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Church attorney never member of Disciplinary Board

Church attorney never member of Disciplinary Board

UPDATE: Church Attorney recuses self.

Contrary to allegations from some, Josephine Hicks was never a member of the Disciplinary Board according to Doug LeBlanc in a report in The Living Church.

Church Attorney Josephine H. Hicks performs legal work for the Episcopal Church’s Disciplinary Board for Bishops but is not a member of it, the Rt. Rev. Dorsey Henderson said in an interview with The Living Church.

The board is in the early stages of investigating allegations that the Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, Bishop of South Carolina, has abandoned the Episcopal Church. Unnamed parties within the diocese made the allegations.

A roster on a webpage of Episcopal Church’s General Convention was incorrect in listing Hicks as a member through 2015, Bishop Henderson said. The Rt. Rev. Clayton Matthews, Bishop of the Office of Pastoral Development, also appeared on the roster. That too was mistaken, Henderson said, and the roster was changed Oct. 12.

“Josephine Hicks is not now, and never has been, a member of the disciplinary board,” the bishop said. The board, meeting by phone after the revised Title IV took effect July 1, “voted to retain her as the board’s attorney, as authorized by the canon. The attorney does not have a vote on matters before the board and thus not on matters related to Bishop Lawrence. She does not act independently from the board; she only performs those functions requested by the board consistent with the board’s responsibility under the canons.”

h/t to June Butler in The Lead comments on an earlier story.

Mark Harris also comments here.

UPDATE: The Living Church reports that the Church attorney has recused herself.

More on Hicks below in interview:


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Chris H.

I’m sorry, but I have a hard time believing that two such “Oops, that person isn’t really a member” is just accidental. Nobody checked the lists before? According to the Living Church, Ms. Hicks has now recused herself for unnamed conflicts of interest. Does that make “Oops” #3? Someone was not paying attention to or playing by the rules. This should have been of top priority when starting a new process. People watch more closely at the beginning of something than they do later on.

Our local diocese has had its share of problems(bishop punished for an affair) and if my current bishop came up with a wonderful new way of investigating complaints and started investigating a local priest for misconduct and had to keep saying, “Sorry, just a mix-up, just a typo, just a.. etc.” nobody would believe that so many mistakes were completely innocent. Either the bishop or the system would be blamed. Perhaps if the new Title IV is so difficult to get right, they should have tested it out on a few smaller cases before going after a nationally/internationally watched personality.

If this were a story of Lawrence investigating a liberal priest in his diocese and he kept saying, “Sorry, just a typo”; how many here would believe him?

Chris Harwood


I’m glad Hicks’ position is cleared up. It seemed quite odd to me that she could be the investigator for the Board and a member at the same time. The mistaken list should not have been published, but it’s fixed now.

June Butler

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