shield


THE CANONS OF THE EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF FORT WORTH

Adopted in Conventions 1982-2015

back to Canons 1-19back to Canons 20-35

CANON 36
THE CLERGY RETIREMENT FUND

Sec. 36.1 In conformity with the policies adopted by the Diocese of Fort Worth concerning a Clergy Retirement Fund and its options, the clergy of the Diocese of Fort Worth and their dependents will be provided proper support for the Fund(s) in accordance with its Rules.

Sec. 36.2 It shall be the duty of the Diocese and of the Parishes, Organized Missions, and other Ecclesiastical Organizations therein, each through its Treasurer and other proper official, to inform the Diocese of Fort Worth of salaries and other compensation paid to Members of the Clergy by said Diocese, Parishes, Missions, and other Ecclesiastical Organizations for services rendered currently or in the past prior to their becoming beneficiaries of the Fund, and of changes in such salaries and other compensation as they occur, and to pay promptly to the Clergy Retirement Fund(s) any Retirement assessment required thereon under the policies of the Diocese of Fort Worth in accordance with the Rules of said Fund(s). It shall be the duty of the Diocese and of the Parishes, Organized Missions, and other Ecclesiastical Organizations therein, to provide an equal assessment to whichever Fund option is chosen by the clergy. These Funds include the option of a Diocesan Retirement Program, or an Individualized Retirement Program, or continuation, if possible, in the Church Pension Fund.

Sec. 36.3 It shall be the duty of every Member of the Clergy canonically resident in or serving in the Diocese to inform the Diocese of Fort Worth promptly of such facts as dates of birth, ordination or reception, marriage, births of children, deaths, and changes in cures or salaries as may be necessary for the Fund(s) proper administration and to cooperate with the Fund(s) in such other ways as may be necessary in order that the Fund(s) may discharge its obligations in accordance with the intention of the policies of the Diocese of Fort Worth.

Revised November 2008

back to index

CANON 37
DIOCESAN SCHOOLS

Sec. 37.1 Diocesan Schools may be established as Diocesan Institutions as set forth in Canon 20.

Sec. 37.2 A separate Board of Trustees ("Board") shall manage each school. An initial board of twelve (12) trustees shall be appointed by the Bishop and confirmed by the Convention. At each subsequent Convention the Bishop shall appoint, subject to confirmation by the Convention, four (4) trustees who shall serve for three (3) years. At all times, at least three-fourths (3/4) of the trustees shall be adult confirmed communicants in good standing in the Diocese, certified annually.

Sec. 37.3 The Bishop shall have the right of visitation and be an ex-officio member of the Board

Sec. 37.4 A report from the Board of each school shall be prepared annually for the year ending June 30 preceding. This report shall be sent in duplicate not later than September 1 to the Secretary of the Convention. The report shall include the events of the year involving the operation of the school, and all financial accounting. The annual report shall be presented to the next Convention.

Sec. 37.5 The books and records shall be open at all times to inspection by the Bishop or his designee. All accounts shall be audited annually by a Certified Public Accountant or by such an accounting agency as shall be approved by the Department of Finance of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.

Sec. 37.6 Diocesan Schools shall follow the educational and operational guidelines set forth by the Commission on Episcopal Schools, the Southwestern Association of Episcopal Schools, and the State of Texas.

Sec. 37.7 Upon dissolution of the school, all property, real or personal, remaining after payment of all debts, shall vest in the Corporation of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.

Revised October 1992

back to index

CANON 38
ECCLESIASTICAL DISCIPLINE

I. Offenses for Which Presbyters or Deacons May Be Tried

Sec. 1. A Presbyter or Deacon in this Diocese shall be subject to presentment and trial for the following offenses, viz.:

(1) Crime or immorality.
(2) Holding and teaching publicly or privately, and advisedly, any doctrine contrary to that held by this Church.
(3) Violation of the Rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer.
(4) Violation of the Constitution or Canons of the Diocese in which the person is canonically resident.
(5) Any act which involves a violation of Ordination vows.
(6) Habitual neglect of the exercise of the Ministerial Office, without cause; or habitual neglect of Public Worship, and of the Holy Communion, according to the order and use of this Church.
(7) Conduct unbecoming a Member of the Clergy; Provided, however, that in the case of a Presbyter or Deacon charged with this offense, before proceeding to a presentment, the consent of three-fourths of all the members of the Standing Committee of this Diocese shall be required.

Sec. 2. The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth accedes to the Ecclesiastical Authority of the Province in which this Diocese is a constituent member with respect to all matters pertaining to the discipline, presentment and/or trial of a Bishop of this Diocese arising out of any offense set forth in Section 1., above, alleged to have been committed by such Bishop.

Sec. 3. If a presentment against a Presbyter or Deacon alleges an act or acts which involve a violation of ordination vows and specifies as the act that the Presbyter or Deacon has disobeyed or disregarded a pastoral direction of the Bishop having authority over such person, the presentment or charge upon which the presentment is based must be made by the Bishop giving the pastoral direction and shall set out the pastoral direction alleged to have been disregarded or disobeyed and wherein the disregard or failure to obey constitutes a violation of ordination vows. Unless the presentment complies with the foregoing provisions no finding or judgment of guilt may be made of the offense specified in Section I (5) on the basis of an act of disregarding a pastoral direction of or failing to obey the Bishop having authority over such person.

Sec. 4. In order for the disregard or disobedience of a pastoral direction to constitute a violation of ordination vows the pastoral direction must have been a solemn warning to the Presbyter or Deacon; it must have been in writing and set forth clearly the reasons for the pastoral direction; it must have been given in the capacity of the pastor, teacher and canonical overseer of the Presbyter or Deacon; it must have been neither capricious nor arbitrary in nature nor in any way contrary to the Constitution and Canons of this Diocese, and it must have been directed to some matter which concerns the Doctrine, Discipline or Worship of this Church or the manner of life and behavior of the Presbyter or Deacon concerned. Upon trial under any such presentment the question of whether the disregard or disobedience of the pastoral direction specified constitutes a violation of ordination vows is a matter of ultimate fact upon which testimony may be offered. The term "pastoral direction" shall be deemed to include, without limitation, "godly admonition."

Sec. 5. If presentment shall have been made against a Presbyter or Deacon, or in the case of a Presbyter or Deacon convicted of any crime or misdemeanor involving immorality, or against whom a judgment has been entered in a Court of Record in a cause involving immorality, or in the case of the abandonment of the communion of this Church by a Presbyter or Deacon, the Bishop of this Diocese may, upon probable cause, inhibit the Presbyter or Deacon from officiating in this Diocese until after the judgment of the Trial Court becomes final, or Sentence has been pronounced under Part VIII or Part XI of this Canon, as the case may be.

II. Amenability, Citation, and Attendance

Sec. 1. Presbyters and Deacons canonically resident or licensed in this Diocese are subject to presentment and trial by the Ecclesiastical Authority of this Diocese for offenses alleged to have been committed by them.

