THE WORLDWIDE ANGLICAN CHURCH
(FORMALLY THE AFRICAN ORTHODOX CHURCH)
DECLARATION OF FAITH, CONSTITUTION, CANONS & EPISCOPATE
(FIRST ADOPTED SEPTEMBER 15TH, 1921 AND REVISED AUGUST 20TH, 2019)
HEADQUARTERS: P. O. BOX 35878, KAMPALA, UGANDA
The Worldwide Anglican Church declares its belief in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the Word of God and the only sufficient Rule of Faith and entreats all the faithful to read the same diligently, not only as their duty and privilege, but in obedience to Christ’s command, “Search the Scriptures.” For the moral instruction contained therein, it accepts also the so-called Apocryphal books.
The Worldwide Anglican Church accepts the Nicene Creed, without the “filioque” interpolation as the only one of universal obligation but believes also the other two symbols known as the Apostles’ Creed, and the Creed of S. Athanasius.
The Worldwide Anglican Church receives as Ecumenical the Seven General Councils whose dogmatic decrees are today accepted by all Apostolic Churches of the East and West, viz:- (1) Nicea, 325; (2) Constantinople, 381; (3) Ephesus, 431; (4) Chalcedon, 451; (5) Constantinople, 553; (6) Constantinople, 680; (7) Nicea, 787.
The Worldwide Anglican Church holds that a Sacrament is a sacred rite divinely instituted to convey grace, having a sensible or visible sign connected with prayer as the means by which the grace is conveyed. It receives as a part of the original deposit of the faith “once for all delivered to the saints” the Seven Gospel Sacraments.
It acknowledges Baptism as the Sacrament established by Christ to cleanse man from the Original Sin and to make them members of the Christian Church, it is the sacrament of Regeneration of the New Birth.
It believes that Confirmation is the Sacrament in which the Holy Spirit is given with the fullness of His Gifts to the believer and regards the Bishop as the ordinary minister of this Sacred Rite.
It believes that in the Sacrament of Penance, Jesus Christ Himself inwardly looses from their sins those who sincerely repent of them and outwardly make a confession and that every validly ordained priest has the power to pronounce Christ’s pardon to penitent sinners confessing their sins. It allows both public and private confession, the mode being optional with the penitent.
We respect that our clergies hold different views on the Eucharist, as they have come to us from different denominations and backgrounds. Most see it as both a Sacrament and a Sacrifice offered for the living and the dead, whilst others see it as a symbolic remembrance as in the 30 articles of faith. For the former, our clergies believe that in this most holy Sacrament of the Altar there is the Real Presence of the glorified spiritual Body and Blood of Christ under the forms of bread and wine, the mysterious transformation being effected by the Holy Spirit. Since this is a mystery it shuns all terms of definition and description. It maintains that the Chalice should not be denied the laity in holy communion; it believes that the Liturgy ought to be said in the language of the people; and it permits in connection with this Sacrament the use of the names Eucharist, Mass, or Divine Liturgy.
UNCTION OF THE SICK
It believes the Unction of the Sick to be a Sacrament of the New Dispensation, instituted for the spiritual and corporal solace of the sick, to be used for the benefit of the Christian when seriously ill, and not only when approaching death. Both the mode and the efficacy of this Sacrament are indicated in the fifth chapter of the Epistle of St. James.
It believes that Order is a Sacrament which confers upon those who validly receive it the power to exercise special ministerial function, Bishops alone being the ministers of this Sacrament. The greater, or Holy Orders, which are of divine institution, are the Episcopate, the Priesthood, and the Diaconate, reader, exorcist, acolyte, and sub-deacon. It believes the episcopate necessary for the life of the Church, that all bishops are equal in power and authority by divine right and that their prerogatives of honor and jurisdiction are derived from the Church and regulated by her canons.
10 HOLY MATRIMONY
It believes marriage, when a man and woman are joined together according to the sacred rite of the Church, to be a sacrament, and that the civil ceremony of marriage prescribed by law in certain countries, should always be blessed by the priest. There should be no dissolution of the bonds of marriage except for adultery, and malicious desertion (including proven extreme abuse,) and no priest of this Church is permitted to perform the marriage ceremony of any person who has a divorced husband or wife living, unless such a person produces satisfactory evidence from court records that he or she is the innocent party in a divorce granted for the cause of adultery or malicious desertion. In all cases involving the marriage of a divorced person, the priest must submit the facts to, and receive the consent of his/her Bishop, before performing the rite.
The Worldwide Anglican Church believes that the departed saints are not dead, but living, and that if the prayers of the righteous on earth avail much, the prayers of our glorified brethren nearer the throne of God must be more potent. Hence, we consider it a good and useful practice to invoke the prayers of the saints for us, and to pray ourselves for the repose of the souls of the faithful departed.
SACRED PICTURES AND IMAGES
The Worldwide Anglican Church holds that pictures and images of Christ and the Saints may be reverenced as sacred things, though not adored. We do not deny any Christian the use of this pious practice if it is an aid to worship, but we caution against abuses thereof when the picture or image is given the adoration which belongs only to God, or its veneration considered necessary to salvation or justification.
ARTICLE I - OUR HISTORY
The name of this Church, which was organized September 2nd, 1921 was The African Orthodox Church. Its faith, as declared, was Orthodox, in conformity with the Orthodox Churches of the east from which its Episcopate was derived. While it admitted to membership and other privileges persons of all races, it sought particularly to reach out to millions of African descents in both hemispheres and declared itself to be perpetually autonomous and controlled by Africans. Hence the name, African Orthodox.
The African Orthodox Church (AOC) owed its Episcopate and Apostolic Authority to the Syrian Church of Antioch where their disciples were first called Christians, and of which the See of St Peter the Apostle was the first Bishop. In a Bull issued by Ignatius Peter III, Patriarch of Antioch and the East, permission was given for the Consecration of the Priest Joseph Rene Vilatte as Archbishop – Metropolitan of the Archdiocese of America, namely, for churches adhering to the Orthodox Faith; and, on May 29th, 1892, Archbishop Vilatte was duly consecrated in Ceylon by Archbishop Julius Alvarez, assisted by the Syrian Bishops George Gregorius and Paul Athanasius, all three being under obedience of the Patriarch of Antioch.
On September 28th, 1921, in the United States, George Alexander McGuire, who was born in South Africa and served in Anglican Church in South Africa and the United States of America until 1918、until he was rejected by the administration of the Anglican Church (Canterbury) after he had been elected to the office of Bishop, was consecrated to the first Bishop and Primate of the AOC by Archbishop Joseph Rene Vilatte, assisted by Bishop Carl A. Nybladh who had been consecrated by Vilatte. Bishop McGuire was thrived to lay the foundation of the newborn AOC and on September 10th, 1924, he was elected to Archbishop. Then Archbishop McGuire declared that he is forming a sect of the Anglican Church “for our race”, thus the unity of the AOC, South Africa and the United States of America, began. Archbishop McGuire was elected as Patriarch by the Conclave of Bishops with the title of Alexander I.
In 1934, the AOC had about 30,000 members, about fifty clergies, and thirty churches in Africa and the United States of America. Alexander I died on November 10th, 1934, and Archbishop George Ford (1897-2004), succeeded the mantle.
During the 1960s and 1970s, the Church played a massive role in the fight against APARTHEID in South Africa and worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr in the United States of America. In 1997, AOC implemented the reform and changed its name to the Anglican African Orthodox Church (AAOC). From its inception, the AAOC set out to prevent the notion that we are a black church. We made it clear that we serve all God’s people; thus, in 2002 there was a name change to Anglican Church Worldwide (ACW.) Unjust leadership prompted the Church Reformation. The initiative to commence the ACW reform was taken by the prevailing Bishops and Priests because of the egocentric leadership, obscure accountings and duplicitous exploitations demonstrated by the former Presiding Archbishop in Illinois, USA during his administration. Following the eradication of wrongful concords of the previous administration, the ACW renounced its name and became the Worldwide Anglican Church (WAC) in July 2017.
After much prayer, fasting and discussion, the WAC and Mercy Worldwide Ministries Anglican Church (MWMAC) came into Intercommunion with each other to form a robust union in December 2018. In addition to this Intercommunion, the WAC appointed its first female Archbishop, British/American The Most Rev ++ Christine Jane Alexandra Mercy Johnson, PhD of the MWMAC to the Archbishop Directorate General of the Americas and Europe. On February 2nd, 2019, MWMAC merged with the WAC and Archbishop Johnson became WAC’s first Ex-Officio Matriarch. Her Grace was Installed in Huila, Colombia, South America on May 30th, 2019.
