Episcopal Diocese of Washington

Engaging a changing world with
an enduring faith in Jesus Christ

Substance Abuse

Diocesan Council requests that every parish vestry adopt the proposed policy below to establish an alcohol/substance misuse policy for their own congregation by September 2016.

The Policy

The foundation and framework of this policy is Resolution A158, adopted by the 78th General Convention of the Episcopal Church in 2015, as well as existing EDOW policy.

It is hoped that in the fall of 2016 there will be an opportunity to share with Council and other parishes how the established policy evolved, including the experiences and conversations that led to the final policy. From there, common problems, and hopefully, solutions will emerge.

The Diocese of Washington believes it is important that any clergy person or diocesan lay employee having problems with the use of alcohol or drugs be treated with pastoral love and concern. We also understand that active substance misuse among those who minister to whole communities can have drastic and far-reaching consequences.

Thus when a clergy person or employee’s alcohol or drug use interferes with the performance of his or her duties, the diocese expects the clergy person or employee to get help and will support them in whatever way possible.

Likewise, the diocese recognizes that recovery is an ongoing process and seeks to be supportive of an employee or clergy person’s need for continued clinical and spiritual support.

2015 General Convention Resolutions on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse

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