Professionalizing Defense Counsel in Ecclesiastical Cases

Overture 26 proposes to change a fundamental principle of advocacy in our Church courts that I believe we ought to avoid.

…I am persuaded that BCO 32-19 has long stood to preserve and defend the autonomy and independence of our graded courts as exercised by the ordained elders composing those courts in connection with their official proceedings.

Allow me to explain. Each of our church courts consist of an insular group of elders, ordained and called to perform the work assigned to their respective court. These elders are to exercise all the government of the Church within the field of their court’s respective jurisdiction, including cases of process. Membership in any court is discretely defined, and the operation of any court is always through the action of its members.

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