In August 2019, a conference was held to end the ongoing theological debate within the church. As a result of the deliberations, the conference resolved to divide the church into two in a legitimate manner. The WAC formally approved the resolution of the conference of which regulates the division of the church and the inheritance by both groups led by Archbishop Lwanga Tusubira and Johnson, and the group named the Continuing Anglican Church (Coanch) led by Archbishop Sato. In September, the WAC and the Coanch arrived at a partnership agreement and agreed to maintain mutual cooperation and mutual apostolic succession.
On August 1st, 2019, Archbishop Johnson was appointed Co-Presiding Bishop with His Grace, the Most Rev ++ Christopher Lwanga Tusubira.
What is an Anglican Church? Anglicanism is a tradition within Christianity comprising the Church of England and churches which are historically tied to it or have similar beliefs, worship practices and church structures. With a membership estimated at around 80 million members worldwide, the Anglican faith (including both those within the Anglican Communion and Anglicans outside of it) is the third largest Christian communion in the world, after the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches. The Anglican faith is often considered a reformed Catholicism, a hybrid between the Catholic and Protestant faiths. (For instance, one key dividing point between Anglicanism and Catholicism is the issue of absolute authority.
The Anglican Communion is an international association of churches consisting of the Church of England and of national and regional Anglican churches in full communion with that mother church. The status of full communion means that there is mutual agreement on essential doctrines and that full participation in the sacramental life of each church is available to all communicant Anglicans. There are also groups, such as those aligned with the Continuing Anglican movement or the Anglican realignment, whose relationship to the worldwide Anglican Communion is still being negotiated. The Worldwide Anglican Church is not part of the Anglican Communion officially. However, we are in spiritual union with all Anglicans around the world.
Their Graces, Archbishops Lwanga Tusubira and Johnson are the spiritual leaders for the WAC who call the yearly Synods and chair the meeting of Primates (i.e., chief archbishop or bishop of a province.) They are considered the primus inter pares, the first among equals, of the college of Primates.
The Book of Common Prayer is the foundational prayer book of Anglicanism. In 1549, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, created the book by translating Latin Catholic liturgy into English, and infused the prayers with Protestant reform theology. The book became one of the great works of literature and influenced both the English language and the liturgies of other Christian traditions.
There are numerous terms that are unique to or have distinctive meanings when referring to Anglicanism, such as: bishop (a successor to one of the Twelve Apostles, who has been consecrated by other bishops), archbishop (a bishop who has additional responsibilities), communion (refers to both the Lord’s Supper and the Anglican Communion), curate (an assistant to the person in charge of a parish), deacon (the initial level of being ordained in the Anglican Church), diocese (fundamental unit of structure of the Anglican church, which contains many parishes and churches) parish (smallest unit of administration, usually consisting of only one church), province (administrative division of the church that is bigger than a diocese and smaller than the whole world), rector (a priest who is the leader of a self-supporting parish), and vicar (the priest in charge of a parish or mission that is supported financially from the outside).
The work of this body began in earnest and continues to develop a strong foundation across the world as a unified traditional Anglican faith. History will decide on the work of the WAC, but it will be left to our successors to carry the vision. It is our hope that we, who have courageously and boldly planted the seeds of growth, while we will not see it, will bear fruit that brings others to the kingdom of God. We pray at that time that much will not be said of who we were, but that what we have done.
The work of this body began in earnest and it took (and is) in developing a strong foundation. We began in South Africa and the USA, but now we have purview over thousands of parishes and clergies across five continents which will enhance the unified traditional Anglican faith.
History will decide on the work of the WAC, but it will be left to our successors to carry the vision. It is our hope that we, who have planted the seeds of growth, while we will not see it, will bear fruit that brings others to the kingdom of God. We pray at that time that much will not be said of who we were, but that what we have done. Operations of the Church are now conducted with the utmost fairness and the organization is dedicated to establishing a resilient and welcoming foundation for devoted believers worldwide.
The Worldwide Anglican Church Central Office is registered and incorporated in Uganda and also registered in Ohio of the United States of America.
The general legislation of this Church and the direction of all matters which concern and belong to and affect the Church as a whole shall be vested in its General Synod, subject to its “Declaration of Faith” and to such Constitution and Cannons as it may from time to time adopt.
COMPOSITION OF THE GENERAL SYNOD
The General Synod shall be composed as follows: –
Of all Archbishops of this Church.
Of each Lead Bishop
Of Lay Deputies to be selected as provided in the Canons.
MEETINGS OF THE GENERAL SYNOD
General Synod shall convene on the third Monday in December in each year unless for good reason the Patriarch and Matriarch shall see fit to make a change, in which case they shall state the reason in the notice of a new date and shall allow enough time for deputies from distant points to arrive. When deputies are unable to attend in person, a dispensation will be made for them to join through secured digital media with exceptional circumstances considered. The Patriarch and Matriarch, for urgent reasons, by and with the consent of at least two-thirds of the Officers of the General Synod, may on sixty days’ notice call an extraordinary meeting of the General Synod. At any time, the General Synod may determine by a two-thirds vote to meet bi-annually or tri-annually.
OFFICERS OF THE GENERAL SYNOD
The officers of the General Synod shall be a President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Chancellor.
The President shall be one of the Primates, Archbishop, or Presiding Bishop of the Church. The Vice-President shall be a Bishop elected by ballot at each regular meeting of the General Synod. The Secretary shall be a bishop or senior Priest; the Treasurer shall be a bishop or senior Priest. All these shall be elected by ballot at each regular meeting of the General Synod.
The duties of said officers shall be those pertaining to their respective offices, and such others as may be prescribed by the Canons.
During the period intervening between sessions of the General Synod, the Worldwide Anglican Church Consistory, consisting of all Officers of the General Synod, shall transact the business of the Church, making a report thereof at the next meeting of the General Synod. The Patriarch and Matriarch are the presidents of the Consistory.
All Archbishops of this Church shall be members of the House of Bishops (HOB) of which the Patriarch and Matriarch are Presidents. The HOB shall safeguard the Episcopate and the Declarers of Faith and seek communion with other Churches of the Anglican tradition.
PROCEEDINGS OF THE GENERAL SYNOD
General Synod shall debate and vote as a general body according to such parliamentary rules as may be adopted, and freedom of debate shall always be allowed.
On all matters pertaining to faith, order and Worship, the Clergy alone shall vote, the Bishops and Priests separately, and concurrence of both Orders shall be necessary for the passage of the measure so voted on.
Three Archbishops and three Bishops, with the Presidents of the General Synod, shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. This number may be increased by legislation at any session of the General Synod.
THE LITURGY AND HYMNAL
A Commission of which the Bishops shall be members shall prepare a Liturgy Anglican in faith, derived from the Latin Rite, and published in the English Language. The forms of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer shall be employed wherever suitable in the compilation of said Liturgy. Until a Hymnal of this Church is provided, the use of the “English Hymnal,” or of “Hymns Ancient and Modern” is authorized, care being exercised in the choice of the hymns.
AMENDMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION
This Constitution, until otherwise ordered, may be amended at any stated meeting of the General Synod by a two-thirds vote of all present and voting.
LAY DEPUTIES TO THE GENERAL SYNOD
Lay deputies shall be elected to each General Synod at a regularly called meeting of each Parish for said purpose. In all cases, they must be communicant members of the congregation they are chosen to represent.
Each parish shall be entitled to one Lay Deputy, but if its communicant membership as reported by it to General Synod be two hundred or more, it shall be entitled to two such Deputies.
No candidate for Holy Orders shall be eligible as a Lay Deputy.
THE SECRETARY OF THE GENERAL SYNOD
The secretary of the General Synod shall be chosen by ballot and shall appoint his/her Assistant with the approval of the General Synod. In addition to his/her general duties, he/she shall preserve and file in the archives of the Church all documents, papers, reports, and communications relating to the business of the General Synod which may come into his/her possession. He/she shall be the Registrar of the Church and hall keep a record of the Consecration of all its Bishops and the ordination of all its Priests. He/she shall also keep a Register of all Bishops, Priests and other Ministers of this Church, whose names shall be delivered to him/her in the following manner, that is to say: Every Bishop of this Church, or where there is no Bishop, the Bishop’s Council, shall at the time of every General Synod deliver or cause to be delivered to the said Secretary a list of the names of all Clergy of this Church in their Diocese or Jurisdiction, annexing the names of their parishes or other official positions and their places of residence.
The Journal of the General Synod shall be prepared for publication by the Secretary, and after examination and certification by the President, shall be printed as the official and permanent record of this Church.
The necessary expenses incurred by the Secretary shall be provided for by the vote of the General Synod.
