ORIGINAL CONSTITUTION AND CANONS OF THE
ANGLICAN DIOCESE OF THE SOUTHWEST
THE CONSTITUTION AND CANONS
THE ANGLICAN DIOCESE OF THE SOUTHWEST
THE ANGLICAN CHURCH,
A Traditional Episcopal Body
The Anglican Diocese of the Southwest of the Anglican Church, is a Traditional Episcopal Body, chartered under the Texas Non-Profit Corporation Act, and is the legal successor to that certain Anglican Diocese of the Southwest which was originally chartered in 1978 and has been in continuous existence since that time. The Constitution and Canons of this Diocese are subject to no other ecclesiastical body or organization.
This Diocese consists of the clergy and congregations duly admitted to membership.
Section 1. Ecclesiastical Authority
1.1 The Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese is the Diocesan Bishop.
1.2 The Diocesan Bishop shall be chosen in accordance with the rules established by Canons to be promulgated by the Diocesan Council, provided that no one shall be elected without the assent of a majority of the clerical and lay electors voting according to such rules.
Section 2. Vacancy
2.1 During any vacancy in the episcopate, the Ecclesiastical Authority is the Standing Committee, except that an Episcopal Visitor who is a Bishop then in communion with the Anglican Diocese of the Southwest, and who has been selected by the Standing Committee will provide the pastoral and liturgical duties f a Bishop.
2.2 Said Episcopal Visitor shall not, by virtue of his invitation to act as Visitor, succeed to any non-pastoral or non-liturgical duty, power or authority normally exercised by the Diocesan Bishop.
Section 1. Composition of the Diocesan Council
1.1 The Diocesan Council consists of:
1.1.1. All Active Bishops of the Diocese
1.1.2. All active clergy in good standing
1.1.3. Lay delegates elected according to the Diocesan Canons
Section 2. Authority of the Diocesan Council
2.1 To amend this Constitution and its embodied Canons that are not in conflict with the Constitution.
2.2 To provide a method for electing Bishops in accordance with the Canons.
2.3 To elect a Standing Committee and an Ecclesiastical Court in accordance with the Canons.
2.4 To adopt budgets that provide for the work of the Church.
2.5 To levy assessments on Congregations.
2.6 To approve terms of affiliation of this Diocese with other Anglican groups, national churches or dioceses. Such terms must contain the specific right of this Diocese to sever the relationship by action of the Diocesan Council.
Section 3. Time and Place of Meeting
3.1 The Diocese will met in annual Diocesan Council at a time and place specified by the Diocesan Bishop.
3.2 Thirty (30) days notice, in writing by certified mail with return receipt requested, will be given to all clergy and Senior Wardens who are to participate in the annual Diocesan Council, as provided in the Canons.
3.3 Special meetings of Diocesan Council may be called by the Diocesan Bishop.
3.3.1 Those clergy and lay delegates who made up the preceding regular Diocesan Council will serve at such a special meeting of Diocesan Council, except that any clergy who have resigned or otherwise moved canonical residence away from the Diocese shall not so serve, and any clergy who have been admitted to the Diocese since the preceding regular Diocesan Council shall be part of the Diocesan Council at special meetings.
3.3.2 Any Congregation or other jurisdiction entitled to send lay delegates to the Diocesan Council shall have the authority to elect a substitute lay delegate for each lay delegate who has, since the last meeting of the Diocesan Council, died or otherwise become unable to attend a special meeting of the Diocesan Council.
OFFICERS OF THE DIOCESE
Section 1. Appointed Officers
1.1 The Diocesan Bishop, during the meeting and with concurrence of the annual Diocesan Council will appoint the following officers, or thereafter when a vacancy occurs in an office:
1.1.1 Chancellor of the Diocese, who must be learned in civil and canon law, to be the Bishop’s advisor in legal matters.
1.1.2 Secretary of the Diocese.
1.1.3 Treasurer of the Diocese.
1.1.4 Auditor of the Diocese, whose duty it is to audit the diocesan accounts and reports his findings to the Diocesan Council.
THE DIOCESAN CORPORATION
Section 1. Incorporation and Tax Exemption
1.1 This Diocese is incorporated under the laws of the State of Texas.
1.2 This Diocese shall meet the requirements of the Internal Revenue service of the United States government for:
1.2.1 Tax Exemption.
1.2.2 Tax deduction for contributors.
Section 2. By-Laws of the Corporation
2.1 This Constitution with the Canons it contains constitute the By-Laws of the Corporation.
Section 1. This Constitution may be amended by a three-fourths vote of the whole Diocesan Council voting by Houses.
Section 2. Proposal of Amendments
2.1 Proposed amendments to this Constitution and Canons may be submitted to the Chancellor of the Diocese, who shall assist the offeror in wording the proposed amendment to conform with the structure of this Constitution, but the Chancellor shall have no authority to prevent the submission of any proposed amendment, whether or not the offeror follows the Chancellor’s suggestions as to form. In the event that a proposed amendment shall be, in the opinion of the Chancellor, in violation of the Canons of the Diocese, then the Chancellor shall inform the offeror of his opinion and assist the offeror, if the offeror desires, in bring the proposed amendment into conformity with the Canons. Nothing in this Constitution shall prevent the offeror of a proposed amendment from submitting said proposed amendment directly to the Diocesan Bishop, whether ror not the Chancellor shall have seen the same.
2.2 Proposed amendments shall be transmitted by the offeror to the Diocesan Bishop who shall, within thirty (30) days after is receipt thereof, transmit the same to each member of the Diocesan Council without alteration of the words or form of the proposed amendment.
2.2.1 If the proposed amendment shall have been transmitted by the Diocesan Bishop lss than thirty (30) days prior to the opening of the next meeting of the Diocesan Council then that Council may consider and vote upon the same only if by a vote of at least three-fourths (3/4) of both Houses of the Diocesan Council, the Council shall have agreed to suspend the requirements for thirty (30) days prior notice. Absent this vote of suspension, the proposed amendment shall be carried over to the next Diocesan Council meeting.
2.2.2 The proposed amendment shall have been transmitted by the Diocesan Bishop on the day on which the same is postmarked by the U.S. Mail or handed in person to the members of the Diocesan Council.
THE AFFIRMATION OF ST. LOUIS
1.1 The Affirmation of St. Louis, as contained in Appendix A of this Constitution, shall be guide to faith and practice in the Diocese and is not subject to amendment.
1.2 A Summary of The Affirmation of St. Louis
1. For the continuation of Anglicanism threatened by change of structure, the need for continued order in the Church, misuse of authority, need for principles and constitution to guard doctrine, continuation of communion with Canterbury.
PRINCIPLES OF DOCTRINE
1. The Nature of the Church: Created by God and beyond the ultimate control of man; the Bride of Christ; not to be influenced by the World.
2. The Essentials of Truth and Order: Repudiation of all departures from the Faith, Evangelical Truth and Apostolic Order. Holy Scripture is an authentic record of God’s revelation, containing all things necessary to salvation. The Creeds are an authentic summary of the chief articles of the Christian Faith. The faith has an authentic tradition of interpretation in the Ecumenical Councils of the undivided Church. The Sacraments are outward signs of the inward grace of Christ, given in His continuing work of salvation. Holy Orders of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons are a continuation of Apostolic ministry and are exclusively male. Deaconesses are a lay vocation of ancient origin for females. The principles are inalterable and non-amendable. We seek unity and intercommunion with all Christians who hold these Catholic and Apostolic principles.
PRINCIPLES OF MORALITY
1. Conscience cannot stand alone; we are under Divine Law and the Mind of Christ. All men are individually and collectively responsible to God. We hold all human life, from conception, to be sacred: the unjustifiable and inexcusable taking of life is sin. Man has a duty to God as defined in the natural law and the revealed will of God. Sexual activity is to be within the bond of marriage between men and women. Man’s nature is sinful in his rebellion against God’s authority in his life. We are saved through faith, by grace, repentance and forgiveness. The Church must witness to her members and the world for moral truth and reject the standards of the world.
The Canons of the Anglican Diocese of the Southwest will be amended where necessary to conform to the rules and regulations governing Not-for-Profit Corporations in the State of Texas.
Section 1. The Diocesan Bishop
1.1 Episcopal authority.
1.1.1 The authority of the Diocesan Bishop is that granted by the Constitution and Canons of this diocese.
1.2.1 To be nominated or elected to the office of Diocesan Bishop, the nominee must be a priest in good standing, , at least thirty (30) years of age.
1.2.2 Individuals nominated for the office of Diocesan Bishop must have five (5) years in the Priesthood with a minimum of three (3) years experience as a rector of a congregation in the Anglican Diocese of the Southwest and/or The Anglican Church.
