CANON 4: OF THE ELECTION OF BISHOPS

Amended at Provincial Synod 2019

Introductory Affirmations

First: The Anglican Church of Southern Africa affirms the historic episcopate, of which the ordination of bishops is an expression of the Church’s continuity within the Church of the Fathers in the Apostolic Tradition. The Church accordingly affirms its fidelity to these ancient traditions.

Second: Within the Anglican Communion, the Church upholds the principle that the Church is episcopally led and synodically governed as a faith principle that no one should disturb without just cause. For that reason, all bishops acknowledge the authority of the Metropolitan of the Province, and in the exercise of their ministry as the force for order, unity and charity.

Third: In particular, the Church embraces the unity of the Church in doctrine, social and moral practice, common worship and in public proclamation The Church affirms that the bishop is ordained as a bishop of the Church, but assigned and installed to undertake spiritual and temporal authority in the diocese or as a suffragan or missionary bishop;

Fourth: The authority of the Church, however, is exercised through the common will of the Church through the Synod of Bishops, and from time to time, through the resolutions of Provincial Synod and Provincial Standing Committee. A bishop of the Church therefore undertakes to abide by this tradition of doctrinal and spiritual unity and common purpose so that the world may believe;

Fifth: Every bishop therefore is installed in a diocese to serve as the symbol of faith and unity, of love and pastoral care, and of the stewardship of the resources, human, physical and spiritual, bestowed upon the Church by the grace of God. The bishop therefore is the chief pastor of all that lies within the diocese assigned to his or her care as Father or Mother-in-God; to teach and to uphold sound and wholesome doctrine; to banish false teaching and error; to uphold the role as a holy and ethical leader of God’s faithful, in faith, love, charity and peace and whose life shall be an example of righteous and godly living.

1.   Definitions

(a)   The term “vacancy”, “vacant diocese” or “diocese with a vacancy” shall refer to a diocese where a Bishop has died, or retired, or resigned and any relevant notice period thereof has expired, or where a new diocese has been established.

(b) The term “licensed clergy” shall for the purpose of this Canon refer to every cleric who is licensed to any cure or office or ecclesiastical dignity in the diocese, and is entitled under the Rules or Acts of the diocese to attend Diocesan Synod.

(c) For the purpose of this Canon, a Vicar-General shall mean a Dean, or senior priest, or a person so designated by the Metropolitan.

2.   Vacancies

2.(a) On the death of any Diocesan Bishop, the Dean or Senior Priest shall at once notify the Metropolitan in writing of the vacancy.

(b) In the event of the resignation of a diocesan Bishop, when such resignation has been duly accepted, or of such Bishop’s translation, compulsory retirement, or deprivation, the Metropolitan shall at once notify the Dean or Senior Priest in writing.

(c) In the case of a vacancy in the office of a Bishop Suffragan, the provisions of Canon 10 section 4 shall apply.

3.   Persons eligible for election

A Bishop of this Province may be elected from this Church or from any other Church in full communion with the Church of this Province.

4.   Method of election

(a)  In a diocese of this Province where there are ten or more licensed clergy, a Bishop shall be elected by an Elective Assembly.

(b)  In a diocese of this Province where there are fewer than ten licensed clergy, a Bishop shall be elected by the Bishops of this Province, who shall follow the provisions of this Canon as far as possible.

5.   Election of the Metropolitan

In the election of the Metropolitan, the provisions of Canon 5 shall apply, and, where relevant, supersede those of this Canon

6.   Election of Bishops suffragan

In the election of Bishops Suffragan, the provisions of Canon 10 shall apply, and, where relevant, supersede those of this Canon.