THE TREASURER OF THE GENERAL SYNOD
It shall be the duty of the Treasurer of the General Synod to receive and disburse all funds collected under the authority of the General Synod and for which there is no other regulation. He/she shall present a summarized report at the opening session of each stated meeting of the General Synod, and his/her books of account shall be audited by the Committee on Finance.
THE CHANCELLOR OF THE GENERAL SYNOD
The Chancellor of the General Synod shall be a person having knowledge of the principles of Civil Law and vested in Canon Law, to whom shall be referred all requests for interpretation of the Constitution and Canons of this Church. He/she shall be the Adviser of the Patriarch and Matriarch Presidents and HOB in all legal and judicial matters, and with their consent shall secure such legal talent as may be necessary for the affairs of this Church. He/she shall make a summarized report of his/her activities at the first session of each stated meeting of the General Synod.
EXPENSES OF GENERAL SYNOD
The contingent expenses of the General Synod shall be defrayed by assessments upon the several congregations of this Church, said assessments to be made annually by the Committee on Finance, and authorized by the General Synod.
COMMISSIONS AND COMMITTEES
At each stated meeting of General Synod, the Presidents shall appoint the following Commissions and Committees:
A Commission on Liturgy and Hymnal
Consisting of the Patriarch and Matriarch and other Bishops, and three Priests who shall set forth a Liturgy and Hymnal, or portions thereof, or revise said Liturgy and Hymnal from time to time. This Commission shall publish all theological, ecclesiastical, and devotional literature of this Church.
A Committee on Constitution and Canons
Consisting of the Patriarch, Matriarch, and other Bishops, two Priests and two Laymen, of which the Chancellor shall be one, to whom shall be referred all alterations or amendments to the Constitution and Canons.
A Committee on Finance
Consisting of the Patriarch, Matriarch, two Priests and two Laymen, who shall perform the duties usually pertaining to such a Committee, such as caring for the contingent expenses of the General Synod, levying assessments for any purpose ordered by the General Synod, and auditing all financial reports and statements. The Treasurer of the General Synod shall be an ex-officio member of this Committee for the purpose of receiving funds and giving desired information but without a vote.
A Committee on Church Extension Fund
Consisting of the Patriarch, Matriarch, two Priests and two laymen, who shall perform the duties of a Board of Missions and shall have the power to raise funds for the assistance of new congregations. This Committee shall take charge of all contributions and donations for any purpose connected with the Extension work of this Church or of any charitable or benevolent institution thereof. It shall also be the Trustees of all property, real and personal, held by any parish or congregation, which receives regular financial aid from said Committee.
A Committee on the Episcopate Fund
Consisting of the Patriarch, Matriarch, two Priests and two laymen who shall levy assessments and raise offerings for the support and traveling expenses of the Patriarch, Matriarch, and senior Bishops of this Church.
A committee on the St. Agnes Christian Education Center
Consisting of the Patriarch, Matriarch, and other Bishops, two priests and the Director or Dean of the Center. This Committee shall have general charge and oversight of all the affairs of the Center.
All Commissions and Committees herein mentioned shall make a report at every stated meeting of the General Synod and a majority of all the members of any such Commissions or Committee shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. They shall keep a proper record of all proceedings and funds.
DIOCESES AND MISSIONARY JURISDICTIONS
Ten or more contiguous parishes of this Church being self-supporting, with ten or more Priests of this Church each of whom shall be Rector of one of the said parishes, may constitute themselves into a Diocese having first received the consent of the General Synod. Such Diocese shall take its name from a city or another geographical designation and shall form its own Diocesan Synod under the Jurisdiction of a Bishop of this Church, elected by such Synod. Each Diocesan Synod shall be composed of all the Priests of this Church resident within its limits and such number of Lay Deputies from each Diocesan Synod shall have the power to frame a Constitution and canons for its own government not conflicting with the Constitution and Canons of the General Synod.
The territorial boundaries of a Diocesan Synod shall be fixed by the General Synod and shall not be changed except such Synod by a majority vote requests and received the consent of the General Synod.
The General Synod may establish Missionary and Special Jurisdictions with territorial boundaries ad elect Bishops therefor, and each such Jurisdiction shall make Canons for its government under the direction of its Bishops not conflicting with the Constitution and Canons of the General Synod.
The Bishop shall be the Ecclesiastical Authority of his/her Diocese or Jurisdiction with the assistance of a Bishop’s Council of not less than four members who may be Priests or Laymen, and who shall be appointed by the Bishop at each annual meetings of Synod. If there be no Bishop, the Council alone shall be the Ecclesiastical Authority.
No Candidate for Holy Orders shall be eligible as a Lay Deputy to a Diocesan Synod.
Any Priest of this Church in good standing may be elected a Bishop, and any Bishop of this Church may be elected over a vacant Diocese or appointed by General Synod over a Jurisdiction.
Section 2. (a)
A Bishop of a Diocese shall be elected by the Synod thereof at a meeting called for said purpose according to the canons of this Church, by the concurrent vote by ballot of the Clergy and lay Duties voting separately.
A Bishop or a Missionary or Special Jurisdiction shall be elected at any meeting of the General Synod by the concurrent vote by ballot of the Bishops and Clergy voting separately and the Lay Deputies voting separately.
No election of a Bishop by a Diocesan Synod is valid until confirmed by the Worldwide Anglican Church, or by the General Synod if such an election occurs less than three months prior to a meeting of General Synod.
Every Bishop-elect, being a Priest before his Consecration, shall present to the Archbishop Primate of the Country and to the Deputy Archbishop Primate to the Country his/her certificate of election duly signed by all the Officers clerical and lay of the Diocesan or General Synod electing him/her; also, a statement from the Secretary of the General Synod of the Confirmation of his/her election; also, a certificate of good character signed by three Priests in the following form:
“We whose names are underwritten, fully realizing how important it is that the office of a Bishop should not be unworthily conferred, and firmly persuaded that it is our duty to bear testimony on this solemn occasion, without partiality or affection, do, in the presence of Almighty God, testify that ________ is not, so far as we are informed, justly liable to evil report, either for error in the Anglican faith or for an inappropriate life, and that we do not know or believe there is any impediment on account of which he/she ought not to be Consecrated to the office of a Bishop in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. We do, moreover, jointly and severally declare that we do, in our conscience, believe him/her to be of such sufficiency in good learning, such soundness in doctrine, and of such virtuous and pure manners and godly conversation, that he/she is apt and meet to exercise the office of a Bishops, to the honor of God and the edifying of His Church, and to be a wholesome example to the flock of Christ.”
These requirements being complied with, the Patriarch and the Matriarch, or some other Bishop or Bishop’s designated by them, shall proceed to consecrate the Bishop-elect according to the established Canons by this Church.
No man or woman shall be consecrated a Bishop in this Church until he/she be forty years old, and no man or woman shall be consecrated an Archbishop in this Church until he/she be fifty years old. In circumstances where a highly experienced and qualified candidate is presented under the age of forty or fifty years old, due consideration and inspection will be made. If a candidate is found to be exceptionally qualified, the WAC will agree to his/her Ordination and Consecration.
Every Bishop of this Church shall reside within his/her own Diocese or Jurisdiction unless excused from so doing by a vote of the Worldwide Anglican Church HOB or the General Synod. He/she shall visit the congregations within his/her charge at least once a year for the purpose of performing the spiritual duties of his/her office and examining the temporal state of each such congregation. The expenses incurred by such a visit shall be defrayed in part or whole by the congregation for whose benefit it is made, or in such other way as the Synod of the Diocese or Jurisdiction shall provide.
Every Bishop in charge of a Diocese or Jurisdiction shall make a written report of his work and episcopal acts to General Synod, mailing same so that it may be in the hand of the Secretary of General Synod, or of its Presidents, at least twenty days prior to the stated meeting of the General Synod.
In case of the death, resignation, or vacancy by any other cause of a Bishop of a Missionary or Special Jurisdiction, the oversight of the vacant Jurisdiction shall pass to the Patriarch or Matriarch of this Church, who will appoint some other Bishop as his/her substitute, until the next meeting of the General Synod when a new Bishop shall be chosen for the Jurisdiction or Diocese.
Any Bishop of a Jurisdiction may resign the same with the consent of the General Synod, after which he/she shall perform episcopal acts only at the request of Bishops having jurisdiction or of the General Synod. The Bishop of any Diocese may resign the same or be relieved from the duties of his/her office by the Synod thereof for causes not affecting his/her moral character. All Bishops so resigning or relieved shall retain their seats in the Conclave, or House of Bishops, the Worldwide Anglican Church Consistory, and be entitles to vote in General Synod.