1.2.3 All Bishops, before consecration, shall undergo a complete physical examination by a licensed practitioner approved by the Standing Committee; and shall undergo at least every three years any other medical examinations deem appropriate, or necessary by the Standing Committee.
1.3 Process for Election of Diocesan Bishop and Bishop Coadjutor
1.3.1 Responsibilities of the Standing Committee. The Standing Committee will appoint a Nominating Committee to receive nominations of eligible candidates. Membership of the Nominating Committee will consist of:
188.8.131.52 One (1) clergy member of the Standing Committee
184.108.40.206 One (1) lay member of the Standing Committee
220.127.116.11 Three (3) members at large (representative of congregations of the Diocese, but not more than one member from each congregation.)
18.104.22.168 If a member of the Nominating Committee is nominated for the position of Bishop, he will be replaced.
1.3.2 Responsibilities of the Nominating Committee. The Nominating Committee solicits names and develops the profile of candidates. Documents required for the package are:
22.214.171.124 Curriculum vitae/resume
126.96.36.199 Educational history
188.8.131.52 Medical history
184.108.40.206 Three personal references
220.127.116.11 The committee will solicit recommendations outside those listed by the candidate
1.3.3 The Nominating Committee will interview the proposed candidates and forward recommendations to the Standing Committee.
1.3.4 The Standing Committee will review the recommendations of the Nominating Committee and interview the candidates for Bishop.
18.104.22.168 The Standing Committee will make recommendations to the Diocesan Council.
1.3.5 Responsibilities of the Diocesan Council.
22.214.171.124 Individuals recommended by the Standing Committee are presented at the Diocesan Council.
126.96.36.199 Nominations may be made from the floor and will be accepted if the individual meets ALL requirements of an individual who has gone before the Nominating Committee.
188.8.131.52 A vote of the Diocesan Council is to be three-fourths (3/4) in favor of a candidate with the Council voting by each of the three houses, Bishops, Clergy and Laity.
184.108.40.206.1 If no candidate receives the required votes, the candidate with the least votes will be removed from the ballot. This process will continue until a successor has been determined.
1.3.6 Responsibilities of the House of Bishops
220.127.116.11 The name of individual who has been selected will be forwarded to the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church for review.
18.104.22.168 The Bishops will then vote on acceptance of the individual into the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church.
Section 2. The Bishop Coadjutor
2.1 A Coadjutor Bishop may, subject to the consent of the Diocesan Bishop, be nominated and elected in the same manner as prescribed for the Bishop Ordinary in Section 1 above. A Coadjutor Bishop shall have such duties and jurisdiction as prescribed by the Diocesan Bishop and the Diocesan Council.
2.2 A Coadjutor Bishop shall automatically be nominated for election to the office of Diocesan Bishop when the office of Diocesan Bishop next becomes vacant.
Section 3. The Suffragan Bishop
3.1 The Suffragan Bishop is named by the Diocesan Bishop and serves at the discretion and pleasure of the Diocesan Bishop and approval of the Standing Committee.
3.2 The Diocesan Bishop will provide the Standing Committee with a list of duties to be performed by the Suffragan Bishop.
3.3 The role of the Suffragan Bishop is to assist in the duties and responsibilities assigned by the Diocesan Bishop.
3.4 The Suffragan Bishop does not hold the right of succession to Diocesan Bishop, but may be elected following the rules set forth above.
Section 4. The Liturgy
4.1 The Diocesan Bishop is the chief liturgical officer of the Diocese.
4.2 The liturgical practices of the Anglican Diocese of the Southwest are guided by the 1928 Book of Common Prayer.
4.3 Other traditional Anglican liturgies and supplements can be approved at the request of and for the specific use of a congregation with the approval of that congregation’s vestry and only as allowed by the Diocesan Bishop.
4.4 Changes to the official liturgical practices should be approved by the Diocesan Council by a three-fourth vote, voting by Houses.
Section 5. As Rector
5.1 The Diocesan Bishop may exercise the office of Rector of the Cathedral Parish of this Diocese and all mission churches of the Diocese.
Section 6. Appointments
6.1 The Diocesan Bishop will appoint a Board of Examining chaplains, to be comprised of three (3) Canonically Resident, Learned Presbyters (Priests), nominated by the Bishop and confirmed by the Diocesan Council. These presbyters shall have a three (3) year term of office with one new chaplain chosen each year to replace one whose term will expire. This board of Examiing Chaplains will serve at the Diocesan Bishop’s pleasure.
6.2 The Diocesan Bishop, with the concurrence of the annual Diocesan Council, will appoint such officers as the Constitution and Canons of the Diocese shall provide for him to appoint, along with such other officers as the Diocesan Council may authorize him to appoint and thereafter when a vacancy occurs in an appointed office.
6.3 Appointment to a Diocesan Committee does not preclude a member being elected to a Diocesan Committee.
Section 7. Ordination
7.1 The Diocesan Bishop may ordain deacons and Priests in conformity with the 1928 Book of Common prayer and the Constitution and Canons of this Diocese.
Section 8. Retirement of Bishops
8.1 The mandatory age of retirement of the Diocesan Bishop is seventy (70 years).
8.2 Except in an emergency, a Bishop must give no less than one hundred eighty (180) days notice in writing to the Standing Committee before retirement is to become effective.
8.3 A retired Bishop may serve as a Suffragen Bishop at the discretion of and pleasure of the then Diocesan Bishop.
THE DIOCESAN COUNCIL
Section 1. The Diocesan Council
1.1 The Diocesan Council consists of three houses:
1.1.1 The House of Bishops
1.1.2 The House of Clergy
1.1.3 The House of Laity
Section 2. Election of Lay Delegates
2.1 Lay delegates to the Diocesan Council shall be elected by each congregation of the Diocese on the basis of two (2) delegates for the first twenty-five (25) Communicants in Good Standing of said congregation, or fraction thereof, and one (1) delegate for each additional twenty-five (25) Communicants in Good Standing or fraction thereof, subject to the provision of these Canons for suspension of the right of representation in the Diocesan Council of a Parish which fails to support the Diocese with its tithe or assessment.
2.1.1 Communicants in Good Standing of said congregation is one who is at least eighteen (18) years old, who has been confirmed, made his or her communion at least two times in the preceding yar, is a contributor of record and a regular attendee, and shall be those persons meeting the definition of this term as supported by documents of the congregation relative to active participation by the donation of time, talent, and treasure to the working of the church and the furtherance of its mission.
2.1.2 The Rector or Priest in Charge of each congregation shall submit to the Diocesan Bishop and the Secretary of the Diocesan Council by the first Sunday in Lent of each year, a list of members, determined in accordance with this definition, along with the notification of the names of the delegate(s) and alternate(s) elected to the Diocesan Council no less than sixty (60) days prior to the opening of said council.
2.1.3 Congregation Membership Assessment: An annual fee will be assessed each parish according to the number of members of the parish. This assessment fee will be determined by the Diocesan Council. The assessment can be revised without amendment, as recommended by the Standing Committee and as designated by the Diocesan Council.
2.1.4 Any dispute as to the membership qualification of any person so listed shall be resolved by the Diocesan Bishop, whose decision shall be appealable to a majority vote of the Standing Committee.
Section 3. Quorum
3.1 A quorum of Diocesan Council consists of no less than one (2) clergy and one (1)lay delegate from two-thirds of congregations within the Diocese, and the Diocesan Bishop of the Diocese or in his absence the Coadjutor Bishop of the Diocese or in his absence the President of the Standing Committee.
Section 4. Deliberation and Voting
4.1 The Diocesan Council meets as one body for the presentation, consideration, deliberation of all measures to be voted on, and consideration and deliberation of all candidates for office.
4.1.1 Each House may convene separately to nominate candidates for office.
4.1.2 Each House may convene separately to concur in the election of officers.
4.1.3 Vote by the Diocesan Council will be by House, hat is, by separate ballots in the House of bishops, the House of Clergy and the House of Laity, respectively.
4.1.4 Measures to be considered at Diocesan Council may be presented by any of the three houses.
4.1.5 All measures to be considered at the Diocesan Council will be presented to the Council meeting as one body and will be deliberated on as one body before being voted on by the three houses.
4.1.6 All measures, after being deliberated by the entire body, will be deliberated on and voted on by each house meeting separately, and privately.
4.2 When voting by houses, each house has one vote. Approval of a measure requires two votes or a two-thirds (2/3) majority.
Section 5. Presiding Officer
5.1 The Diocesan Bishop presides over and has a vote at all meetings of the Diocesan Council in which it meets as one body, but does not preside over nor have a vote in the separate meetings of the House of Clergy or the House of Laity.