Sec. 2. A notice or citation, required by any provision in this Canon, to any Presbyter or Deacon to appear at a certain time and place for the trial of an offense shall be deemed to be duly served: (a) If a copy thereof be given personally or be left at the person's usual place of abode, sixty days before the day of appearance named therein; or (b) In case such Presbyter or Deacon is not found after three attempts to deliver such notice or citation at the person’s usual place of abode, if a copy of such citation be published once a week for six successive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation as the Ecclesiastical Authority shall designate, the last publication to be three months before the said day of appearance. Personal service of a notice or citation upon any person upon whom service is required, wherever such person may be found, shall be sufficient service of notice or citation.

Sec. 3. A notice or citation, other than those above mentioned, required by any law of this Diocese, when no other mode of service is provided, may be served personally, or by registered mail, return receipt requested, addressed to the person to be served at the person's last known place of residence, or by leaving a copy thereof at the person's last usual place of abode.

Sec. 4. It is hereby declared to be the duty of all members of this Church to attend and give evidence, when duly cited in any Ecclesiastical trial or investigation under the authority of this Church.

Sec. 5. In all trials and upon all appeals there shall be a Church Advocate, with or without assistants, to appear on behalf of the Diocese upon such trial or appeal.

III. Courts, Their Membership and Procedure

(A) Diocesan Courts for the Trial of a Presbyter or Deacon

Sec. 1. In this Diocese there shall be an Ecclesiastical Trial Court [hereafter “Trial Court”] for the trial of any Presbyter or Deacon accused of any offense set forth in Part I Section 1.

a. The Trial Court shall consist of three (3) Presbyters or Deacons canonically resident in this Diocese and two (2) Members of the Laity who shall be Confirmed Communicants in good standing in this Diocese at least eighteen (18) years of age.

b. The Court shall be elected by ballot by a concurrent majority of each order at Annual Convention.

c. The term of office shall be three (3) years or until a successor is elected. The members of the Trial Court shall serve on a rotating basis in such a manner that no more than one (1) Presbyter or Deacon and one (1) Member of the Laity shall be elected at each Annual convention, except for the first set of elections.

d. Vacancies occurring prior to the expiration of a term of any member of the Court shall be filled by the vote of a majority of The Standing Committee. The person so elected shall fill out the unexpired term, constituting a first term of office if said unexpired term is for two or more years.

e. No member shall serve more than two (2) consecutive terms.

f. Annually, the Court shall elect from the members a Presiding Officer within two (2) months following Annual convention and shall make provision for a Church Advocate, who may not be the Chancellor or Vice Chancellor.

g. A vote of not less than four (4) members of the Trial Court shall be required in order to convict any person accused of an offense for which discipline may be imposed. No trial proceedings may be conducted without the attendance of all members of the Trial Court.

(B) Diocesan Courts of Review of the Trial of a Presbyter or Deacon

Sec. 2 – a. There shall be a Court of Review of the Trial of a Presbyter or Deacon [hereafter “Court of Review”], which shall be comprised of the Bishop, three Presbyters or Deacons canonically resident in this Diocese, and three Lay Persons who are confirmed adult communicants in this Diocese in good standing, having domicile in this Diocese. At least two of said Lay Persons shall be learned in the law.

b. The Executive Council of this Diocese, once during the period between annual Conventions, shall elect the Judges of the Court of Review. The Executive Council shall prescribe the time and the manner in which such Judges shall be elected. The persons so elected, except in case of death, resignation, refusal, or inability to serve, shall continue to be members of the Court for such terms as the Executive Council may set or until their successors shall be elected. The Bishop shall be the Presiding Officer of the Court.

c. The Court of Review is vested with jurisdiction to hear and determine appeals from decisions of the Trial Courts in this Diocese upon trials of Presbyters and Deacons.

Sec. 3 – a. An appeal to the Court of Review may be taken by the accused from a decision of the Trial Court that sustains in whole or in part a charge of any canonical offense. Upon the written request of at least two Bishops of other jurisdictions within the Province of which this Diocese is a constituent member, the Standing Committee of the Diocese shall appeal a decision of the Trial Court acquitting the accused of a charge involving a question of Doctrine, Faith, or Worship; Provided, however, that such appeal shall be on the question of the Church's Doctrine, Faith, or Worship only, and that the decision shall not be held to reverse the acquittal of the accused on other charges than these.

b. The Presiding Officer of the Trial Court shall cause to be served on the accused, against whom an adverse decision has been made by the Trial Court, written notice thereof. Within thirty days after the service of such notice the accused may appeal to the Court of Review by serving a written notice of appeal on the Bishop or Standing Committee and a duplicate on the Presiding Officer of the Trial Court. Such notice shall be subscribed by the appellant and shall briefly set forth the decision from which the appeal is taken and the grounds of the appeal.

c. An appeal by the Standing Committee may be taken by service of a written notice of appeal upon the accused, and also upon the Presiding Officer of the Trial Court,within thirty days after the decision from which the appeal is taken.

Sec. 4. An appeal shall be heard upon the record of the Trial Court. When an appeal shall have been taken, the Presiding Officer of the Trial Court, within thirty days after receiving notice of the appeal, shall transmit to the Presiding Officer of the Court of Review, a full and correct transcript of the record, proceedings, and decision of the Trial Court, including all the evidence taken upon the trial, duly certified by the Presiding Officer or Clerk of such Court. Except for the purpose of correcting the record, if defective, no new evidence shall he taken by the Court of Review.

Sec. 5. The Presiding Officer of the Court of Review, within ninety days after having received the record, shall appoint a time and place for the hearing of the appeal. At least thirty days prior to the day appointed, the Presiding Officer shall give written notice of such time and place to the other members of the Court, and also to the accused, and to the Standing Committee.

Sec. 6. It shall be the duty of the appellant to procure a certified copy of the record of the trial, including the charges, evidence, decision, or judgment, together with the notice of appeal, to be printed. Within sixty days after the appeal shall have been taken, the appellant shall serve two printed copies of the record and notice of appeal upon the Church Advocate, and shall deliver seven printed copies to the Presiding Officer of the Court for the use of the Judges. For reasons deemed sufficient by the Presiding Officer, the printing of the record, or of any portion thereof, may he dispensed.

Sec. 7. At the time and place appointed, the Court of Review shall convene and proceed to hear the appeal; Provided, however, that at least six Judges, of whom the Presiding Officer of the Court of Review shall be one, shall participate in the hearing. But the Judges present, if less than that number, may adjourn the Court of Review from time to time, until the attendance of the requisite number shall be secured.

Sec. 8. The Court of Review may reverse or affirm, in whole or in part, the decision of the Trial Court, or, if in its opinion justice shall so require, it may grant a new trial. If after having been duly notified, the appellant fails to appear, and no sufficient excuse be shown, the Court of Review, in its discretion, may dismiss the appeal for want of prosecution, or may proceed to hear and determine the appeal in the appellant's absence.