Upon the death or resignation of an Archbishop and Primate, the Deputy Archbishop Primate shall immediately call a meeting of the House of Bishops to elect his/her successor. A majority of all Bishops of the Church shall form a quorum. The votes of all absent Bishops on a personally signed ballot shall be counted with the ballots of the Bishops present and voting, and the result of said election shall be published in all Dioceses and Jurisdictions of this Church.
Until the election of an Archbishop, the Deputy Archbishop Primate shall be the Acting Primate of the Worldwide Anglican Church in each Country.
GENERAL PROVISIONS AND QUALIFICATIONS FOR HOLY ORDERS
No person shall be ordained to the Ministry in this Church, who for reasons affecting is/her moral character, has been refused ordination elsewhere.
No person shall be ordained to the Ministry of this Church if they belong to another Church organization until such time that they have duly resigned from that organization.
No Person shall be ordained to the Priesthood in this Church until he/she be thirty years old.
Every person to be admitted to Holy Orders in this Church shall be examined by a Bishop and his/her Examining Chaplains whose duty it shall be to ascertain that he/she is well versed in the Holy Scriptures, the Faith and Worship of this Church, the history of the Undivided Church, Sermon Composition and delivery, Pastoral Theology, and the Constitutions and canons of this Church. Before such examination, he/she shall present a Testimonial from at least one Priest, two male and two female communicants of this Church signifying a belief in his/her fitness for this sacred office and in his/her purity, good morals and behavior for the space of three years past. He/she must further be able to show that he/she is deemed to be useful in ministerial work.
Deacons shall not be given charge of congregations, but shall be assistants to Priests, or serve temporarily in a congregation under the supervision of the Bishop. Deacons may preach sermons and perform Infant Baptism in the absence of a Priest and only with the consent of the Bishop. They shall be assistants, but not celebrants of the Eucharist.
No Deacon or other Minister, not being a Priest, shall be transferred from one Diocese or Jurisdiction to another except by mutual agreement of the Bishops concerned.
No one shall be ordained a Priest until such time as he/she is entering upon pastoral or other duties assigned him/her in this Church by the Bishop, and any Priest who shall leave his/her sacred calling and the duties thereof to engage in secular work after his/her ordination shall be officially counseled by his/her Bishop and otherwise disciplined should he/she persist in the same against the reprimand of said Bishop.
Any Priest of this Church in good standing may at his/her own request, be transferred with Letters Testimonial to the Jurisdiction of any other Bishop who may desire to receive him/her. Every transfer when effected shall be reported to the Secretary of the General Synod by the Bishop receiving the Priest in question.
GENERAL REGULATION OF MINISTERS AND THEIR DUTIES
No Priest in charge of any congregation of this Church, or in case of vacancy or absence, no Wardens, Vestrymen or Trustees of the Congregation shall permit any person, not a Minister or Reader of the Worldwide Anglican Church to officiate in any manner in Divine services.
There shall be no pulpit exchanges by Priests of this Church with the ministers of other religious bodies. The Bishop alone may, for the extraordinary reason given in writing permission to a Christian man/woman with a special message, on the request of the Priest in charge to speak from the Lectern or Pulpit of any Church in his Diocese or Jurisdiction. Any violation of this Canon will be cause for the discipline of the offender.
Any Priests, in good standing, may be elected by the Wardens and Vestrymen/women of any congregation of this Church as the Rector of said Church, provided that the consent of the Bishop having jurisdiction has been first given and his/her approval of the Priests in question stated in writing.
Every Priest in charge of a congregation shall keep a Register of Baptisms, Confirmations, Communicants, Marriages and Burials, with a list as far as practical of the families under his/her care, which Register shall be open to the Bishop for inspection and shall be the property of the Parish for the use of subsequent Priests.
It shall be the duty of every Priest in charge of a congregation to select all Hymns and Tunes to be sung at any time of worship. He/she shall suppress all secular and unseemly music which may profane the service of the sanctuary of God.
Every Priest in charge of a congregation, or if the charge is vacant, the Wardens of the congregation, shall annually present a report thereof to the Synod of Jurisdiction at its regular meetings according to the form designated by the Canons of the Diocese and Jurisdiction. If any Priest of this Church from any cause or inability neglect to perform his/her duties in the congregation under his/her charge or should fail to appoint or permit any other Priests to perform such duties, the Wardens and vestrymen/women of such congregation shall report the facts in the case to the Bishop who shall take any action deemed necessary by him/her.
A pastoral connection in this Church may at any time be terminated by the consent of both parties, or by the decision of the Bishop or Bishop’s Council having jurisdiction, on the appeal by one party, after giving notice to the other party. In case the Priest refuses to abide by the decision of the Bishop or Bishop’s Council having jurisdiction he/she shall forfeit his/her right to a seat in the General and Diocesan Synod and shall be further subject to disciple for disobedience of the Ecclesiastical Authority. In case the Congregation refuses to abide by such decision it shall forfeit the right of Lay representation in the General and Diocesan Synods and shall be liable to be otherwise disciplined by the Bishop having jurisdiction. Either party shall have the right of Appeal to the final decisions of the ensuing General Synod.
HOLY AND RELIGIOUS ORDERS
No person shall be admitted by a Bishop as a candidate for Holy Orders in the Worldwide Anglican Church unless he/she have produced a certificate signed by at least one Priest, two male and two female communicants of this Church certifying that from personal knowledge, or from satisfactory evidence laid before them, they believe that he/she is pious, sober and honest; that he/she adheres to the faith, Worship and Discipline of this Church; is an enrolled communicant in a congregation of the same; and in their opinion possess such qualifications as will render him/her capable, Called and prepared to exercise the Ministry to the Glory of God and the edifying of His Church.
Every Person desiring to become a candidate for Holy Orders in this Church shall apply in writing to the Bishop having jurisdiction over the congregation in which he/she is enrolled as a communicant, and such Bishop having examined him/her to discover his/her academic qualifications, life experience, secular experience, and soundness in the Episcopal Faith may admit him/her a candidate by and with the advice of the Bishop’s Council.
No candidate for Holy Orders shall be transferred from the jurisdiction of one Bishop to that of another unless with the mutual consent of both Bishops.
Any candidate for Holy Orders may be dropped from the list of candidates by his/her Bishop for causes affecting his moral character, for habitual neglect of the ministrations of the Church, especially the Eucharist, and for repeated failure to successfully pursue his/her studies. No candidate so dropped shall again be accepted a candidate for Holy Orders except by the same Bishop or his/her successors. In any case in which the candidate has reason to believe that he/she is unjustly dealt with he/she shall have the right to appeal to the judgment of the Patriarch and Matriarch whose decision shall be final.
The term of continuance as a candidate shall be determined by the Bishop or Bishop’s Council having jurisdiction.
Religious Orders of men and women may be organized with the authority and consent of the Bishop of the Diocese or Jurisdiction for promoting the life of sacrifice, love, and service towards God, His Church, and humanity in general. The Superior of each Order shall be under the direct and immediate supervision of the Bishop who shall have full control of the temporal and spiritual affairs of every religious Order. No abuse of any man or woman will be tolerated by this Church. Should a person with Religious Orders find him/herself in a position of any form of abuse including sexual, physical, spiritual or mental intimidation, they will have the right to a hearing, which should initially be in written format to the Bishop.
The Worldwide Anglican Church does not accept any kind of abuse including sexual, physical, mental or religious. We take all allegations seriously. The following is a guideline of policies and procedures for handling allegations of sexual abuse of minors and should also be adhered to for adults.
Section 1. (a)
The person receiving a report of sexual abuse of a minor by Church personnel contacts the civil authorities first. The Priest should be notified next, who then notifies the Bishop or his designee within twenty-four hours.
If the person accused is the Priest, the report is made directly to civil authorities and then to the Bishop. In addition to the oral report, a written report is completed by the one receiving the allegation.
The Diocese will take care that the allegation is reported to the proper civil authorities, but the person making the report should bear in mind that they also must report to the civil authorities as a state-mandated reporter.
The person accused is notified of the allegation(s) in a timely manner by the Bishop or his designee, who is placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the diocesan investigation. Employees will continue to receive compensation and benefits until the completion of the diocesan investigation.
The accused is directed to remain away from the school, Church, office, agency, or another location which is the subject matter of the complaint, until a resolution of the complaint is concluded.
The accused is advised to have no contact with the accuser or the accuser’s or victim’s family.
The accused is advised of his/her right to obtain an attorney.
When a lay employee or volunteer is accused, the Priest, Principal, or Administrator will be notified if that has not already taken place.
If the accused admits guilt, does not contest guilt, or there is a finding of guilt: he or she will be terminated immediately, and not be eligible thereafter for any employment or volunteer work in the Diocese.