7.   Membership of Elective Assembly

Membership of the Elective Assembly shall be:

(a) (i)  the Metropolitan or a deputy, who shall be President: should the Metropolitan or the deputy be unable to preside at the Assembly, the senior cleric present by virtue of section 9(a)(i) shall preside;
(ii)  Members elected by Provincial Synod to the Advisory Committee in terms of section 9(a)(i) or (ii) with the right to speak but not to vote;
(iii)  All Bishops Suffragan commissioned in the diocese with a vacancy, and all Assistant Bishops licensed therein;
(iv)  All clergy licensed in the diocese with a vacancy, other than retired clergy who are not licensed to a pastoral charge;
(v)  Lay representatives, who are parishioners of a Pastoral Charge (as contemplated in Canon 27.2) in the diocese with a vacancy and who are elected in such manner and according to such Rules as are provided for the election of Lay Representatives to Diocesan Synod of such diocese, and
(vi)  Lay persons elected by the Synod of the Diocese to serve on the Advisory Committee, provided that, if any such person be also a Lay Representative in terms of sub-section (v), then that person shall have only one vote.

8.   Summoning of Elective Assembly

Upon receiving or giving notice of the vacancy of a see:
(a)  The Metropolitan shall issue a mandate to the Bishop of the diocese or, if the Bishop is absent, to the Vicar-General of the diocese to summon the Elective Assembly to meet.

(b)  The Metropolitan shall instruct the Provincial Executive Officer, in consultation with the Provincial Registrar or Deputy, to oversee the process of the election of a Bishop and assist where necessary or where requested with information, advice and the definition or clarification of terms used in this Canon.

(c) The Metropolitan, after consultation with the Bishop or Vicar General and the Chairperson of the Advisory Committee, shall determine the date, which should be after the vacancy has occurred, and the place at which the Elective Assembly shall meet.  The Discernment Team shall be given 80 days to complete its task, as set out in section 11(c) of this Canon, so that the date shall be not less than six months nor more than eight months from the date of the mandate.

(d)  Within ten days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays(1) , after receipt of the mandate from the Metropolitan, the Bishop or Vicar-General shall:
(i) Summon the members of the Elective Assembly in accordance with the provisions of section 8(a) and (c) of this Canon;
(ii) Notify the Chairperson of the Advisory Committee, who shall cause a profile of the diocese to be prepared for presentation at the first meeting of the Advisory Committee.

(e)  Upon the issue of the mandate to the Bishop of the diocese or, if the Bishop is absent, the Vicar-General of the diocese, the Code of Conduct in Act XI will become of effect and remain of effect until Collation in terms of Canon 8 or until the election has been delegated to the Bishops of the Province in terms of section 12(v) of this Canon, as the case may be.

9.   Membership of Advisory Committee

Membership of the Advisory Committee shall consist of Provincial and Diocesan members

(a) Provincial Members

The Provincial members shall be chosen as follows:

(i) At each ordinary session of the Provincial Synod, ten Bishops, ten clergy, and ten confirmed Lay persons of this Province shall be elected by their respective orders. They shall constitute a panel from which the Metropolitan shall choose two Bishops, two clerics and two Lay persons to serve on the Advisory Committee in the event of the vacancy of a See, other than the Metropolitical See, and in the event of the vacancy of the Bishop Suffragan.  In making this choice the Metropolitan shall nominate from those so chosen the Bishop, cleric and lay person to be the Provincial Members of the Discernment Team to be established as a sub-committee by the Advisory Committee in terms of section 11(b)(iii) of this Canon.

(ii) In the case of the election of the Metropolitan, two Bishops, two clergy and two Lay persons shall be chosen from the panel by the Dean of the Province or the senior Bishop by virtue of consecration to serve on the Advisory Committee.

(iii) The Provincial Executive Officer, or the person acting in that office at the time the Advisory Committee and the Elective Assembly meet, shall be an ex officio member.

(iv) The members of the panel shall remain as such until the next ordinary session of the Provincial Synod, when they shall retire but shall be eligible for re-election.