Sec. 9. The concurrence of two-thirds of the Judges of a Court of Review shall benecessary to pronounce a judgment reversing or modifying the judgment of the Trial Court. The judgment or decision of the Court of Review shall be in writing, signed by the Judges of the Court of Review in concurrence therewith, and shall distinctly specify the grounds of the decision, which judgment or decision shall be attached to the record. If the concurrence of two-thirds of the Judges cannot be obtained as provided, that fact shall be stated in the record, and the decision of the Trial Court shall stand as affirmed. Immediately after the determination of the appeal, the Presiding Officer of the Court of Review shall give notice thereof in writing to the accused and to the Standing Committee of the Diocese. Upon the determination of the appeal, the original record upon which the appeal was heard, together with the record of the Court of Review, certified by the Presiding Officer and the Secretary or Clerk, shall be remitted to the Standing Committee. All records remitted as herein provided shall be deposited and be preserved among the Archives of this Diocese.

Sec. 10. The Court of Review shall not pronounce sentence on the affirmation of a conviction. When the appeal is so determined, upon receipt of the record by Standing Committee, the accused shall be sentenced in accordance with Part XI of this Canon, the provisions of which shall be complied with.

(C) Membership of Courts

Sec. 11 – a. No person shall sit as a member of any Court who is a presenter of charges or is related to the accused or the presenter of charges by affinity or consanguinity. No Presbyter or Deacon serving in the same parish as the accused person shall be eligible to be a member of the Trial Court, and no adult communicant who is a member of the parish in which the accused is serving shall be eligible to be a member of the Trial Court.

b. The death, permanent disability, resignation, or refusal to serve as a member of any Court shall constitute a vacancy in the Court.

c. Notices of resignations or refusals to serve shall be given as follows:

1. By the Presiding Officer of the Trial Court, written notice sent to the Bishop of the Diocese.
2. By the Presiding Officer of the Court of Review, written notice sent to the Standing Committee.
3. By any other member of any Court, written notice sent to the Presiding Officer of said Court.

d. Any Presbyter appointed to any of the Courts who shall become a Bishop, or any Lay Member appointed to any of the Courts who shall become a Presbyter or Deacon before the final disposition of the charge pending before that Court, shall thereby terminate membership on the Court.

Sec. 12 – a. Vacancies occurring in any of the Courts may be filled as follows:

1. In the case of disqualification of any Judge of any Trial Court, the remaining Judges of the Court shall appoint a Judge to take the place of the one so disqualified in that particular case.

2. In the case of death, permanent disability, resignation, or refusal to serve, or the removal from the Diocese of the Bishop serving as the Presiding Officer of the Court of Review, the Standing Committee shall give written notice thereof to the Archbishop of the Province in which this Diocese is a constituent member. Thereupon the Archbishop shall become the Presiding Officer of the Court of Review until a new appointment shall be made. If in a particular case the Bishop so appointed is unable or unwilling to serve as the Presiding Officer of the Court of Review, the Bishop most senior by consecration in the Province in which this Diocese is a constituent member shall be appointed to so serve.

3. In case a vacancy shall exist in the membership of the Court of Review among the Clerical or Lay Judges originally elected, or in case any of them shall be disqualified or unable to sit in a particular case, the Presiding Officer of the Court of Review shall appoint other Clerical or Lay Judges residing in the Diocese to fill such vacancy and to sit as Judges of said Court of Review; provided, however, the replacement Judge(s) must be of the same Order as those Judges whose death, resignation, disqualification or inability to serve resulted in the vacancy in the membership of the Court of Review.

b. All of the provisions of the Canons relating to persons originally appointed as Judges of the several Courts shall apply to those persons appointed in succession to the persons originally appointed, and all proceedings which may have been taken on any cause pending at or prior to such appointment shall have the same force and effect as if the appointee had been a Judge of the Court when such cause was commenced, and such appointee may participate in the continuing hearing and determination of the said cause.

c. If the term for which a Judge of the Court of Review was elected shall have expired during the course of an appeal, such Judge shall notwithstanding be competent to act in the cause until the termination of the trial or hearing.

(D) Rules of Procedure

Sec. 13 – a. The procedure in all Diocesan Courts shall be as provided by these Canons.

b. The several Courts shall appoint Clerks and, if necessary, Assistant Clerks, who shall be Presbyters of this Church, to serve at the pleasure of the Court.

c. The several Courts each may appoint not less than two nor more than three Lay Persons who are confirmed adult communicants of this Church in good standing, learned in the law, as Assessors. They shall have no vote. It shall be their duty to give the Court an opinion on any question, not theological, upon which the Court or any Judge thereof, or either party, shall desire an opinion. If a question shall arise as to whether any question is theological, it shall be decided by the Clerical Judges serving on the Court by a majority vote.

d. The several Courts may adopt rules of procedure not inconsistent with the Constitution and Canons of this Diocese, with the power to alter or rescind the same from time to time.

Sec. 14 – a. In the conduct of investigations preliminary to presentments, as well as in all trials, the laws of the civil jurisdiction in which such investigation or trial is had, so far as they relate to evidence, shall be adopted and taken as the rules by which all Courts shall be governed, and trials shall be conducted according to the principles of the common law as the same are generally administered in the United States, except in such instances in which there is a conflict between the common law and the Constitution and Canons of this Diocese, in which event the Constitution and Canons of this Diocese shall prevail.

No determination or judgment of any Court shall be disturbed for technical errors not going to the merits of the cause.

b. The several Courts shall keep a stenographic or recorded record of all their proceedings.

Sec. 15. The various Courts shall permit the accused to be heard in person or by counsel of the accused's own selection, provided every such counsel shall be a communicant of this Church, but in every trial or investigation the several Courts may regulate the number of counsel who may address the Court or examine witnesses.

Sec. 16. The Presiding Officer, or any other Judge of the several Courts, shall upon application of either the Church Advocate or the accused issue subpoenas for witnesses, but before doing so, the Presiding Officer or Judge issuing the subpoena shall first be satisfied that the testimony sought to be adduced is material, and that the witness is one whom the Court would be willing to hear upon the trial; otherwise, the Presiding Officer or Judge may refuse to issue the same.

Sec. 17. If in the course of a trial it becomes necessary to take the testimony of absent witnesses, it may be taken upon deposition as authorized by the rules of civil procedure in effect in the jurisdiction in which the trial takes place, and in case there is ground to suppose that the attendance of a witness at the forthcoming trial cannot be obtained, it shall be lawful for either party to apply to the Court if in session, or, if not, to any Judge thereof, who shall thereupon appoint a Commissioner to take the deposition of such witness; and such party desiring to take such depositions shall give the opposite party reasonable notice of the time and place of taking depositions, accompanying such notice with the interrogatories to be propounded to the witness, whereupon it shall be lawful for the other party within six days after such notice to propound cross-interrogatories. Such interrogatories and cross-interrogatories, if any be propounded, shall be sent to the Commissioner, who shall thereupon proceed to take the testimony of such witness and transmit it under seal to the Court. Such testimony shall be preceded by a written declaration of the witness in the form set forth in Part V Section 3 of this Canon.