If the accused denies the allegation(s) and the state or federal criminal process is inconclusive or the accused is found not guilty: The Bishop will make the final decision as to whether the person is to be returned to duty, having consulted the Diocesan Synod for its recommendation.
When a Priest, Deacon, or Religious is accused, the Priest, Principal, Administrator, Bishop and/or Religious Superior will be notified if that has not already taken place, and if he or she is a Religious, or a Cleric of another diocese, who admits guilt, does not contest guilt, or there is a finding of guilt: he or she will be terminated immediately from Diocesan or parish employment in accord with applicable provisions of Canon Law, and his or her Bishop or Religious Superior will be so advised.
If the accused is a cleric of the Diocese, who admits guilt, does not contest guilt, or there is a finding of guilt: the applicable provisions of Canon Law will be invoked for appropriate disposition.
If the accused denies the allegation(s) and the state or federal criminal process is inconclusive or the accused is found not guilty, the Bishop will make the final decision as to whether the person is to be returned to duty, having consulted the diocesan Synod for its final decision.
The Bishop designates, from a list of qualified professionals, a person to direct the diocesan investigation. If the accused is a Cleric this person must be a Priest. The purpose of the investigation is to seek out the facts surrounding the allegation(s) and thus to provide the information needed by the Bishop for his judgment and actions. This Diocesan investigation is accomplished without interference but in cooperation with the civil authorities. Care is taken throughout not only to preserve the seal of the Sacrament of Penance but also make it clear that the sacramental seal is inviolable.
The Diocesan Synod is informed when an investigation has been initiated and is kept carefully and thoroughly apprised of developments in a timely fashion as they arise so that ongoing counsel is sought and provided. The Bishop consults with the Synod throughout the process of the investigation and before taking final action. When the initial evaluation by the civil authorities has determined that further investigation is warranted, and the alleged victim may need counseling, the Diocesan Synod will contact the family where it is determined the required appropriate level of assistance.
The principle, fundamental in all just systems of law, that a person is considered innocent until either a regular process or his/her own spontaneous admission proves him/her guilty, is to be followed.
Accordingly, every effort will be made through available secular media to restore the good name of a person determined to have been falsely accused of sexual abuse of a minor.
Each Diocesan or Parish employee or volunteer whose work entails contact with minors will undergo a background investigation. The Synod will oversee the program.
Each Diocesan or Parish employee or volunteer whose work entails contact with minors will be required to attend ongoing Diocesan education and training programs specifically directed at creating a safe environment for the children. The Bishop and Synod will oversee the program.
The Vestments of the Bishops, Priests and other Ministers of this Church shall be those of the Latin or Western use. Every Bishop having jurisdiction shall see to it that his/her Clergy are correctly habited.
CONGREGATIONS AND VESTRIES
A Parish or Congregation consists of all the persons enrolled as communicants or regular worshippers and contributors therein. All persons herein described being of full age (over 18) are entitled to vote for Wardens and Vestrymen/women and for the transaction of other business, but only communicants can vote for Lay deputies to General of Diocesan Synods.
The boundaries of a Parish or Congregation are not geographical, and the consent of a Rector, warden, and Vestrymen/women of any organized congregation of this Church is not a prerequisite to the formation of another congregation in the same vicinity.
Persons desiring to form a Congregation of this Church must first make a written request to the Bishop and Bishop’s Council, having Jurisdiction, stating their acceptance of the faith, Worship, Discipline, Constitution, and Canons of the Worldwide Anglican Church. Having received the authority and consent in writing of the Bishop and Bishop’s Council the persons concerned may organize themselves into a Congregation, but not otherwise. Every such Congregation so organized, shall on the application, be admitted into the union with the Diocesan Synod or Jurisdiction at a stated meeting if circumstances of growth and stability justify.
Any Congregation of Christian people desiring to be received into union with the Worldwide Anglican Church, shall declare the same in writing duly certified by the authorities of said Congregation, which certificate, together with the declaration of acceptance of the faith, Worship, Discipline, Cons
titution and Canon of this Church, shall be submitted to the Bishop and Bishop’s Council within whose Jurisdiction such Congregation lies. In case the same is found satisfactory, the Bishop and Council may receive such Congregation into the Worldwide Anglican Church, but it shall not become a constituent part of the Diocesan Synod or Jurisdiction until so voted at the next stated meeting thereof.
In each Congregation, annually, on the first Wednesday of April, an election shall be held for Church Wardens, Vestrymen/women, and Lat Deputies to general and Diocesan Synods. The Church Wardens and Lay Deputies shall be chosen from among the communicants, and when practicable, the Vestrymen/women also. In all cases they shall be persons of unimpeachable moral character, and it is recommended that the wardens and Vestrymen/women be so chosen that one-third of their entire membership shall be elected each year.
The several Congregations of this Church shall be assessed annually in the sum of $25 US dollars for each communicant member reported, to offset the expenses of the General Synod, the same forwarded in quarterly payments to the Treasure of the General Synod.
Each Congregation is responsible for supporting their Priest in his/her travelling expenses, salary and daily operational costs.
A Vestry shall consist of two Churchwardens, and four, seven, or ten other Vestrymen/women. The Church Wardens shall be known as Senior Churchwarden and Junior Church Warden respectively, the senior taking precedence of the junior. The mode of election, term of office, and duties of Churchwardens and Vestrymen/women shall be such as the Synod of the Diocese or Jurisdiction shall enact by Canon, subject to the law of the state, and the Church Wardens and Vestrymen/women so elected shall hold office until the election of their successors.
Unless it conflicts with the law of the state the Rector or Priest in charge shall be Chairman/woman of the Vestry, preside over all its meetings when present, and give a casting vote when necessary.
REGULATIONS RESPECTING COMMUNICANTS
A communicant in good standing removing from one congregation of this Church to another shall be furnished with a certificate of good standing by the Priest in charge of the congregation of which such a communicant is a member and upon his/her request. No Priest or Rector shall enroll such communicant in his congregation until the said certificate has been produced when the fact of enrolment shall be communicated by him/her to the Priest or Rector transferring the communicant.
Any communicant of this Church in good standing about to visit within the boundaries of another congregation of this Church, shall on request, be furnished by the Priest or Rector of the congregation of which he/she is a member with a certificate of membership and recommendation to the good offices of the Clergy of the congregation in whose vicinity the visit is to be made.
No communicant member of another religious body shall be received into the communicant membership and privileges of this Church, until such time as he/she shall have received the rite of Confirmation by a Bishop of this Church or satisfied such Bishop that he/she has been confirmed by a Bishop validly Consecrated. Such a person may, however, beat any time enrolled as a stated worshipper and regular contributor of any congregation of this Church, with the right of voting in the business matters thereof.
Any communicant guilty of denial of the Episcopal Faith, gross lack of morals, illegal practices, desertion for more than two months with no reasonable explanation, or habitual neglect of the ministry of this Church shall be disciplined by his/her Priest, and should he/she continue this negative behavior, the Priest shall refer the case to the Bishop in writing for his/her judgment which shall be final.
All persons admitted to the Minor Orders must cease from unnecessary and frivolous activities, an inappropriate lifestyle, and questionable associations. Any habitual infringement of this rule will receive the strict counseling of the Priest who has the spiritual responsibility of such person or persons. If continued, the case shall be referred by the Priest in writing to the Bishop whose judgment is final.
Priests and deacons charged withholding or teaching any doctrine contrary to the Faith of this Church, or with a negatively conflicting lifestyle, or about whom shall be persistent rumors affecting their personal character shall be summoned before the Bishop who shall investigate each case, adjust, or dismiss the same according to the evidence submitted. Should the Bishop find sufficient cause to warrant a legal hearing, he/she shall direct the Chancellor of the Diocese or Jurisdiction to present the accused before the Bishop and Bishop’s Council for hearing and sentence. The right of appeal to the Conclave of House of Bishops of this Church shall be permitted to the offending clergyman/woman through the Chancellor of the General Synod who shall obtain the records of the evidence and judgement submitted at the former hearing and present and analyze same for the information of the House of Bishops whose judgment shall be final.
A Bishop charged with any cause for which he/she may be heard shall be summoned by the Archbishop Primate for such hearing before and by the Conclave or House of Bishops of this Church. The mode of procedure shall be decided by the House in every case, and there can be no appeal from the decision rendered.
MATRIARCH/PATRIARCH- PRESIDING ARCHBISHOPS
The Matriarch/Patriarch (Presiding Archbishops) position becomes available either through resignation, or death. If one expires separately, the remaining will continue alone, until such time that the House of Bishops decides to elect another to sit in the joint council. The position will be filled by a senior Archbishop, duly examined, interviewed and appointed. Whenever possible, the Matriarch and Patriarch will travel separately to meetings and Churches to avoid unnecessary risk to the security of their Holy Office.