(v) Licensed clergy and Lay persons who are parishioners of a pastoral charge (as contemplated in Canon 27.2) in the diocese with a vacancy shall be excluded from the panel chosen in terms of this section.

(b)   Diocesan members

The Diocesan members shall be chosen as follows:
(i)  At each session of every Diocesan Synod, the following shall be elected to serve as members of the Advisory Committee of the diocese, and to hold office until the next session of Diocesan Synod, when they shall retire, but shall be eligible for re-election:
(aa) a Lay Chairperson with a Lay deputy, by all houses sitting as one together (the deputy Chairperson being entitled to attend all meetings of the Advisory Committee with the right to speak, but should the Chairperson be present, not to vote);
(bb) four clergy, who are licensed in the Diocese, with alternates, elected by the House of Clergy,
(cc) four Lay parishioners in the Diocese, being confirmed Communicants of this Province, with alternates, elected by the House of Laity.

(ii)  The Vicar-General or, in the election of a Bishop Suffragan, the Bishop of the diocese, who shall be an ex officio member of the Advisory Committee; but in the case of an election of a Diocesan Bishop excluding the outgoing Bishop who shall be ineligible to be a member of the Advisory Committee and Elective Assembly.

(iii) The Bishop Suffragan (if there be one, and if there be more than one, they shall choose one of their number) shall be an ex-officio member of the Advisory Committee.

(iv) In the event of the Lay Chairperson of the Advisory Committee being unable to act prior to the first meeting of the Advisory Committee, the deputy Chairperson shall act as Chairperson. Should the Chairperson be unable to act during or after the first meeting, the Advisory Committee may either call on the deputy Chairperson to act as Chairperson or may elect a Chairperson from among its lay members.

(v)      The Chairperson plus one of the senior of the clerics and one of the senior of the lay persons elected in terms of section 9(b)(i), each to be nominated by the Chairperson, plus the Vicar-General (or in the election of a bishop suffragan, the Bishop of the Diocese), shall serve as the Diocesan members of the Discernment Team referred to in section 11(b)(iii).

10.   Summoning the Advisory Committee

(a) The Metropolitan shall personally, or through the Provincial Executive Officer, as the Metropolitan may decide, notify all eligible members of the panel elected in terms of section 9(a) of this Canon when the Elective Assembly will meet. The Metropolitan or the Provincial Executive Officer (as the case may be) shall request them to inform the office of the Metropolitan within ten (10) days whether or not they will be available to serve on the Advisory Committee, if called upon to do so by the Chairperson of the Advisory Committee of the diocese with a vacancy.

(b) On receipt of this information the Metropolitan or the Provincial Executive Officer, as the case may be, shall inform the Chairperson of the Advisory Committee of the names of the members of the panel so chosen who should be called upon to serve on the Advisory Committee in addition to those members of the diocese elected in terms of section 9(b)(i) of this Canon.

(c)   The Provincial Executive Officer shall, with the Chairperson of the Advisory Committee, draw up a profile of the diocese for approval by the Committee at its first meeting, and thereafter for distribution to the candidates, their proposers and members of the Elective Assembly.

11(a)   Functions of Advisory Committee

The Chairperson, on receiving notification from the Bishop or Vicar-General in terms of section 8d(ii), shall:

(i)  write to every pastoral charge of the diocese with a vacancy, inviting clergy and confirmed communicants of that diocese to submit names of candidates, within forty (40) days, to fill the vacancy and to advise potential nominators that candidates that are not in fulltime ministry must undertake to resign from any secular employment and rewarded office forthwith upon confirmation of election in terms of Canon 7(9) and become a fulltime Bishop, if elected;

(ii) invite candidates to identify the member of the Elective Assembly whom they would prefer to propose their candidature;

(iii) instruct the nominator of each candidate to provide in writing:
(aa) the consent of the candidate;
(bb) the names of two other persons who support the nomination and who have been requested to provide supporting motivation for the said nomination;
(cc) motivation for the nomination of the candidate, and a personal profile of the candidate;

(iv) summon the Advisory Committee, consisting of both Diocesan and Provincial representatives, to meet within ten (10) days after the deadline for the submission of the nominations;

(v)      write to all candidates, providing a profile of the diocese and asking for:

(aa)  a curriculum vitae;

(bb)  a recent medical certificate,

(cc)   referees and addresses.

