Anglican Legal Society

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Uniting those interested
in Anglican canon law

The Anglican Legal Society (ALS) brings together diocesan chancellors, attorneys, and others who are interested in Anglican canon law and related legal issues. Its gatherings, whether in person or by Zoom, offer instruction, fellowship, and an opportunity to learn from each other about wise practices and good order for Anglican parishes and dioceses. ALS is open to lawyers and non-lawyers, to lay people and to clergy—to anyone who shares an interest in Anglican governance and canon law.

Upcoming events

chancellor's retreat

Please join us for the first Anglican Legal Society Retreat, Friday, November 17, 2023 to Sunday, November 19 at the Epworth Conference Center on St Simons Island GA.  This is for anyone who is interested in learning more about how ACNA churches and dioceses govern themselves, what are the canonical principles that shape our church laws, and how to best serve your church and/or diocese as a Chancellor.  Our speakers will address the following topics:

  • Introduction to Canon Law
  • Constitutional Government in canon law
  • Seven canons all vestries should know
  • Parish By-Laws—What keeps Canon Lawyers up at night
  • Recent developments in ACNA
  • How to be a good (or bad) Chancellor
  • Download the Agenda here (PDF)!

Our conversations will be practical and wide-ranging, with plenty of time for discussion.  Our goal is to build a strong fellowship of Christ-following attorneys and canonists well informed in the ways we can help our congregations, dioceses and Province/ACNA flourish in good and godly ways—and always for the sake of fulfilling Christ’s Great Commission to make disciples of all nations!

Download the Retreat Agenda (PDF)

The Rev. Canon Phil Ashey

Canon Phil is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Anglican Council. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1988, and spent twenty years leading Episcopal and Anglican congregations of all sizes in California, Virginia and Pittsburgh—thirteen as a Rector and Church planter, and seven as a Senior Associate. In 2015 he received his LLM in Canon Law from Cardiff University (Wales UK) and now serves the province through directing the ACNA Governance Taskforce, in addition to his role in the AAC.

The Hon. George Peagler

During his distinguished career of 41 years in Georgia’s legal profession and justice system, Judge Peagler was engaged in the private practice of law for more than two decades prior to joining the Superior Court bench for the Southwestern Circuit, covering Lee, Macon, Schley, Stewart, Sumter, and Webster counties, in 2000. He is also a past president of the Southwestern Circuit Bar Association and the Americus-Sumter County Chamber of Commerce and a recipient of the Chief Justice Robert Benham Award for Community Service. He is also a director of the Anglican Legal Society.

Dr. Samuel Bray

Samuel L. Bray is a professor of law at the Notre Dame and previously served as a professor of law at UCLA. He is a leading scholar in the fields of remedies and equity, and also writes about constitutional law. Among his published articles is Multiple Chancellors: Reforming the National Injunction, 131 Harvard Law Review 417 (2017). He is coauthor of a remedies casebook, a constitutional law casebook, and a translation of Genesis 1-11. Bray is a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, and he clerked for then-Judge Michael W. McConnell on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. After clerking, he practiced law at Mayer Brown LLP, was an associate-in-law at Columbia Law School, and was executive director of the Constitutional Law Center at Stanford Law School.

The Rev. Andrew Rowell

Fr. Andrew is the second Rector of Christchurch, Montgomery. He serves as the Dean of the Western Deanery of the Gulf Atlantic Diocese and is on the Board of Trustees for the American Anglican Council and the Anglican Relief and Development Fund. Andrew received his undergraduate degree from Duke University (1995), his law degree from the University of Virginia (1999), and his Masters of Divinity from the Duke University Divinity School (2008). In his prior professional life, Andrew served as a homeless shelter manager, a speechwriter for the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, and a tax attorney at Hogan Lovells LLP in Washington, D.C. 

The Rev. William Barto

Deacon Barto is an experienced executive, litigator, and judge with over 30 years of public-sector legal experience. He is a skilled educator with years of teaching experience at an ABA-accredited law school and numerous publications on criminal law and procedure, administrative law, jurisprudence, and the judicial process. His specialties include the judicial process, judicial administration, ethics and standards of conduct, mediation, administrative law, litigation, training, investigations, criminal law and procedure, and military law. He is currently an assistant minister at Holy Trinity Reformed Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC, and serves as Vice President of the Board of Trustees for the Diocese of the Central States. He also assists the Bishop and Chancellor as necessary with various legal matters relating to the Constitution, Canons, and Bylaws that affect the parish. 

Resources from our latest Annual Meetings

Contemporary Issues
in Canon Law

The 2020 and 2021 annual gatherings of the Anglican Legal Society were held at the annual meeting of the Christian Legal Society. These gatherings aimed to develop interest in Anglican canon law, to facilitate communication between members, to share best practices, and to learn more about topics such as the relationship of law and religious liberty. Sessions were held in person and by Zoom, and they included panel presentations on Title IV Ecclesiastical Discipline, the implications of the ABA Model Rule 8.4G for Christian attorneys, and paper presentations covering a variety of topics pertinent to Anglican canon law. We have been able to post segments of these gatherings below.

Anglican legal society 2020

Play Video
The Vision of the Anglican Legal Society – Canon Phil Ashey
Play Video
Title IV of the ACNA Canons – Scott Ward, Esq.

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