vestry desire a dissolution of the pastoral relationship and cannot agree concerning the terms and conditions of such dissolution, the Rector or the Vestry shall prepare and serve a written representation upon the Bishop and on the other party to the dispute. Such representation shall state with specificity all facts and arguments relative to the dispute. The other party shall prepare and serve on the Bishop and upon the party making the representation a written answer to the facts and arguments stated therein. Such answer shall be served within twenty days after the date of service of the representation and shall admit or deny the facts stated therein and respond to the arguments therein made.
12.4 – Bishop As Mediator
Within sixty days of the receipt of such representation, and such written answer if interposed, the Bishop, as chief pastor of the Diocese, shall mediate the differences between Rector and Vestry in every informal way which the Bishop deems proper, and may appoint a committee of at least one Priest and one Lay Person, none of who may be members of the Parish involved, to make a report to the Bishop.
12.5 – Hearing on Dispute If Not Resolved By Bishop
If the Bishop shall determine that the differences between the parties are not resolved at the conclusion of mediation, he shall convene the Standing Committee and give written notice to the parties as to the date, time and place at which the Bishop, and the Standing Committee, will hold a hearing. At such hearing, a stenographic record shall be kept, and each of the parties shall have full opportunity to present evidence and arguments relevant to the dispute, and to be represented by counsel.
12.6 – Order After Hearing
After such hearing, the Bishop, with the advice and consent of the Standing Committee, shall make and serve a written order upon the parties. Such order shall either (1) terminate the pastoral relationship at a time and upon terms and conditions specified therein, or (2) direct that the pastoral relationship shall continue upon terms and conditions specified therein. Such order shall be conclusively binding on the parties.
12.7 – Secretary To Record
If, pursuant to this Canon, the Pastoral Relationship be dissolved, the Bishop shall direct the Secretary of the Diocese to record such dissolution.
12.8 – Penalty for Failure To Comply
In the event that either party shall thereafter refuse to comply with the agreement reached pursuant to Section 12.4 hereof or with the order issued pursuant to Section 12.6 hereof, the Bishop may, in the case of the Rector, suspend the Rector from the exercise of the priestly office until the Rector shall comply with such agreement or order, or, in the case of the Vestry, recommend to the Diocesan Convention that the union of the Parish with Convention be suspended until such order is complied with.
12.9 – Vacancy in Episcopate
If the Episcopate is vacant, the Ecclesiastical Authority shall select a Bishop of an adjacent Diocese to act in conformity with this Canon.