THE USE OF ACADEMIC TITLES
The Worldwide Anglican Church recognizes academic degrees from the International Association of Universities’ Worldwide Database of Higher Education Institutions, Systems and Credentials universities and colleges registered in the International Association of Universities Worldwide, which publishes its database of Higher Education Institutions systems and credentials. Certificates from any of these registered universities and colleges must be submitted to the Secretary of the General Synod to be kept on file. When filed, the use of the academic title may be published. Upon the discretion of the General Synod, exceptions may be considered especially when foreign Governments recognize seminaries and college degrees within their country.
At the close of the Canonical Visitations for the year, every Diocesan Bishop or Bishop Ordinary shall summon the Clergy canonically resident within that Diocese or other Jurisdiction and all Clergy holding License from the Bishop, to a Clergy Conference for the purposes of mutual consultation on matters concerning faith, worship, morals, discipline, practice, Missionary policy, and the pastoral office; for consultation and common action concerning the things of God and His Kingdom; and the Bishop may deliver a charge or series of charges, to his Clergy on these or any other matters which he regards and deems important or necessary or which need of redress may have been disclosed to him as a result of those visitations.
In each Diocese of this Church and other Jurisdiction, there shall be a Diocesan Court through which the judicial authority of the Ordinary shall be exercised, and the membership of which shall be determined by Diocesan Canon or Canons of other Jurisdiction, consistent with the principles of the Constitution of this Church.
The jurisdiction of the Diocesan Court of the Ordinary shall be as specified in the Constitution of this Church and all Canons thereof and by the Canons or regulations of that Diocese or other Jurisdiction.
When a Bishop of a Diocese or other Jurisdiction does not preside in his/her Consistory Court, he/she shall appoint an Official Principal as deputy to preside in and on his/her behalf.
Appeals will lie in such instance not to the Ordinary, but directly to the Court of the Metropolitan. Such provision is not meant to be construed as a denial of the inalienable custom that any Diocesan or Ordinary of any other Jurisdiction, may reserve to him/herself the right of presiding in his/her own Diocesan Court as Judge on any occasion, not in conflict with the Constitution and these Canons. In such a case, the Bishop may choose an Official Principal to act as his/her Assessor.
Each Bishop Ordinary of a Diocese or other Jurisdiction of this Church may appoint a Church Advocate to conduct Hearings or failing an appointment by the Ordinary, the Court may make the appointment as needed.
In each Diocese of this Church and other Jurisdiction, there shall be a Court of the Metropolitan.
Each Court shall consist of the Metropolitan, or his/her deputy, who shall be its President over every session of the Court, and eight other members, chosen as follows: two of whom shall be Bishops chosen by the Council of Bishops of that Provincial Synod; three of whom shall be Clergymen chosen by the Senate of Clergy of that Provincial Synod; and three of whom shall be laypersons chosen by the Assembly of Laity of that Provincial Synod. Not fewer than two members of the Court shall be learned in Canon and one in civil law.
At each regular Provincial Synod, one Bishop shall be named to serve on the Court until the adjournment of the second regular Provincial Synod following and one Clerical member and one Lay member shall be named to serve on the Court until the adjournment of the third regular Provincial Synod following.
Vacancies occurring during the term of any member of the Court may be filled by the Metropolitan, with the advice and consent of his/her College of Bishops, from among the order where such vacancy occurred, to serve until the adjournment of the next regular meeting of the Provincial Synod, at which meeting a member of that order shall be chosen by the appropriate House to serve out the remainder of the unexpired term, if any.
The jurisdiction of each Court of the Metropolitan or Provincial Court shall be as specified in the Constitution and Canons of this Church and by the Constitution and Canons of that Province.
When the Metropolitan does not preside in his/her Provincial Court, he/she shall appoint an Official Principal as his/her deputy to preside on his/her behalf. Appeals will lie in such instance not to the Metropolitan, but to the High Court of the Holy Synod. Such an appointment is not meant to be construed as a denial of the custom that the Metropolitan who may reserve the right of presiding in his/her Provincial Court as a judge on any occasion, not in conflict with the Constitution and these Canons. In such a case, the Metropolitan may choose to associate with him/herself an Official Principal to act as his/her Assessor.
Appeals. Each Metropolitan of this Church has within his/her Province the solemn duty and obligation of receiving appeals in his/her Provincial Court or the Court of the Metropolitan from every Diocesan Court, or Consistory Court, or tribunal, or the sentences, judgements, decrees, or decisions of the Ordinaries of that Province having jurisdiction.
Whenever an appeal is from the Metropolitan’s own Diocesan Court, or from his/her Ordinary, he/she shall appoint, by right, the next Bishop Ordinary senior by consecration in that Diocese, able and willing, to preside in that matter. If an appeal is from the Diocesan Court, or from the Consistory Court of any Ordinary, or from any Diocesan or Bishop Ordinary on the Provincial Court, or Court of the Metropolitan, the Court shall choose another Bishop of that Province, able and willing, so to sit in that matter.
When an appeal shall have been commenced from any sentence, decision, judgement, or decree of any Diocesan or Consistory Court, tribunal, or Ordinary of that Province by the giving and serving of notice of appeal as may be provided by applicable Canon or by Official Rule or Regulation of the subject appellate Court or tribunal, the Bishop Ordinary or duly appointed Official, or Court, or tribunal from whose sentence, decision, judgement, or decree the appeal is taken, shall not proceed to enforcement, as the appeal is under suspensive effect until further order of the appellate Court or tribunal; provided however, that no person holding Office or in Holy Orders who have been found to be inhibited, suspended, deprived, deposed, removed, or degraded shall be entitled to exercise the powers or authority of his/her Order or Ministerial or other Office affected by such sentence, decision, judgement, or decree during the pendency of the appeal; and further provided that no appeal under devolutive effect from a mandatory or prohibitory direction of the Bishop or duly appointed Official, having Ordinary jurisdiction over the person, place, or thing so mandated or prohibited shall stay such direction or excuse non-compliance, except with the permission of the Metropolitan of that Province.
The Metropolitan may appoint a Church Advocate to conduct prosecutions in his/her Provincial Court or Court of the Metropolitan, or failing appointment by that Metropolitan, that Provincial Court or Court of the Metropolitan may make the appointment as needed.
Each Court of the Metropolitan or Provincial Court of this Church has the jurisdiction and competence to try any Bishop of that Province subject to the authority of this Church as follows: Whenever there shall be a trial of any Bishop of that Province, the Provincial Court or Court of the Metropolitan shall appoint at least a majority of the College of Bishops of that Province, not being the accused or accusers, to sit as co-judges with the Court.
In every trial of a Bishop, the Metropolitan of that Province shall sit as the president of the Court with his/her Official Principal. In cases where the Metropolitan is the accused or accuser, the next Bishop Ordinary senior by consecration in that Province, not the accused or an accuser, shall sit as the President with his/her Official Principal for that matter.
The Court shall be competent to receive accusations against and to censure, suspend, deprive, or depose the Metropolitan of that Province, all Bishops and Archbishops exercising their ministry in that Province, or to acquit any of the Bishops of any such accusations.
No proceedings shall be taken against any Metropolitan, Archbishop, or Bishop of a Province in the Provincial Court, or Court of the Metropolitan, except if he/she is charged with: any crime or immorality; holding, teaching or maintaining heretical or false doctrines or any doctrine contrary to those held by this Church, either publicly or privately, or by preaching, writing, printing or circulating articles or books containing such doctrines; deliberate violation of The Solemn Declaration or of The Preamble or of any other part of the Constitution of this Church or of the Canons of this Church.
No charge against any Bishop of this Church shall be made except in writing, and it shall be signed by any Bishop of that Province or the lesser of the majority or two Priest members of his/her Diocesan Synod or Synod of other Jurisdiction and three lay Communicants in good standing of that Diocese or other Jurisdiction of the Metropolitan, Archbishop, or Bishop.
The sentence, decree, judgment, or decision of the Court on all charges shall be deliberated in private and endorsed in writing by at least a majority of members of the Court sitting. The President of the Court shall declare the sentence, decree, judgment, or decision of the Court on each charge as being either unanimous or by a majority.
The High Court of the Holy Synod shall consist of the Presiding Archbishops of this Church with no fewer than a total of twelve members, chosen as follows: four Archbishops of this Church; three Bishops chosen by the House of Bishops; and two Lay Assessors chosen by the Assembly of the Laity of the Holy Synod.
The Lay Assessors shall be Communicants of this Church in good standing and shall be learned or experienced in Civil Law or in Ecclesiastical Law, or both. The terms of tenure of Members of High Court of the Holy Synod shall be as determined by Canon of the Holy Synod.