Sec. 18. No deposition shall be taken, or read at the trial, unless the Court shall deem such testimony to be material and also have reasonable assurance that the attendance of the witness cannot be procured, and the several Courts shall have power to limit the scope of the testimony and the number of witnesses to be examined and whose depositions shall be taken.

Sec. 19. The necessary charges and expenses of the Court of Review, including the reasonable and necessary out-of-pocket disbursements and expenses of the Lay Assessors and the Church Advocate, if any, shall be a charge upon the Diocese and shall be paid by the Treasurer of the Diocese upon the order of the Bishop and the Standing Committee.

Sec. 20. The necessary expenses of the Standing Committee in making preliminary investigation and to report upon charges presented, including therein the necessary expenses of Church Advocates appointed to assist such Standing Committee, shall be a charge upon the Diocese and shall be paid by the Treasurer of the Diocese, upon the order of the Bishop.

IV. Presentments Against a Presbyter or Deacon

Sec. 1. The mode of presentment of a Presbyter or Deacon shall be that provided by the Canons of this Diocese.

Sec. 2. An allegation of misconduct of a Presbyter or Deacon under Part I Section I of this Canon shall be made upon a request for presentment by not less than ten persons who are communicants in this Diocese, of whom two must be Presbyters or Deacons canonically resident in this Diocese and in good standing.

Sec. 3. Every such request for presentment shall be filed with the Bishop and the Standing Committee, together with a brief in support thereof. The Bishop shall thereupon serve a copy of the request upon the person charged, together with a copy of the supporting brief. The Bishop shall fix a date for the filing of an answer and brief in support thereof, at least three months from the date of service, and may, using discretion and for good cause, extend the time for answering. Upon the filing of an answer and supporting brief, if any, or upon the expiration of the time fixed for an answer, if none be filed, the Bishop shall forthwith transmit copies of the request, answer, and briefs to each member of the Standing Committee.

Sec. 4. It shall be the duty of the Standing Committee to conduct an inquiry with respect to the allegations contained in the request for presentment. The written consent of one fourth of the members of the Standing Committee shall be required before the proceeding may continue. If consent is obtained, the Standing Committee shall then cause to be issued its presentment setting forth with reasonable particularity the allegations made against the accused and upon which the accused shall be tried. A copy of the presentment shall be served upon the accused as provided in Part II of this Canon, and a copy of the presentment shall be delivered to the Bishop, whereupon it shall be the duty of the Bishop to convene the Executive Council pursuant to Part III, Section 1(b). In case one-fourth of all the members of the Standing Committee entitled to act in the premises shall not consent within a period of three months from the date of notification to them of the proceeding by the Bishop, the Bishop shall deny the request for presentment.

V. The Trial of a Presbyter or Deacon

Sec. 1 – a. Upon receiving a presentment, the Presiding Officer of the Trial Court shall call the Trial Court to meet at a certain time and place, said time not to be less than two nor more than six calendar months from the day of mailing such notice, and at a place within the Diocese. With said notice, the Presiding Officer shall send to each Judge of the Court a copy of the presentment.

b. The Presiding Officer of the Trial Court shall also summon the accused person to appear at the same time and place to answer the said presentment, and shall also give notice of the said time and place to the Church Advocate.

Sec. 2 – a. At the time and place appointed, a quorum of the Trial Court being present, the Presiding Officer shall declare the Trial Court open for hearing the case; and when thus open, shall direct the Clerk to call the names of the Church Advocate and the accused; and if both appear, shall then cause the Clerk to read the presentment.

b. The accused shall then be called upon by the Trial Court to plead to the presentment, and the pleas shall be duly recorded. In the event the accused neglects or refuses to enter a plea, a plea of not guilty shall be entered for the accused, and the trial shall proceed; provided, that for sufficient cause the Trial Court may adjourn from time to time; and Provided, also, that the accused shall, at all times during the trial, have liberty to be present, and in due time and order to produce testimony and to make a defense.

c. If the accused fail or refuse to appear in person, according to the notice served as aforesaid, except for reasonable cause to be allowed by the Trial Court, the accused shall be pronounced by the Trial Court in contumacy and given notice that sentence of suspension or deposition will be pronounced by the Trial Court at the expiration of three months unless at that time the accused shall appear and take trial upon the presentment. If the accused does not so appear, sentence of suspension, or of deposition from the Ordained Ministry, may be pronounced by the Trial Court.

Sec. 3. The accused being present and the trial proceeding, it shall be conducted in accordance with Part III (d) of this Canon. The accused shall in all cases have the right to be a defense witness, subject to cross-examination in the same manner as any other witness. No testimony shall be received at the trial except from witnesses who have signed a declaration in the following words, to be read aloud before the witness testifies and to be filed with the records of the Trial Court.

"I, A.B., a witness on the trial of a presentment against the Reverend_______________ a Presbyter (or Deacon) of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, now pending, do most solemnly call God to witness that the evidence I am about to give shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God."

Sec. 4. The Trial Court, having fully heard the allegations and proofs of the parties, and having deliberately considered the same after the parties have withdrawn, every Judge of the Trial Court sitting in the cause shall declare an opinion about whether the accused is guilty or not guilty, and with respect to each particular charge and specification contained in the presentment; and the accused shall be deemed not guilty upon every charge and specification upon which no opinion of guilty shall have been pronounced by not less than five (5) of the Judges of the Trial Court.

Sec. 5. The decision of the Trial Court as to all the charges and specifications shall be reduced to writing, and signed by those who assent to it; and the Trial Court shall also, if the accused is found guilty of any charge or specification, determine and embody in the written decision the penalty which it shall adjudge should be imposed upon the accused; and the decision so signed shall be recorded as the judgment of the Trial Court, and shall be judgment nisi until it becomes final as hereinafter stated.

Sec. 6. Any accused who shall be found guilty of any charge or specification may file a motion for a new trial and for a modification of penalty. Any such motion or motions shall be filed within 30 days from the date of the filing of the decision, and the motion shall set forth all the reasons therefor, and no other shall be relied on at the hearing of the motion without the consent of the Trial Court. The Presiding Officer of the Trial Court shall set a place and time for hearing the motion and shall reconvene the Trial Court to hear and determine the same. The Trial Court may in the interest of justice grant a new trial or modify the penalty. If the motion for a new trial is granted, the Presiding Officer shall set a time and place for the new trial, and notify the parties and the members of the Trial Court of such time and place. If the motion for a new trial is overruled, the judgment nisi as to the guilt of the accused shall become final, but the Trial Court in the exercise of its discretion may modify or change the penalty, and shall, in writing signed by not less than five (5) Judges, direct what penalty is to be incorporated in the final judgment to be recorded by the Clerk. If no motion for a new trial or for modification of sentence shall be filed within the time limit for filing such motions, the Clerk shall on the next secular day enter, as final, the judgment rendered by the Trial Court. An appeal from a final judgment of a Trial Court to the Court of Review, as provided in Part VI of this Canon, may be taken within sixty days from the entry of such judgment. After the entry of final judgment, the Presiding Officer shall appoint a time and place not less than 60 days thereafter for pronouncing sentence. At the time and place appointed, if the accused shall not have an appeal pending in the Court of Review, or the action of the Court of Review has not made it unnecessary for the Trial Court to proceed to pronounce sentence, the Presiding Officer of the Trial Court, or a Judge thereof designated in writing by a majority of the Judges thereof to do so, shall in the presence of the accused, if the accused shall see fit to attend, pronounce the sentence which has been adjudged by the Trial Court, and direct the same to be recorded by the Clerk.