(dd)  an undertaking (if applicable) to resign from any secular employment and rewarded office forthwith upon confirmation of election in terms of Canon 7(9) and become a fulltime Bishop, if elected;

(ee)  Certified copies of a certificate or other proof of Baptism and Letters of Orders: and 

(ff)  sign the undertaking to abide by the Code of Conduct set out in Act XI.

 (vi) invite any member of the Advisory Committee to submit, not later than twenty (20) days before the day Elective Assembly convenes, one or more names of candidates in terms of subsection 11(a)(iii)(aa) and (cc);

(vii) at the first meeting of the Advisory Committee, report on the names submitted;

(viii) ask for the recusal of any member of the Advisory Committee who has been nominated or is related to someone who has been nominated within the degrees of affinity set out in the table attached to Canon 34, or who is otherwise under a conflict of interest in the determination of the Chairperson after consultation with the Vicar General, and request the alternate of the member to take such member’s place, and

(ix) ask for the recusal of any member of the Advisory Committee who intends to propose or second a candidate at the Elective Assembly.

11(b)  At the first meeting,  the Advisory Committee

(i) may obtain confidential testimonials from independent referees as well as those suggested by candidates, provided that, should serious adverse information be received in this way from an independent referee, such information shall not be incorporated in a report on the candidate unless the candidate has been afforded an opportunity to reply thereto, after the independent referee has consented to such disclosure (whether on an anonymous basis or not),
(ii) shall inform the Metropolitan and the diocese of the names of the candidates.

(iii)   shall establish a subcommittee to be known as the Discernment Team, comprised of the three Provincial and the four Diocesan members, as provided for in section 9(a)(i) and 9(b)(v) of this Canon; this Team is to fulfil the functions set out in section 11(c), and is to be chaired by the Bishop who is one of its Provincial members; and it shall hold its first meeting immediately after the first meeting of the Advisory Committee.

11(c) Discernment Team’s first meeting

At the Discernment Team’s first meeting, it shall determine and thereafter regulate, its own manner of conduct in relation to its functions. The functions of the Discernment Team are to determine the suitability of each candidate and in each case the extent of the candidate’s compliance with the eligibility requirements for admission to the Order of Bishops set out in Canon 18(1), which are to be fulfilled within 80 days of its first meeting, subject to such extension as the President may allow. To this end it shall:

(i)  call for information from referees and from public registers of malfeasance (examples being police  reports and sexual offenders register), as well as full and frank disclosure from each candidate of any act or omission that could be adverse;

(ii) call for medical and psychometric reports of the candidate, at the cost of the Diocese, and for a financial statement from the candidate;

(iii) decide whether to receive information from third parties, as may be submitted, and consult with whomsoever it pleases;

(iv)   seek out in any way it chooses persons to be nominated, if it thinks necessary;

(v)    decide whether to engage professional or other assistance in the fulfilment of its task, at the cost (if any) of the Diocese.

(vi)   hold any such meetings with persons (not candidates) as may be thought by it to be necessary for views on any candidate in relation to the eligibility requirements in Canon 18;

(vii)  set standard questionnaires to be responded to by candidates, which should also include a statement as to why they could be suitable candidates for the office and any adverse information that should be brought to the attention of the Discernment Team;

(viii)   interview the candidates;

(ix)     determine a list of candidates for nomination whose names are to be furnished to the Elective Assembly in terms of section 12(j) of this Canon;

