The Office of Public Affairs

The Public Affairs Office provides statistics, biographies, photos, background information, and other resources to media representatives reporting on the mission and ministries of The Episcopal Church

Douglas K. Anning, Esq. named Episcopal Church Acting Chief Legal Officer

July 5, 2017
Office of Public Affairs

Douglas K. Anning Esq. of Kansas City, MO, has been named Episcopal Church Acting Chief Legal Officer, a member of the Presiding Bishop’s staff. The appointment was made by the Episcopal Church Executive Council following the joint nomination by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings.

“Doug Anning is an answer to prayer,” commented Presiding Bishop Curry. “He brings all of the skill and wisdom of an attorney of wide experience and great stature. But more than that, he brings the heart of a servant, and a spirit that truly seeks to follow and live the way of Jesus. It is a real joy to announce his election and to welcome his arrival.”

“We’ve long needed a chief legal officer who could manage the comprehensive, long-term legal requirements of the churchwide governance structure and keep Executive Council, our governing board, informed,” said Jennings. “Doug Anning is a smart, faithful, experienced lawyer and lifelong Episcopalian, and I can’t think of anyone better to fill this essential, exciting new role. I am delighted to have the chance to work with him.”

As acting chief legal officer, Anning will function as general counsel and be responsible for assuring the reliable and timely provision of high quality legal advice and services to Executive Council, the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, the Presiding Bishop, the President of the House of Deputies and the Executive Officer of the General Convention.

The position of chief legal officer is new and was created by General Convention in 2015 as part of its response to proposals from TREC (The Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church) to restructure Executive Council. The legal needs of the churchwide structure have previously been provided by staff lawyers, the Chancellor to the Presiding Bishop, the Chancellor to the President of the House of Deputies and outside law firms. In his new role, Anning will supervise staff lawyers, work closely with the two chancellors, and retain outside counsel as needed. His full job description is available here.

The acting chief legal officer reports to, and is accountable to, the Presiding Bishop and will serve as a senior member of the Presiding Bishop’s leadership team. The acting chief legal officer will also report to Executive Council at each of its meetings.

“Today’s society calls for responsible conduct as well as theological and spiritual integrity from our religious institutions,” Anning said. “I have long held a deep love and reverence for both the Episcopal Church and the law, and I look forward to combining these passions with the wisdom and dedication of Presiding Bishop Curry and President Jennings and other leaders of the church as we work together to move into our future.”

Anning begins his duties on July 5.  He can be contacted at

Meet Douglas K. Anning, Esq.

Anning is Vice-Chair, Nonprofit and Tax-Exempt Organizations Practice Group for Polsinelli PC, in Kansas City, MO.

He boasts extensive legal experience working with non-profits, tax-exempt entities, large university academic medical systems, hospital and healthcare systems, government affairs and public policy, and religious organizations and churches.  He has taught as an Adjunct Professor of Nonprofit and Tax-Exempt Law at the University Of Missouri School Of Law, the University Of Kansas School Of Law, and the University of Kansas School of Health Policy and Management.

Among his many awards and honors, he was recognized as the 2017 Health Care Law “Lawyer of the Year” in Kansas City.

In the Episcopal Church, Anning is a lifelong communicant at St. Michael and All Angels in Mission, Kansas.  He served as treasurer and member of the Diocesan Council of Trustees at the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas. Anning worked with diocesan leadership in the creation of the Kemper School for Ministry for Deacons and Priests in coordination with three neighboring Episcopal dioceses. 

He holds both a Juris Doctorate and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Kansas.

Nominating Advisory Committee

At the June 2017 Executive Council Meeting, Executive Council approved a resolution naming Anning as Acting Chief Legal Officer through August 31, 2018, which follows the next General Convention.

According to Canon I.4.2(h): Upon joint nomination by the Chair (Presiding Bishop) and the Vice-Chair (President of the House of Deputies), the (Executive) Council shall appoint a Chief Legal Officer who shall function as general counsel and serve at the pleasure of, and report and be accountable to, the Chair.

Resumes were reviewed by a Chief Legal Officer Nominating Advisory Committee that was comprised of lawyers who are Episcopalians and chancellors of Episcopal Dioceses including: Nancy Mahoney Cohen, chancellor, Diocese of El Camino Real; G. William Haas, Diocese of New York and a member of the Joint Audit Committee of the Executive Council; Christopher J. Hayes, chancellor, Diocese of California; George Wade, chancellor, Diocese of New York.