Sec. 7 – a. During the trial, exceptions in writing may be taken by either side to the admission or exclusion of evidence, or to any ruling of the Court, and such exceptions shall form part of the record of the case.

b. The record of the Trial Court shall be kept by the Clerk, and inserted in a book to be attested by the signature of the Presiding Officer and Clerk. The record shall be in the custody of the Clerk and kept in the archives of the Diocese, and shall be open to the inspection of every member of this Diocese.

VI. Appeals to the Court of Review of the Trial of a Presbyter or Deacon

Sec. 1. A Presbyter or Deacon found guilty of any offense shall have the right to appeal the judgment of the Trial Court to the Court of Review, and in the case of an accused presented for holding and teaching doctrine contrary to that held. by this Church, the Church Advocate shall have a right to appeal.

Sec. 2 – a. Unless within thirty days from the date the judgment in the Trial Court becomes final the appellant shall have given notice of the appeal, in writing, to the Presiding Officer of the Trial Court, to the party against whom the appeal is taken, and to the Presiding Officer of the Court of Review, assigning in said notice the reasons of appeal, the appellant shall be held to have waived the right of appeal, although in its discretion the Court of Review may entertain and hear an appeal not taken within such prescribed period.

b. The Presiding Officer of the Court of Review, upon receiving the notice of appeal, shall appoint a time within 60 days thereafter for hearing the appeal and fix the place of the hearing. At least 30 days prior to the day appointed, the Presiding Officer shall give written notice of such time and place to the other Judges of the Court of Review, the appellant and the appellee.

Sec. 3. No oral testimony shall be heard by said Court, nor, except by permission of the said Court, nor shall any new evidence be introduced in said hearing.

Sec. 4. The Court of Review may affirm or reverse any judgment brought before it on appeal, and may enter final judgment in the case, or may remand the same to the Trial Court for a new trial, or for such further proceedings as the interests of justice may require; Provided, however, that if the accused shall have been found not guilty by the Trial Court upon any of the charges and specifications upon which tried other than that of holding and teaching doctrine contrary to that held by this Church, the Court of Review shall have no power to reverse said findings.

Sec. 5. If the Court of Review shall enter final judgment in the case, and if by said judgment the accused shall be found guilty of any of the charges or specifications upon which tried, the Court of Review shall determine the sentence. Before sentence is passed the accused shall have the opportunity to make a statement to the Court of Review in excuse or mitigation. The sentence shall be pronounced by the Bishop, who shall thereupon give the notices thereof required by Part XI of this Canon.

Sec. 6. In case of appeal, all proceedings in the Trial Court shall be stayed until such appeal is dismissed by the Court of Review, or the said case be remanded by the Court of Review to the Trial Court. Should the appellant fail to prosecute an appeal before the Court of Review at the first session thereof after the entry of the appeal, at which the same could be heard, the appeal may be dismissed for want of prosecution. In the event the Court of Review dismisses the appeal, the Clerk of the Court of Review shall immediately give notice of such dismissal to the Trial Court.

Sec. 7. The appellant may waive appeal at any time before a hearing thereof has begun before the Court of Review. After a hearing has begun, the appellant may waive appeal only with the consent of the Court of Review. If the appeal is waived or dismissed, the Trial Court shall proceed as if no appeal has been taken.

VII. Members of the Clergy in Any Diocese Chargeable with Offense in Another

Sec. 1. If a Member of the Clergy belonging to this Diocese shall have acted in any other Diocese of the Province in which this Diocese is a constituent member in such a way as to be liable to presentment under the provisions of Part I of this Canon, the Ecclesiastical Authority thereof may give notice of the same to the Bishop and Standing Committee of this Diocese, exhibiting, with the information given, reasonable ground for presuming its truth. Upon receipt of such notice, the Bishop or the Standing Committee may proceed against the accused Member of the Clergy in the manner prescribed by these Canons, or they may request the Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese in which the offense or offenses are alleged to have been committed to proceed against the accused Member of the Clergy. If the Bishop or the Standing Committee of this Diocese requests that the Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese in which the accused is alleged to have committed the offense proceed against the accused person, it shall be within the power of the Ecclesiastical Authority of that Diocese within which the offense is alleged to have been committed to institute proceedings according to the mode provided by the said Diocese.

Sec. 2. If a Member of the Clergy shall come temporarily into this Diocese, under the imputation of having elsewhere been guilty of any of the offenses within the provisions of Part I of this Canon, or if any Member of the Clergy, while sojourning in this Diocese, shall so offend, the Bishop, upon probable cause, may admonish and inhibit such Member of the Clergy from officiating in this Diocese. And if, after such inhibition, the said Member of the Clergy so officiates, the Bishop shall give notice to all the Clergy and Congregations in this Diocese that the officiating of said Member of the Clergy is inhibited; and like notice shall be given to the Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese to which the said Member of the Clergy belongs. Such inhibition shall continue in force until the Bishop is satisfied of the innocence of the said Member of the Clergy or until such Member of the Clergy is acquitted on trial.

Sec. 3. The provisions of Section 2 of this Part VII shall apply to Clergy ordained in foreign lands by Bishops in communion with this Diocese; but in such case notice of the inhibition shall be given to the Bishop from whose jurisdiction the Member of the Clergy shall appear to have come, and also to all the Bishops in communion with this Diocese.

VIII. Renunciation of the Ministry

Sec. 1. If any Member of the Clergy not the subject of a request for presentment or under presentment shall declare, in writing, to the Bishop of this Diocese a renunciation of the Ministry of this Church, and a desire to be removed therefrom, it shall be the duty of the Bishop to record the declaration and request so made. The Bishop, being satisfied that the person so declaring is not amenable for any canonical offense, and that the renunciation of the Ministry is not occasioned by misconduct by such Member of the Clergy, but is voluntary and for causes, assigned or known, which do not affect that Member of the Clergy's moral character, shall lay the matter before the clerical members of the Standing Committee, and with their advice and consent the Bishop may pronounce that such renunciation is accepted, and that the Member of the Clergy is released from the obligations of the Ministry and is deprived of the right to exercise the gifts and spiritual authority as a Minister of God's Word and Sacraments conferred in Ordination. The Bishop shall also declare in pronouncing and recording such action that it was for causes which do not affect the person's moral character, and shall, if desired, give a certificate to this effect to the person so removed from the Ministry. In all other cases of renunciation of the Ministry, where there may be a question of misconduct, the Bishop shall not pronounce sentence of deposition save with the consent of the Standing Committee of the Diocese. The Bishop shall give due notice of every such removal or deposition from the Ministry, in the form in which the same is recorded, and in accordance with the provisions of Part XI Section 5 of this Canon.

