Committee receiving input on Canons rewrite process

Committee receiving input on Canons rewrite process

People around the diocese have begun submitting comments in the process of revising the diocesan canons, both through an online survey and by email to the Constitution and Canons committee.

“I am pleased we are receiving comments and input from so many in the diocese. This is what our Constitution and Canons Committee wants: your input.” – The Rt. Rev. Rayford High

The comment period on this first draft will be open through July 17. This first comment period – and the second comment period in July and August – are providing the committee more information and clarity about what kinds of rules people want the diocese to run by.

Share your feedbackon the proposed Canon changes


The committee is encouraged by the level of engagement in the discussion so far and hopes even more people will contribute their thoughts. Committee Chair George Komechak noted that the committee is grateful to have more voices from differing perspectives taking part in the conversation.

“We look forward to receiving the comments. We’re listening to what people are saying and writing, and we can use this feedback in creating a second draft.” – George Komechak, Chair, Constitution and Canons

The proposed Canon changes in their current form are not already decided on or finalized. Rewriting the Canons is a multi-step, multi-year process, and comments are being requested from members of the diocese at several points along the way. The process started in 2012, when the Diocesan Convention voted to study, evaluate, and begin a rewrite of both the Constitution and the Canons. More work on the documents was accomplished in 2014, when the Convention voted on a first reading of our revised Constitution.

“I want to thank all of you who have taken the time to offer suggestions to the committee in this process of rewriting the Canons. As we have said, this is a first draft. We still have much work to do together before we gather in November at our annual Convention.” – Bishop High

The draft will go through two more rounds of revision. After the first round of comments, the committee will revise the document, creating a second draft that takes into consideration the feedback received. That second draft will be published online with another survey to invite further review. Members of the committee also plan to attend all five deanery meetings in August to answer questions and listen to more feedback in person. They will then revise the document again before submitting their proposed changes in resolution form to the Secretary to publish leading up to Convention.

Once the document has been submitted as a resolution, each proposed change can still be amended – or even rejected – by the Convention.


Last week’s article gave a brief summary of the canon rewrite project. Here is a more detailed timeline.


At the Diocesan Convention in November, the committee was given the task of overhauling both the Constitution and the Canons. A task force was formed for this purpose and began reviewing the documents and collecting examples from other dioceses.


In the fall of the next year, the committee sought to get input from around the diocese on what changes or additions were needed. The committee sent out a survey, which was posted online and sent by email to diocesan leaders. Committee members made announcements at Executive Council and other diocesan meetings requesting input through the survey.

In addition, the committee collected and began reviewing examples of Constitution and Canons in other dioceses to compare with the Diocese of Fort Worth’s, to find ideas that could be applicable. 

2014 - Rewrite of Constitution
The initial survey process begun in late 2013 and through the early part of 2014 didn’t yield any feedback; no one responded to it.

The committee continued to consider examples of documents from other dioceses and created a proposal for a revised Constitution, which they presented to the Executive Council and then at each of the Deanery meetings prior to Convention in 2014. Vigorous debate was held during Convention as well, with some amendments proposed to the document on its first reading.

2015 - Rewrite of Canons
The committee undertakes its overhaul of the Canons, inviting comments and feedback in two major rounds of revisions.

May through June – First round of feedback

  • May 16 – A draft of proposed canon changes is presented to the Executive Council in May, inviting comments.
  • late May-early June – Members of the committee work with diocesan staff to create an online survey form to invite reviewers’ comments.
  • June 8 – The new survey form is published online, sent out in diocesan e-news, and distributed also by email to lay delegates, clergy, and diocesan leaders.
  • June 27 – The committee reviews and evaluates early feedback at its monthly meeting.

July through August – Revision and second round of feedback

  • July 16 – Diocese-wide forum on proposed canon changes, held at Trinity Episcopal Church in the parish hall
  • July 17 – Deadline for submitting comments in the first round of feedback
  • July – Committee makes changes based on the first round of feedback, notifies diocese of progress and distributes a second draft for review. The committee’s second draft and summary are to be posted on the website, inviting a second round of comments.
  • July 25 – During its regular monthly meeting, the committee reviews feedback from the second round of comments and works on the draft further.
  • August – Members of the committee visit each of the five deanery meetings to present the proposed Canon changes and hear discussion and feedback.
  • August 27 – Deadline for submitting comments in the second round of feedback
  • August 29 – The committee pushes its regular meeting date back a week to receive more feedback from the second round and to work on finalizing their proposed Canon changes.

September through November – Revision and finalizing of proposed Canons

  • Sept 11 – The committee submits a resolution to the Convention Secretary on the final proposed Canon changes.
  • Sept 19 – The committee presents the final proposed Canons to the Executive Council for discussion.
  • October – At each of the five Pre-Convention Deanery Meetings, members of the committee will present the proposed Canons and answer questions and hear discussion.
  • September through November 13 – the proposed Canon changes are available on the website. During this time, members of the diocese are encouraged to review them in their final form and, if they have concerns, to work with their delegate(s) to prepare any amendment(s) they would like proposed at Convention during the discussion period. Amendments should be prepared in writing so they can be easily distributed for the Convention to consider.
  • November 13-14 – At Diocesan Convention, delegates and clergy will take a second vote on the rewritten Constitution (first voted on in 2014), and they will also vote on the rewritten Canons.