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FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF
THE PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL CHURCH
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Passed in General Convention, in New York, October, 1832.
CANON I. Of the Orders of Ministers in this Church.
[This Canon was adopted in 1789.]
In this Church there shall always be three orders in the Ministry, viz.; Bishops, Priests, and Deacons.
CANON H. Of the Election of Bishops.
[Repealed by the first Canon of 1835.1
CANON III. Of the Certificates to be produced on the part of the Bishops Elect.
[Former Canons on this subject were the second of 1789, the fourth of 1792, and the third of 1808.] SECT. 1. Every bishop elect, before his consecration, shall produce to the house. of bishops, from the convention by whom he is elected, evidence of such election, and from the house of clerical and lay deputies in General Convention, evidence of their approbation of his testimonials, and of their assent to his consecration, and also certificates respectively, in the following words: such certificates, in both cases, to be signed by a constitutional majority of the clerical and lay deputies, composing the state convention, or the house of clerical and lay deputies, as the case may be. The same evidence of election by, and the same certificate from the members of, the state convention, shall be presented to the house of clerical and lay deputies in General Convention.
Testimony from the members of the Convention in the Diocese from whence the person is recommended for consecration.
WE, whose names are underwritten, fully sensible how important it is that the sacred office of a bishop should not be unworthily conferred, and firmly per
suaded 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 A. B. is not, so far as we are informed, justly liable to evil report, either for error in religion or for viciousness in life; and that we do not know or believe there is any impediment on account of which he ought not to be consecrated to that holy office. We do moreover jointly and severally declare, that we do in our conscience believe him to be of such sufficiency in good learning, such 'soundness in the faith, and of such virtuous and pure manners, and godly conversation, that he is apt and meet to exercise the office of a bishop, to the honour of God and the edifying of his church, and to be a wholesome example to the flock of Christ.
The above certificate shall be presented to the house of clerical and lay deputies in General Convention.
Testimony from the House of Clerical and Lay Deputies in General Convention.
WE, whose names are underwritten, fully sensible how important it is that the sacred 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 A. B. is not, so far as we are informed, justly liable to evil report, either for error in religion or for viciousness of life; and that we do not know or believe there is any impediment on account of which he ought not to be consecrated to that holy office; but that he hath, as we believe, led his life for three years last past, piously, soberly, and honestly.
SECT. 2. If the house of bishops consent to the consecration, the Presiding Bishop, with any two bishops, may proceed to perform the same, or any three bishops, to whom he may communicate the testimonials.
CANON IV. Of Standing Committees.
[Former Canons on this subject were the sixth of 1789, the second of 1795, and the fourth and twentyfourth of 1808.]
SECT. 1. In every diocese there shall be a standing committee, to be appointed by the convention thereof, whose duties, except so far as provided for by the canons of the General Convention, may be prescribed by the canons of the respective dioceses. They shall elect from their own body a president and a secretary. They may meet on their own adjournment, from time to time; and the president shall have power to summon special meetings whenever he shall deem it necessary.
SECT. 2. In every diocese where there is a bishop, the standing committee shall be a council of advice to the bishop. They shall be summoned on the requisition of the bishop, whenever he shall wish for their advice. And they may meet of their own accord, and agreeably to their own rules, when they may be disposed to advise the bishop.
SECT. 3. Where there is no bishop, the standing committee is the ecclesiastical authority for all purposes declared in these canons.
CANON XXVI. Of the Duty of Ministers in regard to Episcopal Visitations.
[Former Canons on this subject were the eleventh of 1789, and the twenty-first of 1808.]
SECT. 1. It shall be the duty of ministers to prepare young persons and others for the holy ordinance of confirmation. And on notice being received from the bishop, of his intention to visit any church, which notice shall be at least one month before the intended visitation, the minister shall give immediate notice to his parishioners individually, as opportunity may offer; and also to the congregation on the first occasion of public worship after the receipt of said notice. And he shall be ready to present, for confirmation, such persons as he shall think properly qualified; and shall deliver to the bishop a list of the names of those confirmed.
SECT. 2. And at every visitation it shall be the duty of the minister and of the church wardens or vestry, to give information to the bishop of the state of the congregation, under such heads as shall have been committed to them in the notice given as aforesaid.
SECT. 3. And further, the ministers and church wardens of such congrega tions as cannot be conveniently visited in any year, shall bring or send to the bishop, at the stated meeting of the convention of the diocese, information of the state of the congregation, under such heads as shall have been committed to them, at least one month before the meeting of the convention.
CANON XXVII. Of Episcopal Charges and Pastoral Letters.
[The former Canon on this subject was the twenty-third of 1808.]
Ir is deemed proper that every bishop of this church shall deliver, at least once in three years, a charge to the clergy of his diocese, unless prevented by reasonable cause. And it is also deemed proper, that from time to time he shall address to the people of his diocese, Pastoral Letters on some points of Christian doctrine, worship, or manners.
CANON XXVIII. Of Parochial Instruction.
[The former Canon on this subject was the twenty-second of 1808.] THE ministers of this church who have charge of parishes or cures, shall not only be diligent in instructing the children in the catechism, but shall also, by stated catechetical lectures and instruction, be diligent in informing the youth and others in the doctrines, constitution, and liturgy of the church.
CANON XXIX. Of the Duty of Ministers to keep a Register.
[Former Canons on this subject were the fifteenth of 1789, and the fortieth of 1808.]