Sec. 2. If a Member of the Clergy making the aforesaid declaration of renunciation of the Ministry be under presentment for any canonical offense, or shall have been placed on trial for the same, the Bishop shall not consider or act upon such declaration until after the said presentment shall have been dismissed, or the said trial shall have been concluded and sentence, if any, pronounced. If the Bishop shall have ground to suppose that the person making the same is liable to presentment for any canonical offense, such person may, in the discretion of the Bishop, be placed upon trial for such offense, notwithstanding such declaration of renunciation of the Ministry.

IX. The Abandonment of the Communion of This Church by a Presbyter or Deacon

Sec. 1. If it is reported to the Standing Committee of the Diocese that any Presbyter or Deacon, without presenting a renunciation of Ministry pursuant to Part VIII of this Canon, has abandoned the Communion of this Church, then the Standing Committee shall ascertain and consider the facts, and if it shall determine by a vote of three-fourths of its members that such Presbyter or Deacon has abandoned the Communion of this Church by an open renunciation of the Doctrine, Discipline, or Worship of this Church, or by a formal admission into any religious body not in communion with the same, it shall be the duty of the Standing Committee to transmit in writing to the Bishop, or if there be no Bishop, to a Bishop then serving in the Province in which this Diocese is a constituent member, its determination, together with a statement setting out in reasonable detail the acts or declarations relied upon in making its determination. If the Bishop affirms such determination, the Bishop shall then inhibit the Presbyter or Deacon from officiating in the Diocese for six months and shall send to such Presbyter or Deacon a
copy of such determination and statement, together with a notice that such Presbyter or Deacon has the rights specified in Section 2, and that after the expiration of the six-month period the Bishop may consider deposing such Presbyter or Deacon in accordance with the provisions of Section 2.

Sec. 2. Prior to the expiration of the six-month period of inhibition, the Bishop may permit such Presbyter or Deacon to utilize the provisions of Part VIII of this Canon. If within such six-months period the Presbyter or Deacon shall transmit to the Bishop a statement in writing signed by such Presbyter or Deacon which the Bishop is reasonably satisfied constitutes a good faith retraction of such declarations or acts relied upon in the determination or a bona fide denial that the Presbyter or Deacon committed the acts or made the declarations relied upon in the determination, the Bishop shall withdraw such notice and the inhibition shall expire. If, however, within such six-month period, the Bishop does not pronounce acceptance of the renunciation of such Presbyter or Deacon in accordance with Part VIII of this Canon, or such Presbyter or Deacon does not make retraction or denial as provided above, then it shall be the duty of the Bishop either (i) to depose such Presbyter or Deacon as provided in Part XI of this Canon, or (ii) if the Bishop is satisfied that no misconduct is involved that would otherwise subject the Presbyter or Deacon to presentment or trial, with the advice and consent of the Standing Committee, to pronounce and record in the presence of two or more Presbyters, that such Presbyter or Deacon is released from the obligations of Presbyter or Deacon and is deprived of the right to exercise the gifts and spiritual authority conferred in Ordination for causes which do not affect the person's moral character.

X. Absence of a Member of the Clergy from the Diocese or Abandoning the Work of the Ministry

Sec. 1. If a Member of the Clergy has been absent for more than two years from the Diocese without having given reasons satisfactory to the Bishop; or if that Member of the Clergy has engaged in any secular calling or business without the consent of such Bishop, and refuses to engage in the work of the Ministry at the call of such Bishop, coupled with reasonable provision for the Member of the Clergy's support; it shall be the duty of the Standing Committee of the Diocese, or of any two Presbyters of the same jurisdiction, the case being brought to their attention by the written statement of the Bishop, to present the offending Member of the Clergy for trial for violation of Ordination vows.

Sec. 2 – a. Whenever a Member of the Clergy of this Church shall have been absent from the Diocese for a period of more than two years, and has failed to make the annual report, and whose whereabouts are unknown, or who, being a Member of the Clergy in secular employment, the Bishop may send the name of such Member of the Clergy to the Secretary of the Diocese, who shall keep a list of such inactive Clergy, noting in each instance the date when each such name was added to the List.

b. On application either by Member of the Clergy, or at the discretion of the Bishop, such a Member of the Clergy may be placed again on a Diocesan Clergy Roll.

c. A Member of the Clergy whose name remains upon the List of inactive Clergy shall not be considered as canonically connected with this Diocese.

d. Any Member of the Clergy whose name shall have been added to the said List, as aforesaid, and who has not made an annual report on the Member of the Clergy's exercise of office to the Bishop for a period of ten years, may be considered to have abandoned the Ordained Ministry of this Church. The Bishop may, in the exercise of discretion, in the presence of two Presbyters, pronounce sentence of deposition upon such Member of the Clergy and authorize the Secretary of the Diocese to strike the name from the List and to give notice of the fact as provided in Part XI Section 5 of this Canon.

XI. Sentences

Sec. 1. There shall be three sentences which may be imposed; namely, suspension, removal, or deposition. A sentence of suspension may be imposed (a) after final conviction by a Trial Court, or (b) by the filing of a waiver under Part VI Section 7 of this Canon. A sentence of removal may be imposed when there has been a renunciation under Part VIII of this Canon for causes which do not affect the moral character of the Presbyter or Deacon. A sentence of deposition may be imposed: (a) after final conviction by a Trial Court; (b) after the filing of a waiver under Part VI Section 7 of this Canon; (c) when there has been a renunciation under Part VIII of this Canon in cases where there is a question of a foregoing misconduct or irregularity on the part of the Member of the Clergy; or (d) abandonment of the communion of the Church as set forth in Part IX or Part X of this Canon.

Sec. 2. In case of conviction by the Trial Court, the Bishop shall not proceed to sentence the accused before the expiration of thirty days after the accused shall have been served with the notice of final judgment of the Trial Court, in the manner specified in Part II of this Canon, nor in case an appeal is taken shall sentence be pronounced pending the hearing and determination thereof.

Sec. 3. Whenever the penalty of suspension shall be imposed on a Presbyter or Deacon, the sentence shall specify on what terms and on what conditions and at what time the penalty shall cease.

Sec. 4. A Member of the Clergy deposed from the Sacred Ministry is deposed therefrom entirely, and not from a higher to a lower Order in the same.