(x)     send the list of candidates immediately to the Metropolitan and the Provincial Executive Officer for circulation to all Diocesan Bishops, who must within ten days of circulation advise its Chairperson and the Metropolitan if he or she has any serious objection to a candidate together with the reasons for the objection. The Metropolitan and its Chairperson, plus the majority of the remaining six Discernment Team members, must agree if the nominee’s name is to be removed. This can be done by telephonic, electronic, verbal or any other form of communication available for a response, which must be made within the ten-day period failing which the non-responsive Diocesan concerned will be deemed to have no objections; and

(xi)  if it appears necessary, recommend to the Metropolitan or deputy, as President of the Elective Assembly, any consequences which should be considered for any candidate, proposer or seconder, or member of Elective Assembly, who did not abide by the Code of Conduct, mislead or misdirected the workings of the Discernment Team.

11(d)  Final meeting of Advisory Committee

At its final meeting, which shall take place not later than the day before the Elective Assembly, the Advisory Committee shall:
(i)  finalise reports on all the candidates;
(ii) invite persons who are to propose candidates at Elective Assembly to attend a meeting for briefing,
(iii) submit a list of all candidates together with reports to the President of the Elective Assembly.

11(e)  Interim meetings

The diocesan members of the Advisory Committee may hold additional interim meetings between its first and final meetings for practical purposes.

12.   Elective Assembly

(a) On the day appointed and on each succeeding day on which the Assembly meets, Holy Communion shall be celebrated before the Assembly proceeds to business.
(b) The Registrar of the diocese, or a deputy appointed by the President, shall be in attendance at the meeting and shall not vote.

(c) Procedure at Elective Assembly

The President shall cause the roll to be determined by the diocesan Registrar or the deputy. The President shall call on the Registrar or deputy to certify that only those persons eligible to attend are present and that no person eligible has been excluded. Any informalities, and objections to the attendance of a member, shall be considered and determined by the Assembly. The President shall then ask the Registrar or deputy to declare that a quorum is present; this done, the President shall constitute the Assembly.

(d) Quorum

A quorum shall be not less than one half of the total number of the Bishops and the clergy together and one half of the Lay members.

(e) Confidentiality

Once the Elective Assembly has been constituted, its proceedings shall be deemed to be confidential.

(f) The Assembly shall then proceed to elect one or more secretaries from its members, and a Proctor who shall appear if necessary in the Court of Confirmation. The Provincial members and the Registrar shall act as scrutineers, provided that if any one of these has proposed a candidate, he or she cannot so act, and a replacement shall be chosen by the President with the consent of the Assembly.

(g) The Assembly shall determine its times of meeting.

(h) The President shall address the Assembly, setting out the purpose and procedures of the Assembly; refer to the matter in subsection 12(o) of this Canon, and may at any time address the Assembly.

(i) Delegation

The Elective Assembly may at any time delegate the choice of a Bishop to the Bishops of the province, if it so determines, by a two-thirds majority.

(j)  Nominations

The President shall furnish the Assembly with a list of the names of all persons considered by the Advisory Committee, after which proposers designated by the Advisory Committee, if available, or any member of the Assembly, may nominate to the vacancy only from the list so furnished.  Every nomination shall be seconded by any member of the Elective Assembly.

(k) All candidates so nominated who are present shall withdraw from the Assembly while the debate takes place, but shall be at hand for any consultation that might be deemed necessary. They shall be entitled to vote, and the provisions of subsection 12(p) shall not apply then in respect of such absence.

(l) Procedure after nominations

When nominations have ceased, the nominees shall be considered by the Assembly in alphabetical order.

(m) As each nominee is considered, the President shall call on a Provincial member of the Advisory Committee so designated to give the Committee’s report on the nominee.

(n) The President shall then invite:
(i) members of the Assembly to ask for clarification of any point in the Advisory Committee’s report, and
(ii) the proposer and seconder of the nominee being considered to speak if they so wish and thereafter other members of the Assembly to speak on the nominee.

