CANON 21: OF FORMATION OF DIOCESES
Amended at Provincial Synod 2019
1. Formation of Dioceses
The Metropolitan and Bishops of the Province in Synod shall have the power,
(i) of subdividing existing Dioceses,
(ii) of uniting two Dioceses under one Bishop,
(iii) of transferring any district from one Diocese to another, to which such district is contiguous, and
(iv) of sending forth Missionary Bishops to regions beyond the existing Province,
subject to the following restrictions in Section 2 of this Canon:
2. Establishment of new Diocese
2.(a) In assessing the potential for a proposed new Diocese, the Synod of Bishops shall take into account in respect of the present and the proposed new Diocese (the “affected Dioceses”), the following:
(i)the financial stability in each of the affected Dioceses;
(ii)the industrial, educational and cultural centres within the boundaries of each of the affected Dioceses;
(iii)the diversity of culture within each of the affected Dioceses;
(iv)diversity of worship and churchmanship within each of the affected Dioceses; and
(v)the potential for each of the affected Dioceses to draw individuals into ministry, both lay and ordained.
(b) The proposals for a new Diocese are to be presented and approved by the Synod of Bishops after consultation with either Provincial Synod or PSC.
(c) The Metropolitan and Bishops of the Province in Synod shall not establish a new Diocese within the Province unless they are satisfied that there is need for its formation, that it is capable of being governed by synodical government and that its staff and finances are sufficient for it to function as a unit of the Church.
3. Task Team
If any Diocese fails to pay its assessment and/or contribution to the Provincial Pensions Fund for a period of three consecutive months, the Provincial Finance Board must bring such failure to the attention of the Metropolitan, who may immediately appoint a task team as envisaged in this Canon and Canon 2 (g) which shall without further delay act to prevent further deterioration and advise the Metropolitan of the steps to be taken. The costs of the investigation shall be covered by the diocese concerned.
4. Metropolitan’s Executive
(a) The Synod of Bishops shall appoint annually five Bishops to the Metropolitan’s Executive, to serve as an advisory panel for the Metropolitan in this and any other matter where provided or otherwise appropriate.
(b) Functions of Task Team
When the Metropolitan becomes aware of events, developments or reasons which indicate to the Metropolitan that in the Metropolitan’s opinion after consultation with and with the support of the Metropolitan’s Executive, the affairs of a Diocese merit an inquiry or investigation in relation to possible support, or remedial or other action that might need to be taken by the Diocese or the Province or both, the Metropolitan shall have the power to appoint a task team to inquire into or investigate these matters at the cost of the Common Provincial Fund.
(c) The task team shall consist of not less than two Bishops currently in office or retired, and two lay persons, one learned in the law and one in financial matters.
(d) It shall have been given access to Diocesan clergy and staff and all Diocesan records, and shall have the power to take whatever action it may deem to be needed urgently, to protect Diocesan interests or assets or both or to preserve evidence, and to report apparent grave or criminal acts or omissions to the appropriate secular authority.
(e) It shall report to the Metropolitan, who shall report to the next session of the Synod of Bishops, and the Synod of Bishops which shall make whatever decision it feels appropriate.
(f) The Metropolitan may, however, take such further action, in consultation with the Metropolitan’s Executive, as may be needed before the next session of the Synod of Bishops.
(g) Without derogating from the generality of this power, the Synod of Bishops
(aa) may refer the matter to trial under Canon 38, in which event –
(i) the provisions of Canon 38 (3)(c ) Of Proceedings against Bishops, shall not apply in the case;
(ii) the task team will now be deemed to be the Board of Preliminary Inquiry with an additional member (namely, the one learned in financial matters) and its report to be the report of the Board of Preliminary Inquiry;
(iii) the Synod of Bishops will appoint two other Bishops, who are not in the task team, to be the Presenters to draw up the charges in Articles of Presentment;
(iv) the Board of Preliminary Inquiry, as it is now constituted, shall invite the Accused to submit a written answer, if the Accused so desires, within the ten days provided for in Canon 38(3)(a); and
(v) it shall then consider any answer submitted and report to the Metropolitan within thirty days of its appointment, being the date of the Synod of Bishops’ decision to refer the matter to trial, at which point the Metropolitan shall proceed in terms of Canon 38(4); or
(bb) may decide to proceed to require the Bishop concerned to resign, in terms of Canon 14(2); or
(cc) may upon a majority vote of the Diocesan Bishops present, after giving the Bishop concerned an opportunity to be heard,
(i) require the Bishop concerned to take leave of absence from the Diocese indefinitely;
(ii) appoint, under the hand and seal of the Metropolitan (or if the Metropolitan is the Bishop concerned, then through the Dean of the Province or if the Dean is debarred for any reason, the Diocesan Bishop senior by consecration) a Vicar General with authority to administer the Spiritualities of the Diocese and to maintain discipline according to the Canons, until such time as the Synod of Bishops decides to lift this suspension and withdraw the leave of absence, or the Bishop ceases to hold office as such for any reason;
(iii) during which time the Bishop shall take up residence outside the Diocese and not in any way exercise any aspect of ministry as Bishop or cleric in any part of the Diocese; and
(iv) in this case the Synod of Bishops shall during the period of absence make arrangements for the accommodation of the Bishop elsewhere in the Province and for the payment of the stipend; or
(dd) may make any other decision.
5. Union of Dioceses
No two Dioceses shall be permanently united except by the act of the Provincial Synod.
6. Relimitation by bishops
During the incumbency of any Bishop, it shall not be lawful for the Synod of Bishops to alter the limits of the Bishop’s Diocese without the Bishop’s concurrence. But any alteration agreed upon by the Synod of Bishops shall take effect immediately on the vacancy of the See.
7. Relimitation and Diocesan Synod
No alterations in the limits of a Diocese shall be carried into effect without an opportunity being given to the Synods of the respective Dioceses affected by the proposed change to consider the proposal, and to communicate their opinions thereon to the Synod of Bishops.
8. Transfer of Control of Property
Should the Metropolitan and the Bishops subdivide existing Dioceses to establish a new Diocese or Dioceses, unite two Dioceses or transfer any district from one Diocese to another, in terms of any one or more of the sections of this Canon, with the result that certain immovable properties (the “Affected Properties”) registered in the name of the Trustees of the transferor Diocese (the “Original Diocese”) are thereafter to be held by the Trustees of the transferee Diocese (the “Receiving Diocese”) in terms of Canon 42(12), the Trustees of the Original Diocese and, as may be required by law, the Receiving Diocese shall upon such subdivision, uniting or transfer execute:
(a) As the preferred course of action, all such documents and do all such acts as will enable a name change in favour of the Trustees of the Receiving Diocese to be registered against the title deeds in terms of section 93 of the Deeds Registries Act 47 of 1937 (as amended or substituted from time to time) at the cost of the Receiving Diocese; failing which for any reason,
(b) A General Power of Attorney in respect of each and all Affected Properties, to enable the Trustees of the Receiving Diocese to deal with the same as if they were the registered owners, in the form of any template held by the Anglican Canon Law Council of Southern Africa, and thereafter a Special Power of Attorney in respect of any Affected Property that may have been omitted from the General Power of Attorney.