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REC Canon on Deaconesses

Section 1   A woman of devout character and aptitude may be set apart to the lay order of Deaconess by any Bishop of this Church, having jurisdiction in the Diocese or Missionary Diocese in which she shall serve.

Section 2   The duty of a Deaconess is to assist the Minister in the care of the poor and sick, the religious training of the young and others, and the work of moral reformation, but shall not include the performance of any liturgical function which is reserved to those in Holy Orders.

Section 3   No one shall be appointed Deaconess until she shall be at least twenty-three years of age; nor until she shall have laid before the Bishop testimonials certifying that she is a communicant of this Church in good standing, and that she possesses such characteristics as, in the judgment of the persons testifying, fit her for at least one of the duties above defined. The testimonial of fitness shall be signed by two Presbyters of this Church, and by twelve lay communicants of the same, six of whom shall be women.

The Bishop shall also satisfy himself that the applicant has had an adequate preparation for her work, both technical and religious, which preparation shall cover the requirements as established by the Council of Bishops.

Section 4   No Deaconess shall accept work in a Diocese without the express authority, in writing, of the Bishop of that Diocese; nor shall she undertake work in a Parish without the like authority from the Rector of the Parish.

Section 5   When not connected with a Parish, the Deaconess shall be under the direct oversight of the Bishop of the Diocese in which she is Canonically resident. A Deaconess may be transferred from one Diocese to another by Letters Testimonial.

Section 6   A Deaconess may at any time resign her office to the Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese in which she is at the time Canonically resident, but she may not be suspended or removed from office except by the Bishop for cause, with the consent of the Standing Committee, and after a hearing before the Bishop and Standing Committee.

Section 7   No woman shall be recognized as a Deaconess until she has been set apart for that office by an appropriate service, to be prescribed by the Diocesan Bishop.

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