5.1.1 The President of the Standing Committee is the presiding officer of the House of Clergy.
5.1.2 The Presiding Officer of the House of Laity is elected at each council by the lay delegates present.
5.2 In the absence of the Diocesan Bishop, with the permission and leave of the Diocesan Bishop, the Bishop Coadjutor or the President of the Standing Committee presides.
5.3 In the absence of the Diocesan Bishop, the Bishop Coadjutor or the President of the Standing Committee or the Chancellor of the Diocese shall preside solely for the purposes of setting the time for reassembly and of adjourning.
Section 6. Powers and Duties of the Diocesan Council
6.1 The Diocesan Council shall exercise those powers granted to it by the Constitution and Canons of the Diocese, specifically including, but not limited to the following:
6.1.1 The duty to adopt a budget for the Diocese, which budget must be in balance, i.e., the projected expenses may not exceed the projected income.
6.1.2 The power to levy assessments on congregations for the support of the Diocese and its work.
6.1.3 The power to acquire, hold, and dispose of property of the Diocese, but not property of a congregation.
6.1.4 The power and duty to elect such officials of the Diocese as are prescribed by the Constitution and Canons.
Section 7. Elections by the Diocesan Council
7.1 The House of Laity elects the following officers by majority vote by secret ballot:
7.1.1 Lay members of the Standing Committee
7.1.2 Lay member of the Ecclesiastical Court
7.2 The House of Clergy elects the following officers by majority vote in secret ballot
7.2.1 Clerical members of the Standing Committee
7.2.2 Clerical members of the Ecclesistical Court.
7.3 The vote in either House to concur with the election of officers is by secret ballot. However, upon a majority vote by either House, that House may vote in concurrence by voice vote or show of hands.
SUPPORT OF THE DIOCESE
Section 1. Support for the Diocese
1.1 The Diocese will be supported directly and financially by its congregations, missions and non-parochial clergy.
1.2 Financial support will be of two kinds:
1.2.1 A tithe from the congregations or missions income.
1.2.2 An assessment, levied by the Diocesan Council, paid by all congregations or missions based on their membership.
1.3 Standard of Support by tithe for the Diocese
1.3.1 The Standard of Support by all congregations, missions and non-parochial clergy for the Diocese shall be the Biblical tithe, which is 10% of the total income of the Congregation or Mission, and of a non-parochial clergy it is 10% of the actual total income.
1.3.2 Payment will be made on the first day of each month, based on the previous month’s income.
1.3.3 “Total income of the Congregation” is defined as plate, pledge, and special gifts to the Congregation, excluding any special gift which is designated by the donor for a specific purpose (exemplified by, but not limited to Building Fund, Organ Fund, purchase of Stained Glass, and the like.)
1.4 An annual assessment of a congregation or mission based upon the congregation’s or mission’s membership is separate from the tithe and is set by the Standing Committee and approved by the Diocesan Council.
Section 2. Non-Support by Congregations, Missions or Clergy
2.1 Non-parochial clergy not meeting their financial obligation (Biblical tithe to the Diocese) may not vote in Diocesan Council.
2.2 Congregations or Missions not meeting their obligation to give financial support to the Diocese shall not be given a vote in Diocesan Council. Neither clergy nor laity from that congregation will be given a vote.
2.3 Mitigating circumstances may be presented to the Standing Committee for consideration and action.
Section 1. The clergy of this Diocese shall be of three orders, Bishops, Priests and Deacons.
1.1 Of Postulants
1.1.1 Every person desiring to be admitted a Candidate for Holy Orders is, in the first instance, to consult his immediate Pastor, or, if he have none, some Presbyter to whom he is personally known, setting before him the grounds of his desire for admission to the Ministry, together with such circumstances as may bear on is qualifications, or tend to affect his course of preparation.
1.1.2 If, as the result of a thorough inquiry into the physical, mental, moral and spiritual qualifications of the applicant, he is counseled by the aforesaid Presbyter to persevere in his intentions, he shall make his desire known personally, if possible, or in writing, to the Bishop in whose jurisdiction he has been canonically resident for the three months preceding. Report in writing, his qualifications, as stated above, for the work of ministry.
22.214.171.124 After the admission of a Postulant, the Bishop shall require the applicant to submit to a thorough examination by a physician approved by the Bishop. This examination shall cover the man’s mental, emotional and physical condition; and a record of the report thereon shall be kept on file by the Bishop.
1.1.3 He shall state to the Bishop in writing the following:
126.96.36.199 His full name and age.
188.8.131.52 The length of time he has been resident in the Diocese.
184.108.40.206 When, and by whom, he was baptized.
220.127.116.11 When, and by whom, he was confirmed.
18.104.22.168 When, and where, he was admitted to the Holy Communion.
22.214.171.124 Whether he has ever before applied for admission as a Postulant or as a Candidate for Holy Orders.
126.96.36.199 On what grounds he is moved to seek the Sacred Ministry.
188.8.131.52 His qualifications for the work of ministry.
1.1.4 The Bishop, in a record to be kept for that purpose, shall enter the name of each applicant, with the fact of his approval or disapproval of the applicant, and the date of such entry. If he approve of the application, he shall inform the applicant of the fact, and of the date of his admission as Postulant.
1.1.5 Similar records shall be made and information given of the removal of a name from the list of Postulants. Without further reason, the Bishop may remove the name of a Postulant who fails to be admitted as a Candidate for Holy Orders within four years from the date of his reception as a Postulant.
1.1.6 No Bishop shall accept as a Postulant any person who has been refused for admission as a Postulant or as a Candidate for Holy Orders in any other Diocese, or who, having been admitted, has afterwards ceased to be a Postulant or a Candidate, until he shall have produced a certificate from the Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese in which he has been refused admission, or in which he has been a Postulant or a Candidate, declaring the cause of refusal or of cessation.
1.1.7 Should the Bishop accept such applicant as a Postulant, he shall send the said certificate, or a copy thereof, to the Standing Committee of the Diocese, to be considered by them if the said Postulant should apply to be recommended for admission as a Candidate.
1.1.8 A Standing Committee, acting as the Ecclesiastical Authority of a Diocese, shall be competent to receive and act upon applications under this Canon from persons desiring to be received as Postulants.
1.2 Of Candidates for Holy Orders
1.2.1 A Postulant, having been duly received, may apply to the Standing Committee for recommendation to the Bishop to be admitted a Candidate for Holy Orders two (2) years prior to the estimated time of the completion of Theological Studies, and shall submit the following papers, viz::
184.108.40.206 An application signed by himself
220.127.116.11 The Bishop’s certificate of his admission as a Postulant
18.104.22.168 A certificate signed by the Minister of the Congregation to which the Postulant belongs and by a majority of the whole Vestry, and must be attested by the Minister, or by the Clerk or secretary of the Vestry in the following words:
To the Standing Committee of the Anglican Diocese of the Southwest, (Date)
We, whose names are hereunder written, testify to our belief (based on persona knowledge or on evidence satisfactory to us) that (Postulant’s name) is sober, honest, and godly, and that he is a communicant of this Church in good standing. We do furthermore declare that, in our opinion, he possesses such qualifications as fit him to be admitted a Candidate for Holy Orders.
Attestation: I hereby certify that the foregoing certification was signed at a meeting of the Vestry of (Church’s name), duly convened at (place) on the (date) day of (year), and that the names attached are those of all (or a majority of) the members of the Vestry.
(Signed) the Minister of (Church’s name) or the Clerk or Secretary of Vestry.
22.214.171.124 Should the Congregation be without a Minister, it shall suffice that in his lace the certificate be signed by some presbyter in good standing to whom the Postulant is personally known, the reason for the substitution being stating in the attesting clause.
126.96.36.199 Should there be no organized congregation at the lace of residence of the Postulant, or should it be impracticable, through circumstances not affecting his moral or religious character, to obtain the signatures of the Minister, or of the Vestry, it may suffice if the certificate be signed by at less:
188.8.131.52.1 Two Presbyters of the diocese in good standing to whom the Postulant is personally known;
184.108.40.206.2 Four Laymen, communicants of this Church in good standing to whom the Postulant is personally known.
220.127.116.11.3 In such case, the reasons for departing from the regular form must be given in the attesting clause, which shall be signed by the same, aforementioned Presbyters and laymen, and shall be in the following words, viz:
I hereby certify that the Laymen whose names are attached to the foregoing certificate are communicants of this Church in good standing, and that this form of certificate was used for no reasons affecting the moral or religious character of the candidate, but because (here give the reasons for departing from the regular form.) of , and Laymen of the Anglican Diocese of the Southwest.
