Clergy Code of Conduct

Bishop Felix Orji, OSB.

“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” Philippians 1:27

Clergy misconduct (including, without limitation, sexual exploitation, disrespect of the Bishop or disregard for his directives, abuse of authority or power, financial malfeasance, disregard for diocesan canons, etc.) causes many serious problems. The moral failures of church leaders, and especially members of the clergy (who are expected to be trustworthy), also seriously compromises the church’s primary mission to “make disciples.”

In large part, it was the failure of The Episcopal Church to call sin “sin,” and to discipline church leaders who call “evil good and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20), that led to its downfall. This is true for all churches (in all generations) that discount the church’s role to transform secular culture through lives lived according to Godly standards.

The very fact that Holy Scripture singles out bishops, presbyters, and deacons for special treatment with regard to conduct demonstrates that their personal behavior is important to God and to the health of His Church. 1 Peter 5:1-4; 1 Timothy 3:1-7, 4:16; 2 Timothy 2:24-25, 4:2,5; Titus 1:7-9, 2:1,7-8.

For these reasons it is imperative that members of the clergy of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) adhere to the highest of moral standards as they model Godly behavior for the church and witness to an unbelieving world concerning the concept of Biblical holiness.

Therefore, all members of CANA’s clergy are exhorted to pursue integrity in matters of personal character. They should be humble, truthful, and hardworking. They should avoid – and when necessary, report – conflicts of interest, and seek counsel before acting in a manner others might regard as questionable. They should speak the truth in love.

CANA West clergy are to communicate truthfully and sensitively in all matters, demonstrating a commitment to the well-being of the entirety of their congregations, and exercising their influence humbly (and appropriately) as servants of the Lord.

CANA West clergy are to seek purity in their personal lives, avoid sinful sexual behavior, and whenever possible, remove themselves from situations in which they are tempted to sin. They should resist temptation, scrupulously avoid every hint of impropriety, and, similarly, make every provision to protect the children and youth of their parishes. Our clergy should study the Bible regularly, carefully, and prayerfully, and permit it to shape their thinking and world-view. The misconduct of other clergy should be reported promptly to proper authorities.

CANA West clergy are to embrace accountability in matters of finance. They should ensure that church funds are used for their intended ministry purposes only, insist on and adhere to accepted accounting practices, use systems of checks-and-balances, and regularly audit all parish financial accounts.

CANA West clergy are to be fair, consistently encouraging and affirming their staff through team-building, training, evaluations, and the use of mutual feedback. They should build God’s Kingdom through cooperation – not competition – with other local ministries, and should not recruit parishioners from other churches (the harvest is plentiful!).

CANA West clergy are to obey our Lord Jesus Christ in all things (He is Head of the Church!), giving heed to the written Word of God and respecting the authority of the Diocesan Bishop as vowed during their processes of ordination and licensure.

All clergy in the Diocese hold their licenses at the pleasure of the Bishop for the sake of the gospel. Behaviors and attitudes that hinder the work of the gospel or undermine the leadership of the Bishop Ordinary may serve as cause for disciplinary action, and could result in the removal of clergy licenses. +

In Christ,

The Rt. Reverend Dr. Felix C. Orji
Bishop of the Missionary Diocese of CANA West
Church of Nigeria/Anglican Church in North America