Sec. 5 – a. If a Presbyter or Deacon is liable to sentence upon conviction by a Trial Court or, upon affirmance of such conviction by a Court of Review, sentence shall be imposed by the Bishop, or in case the Bishop is disqualified or there be no Bishop, by another Bishop in the Province in which this Diocese is a constituent member, at the request of the Standing Committee, and it shall be lawful for the Bishop so pronouncing sentence to pronounce a lesser sentence than that adjudged by the Court, if that Bishop so choose. The Bishop to act shall appoint a time and place for pronouncing such sentence and shall cause notice thereof in writing to be served upon the accused. The Notice shall be the manner provided in Part II of this Canon at least thirty days before the time appointed.

b. In the case of renunciation of the Ministry as provided in Part VIII of this Canon, and in the case of abandonment of the communion of this Church as provided in Part IX of the Canon, sentence of removal or deposition shall be pronounced in the presence of two or more Presbyters, and shall be entered in the official records of the Diocese. The Bishop who pronounces sentence of removal or deposition as provided in Part VIII or IX of this Canon shall give notice thereof in writing to the Archbishop of the Province in which this Diocese is a constituent member, the Secretary of the Diocese, and the Administrator of any diocesan pension or retirement program in which such Presbyter or Deacon be enrolled. In giving such notice the Bishop who pronounces sentence of removal or deposition may request, while stating the reasons, that the sentence be held in confidence until the regular date of the next ensuing publication of the List of ordained Clergy in this Diocese.

c. If the sentence of deposition is to be pronounced upon a Presbyter or Deacon, the Bishop acting in the matter shall pronounce and record the same in the presence of two or more Presbyters.

d. In case an accused Presbyter or Deacon confesses the truth of the charges made, and in writing waives the right to a trial and submits to disciplinary action, the Bishop may proceed at once to pronounce sentence.

e. A Presbyter or Deacon who has been convicted by a Trial Court of a crime or immorality, and thus rendered liable to canonical sentence, may rightfully be inhibited by the Bishop from all public ministration. Such inhibition shall continue until a final judgment upon the case. When the sentence is of a suspension or deposition, the Bishop who pronounces the same shall without delay give notice thereof in writing to every Member of the Clergy and every Vestry in this Diocese; to all the Bishops of the Church with whom this Diocese is in communion, and where there is no Bishop, to the Standing Committee of such Diocese; and to the Secretary of this Diocese, who shall deposit and preserve such notice among the archives of this Diocese. The notice shall specify under what Canon the said Member of the Clergy has been suspended or deposed.

Sec. 6. No sentence shall be pronounced until an opportunity shall have been given to the accused, either on conviction or on confession, to show cause, if any, why sentence should not be pronounced, and to offer any matter in excuse or mitigation for the consideration of the Bishop who is to pronounce sentence.

XII. Remission or Modification of Judicial Sentences

Sec. 1. A Bishop of this Diocese who deems the reasons sufficient may, with the advice and consent of two-thirds of all the members of the Standing Committee, remit and terminate a sentence of suspension pronounced in that Bishop's jurisdiction upon a Member of the Clergy. A Bishop who deems the reasons sufficient may also remit and terminate any sentence of removal or deposition pronounced in the Bishop's jurisdiction upon a Member of the Clergy, but shall exercise this power in the case of the removal or deposition only upon the following conditions:

(1). That the action shall be done with the advice and consent of two-thirds of all the members of the Standing Committee;
(2). That the proposed action, with the reasons therefor, shall be submitted to the judgment of five Bishops then serving in the Province in which this Diocese is a constituent member, and shall receive in writing, from at least four of the said Bishops, their approval of the said remission, and their consent thereto;
(3). That before remitting such sentence, the Bishop shall require the person so removed or deposed, who desires to be restored to the Ordained Ministry, to have complied with the requirements of Canon 44.

Sec. 2. In case such person was deposed for abandoning the communion of this Church, or, having been deposed or removed by reason of renunciation of or release from the exercise of the Office of Presbyter or Deacon, or for other causes, such person having also abandoned its communion, the Bishop, before granting such remission, shall be satisfied that such a person has lived in lay communion with this Church for one year next preceding application for such remission.

Sec. 4. In case the person applying for such remission shall be domiciled beyond the Diocese in which removed or deposed, the Bishop, before granting such remission, shall be furnished with written evidence of the approval of such application by the Bishop of the Diocese in which such person is domiciled.

Sec. 5. A Bishop who shall remit and terminate any sentence of removal or deposition shall, without delay, give due notice thereof under the Bishop's own hand, sending said notice in a sealed envelope to the Ecclesiastical Authority of every Diocese in communion with this Diocese, giving, with the full name of the person restored, the date of the removal or deposition, and the Order of the Ministry to which that Member of the Clergy is restored.

Revised November 2008

back to index

CANON 39
TRIAL OF A PRIEST OR DEACON

Repealed November 2008

back to index

CANON 40
ELECTION OF A BISHOP

Sec. 40.1 When the Ecclesiastical Authority of this Diocese shall call for the election of a Bishop, Bishop Coadjutor, or Suffragan Bishop, a Nominating Committee shall be elected as follows:

a. four (4) Priests or Deacons, four (4) Lay members, and a chairman (1) elected by majority vote of the Standing Committee;

b. four (4) Priests or Deacons and four (4) Lay members elected by a majority vote of the Executive Council; and

c. one (1) Priest or Deacon and one (1) Lay member elected by each Deanery Council by a concurrent majority of both orders.

These members shall be elected at least four (4) months prior to the date set for the Convention at which such election is to be held.

Sec. 40.2 The Nominating Committee may at any time fill any vacancies in its membership; provided that clergy shall replace clergy and laity shall replace laity.

Sec. 40.3 The Nominating Committee shall continue to act until the close of Convention called for the election. If at such convention no election occurs, a new Nominating Committee shall be elected as provided in Section 40.1 above.

Sec. 40.4 The Nominating Committee shall elect a secretary from among its members and shall have power to adopt rules and regulations consistent with this Canon governing its procedures.

Sec. 40.5 The Nominating Committee shall call for, receive, and may itself propose names for consideration for nomination to the Episcopal office. The Nominating Committee may not accept names for consideration less than thirty (30) days in advance of the Convention. Any member of the Nominating Committee whose name shall be proposed for consideration for nomination must either withdraw his name or resign from the Nominating Committee.

Sec. 40.6 The Nominating Committee shall educate itself about each proposed nominee whom it deems qualified for the Episcopal office. The names of at least three (3) shall be selected as nominees. Biographical and other information and photographs of those selected shall be reported to the Secretary of the Diocese at least fifteen (15) days before the opening day of the Convention. The Secretary of the Diocese shall send this report to the Clergy and Lay Delegates at least ten (10) days before the opening day of the Convention.

Sec. 40.7 The report of the Nominating Committee shall constitute a nomination of each of the candidates named therein. Nominations may be made from the floor of convention at any time after the report has been presented until an election shall have taken place. No nominations may be made while a vote is being taken, and counted, and announced. A nomination from the floor of the Convention shall be accompanied by the same written information and photograph required of Committee nominees in sufficient number for each Delegate to have a copy. This information requirement may be waived by unanimous consent of the Convention.

Sec. 40.8 Upon conclusion of all preliminary business and nominations, the Convention shall recess for a celebration of the Holy Eucharist. After the Eucharist the Convention shall reconvene and proceed to an election in accordance with Article 17 of the Constitution. Each ballot shall be preceded by a period of silent prayer.

Revised October 1990

back to index

CANON 41
RENUNCIATION OF THE MINISTRY

Repealed November 2008

back to index

CANON 42
OF CLERGY AND THEIR DUTIES

All Members of the clergy shall be under the obligation to model in their own lives the received teaching of the Church that all its members are to abstain from sexual relations outside Holy Matrimony.

