THE CONTINUING CRISIS OF MINISTRY: A HISTORY OF CHANGES TO TITLE III CANONS FOR EVALUATION, EDUCATION AND FORMATION OF PRESBYTERS IN THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH 1967 to 1979
AuthorDunagan, Katherine Kelly
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This project is a historical review of changes by General Convention to canons within Title III of the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church from 1967 to 1979. Chapter One reviews the background to the ordination of presbyters in the Episcopal Church through a brief historical survey emphasizing three eras: early American, 1860-1960 and the 1960s. Chapter Two identifies General Convention changes to Title III canon law during the 1970s which affected the process for ordination to the priesthood. This is done under the headings of four areas: Access to Ordination; Evaluation of Postulants; Education of Candidates; and Formation of Presbyters. Chapter Three examines the history of access to ordination for three groups: women; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) persons; and African Americans. Chapter Three includes a review of the development of commissions on ministry; education of candidates in light of the famous Pusey Report; the General Ordination Examination; and the issues of professional training and formation of presbyters. Chapter Four discusses situational challenges that have affected access to ordination including divorce, substance abuse, aspirants ordained in anther denomination and the problem of sequential ordination. Chapter Five presents a concluding argument that this evolution of canonical requirements has left the Episcopal Church with a lack of agreement between seminaries and diocesan bishops, commissions on ministry and standing committees regarding the spiritual, professional and intellectual qualities of a presbyter and outlines solutions including the recommendation of a training for these diocesan bodies. A final conclusion follows.