SECT. 1. Every minister of this church shall keep a register of baptisms, confirmations, communicants, marriages, and funerals, within his cure, agreeably to such rules as may be provided by the convention of the diocese where his cure lies; and if none such be provided, then in such manner as, in his discretion, he shall think best suited to the uses of such a register.
And the intention of the register of baptisms is hereby declared to be, as for other good uses, so especially for the proving of the right of church membership.
of those who may have been admitted into this church by the holy ordinance of baptism.
SECT. 2 And further, every minister of this church shall make out and continue, as far as practicable, a list of all families and adult persons within his cure; to remain for the use of his successor, to be continued by him, and by every future minister in the same parish.
CANON XXX. Of the Election and Institution of Ministers into Parishes or Churches.
[Former Canons on this subject were the seventeenth of 1789, the third of 1799, the first of 1804, the twenty-ninth of 1803, and the second of 1814.]
SECT. 1. It is hereby required, that on the election of a minister into any church or parish, the vestry shall deliver, or cause to be delivered to the bishop, or, where there is no bishop, to the standing committee of the diocese, notice of the same, in the following form, or to this effect:
"We, the church wardens, (or, in case of an assistant minister, We, the rector and church wardens) do certify to the Right Rev. [naming the bishop] or to the Rev. [naming the president of the standing committee] that [naming the person] has been duly chosen rector [or, assistant minister, as the case may be] of [naming the parish, or church, or churches."]
Which certificate shall be signed with the names of those who certify. SECT. 2. And if the bishop or the standing committee be satisfied that the person so chosen is a qualified minister of this church, the bishop, or the president of the standing committee, shall transmit the said certificate to the secretary of the convention, who shall record it in a book to be kept by him for that ¿ purpose.
SECT. 3. But if the bishop or the standing committee be not satisfied as above, he or they shall, at the instance of the parties, proceed to inquire into the sufficiency of the person so chosen, according to such rules as may be made in the respective dioceses, and shall confirm or reject the appointment, as the issue of that inquiry may be.
SECT. 4. And if the minister be a presbyter, the bishop or president of the standing committee may, at the instance of the vestry, proceed to have him in.stituted, according to the office established by this church, if that office be used in the diocese. But if he be a deacon, the act of institution shall not take place till after he shall have received priests' orders. This provision concerning the use of the office of institution, is not to be considered as applying to any congregation destitute of a house of worship.
CANON XXXI. Of the officiating of Ministers of this Church in the Churches, or within the Parochial Cures, of other Clergymen.
[Former Canons on this subject were the sixth of 1792, the fifth and seventh of 1795, the thirty-third of 1808, and the seventh of 1829.]
No clergyman belonging to this church shall officiate, either by preaching, reading prayers, or otherwise, in the parish or within the parochial cure of another clergyman, unless he have received express permission for that purpose from the minister of the parish or cure, or, in his absence, from the church wardens and vestrymen, or trustees of the congregation. Where parish boundaries are
CANON V. Of the Consecration of Bishops during the Recess of the General Convention.
[Former Canons on this subject were the second of 1799, the fifth of 1808, and the sixth of 1820.] SECT. 1. If during the recess of the General Convention, the church, in any diocese, should be desirous of the consecration of a bishop elect, the standing committee of the church in such diocese may, by their president, or by some person or persons specially appointed, communicate the desire to the standing committees of the churches in the different dioceses, together with copies of the necessary testimonials; and if the major number of the standing committees shall consent to the proposed consecration, the standing committee of the diocese concerned, shall forward the evidence of such consent, together with other testimonials, to the Presiding Bishop of the house of bishops, or in case of his death, to the bishop who, according to the rules of the house of bishops, is to preside at the next General Convention, who shall communicate the same to all the bishops of this church in the United States; and if a majority of the bishops consent to the consecration, the Presiding Bishop, or bishop aforesaid, with any two bishops, may proceed to perform the same; or any three bishops to whom he may communicate the testimonials.
SECT. 2. The evidence of the consent of the different standing committees shall be in the form prescribed for the house of clerical and lay deputies in General Convention; and without the aforesaid requisites, no consecration shall take place during the recess of the General Convention. But in case the election of a bishop shall take place within a year before the meeting of the General Convention, all matters relative to the consecration shall be deferred until the said meeting.
CANON VI. Of Assistant Bishops.
[The former Canon on this subject was the fifth of 1829.]
WHEN a bishop of a diocese is unable, by reason of old age, or other permanent cause of infirmity, to discharge his episcopal duties, one assistant bishop may be elected by and for the said diocese, who shall in all cases succeed the bishop in case of surviving him. The assistant bishop shall perform such episcopal duties, and exercise such episcopal authority in the diocese, as the bishop shall assign to him; and in ease of the bishop's inability to assign such duties declared by the convention of the diocese, the assistant bishop shall, during such inability, perform all the duties, and exercise all the authorities which appertain to the office of bishop. No person shall be elected or consecrated a suffragan bishop, nor shall there be more than one assistant bishop in a diocese at the same time.
CANON VII. Of the performance of Episcopal Duties in vacant Dioceses.
[Repealed by the third Canon of 1838.]
- CANON. VIII. Of the age of those who are to be Ordained or
[Former Canons on this subject were the fourth of 1789, the third of 1795; and the sixth of 1808.]
DEACONS' orders shall not be conferred on any person until he shall be twenty