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Title IV of the Canons of The Episcopal Church of the United States forms the backbone of the ecclesiastical disciplinary process.  For many members of the clergy, the mere mention of the phrase “Title IV” evokes feelings of fear, confusion and dread.  Many view its requirements as arcane and punitive.  But the personal, professional, emotional, financial and spiritual futures of members of the clergy accused of ecclesiastical wrongdoing, and of the communities, congregations and dioceses they serve, often rest on successfully navigating the Title IV thicket.


Though not governed by Title IV, disagreements arising between ordained and lay parish leadership can have equally profound consequences.  Dissolving the pastoral relation, if it comes to that, is governed by Title III of the Canons via a procedure with which vestries, rectors and even bishops typically have precious little experience.  Emotions often run high, and the stress and uncertainty of a pastoral dissolution can sometimes be overwhelming and debilitating.


I can help.  I am an attorney experienced in representing members of the clergy and Episcopal dioceses across the United States in Title III pastoral dissolution and Title IV disciplinary matters.  For these roles, my background is unique.  Before embarking on a Canon law practice, I was a trial lawyer with over 35 years of courtroom experience throughout the country; I am a committed and devoted Episcopalian who has served the Church in a variety of roles; and, I am “fluent” in Title III, Title IV and the other constitutional and canonical foundations of the Episcopal Church, as my dog-eared, broken-spined copies of the 2012, 2015 and 2018 (and soon to be 2022) Constitution and Canons can attest.  

My current legal practice is devoted to the resolution of Title III and Title IV Canonical disputes.  Where pastoral dissolution is sought or threatened, I represent members of the clergy seeking an outcome which safeguards their professional, spiritual, financial and emotional concerns and needs.  In Title IV matters, I represent Respondents accused of Title IV violations throughout every step of the process, from the intake and referral phasis to negotiating accords, challenging suspensions of ministry and, where necessary, litigating Conference Panel and Hearing Panel proceedings.  I also conduct comprehensive Title IV factual investigations on behalf of Episcopal dioceses in conformity with Canon IV.11.  My work in Title III and Title IV cases is nationwide in its scope, and my experience in these areas is substantial.  And along the way, I have garnered praise from clients, bishops, church attorneys, chancellors and others for my advocacy, professionalism, and dedication to my clients' interests.

No two matters are alike.  For some, the best outcome comes through thoughtful negotiation and cooperation; in other cases, zealous, professional advocacy is the proper call.  I am more than comfortable with both.  And in every matter I handle, it is an honor to serve the interests of my clients, and the Church as an institution, by guiding them toward a successful resolution of Title III and Title IV disputes.

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