Leadership impairment resolutions pass, take effect Jan. 1, 2019

By Sharon Tillman
Posted Jul 12, 2018

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] The 79th General Convention passed three resolutions which came to convention as a result of  the Commission on Impairment and Leadership, which refer to intervention, evaluation and possible re-entry or action needed related to various forms of leadership impairment.

The three resolutions, D057, D058 and D059, speak to issues surrounding leadership impairment due to alcohol and substance misuse and behavioral addictions.

The resolutions will take effect Jan. 1, 2019

D057 calls for training on alcohol and substance Misuse, and “directs the Executive Council to take the necessary steps to develop a mandatory training program with respect to alcohol and substance misuse and other forms of addiction (to be renewed at designated intervals) for all persons in the process of formation for ordination and for all priests and deacons currently licensed.”

A Rapid Response Team for Crisis Intervention is called for in D058, which “recommends that the presiding bishop, drawing on the research of the Commission on Leadership and Impairment, establish a team of advisers or consultants to serve as a resource on alcoholism and substance misuse and other forms of addiction to provide a rapid response to issues of questionable impairment, to provide clergy or other concerned individuals with confidential advice, and to assist with monitoring and recovery.”

And in D059, Executive Council and the Pastoral Development Committee of the House of Bishops evaluate their policies and practices surrounding alcohol and substance use so that changes can be made that “may contribute to a healthy environment with regard to alcohol and substance misuse and other forms of addiction” in the context of meetings and gatherings. This resolution also “recommends that CREDO develop a program component to help participants explore their relationship to alcohol and substance misuse and other forms of addiction.”

The commission decided that bringing resolutions to convention was not part of the mandate it received.  The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies and Executive Council vice president, told the council earlier in the year that she had asked the deputy members of convention’s legislative committee on church-wide leadership to consider drafting resolutions that pertain to parts of the report’s recommendation that had not been addressed by resolutions from other sources. Ohio Deputy William Powel, a member of the legislative commitee who served as legal counsel for the impairment commission, proposed D057, D058 and D059.

All three resolutions were passed by the House of Deputies as part of the July 8 consent calendar. There was no debate in that house. Resolution D059 passed the House of Bishops on July 9, and Resolutions D057 and D058 were approved on the House of Bishops’ July 10 consent calendar.

– Sharon Tillman is a freelance writer for Episcopal News Service.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the origins of the three resolutions.