18.104.22.168 Should the Postulant have been a Minister or licentiate in some other body of Christians, instead of the certificate required above, he shall submit a certificate in the following words:
To the Standing Committee of the Anglican Diocese of the Southwest (Date)
We whose names are hereunder written, testify to our belief (based on personal knowledge or on evidence satisfactory to us) that (Postulant’s name) is sober, honest, and godly, and that he is a communicant of this Church in good standing. We do furthermore declare that, in our opinion, he possesses such qualification as fit him to be admitted a Candidate for Holy Orders.
22.214.171.124 The Postulant, before his admission as a Candidate for Holy Orders, must lay before the Bishop and the Board of Examining Chaplains satisfactory evidence that he is a graduate of some properly accredited college or university, together with a full statement of the work done by him in such college or university. If this work includes sufficient instruction in the subjects specified in Canon IV, Section 2, he shall go before the Board of Examining Chaplains and follow the procedures for ordination.
126.96.36.199 If the Postulant be fluent in a language other than English, and is to exercise his Ministry among people of his language in the United States, the Bishop, on recommendation of the Board of Examining Chaplains, may, at his discretion, substitute equivalent examinations in the language of the postulant. He shall satisfy the Bishop and the Board of Examining Chaplains that he possesses good mental ability and sufficient education to enable him to pursue a course of study preparation to the work of the ministry.
188.8.131.52 If the Postulant has served with good repute and success in the regular Ministry of some other body of Christians for at least five (5) years, and shall lay before the Board of examining Chaplains satisfactory evidence of a thorough theological training in his previous communion, the Bishop, on recommendation of the Board, may, at his discretion, dispense him from the above examinations. But in all other cases such Minister shall conform to the requirements of other Postulants.
184.108.40.206 The Board of Examining Chaplains may, at their discretion, accept, in lieu of examination, satisfactory evidence that the Postulant has fulfilled the requirements in any one or more of the subjects specified in this Canon.
220.127.116.11 The Standing Committee, on receipt of the report and the certificate or certificates as are above prescribed, and having no reason to suppose the existence of any sufficient objection on grounds either physical, mental, moral, or spiritual, to the admission of the applicant, may, at a meeting duly convened (a majority of all the members consenting), recommend the Postulant for admission to Candidateship, by a testimonial bearing the signatures of a majority of all the members of the Committee, and addressed to the Bishop.
18.104.22.168 When the aforesaid requirements have been complied with, the Bishop may admit the Postulant as a Candidate for Holy Orders. He shall thereupon record his name, with the date of his admission, in a book to be kept for that purpose, and shall inform the Candidate and the Secretary of the Standing Committee of the fact and date of such admission.
1.2.2 Of General Provisions Concerning Candidates for Holy Orders
22.214.171.124 The superintendence of all Candidates for Holy Orders, both as to their daily life and as to the direction of their theological studies, devolves on the Bishop of the Diocese to which they belong. The Bishop may, at his discretion, ask one or more of the Board of Examining Chaplains to assist him in this superintendence.
126.96.36.199 Every Candidate shall pursue his studies diligently under proper direction; he shall not indulge in vain or trifling conduct or in amusements unfavorable to godly and studious habits and to that good report which becomes a person preparing for the Holy Ministry.
188.8.131.52 When the Standing Committee is the Ecclesiastical Authority thereof; the Clerical members of the Committee shall, through the President, discharge the dates assigned in this Section to the Bishop.
184.108.40.206 A Candidate must remain in canonical connection with the Diocese.
220.127.116.11 Every candidate for Holy Orders shall report himself to the Ecclesiastical Authority, personally, or by letter, four times a year, in the Ember Weeks, giving account of his manner of life and progress in his studies; and if he fail to make such report to the satisfaction of the Ecclesiastical Authority, his name may be stricken from the list of Candidates.
18.104.22.168.1 If a Candidate for Holy Orders shall fail to present himself for examination within three (3) years from the date of his admission as a Candidate, his name may, after due notice, be stricken from the list of Candidates at the discretion of the Bishop.
22.214.171.124 A Candidate for Holy Orders, in this Diocese, or of any Church in communion with this Church, whose name shall have been stricken from the list of Candidates, or whose application or ordination shall have been rejected, shall not be ordained without readmission to candidateship, said candidateship to continue for not less than one year; provided, that in no such case shall the whole term of candidateship be less than three years.
Section 2. Requirements for Ordination
2.1 Before being ordained in this Diocese, a candidate must be male and must have the recommendation of his Parish vestry and clergyman.
2.2 The candidate must be approved by the Standing Committee and recommended by the Standing Committee to the Diocesan Bishop.
2.3 The candidate must be no less than twenty-one (21) years of age, if a candidate to be ordained a Deacon, no less than twenty-four (24) years of age if a candidate to be ordained a Priest, and have an approved college degree and have successfully passed a psychological examination approved by the Diocesan Bishop.
2.4 The candidate shall have successfully completed a course of theological and pastoral studies equivalent to that required by St. George’s School of Theology.
2.4.1 St. George’s School of Theology requires the “Wolsey Hall, Oxford course of studies for church ministry.”
2.4.2 The successful completion of the “Wolsey Hall Oxford course of studies for church ministry” prepares a graduate to successfully pass the “General Ordination Examination of the Church of England” as it was administered in 1990.
2.4.3 The candidate must have completed a course of studies which prepared him to successfully pass the “General Ordination Examination of the Church of England, 1990.”
2.5 Before ordination to the diaconate and priesthood, the candidate must pass examinations before the Board of Examining Chaplains in the following required subjects (as taught in St. George’s School of Theology):
2.5.1 Holy Scripture: the Old and New Testaments, their contents and historical background.
2.5.2 Church History: From the beginning to the present time.
2.5.3 Theology: Historical, Philosophical, and Systematic Doctrine; reflecting the teaching of the church as set forth in the Creeds, the “Thirty-Nine Articles,” and “Offices of Instruction.”
2.5.4 Christian Ethics and Moral Theology
2.5.5 Liturgics: The Principles and History of Christian Worship; the contents of the “Book of Common Prayer, 1928.”
2.5.6 Practical Theology
126.96.36.199 The use of The 1928 Edition of the Book of Common Prayer and the Administration of Sacraments and other Rites & Ceremonies of the Church.
188.8.131.52 The conduct of Public Worship
184.108.40.206 The office and work of a Deacon.
2.5.7 Homiletics: The Principles of Sermon Composition and delivery. (In conjunction with the examination in this subject, the Candidate shall present three written sermons, composed by himself, on texts of Holy Scripture appointed by the Bishop or the Examining Chaplains.)
2.5.8 Pastoral Care
2.5.9 Parish Organization and Administration, including the keeping of records.
2.5.10 Principles and Methods of Christian Education in the Parish
2.5.11 The Mission work of the Church: “Church Planting”
2.5.12 Canon Law, including the Constitution and Canons of the Diocese
2.5.13 The use of the voice in reading and speaking
2.6 Upon compliance with all the requirements described above, the candidate must undergo a comprehensive examination by the Examining Chaplains who have been appointed by the Diocesan Bishop. When the Examining Chaplains are satisfied that the candidate possesses the requisite standing and knowledge, they will so certify their findings to the Diocesan Bishop.
2.7 The Candidate for Holy Orders must then be interviewed by a Quorum of the Standing Committee and be approved. The President of the Standing Committee will so certify their findings to the Diocesan Bishop.
2.8 The Diocesan Bishop may then ordain the candidate to the appropriate order, provided he judges the candidate to be a worthy candidate.
Section 3. Canons, Archdeacons and Regional Deans.
3.1 The Diocesan Bishop, with the consent of the Standing Committee, may appoint Priests of this Diocese to act as Canons, Archdeacons or Regional Deans in geographical portions of the Diocese to assist the Diocesan Bishop in the administration of the Diocese.
Section 4. Transfer of Clergy
4.1 Clergy wishing to be admitted to this Diocese must apply directly to the Diocesan Bishop and present evidence of good standing as a clergyman in his former jurisdiction, as well as any other materials or credentials the Diocesan Bishop may require.
4.2 The Diocesan Bishop will refer the matter to the Board of Examining Chaplains for recommendation.
4.3 The Diocesan Bishop, when he is satisfied that the clergyman is a proper candidate for admission to the Diocese, will recommend his admission to the Standing Committee.
4.4 Clergy wishing to transfer out of this Diocese are required to secure a Letter Demissory from the Diocesan Bishop to the Bishop of the gaining jurisdiction.