(o) The President shall have control of the proceedings of the Assembly and may interrupt a speaker should the speaker make statements of a derogatory or defamatory nature and may call for a retraction of such statement or terminate a speaker’s address to the Assembly or otherwise make such Rules or give such directions in regard to the conduct of the Assembly as seem appropriate to the President in the President’s sole and absolute discretion.

(p) No member who has been absent from the Session or Sessions of the Elective Assembly or any portion thereof during which the reports of the Advisory Committee were presented or when the nominees were discussed shall be eligible to attend a subsequent session of the Assembly except for good cause shown, in the discretion of the President. The failure of a member to attend the Elective Assembly shall not preclude the Assembly from proceeding to election so long as a quorum is present.

(q)  Method of voting

When discussion has ceased, the members shall record their votes. The voting shall be by secret ballot and the President shall have a deliberative vote only. The members shall record their votes by writing on their voting paper either the name of the person for whom they vote or, if they desire to vote for none of the nominees, to write the word �none� or make a cross on the voting paper.

(r)  Inconclusive voting

No nominee shall be deemed to be elected unless that person shall have received not less than two thirds of the total number of votes of the Bishops and clergy present and voting together, and two thirds of the votes of the House of Laity, voting at the same time.

(s) If, after the first ballot, no nominee has received the necessary majority, successive votes shall be taken in like manner. After the result of any of the first four ballots is announced and no election has been made, the Assembly may, on the proposal of any member, which is duly seconded, resolve by a simple majority to reopen discussion on the nominees.

(t) If after three ballots no election has been made, the nominee with the least votes shall withdraw. This procedure shall be followed at each succeeding ballot up to the seventh ballot, or until only two nominees are left, or until a Bishop is elected at an earlier ballot.

(u) If after seven ballots no election has been made, the Assembly shall adjourn for a period determined upon by a simple majority of members.

(v) Fresh nominations

Upon the Assembly reconvening it may decide by a simple majority of the Bishops, clergy and laity voting together to have an eighth ballot to try to break the impasse. However, should it not decide to have an eighth ballot, or should the eighth ballot be inconclusive, then the choice of a Bishop shall be delegated to the Bishops of the Province. The Chairperson shall furnish the names of the remaining candidates and their supporting documentation provided under subsection 11(a)(iii) and (v) of this Canon to the Metropolitan. The Bishops shall proceed as set out in Canon 4(12)(w) below.  All those whose names were furnished to the Assembly by the President in terms of subsection l2(j) shall then be eligible for nomination. If the Bishops so determine, they may consider names that have not previously been submitted to the Assembly.

(w) Electoral College of Synod of Bishops

The Synod of Bishops of the Province may then choose from the names so furnished or submitted, or from any others, a Bishop for the vacant see. The Bishop of the vacant diocese, if still in office, or the Vicar-General, shall recuse him or herself from this elective process in the Synod of Bishops. If, within twenty-eight (28) days or such longer period as the Metropolitan may allow, none of those so chosen has accepted, or if no election is confirmed, the Elective Assembly shall be reconvened.

(x)  Declaration of election

When an election is made, the declaration of such act shall be signed in duplicate by the President and one of these declarations shall be transmitted to the provincial archives and the other kept in the Registry of the Diocese.

(y) When a nominee shall have received the requisite majority, but refuses to accept office, balloting shall continue.

(z) If the election is not confirmed in accordance with provisions of Canon 7 (Of Confirmation of Bishops), a fresh Elective Assembly shall be convened.

13.   Procedures not provided for

In all matters not specifically provided for in this Canon, the procedure to be followed shall be determined by the President, who shall be guided by the Model Rules for an Elective Assembly made from time to time by the Provincial Synod, and by the Acts of the diocese, failing these, by the President, subject to any direction which may be given by the Assembly; but no direction by the Assembly shall invalidate any action previously taken upon a ruling given by the President.