The duty of presiding in the High Court of the Holy Synod shall belong in the first place to the Patriarch and Matriarch, who shall be its Presidents; Either one or both may sit in counsel on an issue.
The High Court of the Holy Synod of this Church shall, at the request of any Diocesan Synod or Synod of any other Jurisdiction, or of any Provincial Synod, or the College of Bishops of any Province, or the College of Bishops of this Church, or of the Holy Synod or of any House thereof, have authority to determine whether any Canon or Act passed by the Holy Synod, or by the Synod of any Province, or by the Synod of any Diocese or another Jurisdiction is constitutional.
Each Court of this Church may, from time to time, make such Official Rules or Regulations to the Court regulating the practice and procedure, and every matter believed advisable for preventing expense and delay, and for securing the ends of justice; and each Court may, from time to time, suspend, repeal, vary or revive any rules and regulations. No order made by the Court shall have the effect of altering any matter defined by the Constitution of this Church or by Canons. Copies of the current Official Rules or Regulations shall be made available to all persons summoned before the Court.
Each Court of this Church shall gather the attendance of witnesses and evidence. Any witness or person charged, who shall have been canonically summoned three times in writing to appear before any Court of this Church, shall be liable to the fullest ecclesiastical sanctions for insubordination if, without just excuse, he/she shall fail to appear.
Each presiding judge of a Court of this Church shall appoint a Summoner for that Court, whose duty shall be to keep order in such Court, and to serve, or see to the serving of, the notices and summonses of the Court upon the persons concerned.
Any person against whom charges are preferred in an adjudicative proceeding of this Church shall be given: Due and prompt written notice and citation of the charges preferred and under which provisions of the Laws Ecclesiastical the offenses are held to have occurred; Reasonable notice prior to the institution of formal proceedings, granting time to any accused for the answering of the charge, and for the summoning of witnesses and the gathering of evidence; The right that no charge shall be considered as substantiated or proven except by good and sufficient evidence or by no fewer than two (2) sworn witnesses are known as Promoters; The right to counsel or expert advice of one knowledgeable in the Canon Law and the judicial process of the Church.
The right to challenge the impartiality of one or more members of the Court or tribunal; and should such a challenge be sustained by the Court or tribunal, that Court or tribunal shall designate an impartial substitute for that case, cause, or matter. The right to examine and question all witnesses, depositions, testimonies and any and all relevant documents; The privilege against self-incrimination; Open proceedings, unless waived by all parties; A transcript or other record of the proceedings and any sentences, decrees, decisions, or judgements thereof, and the right to entry of a sentence, decree, decision, or judgement of Not Proven unless a sentence, decree, decision, or judgment of Proven is endorsed in writing by a majority of the Court sitting.
DUTIES OF THE CLERGY AND THEIR MANNER OF LIFE
Every Priest having a care for the ministry of Souls shall provide that, in the absence of reasonable hindrance, Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer shall be said daily in the Church, or one of the Churches, of which he/she is the Minister.
Celebration of Holy Communion and other Ministrations.
Except for some reasonable cause approved by the Bishop of that Diocese or other Jurisdiction, every Priest having a ministry of Souls shall celebrate, or cause to be celebrated, the Holy Communion on all Sundays and other greater Feast Days and on Ash Wednesday and shall administer the Sacraments and other Rites prescribed in and by the Book of Common Prayer, diligently, as occasion may require.
Every Priest having a ministry of Souls, except for some reasonable cause approved by the Bishop thereof, shall preach, or cause to be preached a sermon in his Church at least once each Sunday.
Instruction of the Young
He/she shall instruct the children under his/her care, or cause them to be instructed, in the Christian Faith and, where it is allowed by the civil law.
Preparation for Confirmation
He/she shall carefully prepare, or cause to be prepared, all such as desire to be confirmed and, if satisfied with their fitness, shall present them to his Bishop for Confirmation.
Every Priest shall be diligent in visiting his/her Parishioners, particularly those who are sick and infirm and, so far as he/she can; and he/she shall provide opportunities whereby any of his/her Parishioners may resort to him/her for spiritual counsel and advice. Every Priest shall also use his/her best endeavors to ensure that he/she be speedily informed whenever a person in his/her care is sick or in danger of death and shall as soon as possible resort to him/her to exhort, instruct, and comfort him/her in his/her distress. Particularly shall such Priest move the sick person to make a special confession of his/her sins, if he/she feels his/her conscience is troubled with any matter, to receive the Laying on of Hands of the Sick, or the Unction, or Anointing of the Sick, or both, if he/she desires such ministry or healing and as his/her condition permits, and to receive the most comfortable Sacrament or the Body and Blood of Christ, either by celebration in the sick person’s house or room as the case may be, or by the Administration of the Holy Communion from the Reserved Sacrament.
Such Priest shall also be bound to prepare and assist the dying
Of those in his/her care in order that they make a good and Christian death, and, of the dying, he/she shall not then slack is his/her last duty of the administration of the last rites in extremis of Holy Church and of the Commendation of the Soul, if circumstances may so permit, at the Point of Departure.
If at any time he/she is unable to discharge his/her duties whether from non-residence or some other cause, he/she shall diligently endeavor to provide for those in his/her care to be ministered to by a licensed Priest or otherwise approved by the Ordinary of that Diocese or other Jurisdiction.
Section 9. Solemn Exorcism
The necessity of a Prior License
No Priest of this Church shall in any way attempt to perform the solemn exorcism of demonic possession, whether it be partial possession or complete and total possession, or to cast out, or to perform any act of driving out, or warding off, demons or evil spirits or forces from persons, places, or things that are believed to be, possessed, or infested by them or are liable to become victims or instruments of their malice, unless such Priest has received training from his/her Bishop.
Neither shall any such Priest use any rite or ceremony, especially of their own devising or composition, for such special ministry save only that which shall be set forth and specifically provided by the lawful authority of the HOB of this Church.
The Bishops of this Church may appoint exorcists for their respective Jurisdiction in conformity with provisions of this Section. Such exorcists must be at least in Priest’s Orders. They are to be men/women of mature age, of proven good judgment, of undoubting and unquestioning faith and integrity, living a devout, holy, and pious and disciplined Christian life, of irrefutable good character, be a regular penitent, and distinguished for prudence and integrity of life.
Such Bishops must ensure that any exorcist they may so appoint be fully trained in the duties, dangers, responsibilities, and work of this special ministry as well as thoroughly instructed and knowledgeable in all matters pertaining to exorcism.
Such Priests so appointed are to be learned in Sacred Theology and Canon Law, and above all, have an abiding, lively, and sure faith in the victory of Our Lord Jesus Christ over Satan, sin, and the world.
Simple Exorcism. The provisions of this Section shall not apply to those Ministers in cases of exorcism of catechumens, or those exorcisms which may occur in the administration of Holy Baptism, or those simple exorcisms of water, salt, or oil or in various similar blessings or consecration, and no special power is needed beyond that of Orders and having been duly commissioned or appointed to perform such rites.
Duty of Clergymen to say the daily office
It shall be the duty of every Bishop, Priest, and Deacon of this Church to say, either by him/herself or with others, the Office of daily Morning Prayer and of daily Evening Prayer, unless for just cause prevented; and whenever possible, in such a manner that the Congregation may pray with him, in the Church or otherwise.
Duty of Priests to celebrate the Holy Communion
It shall be the duty of every Bishop and Priest of this Church to celebrate, assist in, or participate in the Celebration of the Holy Communion on every Sunday and other day for which a Collect, Epistle, and Gospel are provided in the Book of Common Prayer for the Celebration of that Sacrament; and it shall be the duty of every Deacon of this Church, under the direction of the celebrant, to assist the Priest at the time of administration of that Sacrament on every Sunday and such other day, according to the Office of his Ministry.
Use of ornaments and vestments
Any and all Ornaments of the Church, and the Ornaments and Vestments of all the Clergy thereof, at all times of their Ministrations, and of the minor orders and lay functionaries in assisting them, as have been permitted by the laws applicable to the Church of England at any time since the commencement of the reign of Edward VI, shall be retained and be permitted in use in this Church.
Hearing of Confessions
Whereas, in accordance with the Second Exhortation attached to the Order of Holy Communion in the Book of Common Prayer, it is necessary that any with a troubled conscience shall resort to some discreet and learned Priest, that by the ministry of God’s holy Word they may receive the benefit of Absolution, together with spiritual counsel and advice; such Ministry shall be exercised in any Diocese or other Jurisdiction of this Church only by Priests who have been in Orders not less than two years from their admission to the Priesthood, and possess the authority of the Bishop Ordinary of that Jurisdiction either by virtue of the Office to which such Priests have been instituted and inducted, or licensed or otherwise holding that Bishop’s written Faculty.