Section 5. Definitions of “Rector” and Other Titles of Parish Clergy
5.1 A “Rector” is a Priest who has been elected Rector by the Congregation he is to serve and approved and installed by the Diocesan Bishop, and for whom that Parish is thereafter:
5.1.1 That Priest’s fulltime responsibility and
5.1.2 A source of income.
5.2 The consent of the Diocesan Bishop must be obtained before a congregation may call a Priest, and the Priest is not entitled to the benefits of the office of Rector until he has been officially installed by the Diocesan Bishop according to the ritual and form in the 1928 Book of Common Prayer.
5.3 Clergy other than Rector(s) may be titled:
5.3.3 Supply Priest
5.3.5 Such other appropriate terms as the Diocesan Bishop may determine.
Section 1. Membership
1.1 The Standing Committee consists of:
1.1.1 Six (6) clergy in good standing, and
1.1.2 Six (6) confirmed lay persons, communicants in good standing.
1.1.3 The Officers of the Diocese, the Regional Deans are exofrficio members of the Committee. The Chancellor, Secretary, Treasurer and Director of Religious Education have voice but no vote on the Committee, unless holding an elected position.
Section 2. Term of Office
2.1 Each elected member of the standing Committee serves for three (3) years, and until a successor is elected and installed.
2.2 No elected member may serve more than two (2) consecutive terms by election, and at least one (1) year must intervene before re-election, following the said second term.
2.3 No more than one (1) lay and one (1) clergy person per parish shall be elected to any one committee of the Diocese.
Section 3. Duties
3.1 The duties of the Standing Committee are those customarily exercised from time to time in the absence of the Diocesan Council, as traditionally practiced in the Anglican Communion, and as herein additionally provided.
Section 4. Vacancy
4.1 The Standing Committee has authority to fill a vacancy in any non-Episcopal office of the Diocese that occurs between sessions of the Diocesan Council by appointing a qualified person to that position, with the following limitations:
4.1.1 The person appointed will hold that office only until his or her successor has been elected by the Diocesan Council at its next meeting and has taken office.
4.1.2 A vacancy in the office of Chancellor will be filled by the Diocesan Bishop, by and with the consent of the Standing Committee. This appointee is to serve only until the next regular session of the Diocesan Council.
THE DIOCESAN CORPORATION
Section 1. Board of Directors
1.1 The Board of Directors of the Diocesan Corporation consists of::
1.1.1 The Diocesan Bishop
1.1.2 The Chancellor
1.1.3 Two (2) Priests elected by the House of Clergy in the Diocesan Council, or in the absence of such election, then appointed by the Diocesan Bishop upon the recommendation of the Standing Committee.
1.1.4 Two (2) lay persons elected by the House of Laity in the Diocesan Council, or in the absence of such election, then by the Standing Committee.
1.2 Of Amenability and Citations
1.2.1 A Minister shall be amenable for offences committed by him, to the Bishop, and, if there be no Bishop, to the Standing Committee of the Diocese in which he is canonically resident at the time the charge is made.
1.2.2 Unless a Diocesan Council shall otherwise provide, a notice or citation required by any law of this Church to any Minister to appear, at a certain time and place, for the trial of an offence, shall be deemed to be duly served upon him if a copy be given him personally, or be left at his last usual place of abode with the United States, via Registered Mail, Return Receipt requested, sixty (60) days before the day of appearance named therein.
1.2.3 It is hereby declared to be the duty of all members of this Church to attend and give evidence, when duly cited in any Ecclesiastical trial or investigation under the authority of this Church.
1.2.4 In the case of a Minister, convicted in a Court of Record of any crime or misdemeanor involving immorality, or against whom a judgment has been entered in a Court of Record, in a case involving immorality, it shall be the duty of the Standing Committee of the Diocese to institute an inquiry into the matter. If, in their judgment, there is sufficient reason for further proceedings, it shall be their duty to present him, or to cause that he be presented, for trail.
1.3 Of offences for which Bishops, Priests or Deacons may be tried.
1.3.1 A Bishop, Priest, or Deacon of this Church shall be liable to presentment and trial for the following offences, viz.”
220.127.116.11 Crime of immorality
18.104.22.168 Holding and teaching publicly or privately, and advisedly, any doctrine contrary to that held by this Church
22.214.171.124 Violation of the Constitution or Canons of the Diocese
126.96.36.199 Any act which involves a violation of his Ordination Vows
188.8.131.52 Habitual neglect of the exercise of his Ministerial Office, without cause; or habitual neglect of Public Worship, and of the Holy Communion, according to the order and use of this Church.
184.108.40.206 Conduct unbecoming a Clergyman, provided, that, in case of a charge of conduct unbecoming a Clergyman, before proceeding to a presentment, the consent of three-fourths (3/4) of all the members of the Standing Committee.
220.127.116.11 And Provided, further, that in every such case the Standing Committee shall first give to the accused Clergyman reasonable opportunity to appear and to be heard, with or without counsel
18.104.22.168 On being found guilty, he shall be admonished, or shall be suspended or deposed from the Ministry, as shall be adjudged by the Trial Court.
1.3.2 No presentment shall be made or conviction had for any offense, unless the offense shall have been committed within five (5) years immediately preceding the time of the presentment.
1.3.3 But if the accused shall have been convicted of the alleged offense in any Court of Record exercising criminal jurisdiction, notwithstanding five (5) years may have elapsed since its commission, a presentment may be made at any time within one (1) year after such conviction. Charges may be brought to the Standing Committee by any person.
Section 2. Procedures
2.1 The Ecclesiastical Court has the power to determine its own procedures in conformity with the following rules:
2.1.1 The Diocesan Bishop, or in his absence, the Chancellor shall preside at sessions of the Ecclesiastical Court but the Diocesan Bishop or Presiding Officer shall have no vote.
22.214.171.124 In any case wherein the Diocesan Bishop shall be an accuser and/or a witness for either side, he shall recuse himself, and the Chancellor shall preside.
2.1.2 A quorum of the Court shall consist of the Diocesan Bishop or the Chancellor, as presiding n three (3) other members.
2.1.3 The decision of at least three (3) of the five (5) members of the Court shall constitute a finding of the Court.
2.1.4 The accused shall have the right to demand that the Court present and make available to him all of his accusers for the purpose of examination by himself or his counsel.
Section 3. Referral of findings to the Diocesan Bishop
3.1 In the event the matter before the Court involves charges against a Priest, or Deacon, the finding of the Court shall be communicated to the Diocesan Bishop, who in the event of a finding of acquittal shall pronounce the accused convicted but pardoned and discharge the accused, or who, in the event of a finding in favor of conviction, may declare the accused acquitted notwithstanding such finding, or shall declare the accused to be convicted and shall pronounce the sentence upon the accused.
3.2 This Canon does not abridge the right and responsibility of the Diocesan Bishop, in accordance with canon, to suspend a clergyman for cause, that in the godly judgment of the Diocesan Bishop is in violation of his ordination vows contained in the ordinal of The Book of Common Prayer; provided that in the event of any such suspension, the clergyman so suspended shall retain all rights to trial and approval under this chapter; and provided further, that, in the event this chapter within thirty (30) days of such suspension, such clergyman shall thereupon be discharged from suspension.
Section 4. Appeal from the findings of Court and Diocesan Bishop
4.1 If such clergyman shall, after trial and pronouncement of sentence by the Diocesan Bishop, elect to appeal from the verdict and/or the sentence, he shall so notify the Diocesan Bishop of his desire to appeal, within thirty (30) days of his notification of the entry of the sentence by the Diocesan Bishop. Such thirty-day period shall commence on the date when the notification of entry of sentence is postmarked by the U.S. Mail or the bishop hands the same to the appellant and shall expire on the thirtieth calendar day thereafter, and the appellants notice shall be deemed valid after said dat of expiration.
4.2 Upon receipt of notification of appeal, the Diocesan Bishop shall arrange for the Bishops of the Anglican Church, a Confederation of Autonomous Jurisdictions, to hear and decide said appeal, which decision shall be final and binding on all parties.
PARISHES AND CONGREGATIONS
Section 1. Definition
1.1 A Parish is a congregation in a specific area which is self supporting with a regular public meeting place and time, and who has a clergyman in residence, and which has been duly admitted to parish status in the Diocese as hereinafter provided.
1.2 A Mission Church is a non-self supporting congregation established by the bishop.
Section 2. Government
2.1 Each Parish Congregation determines the details of its own governmental structure, subject to the Constitution and Canons of this Diocese.
2.2 Each Parish shall, immediately upon admission to the Diocese, file application for corporation charter and articles of incorporation as a non-profit religious organization under the laws of the State wherein it is domiciled, provided that the status of being a non-profit corporation does not interfere with the religious principles and practices of the parish.
