D 1 Of the
order of deaconesses
1. The order of deaconesses is an order of ministry
in the Church of England to which women are admitted by prayer and
the laying on of hands by the bishop.
2. It belongs to the office of a deaconess, in the
place where she is licensed to serve and under the direction of the
minister, to lead the people in public worship, to exercise
pastoral care, to instruct the people in the Christian faith, and
to prepare them for the reception of the sacraments.
3. A deaconess may:
(a) in accordance with Canon B 11
be authorized and invited to say or sing Morning or Evening Prayer
(save for the Absolution);
(b) distribute the holy sacrament
of the Lord's Supper to the people and read the Epistle and the
4. The bishop may also authorize a deaconess to
perform any of the following duties at the invitation of the
minister of a parish or an extra-parochial place within the meaning
of section 1 of the Deaconesses and Lay Ministry Measure 1972:
(a) to preach at divine
(b) to church women and, in the
absence of the minister, to baptize;
(c) with the goodwill of the
persons responsible, to bury the dead or read the burial service
before, at or after a cremation;
(d) to publish banns of marriage at
Morning and Evening Prayer (on occasions on which a lay person is
permitted by the statute law so to do, and in accordance with the
requirements of that law).
When a cure is vacant the first reference in this
paragraph to the minister of a parish shall be construed as a
reference to the rural dean.
5. Deaconesses may accept membership of any lay
assembly of the Church of England.
6. Paragraph 4(b) and (c) of this Canon shall not
apply to the Channel Islands.
D 2 Of
admission to the order of deaconesses
1. Every woman to be admitted to the order of
deaconesses shall be at least 23 years of age, unless she have a
faculty from the Archbishop of Canterbury, shall be baptized and
confirmed, and shall satisfy the bishop that she is a regular
communicant of the Church of England.
2. Every woman who is to be admitted to the order of
deaconesses shall first present to the bishop of the diocese:
(a) a certificate signed by a
person approved by the bishop that she has been nominated to
exercise the office of deaconess within his diocese either in a
cure of souls or in a wider area, or is a teacher or lecturer in a
school or college or is living under vows in the house of a
religious order or community; the said school, college, or house of
a religious order or community being situated within such
(b)(i) her birth certificate;
(ii) a certificate or other
evidence of her baptism and confirmation;
(iii) testimony of her former
good life and behaviour from persons specified by the bishop.
2A. No woman shall be admitted to the order of
deaconesses unless she was accepted for training for admission to
that order before the commencement of the Deacons (Ordination of
Women) Measure 1986.*
3. No woman shall be admitted to the order of
deaconesses except she be found on examination, held by the bishop
or by competent persons appointed by him for this purpose, to
possess a sufficient knowledge of Holy Scripture and of the
doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Church of England.
4. No woman shall be admitted to the order of
deaconesses who is suffering or who has suffered from any physical
or mental infirmity which, in the opinion of the bishop, will
prevent her from exercising the office of a deaconess.
5. Every woman who is to be admitted
to the order of deaconesses shall, in the presence of the bishop by
whom she is to be so admitted or of the bishop's commissary, make
the declaration set out below, the preface which precedes the
Declaration of Assent in paragraph 1(1) of Canon C 15 (with the
appropriate adaptations) having first been spoken by the bishop or
I, A B, do so affirm, and accordingly declare my
belief in the faith which is revealed in the Holy Scriptures and
set forth in the catholic creeds and to which the historic
formularies of the Church of England bear witness; and in public
prayer I will use only the forms of service which are authorized or
allowed by Canon.
She shall also make the oath following:
I, A B, will give due obedience to the Lord Bishop
of C and his successors in all things lawful and honest: so help me
6. A woman shall be admitted to the order of
deaconesses according to the form of service authorized by Canon B
*Note: With regard
to paragraph 2A above, the commencement date for the Deacons
(Ordination of Women) Measure 1986 was determined jointly by the
two archbishops as being 16 February 1987.
D 3 Of the
licensing of deaconesses
1. No deaconess shall exercise her office in any
diocese until she has been licensed so to do by the bishop thereof:
Provided that, when any deaconess is to exercise her office
temporarily in any diocese, the written permission of the bishop
1A. A licence authorizing a deaconess who is not
subject to Common Tenure to serve in a benefice in respect of which
a team ministry is established may be in a form which specifies the
term of years for which the licence shall have effect.
2. Every deaconess who is to be licensed to exercise
her office in any place shall make a declaration and take an oath
in the form and manner prescribed for a deaconess before her
admission to the order.
3. Every bishop, before licensing a deaconess to
exercise her office in any place, shall satisfy himself that
adequate provision has been made for her salary, for her insurance
against sickness or accident, and for a pension on her
3A. The bishop of a diocese may by notice in writing
revoke summarily, and without further process, any licence granted
to a deaconess who is not subject to Common Tenure within his
diocese for any cause which appears to him to be good and
reasonable, after having given her sufficient opportunity of
showing reason to the contrary; and the notice shall notify the
deaconess that she may, within 28 days from the date on which she
receives the notice, appeal to the archbishop of the province in
which that diocese is situated.
On such an appeal the archbishop may either hear
the appeal himself or appoint a person holding the office of
diocesan bishop or suffragan bishop in his province (otherwise than
in the diocese concerned) to hear the appeal in his place; and,
after hearing the appeal or, if he has appointed a bishop to hear
the appeal in his place, after receiving a report in writing from
that bishop, the archbishop may confirm, vary or cancel the
revocation of the licence as he considers just and proper; and
there shall be no appeal from the decision of the archbishop.
Where the see of the archbishop is vacant or the
archbishop is also the bishop of the diocese concerned, any
reference in the preceding provisions of this paragraph to the
archbishop of the province shall be construed as a reference to the
archbishop of the other province, but any bishop appointed by the
archbishop of the other province by virtue of this
paragraph shall be a bishop serving in the province which contains
the diocese concerned.
Any appeal under this paragraph shall be conducted
in accordance with rules approved by the Archbishops of Canterbury
and York; and any such rules may provide for the appointment of one
or more persons to advise the archbishop or bishop hearing such an
appeal on any question of law arising in the course thereof.
3B. Where a bishop has granted a licence to a
deaconess who is not subject to Common Tenure to serve in his
diocese for a term of years specified in the licence, the bishop
may revoke that licence under paragraph 3A of this Canon before the
expiration of that term, and where he does so that deaconess shall
have the like right of appeal as any other deaconess whose licence
is revoked under that paragraph.
4. The bishop of every diocese shall keep a register
book wherein shall be entered the names of every person whom he has
either admitted to the order of deaconesses or licensed to exercise
the office of a deaconess in his diocese.