3A METHODIST DIOCESE OF MAMFE
CATHOLIC-ANGLICAN PROVINCE OF MAMFE, THE HOLY SEE OF MAMFE

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OUR RULES, DOCTRINES, SACRAMENTS AND GOVERNANCE

PREFACE
These rules are an expression of our particular ecclesiastical culture as an church that affirms the Christian faith as taught in scripture and expressed in the historic creeds, the sacraments and the traditions of undivided church. We are a sacramental and liturgical jurisdiction and our spirituality is informed by the early Catholic Traditions of John Wesley and the early Church fathers as well as being open to insights from other faiths and the Western Mystery Tradition. 

STATEMENT OF FAITH
1. The Old and New Testaments as our scriptures.
2. The Nicene Creed as the sufficient statement of Christian faith.
3. The first seven councils of the undivided church as the standard of doctrine.
4. The seven sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation, Marriage, Anointing of the Sick, Reconciliation, and Ordination.
5. The historic threefold ministry of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons in the apostolic succession.
6.  The Ten Commandments and the Summary of the Law as the standard of Christian morality. 

 GENERAL GOVERNANCE

 The Presiding Bishop is the ultimate authority within the church, and bears the ultimate responsibility for all the members. His position is for life unless he resigns in favour of another who shall be elected by his Council. He shall always remember that although he is first he should also be servant of the servants of God and truly a Father to all. The Presiding Bishop  and General Conference are the only persons authorized to speak for the church.

The Presiding Bishop, shall have the responsibility for making certain that the Statement of Faith is upheld by members of the church. He shall make certain that the liturgy of word and sacraments is reverently and validly celebrated in all congregations. He shall strive to see that members and communities of the order, and especially the clergy, work toward the healthiest Christian behavior and relate to one another and the world in healthy ways. He shall be devoted to the Eucharist, The Divine Office and Lectio Divina, and a balanced, healthy life and spiritual disciplines so that his service to the Jurisdiction may always be exercised in the healthiest and godliest way possible. He shall be available to the bishops, clergy, and  religious of the church to support their faith journeys and shall also be available to any laity served by the clergy. He shall uphold all the members of the order in prayer, and most especially in the Eucharist, on a daily basis. He shall visit all of the clergy and constituent ministries in person whenever possible, at their expense, from time to time or appoint another to do so.

CLERGY
The major clergy of the church consists of those men who have been ordained to the diaconate, priesthood, or episcopate by a validly consecrated Bishop and who hold current public faculties from the Presiding Bishop's Council, whether permanent or probationary, as active clergy members of the church.

The clergy are to remember that they are servants of God and the people of God and are to remain available to the people of God to provide ministry, taking care to lead balanced and healthy lives to enable them to provide the highest level of service possible.


A. Bishops
No Bishop shall exercise episcopal functions without the permission of the General Conference. Bishops with geograpical jurisdiction are styled Vicar Apostolic. They shall maintain a website for their district and will ensure that all clergy in their care operate according to this Statement of Faith and Sacramental Policies and they shall submit any requests for incardination and ordination to the Presiding Bishop for his approval. The Vicar Apostolic is not always the Ordinary of other bishops who may live and exercise ministry within his district. These bishops without geographical jurisdiction are answerable only to the Primus. 

B.  Priests
Priests who have been given active faculties by the General Conference shall have the authority to preach, to celebrate the Eucharist, to administer Holy Communion from the reserved Sacrament, to anoint the sick (and bless oil for the sacrament of anointing in case of necessity), and to baptize after instruction is given to the person being baptized, or their parents or godparents if a child (the instruction may be omitted in danger of death, being given if the person baptized recovers). 

Priests and deacons may solemnize marriages in accordance with the Sacramental Policies. If the Priest signs a marriage license, he shall make certain all legal requirements are followed, and if a Priest administers sacramental marriage without civil marriage, he shall counsel the couple to take all possible steps to protect themselves.
Priests may offer general absolution at Mass or, under the direction of the General Conference on other occasions. Normally, priests are also given faculties by the Presiding Bishop or Vicar Apostolic to hear private confessions and offer absolution. Bishops and Archpriests are the ordinary ministers of confirmation or chrismation in this church.  