No Priest of this Church shall intimidate any person to resort to him/her to confess any secret or hidden sin and to receive the benefit of Absolution from him/her.
Therefore, it is the special duty of such Bishops Ordinary to instruct, or cause to be instructed, those Priests whom they choose to grant such concession to exercise such ministry of reconciliation, committed by Christ to his Church, within their Jurisdictions on the knowledge and matters which Confessors must and ought to know, and, except for good cause prevented, that such Bishops Ordinary do not grant such License or Faculty to any Priest except he/she first be found qualified and fit to exercise such ministry by means of an examination, or his/her qualifications and fitness are evident from another source or have been otherwise ascertained. It is hereby noted that such qualifications and fitness needed for such approbation by such Bishop shall include not only the knowledge of theology, but also qualities of morality, prudence, and piety.
All Bishops are given the responsibility, as a grave obligation of conscience, that they are to admonish and canonically warn their subject Confessors, and to explicitly teach such, that they do not mention matters of confession or such sacramental matter under any form or pretext whatsoever, not even merely in passing, directly or indirectly, in private conversations or in sermons, particularly in Missions or retreats. In the examinations of Confessors before the issuance of such Faculties and Licenses, special attention should be given to these points.
Canonical Dispensation from normal Time of Experience Required. Whereas the People of certain Dioceses might be deprived of the benefit of Absolution, the Bishop of that jurisdiction may dispense any Priest by written Faculty, to be granted only for serious pastoral needs, from the requirement that he be in Priest’s Orders for the space of not less than two years, during which time he shall receive spiritual direction and pastoral training under an experienced confessor.
Notwithstanding anything contained in the previous Sections of this Canon, any Priest may exercise this ministry anywhere in respect of any person or persons who may be in present danger of death, or if there be some other urgent or weighty cause. Concerning the dying, the Canonical Law is still to be kept and maintained, that if anyone be at the point of death, the Priest shall not deprive him, if he/she be penitent, of either the last and most indispensable Absolution from all sins, and any Priest may absolve the dying even from Sins Reserved.
Notwithstanding anything contained in the previous Sections of this Canon, any Priest who has the express canonical authority to exercise such ministry and who has by institution or admission, the Charge of any Parish, Congregation, Mission, or other people within his care in this Church may exercise this ministry in any Diocese or other Jurisdiction of this Church or in any place and at any time in respect of any person belonging to such Priest’s care and canonically resident there, being subject to such Priest’s Spiritual Jurisdiction, when such person requests such Priest to hear his/her confession.
If any person confess his/her secret and hidden sin to a Bishop or Priest for the unburdening of his/her conscience or for the opening of his/her grief and disclosing or revealing the wounds of his/her sin, and to receive spiritual consolation and advice, and ease of mind and the remedy and benefit of Absolution from him/her, or for any of these foregoing reasons: such Bishop or Priest is subject to rules of confidentiality and he/she does not at any time reveal and make known to any person whatsoever any sin, crime, offense, grief, or matter so committed to his trust and secrecy, such Bishop or Priest so revealing or making known or betraying or identifying the sinner in any manner or fashion or for any reason, whether by word, writing, or sign, directly or indirectly, openly or covertly, or in any other way manner, or means will be subject to disciplinary hearing and possible excommunication. The only exception to this is when the person seeking the Absolution of Sin reveals his/her intent to harm another or him/herself. The Bishop or Priest has a civil responsibility to report the crime or intention of harm to appropriate civil authorities.
The solemn obligation and duty of preserving the Seal of Confession devolves upon and binds all who, by lawful or unlawful means, have acquired knowledge or come to a knowledge of any matter, directly or indirectly, advertently, or inadvertently, or in any other way, of that which falls under the usual and absolute seal. Therefore, in addition to such Bishop or Priest, the following are likewise bound by the Seal of Confession: those to whom matter protected by the Seal is revealed; those who overhear a confession; those who read written material protected by the Seal; those who write our another’s confession during the actual confession and those who act as interpreters during the actual confession. If any of them so rashly do violate the Seal, they shall be punished with wholesome penalties, according to the seriousness of their offense, the pain of greater excommunication not being excluded.
The solemn obligation of the Seal of the Confession to silence on the part of those whom such obligation devolves does not terminate upon or with the death of the penitent concerned, but likewise is perpetually binding upon all those to whom such obligation has devolved, with the appropriate penalties as above.
If anyone shall attempt to coerce, threaten, or constrain any such Bishop or Priest or person named in the preceding Sub-sections of this Section to violate the Seal of Confession in any manner, the person making such attempt shall be excommunicated.
The need for Counsel in Difficult Cases. If any Confessor in this Church should stand in need of wiser counsel concerning a matter heard during a confession made to God before him, especially of a difficult nature, let him/her ask the penitent party for permission to seek it, and if such person shall expressly, knowingly, and freely give such permission, the Confessor may consult a theologian or another such expert or counsel, either in person or by sealed letters, in neither case mentioning nor suggesting the name or identity of the penitent party, or in any way indicating the person, but giving the pertinent facts of the case, both the Confessor and the consultant remaining under the usual and absolute Seal, under pain of deposition, deprivation, and excommunication.
Pastoral Obligation to Hear Confessions. No Priest so licensed by Faculty or by virtue of such Office may unreasonably or frequently refuse his solemn pastoral duty and moral obligation to hear the Confessions of the People committed in Christ’s Name to his/her care. And it is herein stated that such opportunity shall be given especially during Advent and Lent and before and throughout the Greater Feasts of the Church: Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost.
DEVOTIONAL LIFE OF CLERGYMEN
Every Bishop, Priest, and Deacon of this Church is under obligation to spend some time daily in prayer and intercession; to examine his/her conscience at regular intervals, and to be diligent in the study of the Holy Scriptures and in such other studies as apply to his ministerial duties.
MANNER OF LIFE OF CLERGYMEN
Avoidance of Improper Conduct. No Bishop, Priest, or Deacon shall give him/herself to such occupations, habits, or recreations as do not befit his/her sacred calling or may be detrimental to the performance of the duties of his/her Office or tend to be a just cause of offense to others; neither shall he/she resort to or frequent any place not befitting his/her sacred calling, except for the purpose of performing the duties of his/her Office. In particular, he/she shall not contract marriage, or do or suffer any act or thing, which would violate the order or discipline, or which, if he/she were a candidate for Holy Orders, prevent him/her from being admitted. But always he/she shall be diligent to frame and fashion his/her life according to the Doctrine of Christ, and to make him/herself, as much as in him lies, a wholesome example and pattern to the flock of Christ.
No Bishop, Priest, or Deacon shall accept or undertake any office, work, or duty which is incompatible with his/her sacred calling or detrimental to the performance of the duties of the ecclesiastical office to which he/she is appointed except as elsewhere provided in these Canons.
Every Bishop, Priest, or Deacon of this Church shall wear such apparel as shall be suitable to his/her sacred Office and Ministry, and which shall indicate his/her holy calling and vocation both to those committed to his/her spiritual charge and to the public, except for some urgent cause wherein he/she is required to wear safety apparel or for the purpose of innocent recreation or employment.
No Bishop, Priest, or Deacon can form a WAC page or group on social media that indicates representation of the WAC, including such platforms as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp without prior consent from the Archbishop Primate for their country. If approved, ALL information must be consistent with the mission and vision of this church whilst avoiding articles and posts that can cause offense, question, doubt, suspicion, or unnecessary controversy. Additionally, WhatsApp groups are formed on a country basis, and only members of that country are admitted into the group. The Co-Presiding Archbishops will be members and Administrators of all WAC groups on all social media platforms.
All pictures utilized on social media platforms must be copyright free and in the public domain, to safeguard legal proceedings by the image owners. Photographs, films, and audio from church events may be used and where applicable, with permission of those appearing within them.
Should any Bishop, Priest, or Deacon use technology to hack into WAC websites or social media forums, or remove designated officers as Administrators from such sites, there will be an immediate investigation by the House of Bishops. If found guilty, the instigator/s will be immediately excommunicated from this church, fined and subject to legal ramifications.
Bishops, Priests, or Deacons found to have formed a private social media group to discuss matters only appropriate to the House of Bishops will be subject to investigation, possible excommunication from this church, and subject to legal proceedings.
We hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and correct copy of the Constitution and Canons of the Worldwide Anglican Church, held in the Church in Kampala, Uganda and in Ohio, the United States of America, August 20, in the year of our Lord, 2019.
++ Christopher Lwanga Tusubira
Patriarch and Presiding Archbishop
++ Christine J. A. Johnson
Matriarch and Presiding Archbishop