2.3 Each Parish shall, immediately upon being chartered as a nonprofit religious organization, take necessary steps to meet the requirements of the Internal Revenus Service of the United States government for:
2.3.1 Tax exemption
2.3.2 Tax Deduction for contributors
2.4 Each Parish shall keep on file with the Diocese a current copy of the Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws of the Parish and all State and Federal Taxpayer (Tax Exemption) and/or Employer Identification Numbers.
2.5 Each Parish shall adhere to “good business practices” and to the rules and regulations of the State in which the Parish resides relative to the appointment of officers and the administration of duties within the corporate structure.
2.5.1 The Officers of the Parish shall include
126.96.36.199 Senior Warden
188.8.131.52 Junior Warden
184.108.40.206 At least one member at large
2.5.2 The Elected Officers of the Parish are
220.127.116.11 Senior Warden
2.5.3 The Junior Warden may be either elected or appointed as directed by a decision of the congregation.
2.5.4 Each individual may hold only one office by title at a time.
2.5.5 The Rector or Priest in Charge serves as the President of the Vestry and in his absence the Senior Warden presides at meetings of the Vestry.
2.6 In a mission church the Senior Warden is appointed from the members of the congregation by the Bishop with a recommendation of the congregation.
2.6.1 The Senior Warden serves s the President of the Committee that governs the mission.
2.6.2 The Priest assigned to the Mission Church can be elected to serve as a member of the Committee that governs the mission.
Section 3. Admission of Parishes
3.1 A Parish may be admitted to the Diocese by Diocesan Council on recommendation of the Diocesan Bishop and the Standing Committee, provided that:
3.1.1 It subscribes to the Constitution and Canons of this Diocese
3.1.2 It has no conflicting ties to any other religious body
3.2 A Parish may be conditionally admitted to the Diocese by the Diocesan Bishop, with the advice and consent of the Standing Committee, subject to ratification by the Diocesan Council at its next session.
Section 4. Property
4.1 All of the property of individual Parishes remains the property of the Parish under the sole control of the Parish, and o Vestry may act to buy and/or sell property without an affirmative vote ofa legal meeting of the majority of the voting members of the Parish.
Section 5. Withdrawal of Parishes
5.1 A Parish may withdraw from the Diocese, in a meeting of the Communicants in Good Standing of the Parish, a quorum of at least two thirds (2/3) of said Communicants in Good Standing of the Parish being in attendance and no less than a majority of those Communicants in Good Standing of the Parish present voting for said withdrawal.
5.2 If a parish withdraws from the diocese, the property of the parish which it held before the withdrawal shall remain the property of the parish after the withdrawal.
Section 6. Dissolution of a Parish
6.1 A Parish may dissolve itself by filing Articles of Dissolution under the laws of the state wherein it is domiciled, ,making provision to carry out the provisions of Section 6.2.
6.2 Upon dissolution of a Parish, the assets of the Parish shall be held in trust by the Diocese for the reestablishment of the parish in that locale. All assets, interest or income accrued during such period of trusteeship shall be the property of the successor parish, less any reasonable cost and expense incurred for maintenance or administration.
6.3 Upon the third anniversary of the passage of the assets of a dissolved Parish to the Diocese in trust as hereinbefore provided, if no successor Parish shall have been established, said assets shall pass to the Diocese in fee simple.
Section 1. Lay Readers
1.1 Confirmed communicants in good standing, 18 years of age or older may be licensed as Lay Readers.
1.2 There shall be two kinds of Lay Readers, Parish and Diocesan.
1.1.1 Parish Lay Readers will be trained by the parish clergy and recommended to the Diocesan Bishop for licensing.
1.1.2 Lay Readers may read Morning and Evening Prayer (omitting the Absolution), The penitential Office, the litany, the Epistle at Holy Communion and the Burial Office.
1.1.3 Diocesan Lay Readers are licensed in the Parish as above and are also allowed to read the Prayer Book Offices in other congregations when invited by the clergyman in charge or on the request of the Diocesan Bishop.
1.1.4 A person appointed by the Diocesan Bishop shall examine Diocesan Lay Readers.
1.3 All Lay Reader licenses shall be renewed at the discretion of the Diocesan Bishop, by application, on the first of each calendar year. All Parish Lay Reader licenses will expire at the tenure of the clergyman in charge.
Section 2. Proxy Voting
2.1 Voting by proxy is prohibited in all Diocesan bodies. Proxy voting in parish meetings may be permitted by specific by-law in a Parish or Mission.
Section 3. Confidentiality of Communications
3.1 The Sacramental privilege against disclosure of communications and absolute seal of secrecy extends not only to the Confessor/Priest, but also to any interpreter or other person to whom knowledge acquired from confession may come.
3.2 Confidentiality of Non-Sacramental, Private Communications
3.2.1 Non-sacramental, private communications received by a clergyman or employee of this Diocese in a pastoral or professional capacity shall not be divulged except with the express prior permission of the person making the communication, or in order to prevent the commission of a serious crime.
3.2.2 Clergy of the Diocese are required to familiarize themselves with the Statutes of the State in which they are located, as the Statutes pertain to legal privilege of communications to clergy and laws requiring the reporting of stated intent to do harm to oneself or to others (including, but not limited to suicide, child abuse and abuse of elderly persons) and to preserve the maximum degree consonant with such Statutes the confidentiality of private communications.
3.2.3 Communications among clergy or pastoral teams for the purposes of consultation are fully subject to all of the above Canons. Where these Canons permit such information to be shared, it must be unmistakably identified as such, and all who come into possession of it are bound by the strictures of these Canons.
Section 4. Affiliating Organizations
4.1 Committees, organizations, task forces and like groups desiring to organize or, being organized, to affiliate under the auspices of the Diocese shall make application to the Standing Committee, which shall investigate and make its recommendation to the Diocesan Bishop. The decision of the Bishop, whether to permit the applied for affiliation or to deny the same, shall be final.
4.2 The application shall be in such form as prescribed by the Standing Committee.
4.3 Such committees, organizations, task forces or like groups as may be operating at the time of the adoption of this Section shall make application and be investigated and acted upon in accordance with the requirements of this section.
Section 5. Commissions of this Diocese
5.1 The Diocesan Bishop shall establish such commissions or ad hoc committees deemed necessary for the continuation and expansion of the diocese.
5.2 The Commission on the Ministry.
5.2.1 The Commission on the Ministry will make recommendations to the Bishop on the preparation of men for the Ministry.
5.2.2 The Commission will interview all men who aspire to Orders and at established times during their preparation.
5.2.3 The Commission will interview and refer to the examining Chaplains all men who have prepared for ordination to either the Diaconate or the Priesthood.
5.2.4 The Commission will be charged to provide the Bishop with a recommendation on men requesting transfers into the Anglican Diocese of the Southwest from other jurisdictions.
5.2.5 The Chair of the Commission will be the Senior Suffragan Bishop or Senior Regional dean.
5.2.6 Membership on the Commission will consist of two (2) Lay and two (2) Clergy serving two (2) year terms. One member of each house will be elected at the annual Diocesan Council.
5.3 The Commission on Missions
5.3.1 The Commission on Missions will make recommendations to the Bishop on the established Missions and Ministries and potential Ministries that the Diocese will undertake.
5.3.2 An appointed regional dean will chair the Commission.
5.3.3 Membership on the Commission will consist of two (2) Lay and two (2) Clergy serving two (2) year terms. One member of each house will be elected at the annual Diocesan Council.
AMENDMENTS OF THIS CONSTITUTION AND ITS CANONS
Section 1. Proposed amendment of this Constitution and its Canons
1.1 Proposed amendments to this Constitution and its Canons may be submitted to the Chancellor of the Diocese, who shall assist the offeror in wording the proposed amendment to conform with the structure of this Constitution and its Canons, but the Chancellor shall have no authority to prevent the submission of any proposed amendment, whether or not the offeror follows the Chancellor's suggestions as to form. In the event that a proposed amendment shall be, in the opinion of the Chancellor, in violation of this Constitution or its Canons of the Diocese, then the Chancellor shall inform the offeror of his opinion and assist the offeror, if the offeror desires, in bringing the proposed amendment into conformity with this Constitution and its Canons. Nothing in this Constitution or its Canons shall prevent the offeror of a proposed amendment from submitting said proposed amendment directly to the Diocesan Bishop, whether or not the Chancellor shall have seen the same.
1.2 Proposed amendments shall be transmitted by the offeror to the Diocesan Bishop who shall, within thirty (30) days after his receipt thereof:
1.2.1 Transmit the same to each member of the Diocesan Council, without alteration of the words or form of the proposed amendment, for consideration
1.2.2 Transmit the same to each Congregation of the Diocesan, without alteration of the words or form of the proposed amendment, for consideration.
