CANON 35: OF PASTORAL DISCIPLINE

Amended Provincial Synod 2019

1.   Instruction of Adult before Baptism

No person other than an infant or young child shall be baptized, save in the case of emergency, until such person has received such form of instruction in the Christian faith as has been approved by the Bishop of the Diocese.

2.   Bishop to be notified

When adults are to be baptized, the Incumbent shall notify the Bishop of their names before the baptism takes place.

3.  Confirmation

When adults are baptized, they shall be presented to the Bishop for Confirmation at the same time or as soon as possible thereafter.

4.  Instruction of Parents

When infants or young children are baptized, it shall be the duty of the Priest to ensure that the parents or those responsible for the upbringing of the child receive such instruction in the Christian faith as will enable them to renew their own commitment to Christ and to promote the nurture and growth in the fellowship of the Church of the child or children in their care.

5.  Pastoral Responsibility

A priest shall not baptize an infant if one or both parents are not the pastoral responsibility of the priest,, or an adult who is not the pastoral responsibility, without the knowledge and consent of the priest whose responsibility they are.

6.  Instruction before Marriage

No persons shall be married (or have a civil or customary marriage blessed) in church or elsewhere, in accordance with Canon 34 Of Holy Matrimony, until they shall have received such instruction on Christian Marriage as has been approved by the Bishop of the Diocese.

7.   Preparation for Confirmation

7 No person shall be confirmed unless prepared in accordance with such forms of instruction as have been approved by the Bishop of the Diocese. The Incumbent must be satisfied with such person’s preparedness and obvious commitment before such person is presented  to the Bishop for the Sacrament of Confirmation.

8.   Admonition of Communicant in open and grave Sin

When a Priest shall perceive a Communicant to be in a state of open and malicious contention with neighbours or in open contravention of Canonical regulations of the Church or other grave and open sin without repentance, the priest shall exhort and admonish the Communicant first in private, and should this fail then in the presence of other Communicants, in order to move the Communicant to penitence, amendment of life, and, where necessary, restitution.

9.   Suspension from Communion

Only if the Communicant fails to heed such admonition may the Priest suspend him from Communion. In that event the Priest shall, within fourteen days, notify the Bishop and the Archdeacon of this action and the reasons therefor.

10.  Bishop to Investigate Suspension

When the Bishop receives from a priest notice of the suspension of a Communicant, the case shall be investigated either personally by the Bishop or through the Archdeacon (or a Commissary).

11.  Bishop either confirm Suspension or to restore to Communion

(a)   The Bishop or the Archdeacon (or Commissary) shall inquire into the circumstances of the case in order to be satisfied as to whether or not the Priest has acted in accordance with the will of God as disclosed in Christ, the evidence of the Holy Scriptures and the Canonical regulations.

(b)   If satisfied that the Priest has so acted, the Bishop shall confirm the suspension; if not so satisfied, the Bishop shall restore the Communicant to Communion forthwith.

(c)   Where the investigation is conducted by the Archdeacon (or Commissary), the Archdeacon (or Commissary) shall advise the Bishop of the  decision. The Bishop may at any time refer the matter to the Diocesan Tribunal, whose decision shall be final.

12.   Suspension and Church censure

Any Communicant who has been suspended from Communion shall be considered to be under Church censure, and in terms of section 2 of Canon 27 Of Vestries shall not be entitled to participate in Vestry meetings.

13.   Suspension and Church Office

The appointment of a Churchwarden, Chapelwarden, Parish Councillor or Sidesperson who has been suspended from Communion shall cease from the time of the confirmation of the suspension by the Archdeacon or the Bishop (or Commissary), as the case may be, in terms of sections 9 and 10 of this Canon. A Churchwarden, Chapelwarden, Parish Councillor or Sidesperson so suspended shall be eligible for re-election in terms of Canons 27, 28 and 29 when restored to Communion.

14.   Restoration to Communion

The restoration to Communion of a suspended Communicant shall be at the discretion of the Bishop on the recommendation of the Incumbent, provided that in cases where the Incumbent declines to make such a recommendation, or where there is no Incumbent, the Parish Council shall be entitled to ask the Bishop to act accordingly. The suspended Communicant shall be entitled to apply for restoration directly to the Bishop.