Adopted November 2008

back to index

CANON 43
OF HOLY MATRIMONY

Section 43.1 As used in this Diocese, the terms “Holy Matrimony” and “Marriage” are defined as the exclusive physical and spiritual union of one man and one woman, by mutual consent of the heart, mind and will, and with the intent that it be lifelong.

Section 43.2 The blessing of same-sex unions is prohibited in churches, missions and congregations of this Diocese; and clergy resident or licensed in this Diocese are prohibited from performing such blessings in any venue.

Section 43.3 It shall be within the discretion of any member of the Clergy to decline to solemnize any marriage.

Section 43.4 The Clergy of this Church shall conform to the Canons of this Church governing the solemnization of Holy Matrimony.

a. Both parties shall be baptized. Any exception to this requires the permission of the Bishop;
b. There shall be sixty (60) days notice of intention to marry unless waived for weighty reasons, in which case the Bishop shall be notified immediately and in writing;
c. The Clergy shall provide counsel to both parties on Holy Matrimony with respect to theological and social implications and responsibilities;
d. The Clergy shall ascertain that the man and woman, parties to the marriage, have a valid marriage license.

Section 43.5 As marriage is a lifelong covenant between a man and a woman in which the two become one flesh, it is both an ordinance of Creation, affirmed as such by our Lord, and a sign of the mystical union between Christ and His Church, commended as such by St. Paul (Matthew 19:3-9; Ephesians 5:22-32). Therefore, the failure of a marriage is always a tragedy. Scripture acknowledges our fallen nature and does provide guidance to know when a marriage may be declared a nullity or dissolved and allows the possibility of a subsequent marriage in certain
circumstances (Matthew 19 and 1 Corinthians 7).

a. Couples who request to be married by a member of the Clergy of this Church must have approval from their Bishop if either party has ever been divorced.
b. When a divorced person seeks permission to remarry, the Clergy must ascertain the pertinent facts concerning a declaration of nullity or termination of marriage; and in the absence of a declaration of nullity, forward such information to the Bishop in writing for his godly advice and consent.
c. The Bishop is responsible to create a process by which this discernment may be made with reasonable promptness.
d. Any declarations of nullity may only be granted by a Bishop with jurisdiction and shall be based upon Scriptural principles including the impediments to marriage set forth in Section 43.6.
e. At the completion of the above process, the decision of the Bishop is binding.

Section 43.6 No Clergy knowingly, after due inquiry, shall solemnize any marriage if they have unresolved concerns regarding the following impediments:

a. “Consanguinity and affinity” (whether the whole or half-blood) within the following degrees:

(1) One may not marry one’s ascendant or descendant (greatgrandparent, grandparent, parent, child, grandchild, or greatgrandchild, and etc.)
(2) One may not marry one’s sibling
(3) One may not marry the sibling of one’s ascendant or descendant
(4) One may not marry one's current or former stepchild or stepparent
(5) Furthermore, beyond blood relations, one may not marry anyone related within these degrees of relation by adoption.

b. Mistaken identity;
c. Absence of the capacity for free and intelligent choice;
d. Bigamy, evidence of sexual perversion or conviction of a sexually related crime;
e. Fraud, coercion, abuse or duress;
f. Existence of a pre-nuptial agreement.

Section 43.7 The Clergy shall require the parties to sign the following declaration:

“We, A. B. and C. D., desiring to receive the blessing of Holy
Matrimony in the Church, do solemnly declare that we hold marriage to
be a lifelong union of husband and wife as it is set forth in the Book of
Common Prayer:

We believe that the union of husband and wife, in heart, body, and
mind, is intended by God for their mutual joy; for the help and
comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity; and when it
is God’s will, for the procreation of children and their nurture in
the knowledge and love of the Lord.

And we do engage ourselves, so far as in us lies, to make our utmost effort
to establish this relationship and to seek God’s help thereto.”

Section 43.8 Both parties must live chastely prior to marriage. They shall live apart until the marriage is completed. However, pastoral concession may be made by the Clergy tending to the marriage in cases where living apart may not be possible.

Section 43.9 In all cases marriages shall be solemnized according to the forms contained in an authorized Book of Common Prayer, or other rite authorized by the Bishop.

Section 43.10 The Clergy shall record in the Parish register the name, age, and residence of each party. Such record shall be signed by the member of the Clergy, the married parties, and at least two witnesses.

Amended November 2013

back to index

CANON 44
OF THE ORDINATION OF DEACONS AND PRIESTS

Sec.1 The selection process and requirements for ordination to the vocational diaconate in the Diocese of Fort Worth are defined by the Bishop and the Commission on Ministry for the Diaconate in the document known as Towards Ordination to the Diaconate.

Sec. 2 The Bishop shall appoint members in good standing of the Diocese of Fort Worth to serve on the Commission on Ministry for the Diaconate. This commission will be an advisory body to assist the Bishop in regulating and implementing the procedures for becoming a deacon.

Sec. 3 The selection process and requirements for ordination to the priesthood in the Diocese of Fort Worth are defined by the Bishop and the Commission on Ministry for the Priesthood in the document known as The Ordination Process to the Priesthood.

Sec. 4 The Bishop shall appoint members in good standing of the Diocese of Fort Worth to serve on the Commission on Ministry for the Priesthood. This commission will be an advisory body to assist the Bishop in regulating and implementing the procedures for becoming a priest.

Adopted November 2008

back to index

GEOGRAPHIC DESCRIPTION OF THE DIOCESE OF FORT WORTH


Removed November 2008

back to index

RECORDING DATA

TRANSFERRING TITLE TO ALL PROPERTY TO
THE CORPORATION OF THE EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF FORT WORTH

In the case of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas, et al. v. Jim Mattox, Cause No. 84-8573, the 95th District Court of Dallas County, Texas, entered a judgment in which title of all property standing in the name of the Bishops of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas and located within the present boundaries of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth were vested in the name of the Corporation of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth. Said judgment has been recorded in the County Clerk's office in each County within the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth and the recording data for each county is as follows:

COUNTY DATE VOLUME PAGE
Archer 9-5-84
436
473
Bosque 9-6-84
288
638
Brown 9-6-84
865
787
Clay 9-5-84
356
313
Comanche 9-6-84
8
369
Cooke 9-10-84
706
599
Dallas 9-5-84
84172
3771
Eastland 9-10-84
864
730
Erath 9-19-84
643
346
Hamilton 9-24-84
260
114
Hill 9-18-84
650
101
Hood 9-20-84
1071
711
Jack 9-18-84
484
905
Johnson 9-20-84
1048
526
Mills 9-21-84
176
636
Montague 9-24-84
830
219
Palo Pinto 9-21-84
632
28
Parker 9-25-84
1260
458
Somervell 9-25-84
86
146
Stephens 9-27-84
555
711
Tarrant 9-6-84
7941
2214
Wichita 10-1-84
1389
566
Wise 10-3-84
84
214
Young 10-2-84
649
22
       
       
       

 

back to index