More on the New Constitution & Canons – News Roundup Feb 2024

Welcome to the News Roundup, where we aim to provide brief recaps of current news from the Diocese, including the Standing Committee, Task Forces, and more.

In This Issue: 
Standing Committee Leaders
More on the Constitution and Canons

Standing Committee Leaders
On December 16, Synod delegates elected three clergy and three laity to the new Standing Committee. Fr. Kent Anderson of Christ Church Madison (WI) was selected as chair of the Standing Committee, and Alyssa Tennison of Church of the Cross (MN) was selected as vice-chair, as per our Canons. You can read their bios here.

More on the New Constitution and Canons
In December 2023, the Diocese ratified a revised Constitution and passed significant amendments to the Canons.

Formed in 2013, the Upper Midwest Diocese celebrated its tenth birthday last fall. The Province approved the Diocese’s initial Constitutions and Canons when the Diocese was formed. In 2021, the Province asked the Diocese to undergo a revision process of the Constitution and Canons. The Diocese welcomed this request and formed a task force to begin working on these revisions.

The Constitution and Canons Task Force evaluated input from the American Anglican Council (AAC), the Bishop’s Council, clergy and lay delegates of the Diocese, plus input on the Canons during a two-week diocesan-wide open feedback period. This undertaking culminated with the Diocesan Assembly in December 2023. The revised Constitution was ratified and amendments to the Canons were passed by an overwhelming majority of clergy and lay delegates.

Revisions to the Constitution and Canons focused on expanding opportunities for lay leadership and amplifying Titles I, II and IV:

Updated Governing Structures

The Synod (formerly Diocesan Assembly), is the primary legislative body composed of all active clergy and an elected number of lay delegates based on each congregation’s average Sunday attendance. The Synod will meet annually and has the sole power to approve amendments to the Constitution and Canons, approve new congregations, pass the budget, and conduct other diocesan business. (Canon I.2)
– A Standing Committee elected by the Synod–the Bishop plus three clergy and three laity–assumed oversight of functions of the Bishop’s Council. These seven members of the Standing Committee meet monthly to oversee the work of the Diocese, standing in the place of the Synod through the year. Powers and duties include, but are not limited to
  • Appoint the Vice-chair of the Standing Committee from its members.
  • Advise and consent to the Bishop’s appointment of Officers to the Diocese.
  • Oversee an annual review of the bishop’s work (Canon I.3)
Deans and Deaneries continue to be responsible for encouraging the ministry of congregations and expanding the ministry of the Church within their respective areas. Deans and Deaneries now have no policy-making authority. The Deaneries currently include Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Greater Chicago.
(Constitution Article VII, Canon I.4)
Amplifications to Titles I, II, and IV
  • Increased the power and the duties of the Synod and the Standing Committee (Canon I.2 and I.3).
  • Added a new Canon, “Of Congregations and Missions” (Canon I.9).
  • Created a new section, “Protection of the Vulnerable” (Canon II.5.5).
  • Reworked Title IV to clarify and strengthen the process concerning accusations against priests or deacons.

The Constitution and Canons will continue to undergo review in the life of the Diocese through an established committee. Besides the Constitution and Canons, other governing documents of the Diocese include Policies and Customaries. Policies reflect best practices and learnings, usually involve a task force, and provide greater detail (e.g. our Diocesan Child Protection Policy Standards). Customaries articulate the customs or practices of the church, and are developed by the Bishop in consultation with the Canon Theologian, Standing Committee, and clergy. These documents would entail liturgy or clergy practice such as a marriage customary of beliefs and practices for clergy.

To request a copy of the previous version of the Constitution and Canons, please email

Read the new Constitution and Canons here

Save the Dates!
Synod & Revive Conference  – October 24-26, 2024

Stay Connected
The Upper Midwest seeks to connect you to leaders and ministries across the Diocese via timely updates, clear information, and encouraging ministry reports via three e-publications: 

  1. UMD Stories – encouraging ministry news of how the Lord is moving through churches in the diocese. Read the last issue here
  2. The News Roundup – brief recaps of current news from the Diocese, including the Standing Committee, Task Forces, and more. Read the last issue here.
  3. Leaders’ Latest – greetings from Bp. Stewart and his introduction to an inspiring lay leader, church staff, or leader from the Diocese. Read the last issue here.

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