1.2.3 Congregations shall meet and reviewed the proposed amendments to the Constitution and its Canons at least thirty (30) days prior to the Diocesan Council.
1.3 If the proposed amendment shall have been transmitted by the Diocesan Bishop less than thirty (30) days prior to the opening of the next meeting of the Diocesan Council then that Council may consider and vote upon the same only if a vote, voting by Houses, with a three-fourths (3/4) majority vote of each House, and a two thirds (2/3) majority of the houses, the Council shall have agreed to suspend the requirements for thirty (30) days prior notice. Absent this vote of suspension, the proposed amendment shall be carried over to the next Diocesan Council meeting.
1.3.1 The proposed amendment "shall have been transmitted by the Diocesan Bishop" on the day on which the same is postmarked by the U.S. Mail or handed in person to the members of the Diocesan Council
Section 2 Approval of proposed amendments.
2.1 This Constitution and its Canons may be amended by a proposed amendment by a vote upon the same of the Diocesan Council, voting by Houses, with a three-fourths (3/4) majority vote of each House, and a two thirds (2/3) majority of the houses, provided that:
2.1.1 Congregations have received notice of proposed amendment with the complete text thereof and have meet and reviewed the propose amendments prior to the vote to approve the amendments.
2.1.2 notice of proposed amendment with the complete text thereof shall have been given to all members of the Council prior to the vote to approve the amendments.
Section 3 Implementation of approved amendments.
3.1 The approved amendments to this Constitution and its Canons shall be in effect upon the vote thereof of the diocesan Council.
THE AFFIRMATION OF ST. LOUIS
IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND OF THE SON AND OF THE HOLY GHOST.
The Continuation of Anglicanism
We affirm that the Church of our fathers, sustained by the most Holy Trinity, lives yet, and that we, being moved by the Holy Spirit to walk only in that way, are determined to continue in the Catholic Faith, Apostolic Order, Orthodox Worship and Evangelical Witness of the traditional Anglican Church, doing all things necessary for the continuation of the same. We are upheld and strengthened in this determination by the knowledge that many provinces and dioceses of the Anglican Communion have continued steadfast in the same Faith, Order, Worship and Witness, and that they continue to confine ordination to the priesthood and the episcopate to males. We rejoice in these facts and we affirm our solidarity with these provinces and dioceses.
The Dissolution of Anglican and Episcopal Church Structure.
We affirm that the Anglican Church of Canada and the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, by their unlawful attempts to alter Faith, Order and Morality (especially in their General Diocesan Council of 1975 and General Convention of 1976), have departed from Christ's One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
The Need to Continue Order in the Church
We affirm that all former ecclesiastical governments, being fundamentally impaired by the schismatic acts of lawless Councils, are of no effect among us, and that we must now reorder such godly discipline as we strengthen us in the continuation of our common life and witness.
The Invalidity of Schismatic Authority
We affirm that the claim of any such schismatic person or body to act against any Church member, clerical or lay, for his witness to the whole Faith is with no authority of Christ's true Church, and any such inhibition, deposition or discipline is without effect and is absolutely null and void.
The Need for Principles and a Constitution
We affirm that fundamental principles (doctrinal, moral, and constitutional) are necessary for the present and that a Constitution (redressing the defects and abuses of our former governments) should be adopted, whereby the Church may be soundly continued.
The Continuation of Communion with Canterbury
We affirm our continued relations of communion with the See of Canterbury and all faithful parts of the Anglican Communion.
With a firm trust in Divine Providence, and before Almighty God and all the company of heaven, we solemnly affirm, covenant and declare that we, lawful and faithful members of the Anglican and Episcopal Churches, shall now and hereafter continue and be the unified continuing Anglican Church in North America, in true and valid succession thereto.
In order to carry out these declarations, we set forth these fundamental Principles for our continued life and witness.
In the firm conviction that "we shall be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ," and that "there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved," and acknowledging our duty to proclaim Christ's saving Truth to all peoples, nations and tongues, we declare our intention to hold fast the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Faith of God.
We acknowledge that rule of faith laid down by St. Vincent of Lerins: "Let us hold that which has been believed everywhere, always and by all, for that is truly and properly Catholic."
I. PRINCIPLES OF DOCTRINE
1. The Nature of the Church
We gather as people called by God to be faithful and obedient to Him. As the Royal Priestly People of God, the Church is called to be, in fact, the manifestation of Christ in and to the world. True religion is revealed to man by God. We cannot decide what is truth, but rather (in obedience) ought to receive, accept, cherish, defend and teach what God has given us. The Church is created by God, and is beyond the ultimate control of man.
The Church is the Body of Christ at work in the world. She is the society of the baptized called out from the world: In it, but not of it, As Christ's faithful Bride, she is different from the world and must not be influenced by it.
2. The Essential of Truth and Order
We repudiate all deviation of departure from the Faith, in whole or in part, and bear witness to these essential principles of evangelical Truth and apostolic Order:
The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments and the authentic record of God's revelation of Himself, His saving activity, and moral demands a revelation valid for all men and all time.
The Nicene Creed as the authoritative summary of the chief articles of the Christian Faith, together with the Apostles' Creed, and that known as the Creed of St. Athanasius to be "thoroughly received and believed" in the sense they have had always in the Catholic Church.
The received Tradition of the Church and its preachings as set forth by "the ancient catholic bishops and doctors," and especially as defined by the Seven Ecumenical Councils of the undivided Church, to the exclusion of all errors, ancient and modem.
The Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, the Holy Eucharist, Holy Matrimony, Holy Orders, Penance and Unction of the Sick, as objective and effective signs of the continued presence and saving activity of Christ our Lord among His people and as His covenanted means for conveying His grace. In particular, we affirm the necessity of Baptism and the Holy Eucharist (where they may be had) -- Baptism as incorporating us into Christ (with its completion in Confirmation as the "seal of the Holy Spirit"), and the Eucharist as the sacrifice which unites us to the all-sufficient Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross and the Sacrament in which He feeds us with His Body and Blood.
The Holy Orders of bishops, priests and deacons as the perpetuation of Christ's gift of apostolic ministry to His Church, asserting the necessity of a bishop of apostolic succession (or priest ordained by such) as the celebrant of the Eucharist -- these Orders consisting exclusively of men in accordance with Christ's Will and institution (as evidenced by the Scriptures), and the universal practice of the Catholic Church.
The ancient office and ministry of Deaconesses as a lay vocation for women, affirming the need for proper encouragement of that office
Duty of Bishops
Bishops as Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Shepherds and Teachers, as well as their duty (together with other clergy and the laity) to guard and defend the purity and integrity of the Church's Faith and Moral Teaching.
The Use of Other Formulae
In affirming these principles, we recognize that all Anglican statements of faith and liturgical formulae must be interpreted in accordance with them.
Incompetence of Church Bodies to Alter Truth
We disclaim any right or competence to suppress, alter or amend any of the ancient Ecumenical Creeds and definitions of Faith, to set aside or depart from Holy Scripture, or to alter or deviate from the essential prerequisites of any Sacrament.
Unity with Other Believers
We declare our firm intention to seek and achieve full sacramental communion and visible unity with other Christians who "worship the Trinity in Unity, and Unity in Trinity," and who hold the Catholic and Apostolic Faith in accordance with the foregoing principles.
II. PRINCIPLES OF MORALITY
The conscience, as the inherent knowledge of right and wrong, cannot stand alone as a sovereign arbiter of morals. Every Christian is obligated to form his conscience by the Divine Moral Law and the Mind of Christ as revealed in Holy Scriptures, and by the teaching and Tradition of the Church. We hold that when the Christian conscience is thus properly informed and ruled, it must affirm the following moral principles:
All people, individually and collectively, are responsible to their Creator for their acts, motives, thoughts and words, since "we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ..."
Sanctity of Human Life
Every human being, from the time of his conception, is a creature and child of God, made in His image and likeness, an infinitely precious soul; and that the unjustifiable or inexcusable taking of life is always sinful.
Man's Duty to God
All people are bound by the dictates of the Natural Law and by the revealed Will of God, insofar as they can discern them.
The God-given sacramental bond in marriage between one man and one woman is God's loving provision for procreation and family life, and sexual activity is to be practiced only within the bonds of Holy Matrimony.
Man as Sinner
We recognize that man, as inheritor of original sin, is "very far gone from original righteousness," and as a rebel against God's authority is liable to His righteous judgment.
Man and God's Grace
We recognize, too, that God loves His children and particularly has shown it forth has show it forth in the redemptive work of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that man cannot be saved by any effort of forgiveness.
