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Posted in part with permission from the Diocese of North Carolina

We encourage you to visit, the website developed by The Episcopal Church, for full information on the disciplinary process.

Read the TitleIV canons
Glossary of terms used

What is Title IV?
What kind of allegations does it cover?

What is Title IV?

“Title IV is the section of the Episcopal Church’s Canons that addresses the grounds and processes for “ecclesiastical discipline,” a canonical process adopted by the Church to encourage accountability, reconciliation and pastoral response when a member of its clergy (deacons, priests or bishops) are accused of misconduct.” (from

This process applies to members of the clergy because they have, by their vows at ordination, accepted additional responsibilities and accountabilities for doctrine, discipline, worship and obedience. Its intent is to resolve conflicts by promoting healing, repentance, forgiveness, restitution, justice, amendment of life and reconciliation among all involved.

Title IV is not a criminal proceeding or a civil proceeding; it is an ecclesiastical proceeding. It is about, for and by the Church. It is a process of discernment in which the church seeks enough clarity about what has happened to take action in the interest of justice, healing and wholeness for all involved or affected.

What kind of allegations does it cover?

Offenses under Title IV include:

  • Knowingly violating Constitution or Canons
  • Failing without good cause to cooperate with proceedings under Title IV
  • Intentionally or maliciously bringing false accusation under this title
  • Any breach of Standards of Conduct in IV.4 (listed below under clergy requirements)
  • Offense must be material, substantial or of clear and weighty importance to the ministry of the Church

All clergy are required to:

  • Respect confidences except for pastoral, legal or moral requirements for disclosure
  • Conform to rubrics of Book of Common Prayer
  • Abide by Ordination Vows
  • Abide by pastoral direction, accord or order of bishop
  • Safeguard property and funds of Church and community
  • Report offenses to Intake Officer
  • Be faithful exercise of their ministry as described in the Book of Common Prayer

Clergy must refrain from:

  • Sexual misconduct
  • Holding or teaching doctrine contrary to church
  • Secular employment without consent of Bishop
  • Absent from canonically resident diocese for two years without Bishop’s consent
  • Criminal act reflecting your honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness to minister
  • Conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation
  • Habitual neglect of ministerial office, public worship, Holy Communion
  • Conduct unbecoming a member of the Clergy

To report a problem or ask for clarification on any of these issues, the Title IV Intake Officer for the Diocese of Olympia is the Rev Canon Dr Marda Steedman-Sanborn. She can be contacted through email or phone (206.325.4200 x3503). All correspondence is confidential. A Pastoral Letter on Suspension of Statute of Limitations for Clergy Sexual Misconduct has been posted.