.Christians Duty to be Moral
We believe, therefore, it is the duty of the Church and her members to bear witness to Christian Morality, to follow it in their lives, and to reject the false standards of the world.
III. CONSTITUTIONAL PRINCIPLES
In the constitutional revision which must be undertaken, we recommend, for the consideration of continuing Anglicans, the following:Retain the Best of Both Provinces That the traditional and tested features of the Canadian and American ecclesiastical systems be retained and used in the administration of the Continuing Church.
Selection of Bishops
That a non-political means for selection of bishops be devised.
Tripartite Diocesan Council
That the Church be generally governed by a Holy Diocesan Council of three branches (episcopal, clerical and lay), under the presidency of the Primate of the Church.
Scriptural Standards for the Ministry
That the apostolic and scriptural standards for the sacred Ministry be used for all orders of Ministers.
Concurrence of all Orders for Decisions
That the Constitution acknowledge the necessity of the concurrence of all branches of the Diocesan Council for decisions in all matters, and that extraordinary majorities be required for the favorable consideration of all matters of importance.
Reestablishment of Discipline
That the Church reestablish an effective permanent system of ecclesiastical courts for the defense of the Faith and the maintenance of discipline over all her members.
Constitutional Assembly to be Called
That our bishops shall call a Constitutional Assembly of lay and clerical representatives of dioceses and parishes to convene at the earliest appropriate time to draft a Constitution and Canons by which we may be unified and governed, with special reference to this Affirmation, and with due consideration to ancient Custom and the General Canon Law, and to the former law of our provinces.
In the meantime, trusting in the everlasting strength of God to carry us through all our trials, we commend all questions for decision to the proper authorities in each case: Episcopal, diocesan, and parochial, encouraging all the faithful to support our witness as subscribers to this Affirmation, and inviting all so doing to share our fellowship and the work of the Church.
IV. PRINCIPLES OF WORSHIP
Prayer Book-- The Standard of Worship
In the continuing Anglican Church, the Book of Common Prayer is (and remains) one work in two editions: The Canadian Book of 1962 and the American Book of 1928. Each is fully and equally authoritative. No other standard for worship exists.
Certain Variances Permitted
For liturgical use, only the Book of Common Prayer and service books conforming to and incorporating it shall be used
V. PRINCIPLES OF ACTION
Inter communion with other Apostolic Churches
The continuing Anglicans remain in full communion with the See of Canterbury and with all other faithful parts of the Anglican Communion, and should actively seek similar relations with all other Apostolic and Catholic Churches, provided that agreement in the essentials of Faith and Order first be reached.
Non-Involvement with Non-Apostolic Groups
We recognize that the World Council of Churches, and many national and other Councils adhering to the World Council, are non-Apostolic, humanist and secular in purpose and practice, and that under such circumstances, we cannot be members of any of them. We also recognize that the Consultation of Church Union (COCU) and all other such schemes, being non-Apostolic and non-Catholic in their present concept and form, are unacceptable to us, and that we cannot be associated with any of them.
Need for Sound Theological Training
Reestablishment of spiritual, orthodox and scholarly theological education under episcopal supervision is imperative, and should be encouraged and promoted by all in authority; and learned and godly bishops, other clergy and lay people should undertake and carry on that work without delay
The right of congregations to control of their temporalities should be firmly and constitutionally recognized and protected.
Administration should, we believe, be limited to the most simple and necessary acts, so that emphasis may be centered on worship, pastoral care, spiritual and moral soundness, personal good works, and missionary outreach, in response to Gods love for us.
The Church as Witness to Truth
We recognize also that, as keepers of God's will and truth for man, we can and ought to witness to that will and truth against all manifest evils, remembering that we are as servants in the world, but God's servants first.
Pensions and Insurance
We recognize our immediate responsibility to provide for the establishment of sound pension and insurance programs for the protection of the stipendiary clergy and other Church Workers.
We recognize the immediate need to coordinate legal resources, financial and professional, for the defense of congregations imperiled by their stand for the Faith, and commend this need most earnestly to the diocesan and parochial authorities.
Continuation, Not Innovation
In this gathering witness of Anglicans and Episcopalians, we continue to be what we are. We do nothing new. We form no new body, but continue as Anglicans and Episcopalians.
Deeply aware of our duty to all who love and believe the Faith of our Fathers, of our duty to God, who alone shall judge what we do, we make this Affirmation. Before God, we claim our Anglican Episcopal inheritance, and proclaim the same to the whole Church, through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, be all honor and glory, world without end. Amen.
The following is a list of words/terms which will be used throughout the document and are given here with their definition as found in the "Oxford English Dictionary", and as relates to these Canons.
Assessment: 1, Fixed amount of money or labor required or each congregant for the maintenance of a parish church, formerly called pew rents. 2, A fixed sum of money usually set by the diocese, often based on membership, required of each parish for the support of its diocese.
Bishop Ordinary : Bishop or arch-deacon, elected by diocese and given jurisdiction by permanent appointment, but he may not delegate it against the will of the diocesan bishop.
Chapel: 1, A private place for Christian worship. 2, A subordinate Anglican church maintained for the convenience of remote parishioners. 3, A place for Christian worship located within a school, hospital prison or other institution or business.
Chaplin: 1, Clergyman officiating in a private chapel. 2, A clergyman ministering as a pastor in a hospital, a school, a prison, a military unit or other like institution or business
Church: 1,The body of Christ; all the saints, past present and future; all the world's Christians. 2, Building for public Christian worship. 3, An organized Christian Society of any time or place. (eg. The Church of England)
Clergy: Ordained ministers of the church
Coadjutor Bishop : Bishop elected and given jurisdiction by a diocese to assist and later to succeed the diocesan bishop
Communicant in Good Standing: A Communicant in Good Standing is one who is at least eighteen (18) years old, who has been confirmed, made his or her communion at least three times in the preceding year, is a contributor of record and a regular attendee.
Congregation: A body of Christians assembled for religious worship.
Dean: 1, The chief clergyman on the staff of a cathedral. 2, The clerical head of a seminary. 3, A parish rector appointed by the bishop to be his representative in a specific rural geographical area of the diocese called a deanery
Diocese: 1, The territorial unit of administration in the church. It is governed by a bishop and is divided into parishes which are grouped into deaneries. 2, The see or jurisdiction of a bishop.
Diocesan Bishop : Bishop elected by a diocese for whom he is the chief administrator and where he exercises jurisdiction by permanent appointment
Diocesan Constitution: The body of fundamental principles according to which the diocese is governed.
Diocesan Canons: Ecclesiastic laws of a diocese for governing the clergy and laymen therein.
Diocesan Council: 1, Ecclesiastical assembly attended by the bishops, clergy and laymen of a diocese meeting together for advisory or deliberation. 2, The administrative body of a diocese.
Diocesan Synod: Ecclesiastical council attended by a bishop and his clergy.
Diocesan tithe: One tenth part of the tithe collected by a parish, payable in local currency, for the support of the diocese.
Lay reader: A lay person especially licensed by the bishop to hold certain, specifically designated Prayer Book services for a specific diocesan congregation. He may also receive a license to preach.
Lector: A lay person who receives permission from the parish rector to read from the Holy Scriptures at a parish Prayer Book service
Mission: A non self supporting congregation established by the bishop.
Missionary: A person sent out by a bishop or parish for the purpose of converting non believers.
Parish: 1, A geographic subdivision of a diocese having its own church and clergyman. 2, A congregation in a specific area which is self supporting with a regular public meeting place and time, and who has clergyman in residence.
Priest in charge: Title given to a priest assigned by the bishop to a mission congregation or a parish or some other ecclesiastical duty, and who is neither elected by nor receives tithe or stipend from them. He will usually receives a stipend from the bishop. A priest may be the priest in charge of more than one congregation at a time.
Rector: Title given to the incumbent priest of a parish for whom the parish is his sole responsibility and he is entitled by his bishop and elected by the parish to receive the parish tithe. A priest may not be rector of more than one parish at a time.
Rectors tithe: One tenth part of the tithe collected by a parish, payable in kind, for the support of the rector of a parish.
Suffragan Bishop : Bishop elected to assist the diocesan bishop, but without jurisdiction or right of succession.
Vicar: (Vice-rector): title given to the incumbent priest of a parish, mission or chapel, for whom the parish, mission or chapel is his sole responsibility. He serves under the rector, (if there is one). He is not entitled to the parish tithe but receives a stipend at the election of the parish, mission or chapel. A priest may not be the vicar of more than one parish at a time.
Tithe: A Tax of one-tenth part of the annual proceeds of land and labor, payable in kind. Taken for the support of the church building, clergy, widows, orphans and invalids of a parish.
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