Archpriests may also ordain to the Minor Orders up to the Order of Subdeacon with the approval of the Presiding Bishop. Priests may be given very limited faculties as inactive clergy if deemed appropriate by the Presiding Bishop or Vicar Apostolic.

The Ordinary of members of religious orders is their religious superior, however to exercise ministry in any district they shall seek the license of the Vicar Apostolic, or in countries with no Vicar Apostolic license to officiate is provided by the Presiding Bishop.

C. Deacons
Deacons who have been given faculties by the Presiding Bishop as major clergy shall have authority to preach, to baptize, to marry and bury and to administer Holy Communion from the Reserved Sacrament.

D. Clergy in minor orders
Men who have been admitted as clerics in this order shall comprise the minor clergy. Such clergy are not major clergy of this order, and may not celebrate or officiate at any of the Sacraments except for Communion from the reserved Sacrament, or, in cases of danger of death, baptism. 

E. Preparation for ordination
The Presiding Bishop shall establish Ordination and Transfer Clergy Policies to provide for the preparation of Christians for ordination and the orderly transfer of clergy from other ecclesial bodies who wish to join this order. Transfer clergy shall have probationary status as provided in those policies.

F.  Removal of faculties
For sufficient cause, the Presiding Bishop may revoke the faculties of any clergyman under his care.
 
G. Association with the Excommunicated
It is normally prohibited for clergy in good standing to associate in any way with those who have been excommunicated, unless familial, business or prior ties of friendship require it. Permission to continue an association with the excommunicated must be asked of the Presiding Bishop and will normally be granted for good reason. 

H. Deaconesses and Nuns
 
This community makes provision for women to share in pastoral ministry as Deaconesses and Nuns. A Deaconess may assist with the baptism and unction of women and children and may read the gospel and distribute communion in church. She may wear a deacon's stole or orarion over the habit and must always be veiled in church.  In case of necessity a deaconess may be given faculties to baptise and to preside at weddings and funerals. The liturgical role of a professed nun who is not a deaconess is limited to the celebration of the Divine Office, Adoration and Communion from the Reserved Sacrament. 

ECUMENICAL  RELATIONS
All persons are welcome to worship with us and to receive pastoral care from our clergy. All baptized Christians, without regard to denominational affiliation, are welcome to receive sacraments of communion, anointing, reconciliation, confirmation, and marriage. We are happy to administer baptism to those wishing to receive it and to children whose parents or godparents ask us to baptize them.

SACRAMENTAL  POLICIES
GENERAL POLICIES CONCERNING THE  SACRAMENTS

1. The sacraments of the New Testament were instituted by Christ the Lord and entrusted to the church.

2.  As actions of Christ and the church, they are signs and means of God’s grace which express and strengthen the faith, render worship to God, and effect the sanctification of humanity and thus contribute in the greatest  way to establish, strengthen, and manifest ecclesiastical communion.  Accordingly, in the celebration of the sacraments the sacred ministers and the other members of the Christian faithful must use the greatest veneration and necessary diligence.

3. Since the sacraments are the  same for the whole church and belong to the divine deposit, this order shall adhere to the requirements for their validity as handed down by the orthodox Catholic tradition of the church, and the General Conference shall decide what pertains to their licit celebration, administration, and reception and to the order to be observed in their celebration.

4. A person who has not received baptism cannot be admitted validly to the other sacraments.

5. The sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and the most holy Eucharist are interrelated in such a way that they are required for full Christian initiation.

6. Sacred ministers cannot deny the sacraments to those who seek them at appropriate times, are properly disposed, and are not prohibited by law from receiving them.

7. Pastors of souls and other members of the Christian faithful, according to their respective ecclesiastical function, have the duty to take care that those who seek the sacraments are prepared to receive them by proper evangelization and catechetical instruction, attentive to the norms issued by competent authority.

8. Since the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and orders imprint a character, they cannot be repeated. If after completing a diligent inquiry a prudent doubt still exists whether the sacraments mentioned were actually or validly conferred, they are to be conferred conditionally. Orders may be conferred conditionally when so doing furthers the unity of the church.

9. In celebrating the sacraments the liturgical books approved by competent authority are to be observed faithfully; accordingly, no one is to add, omit, or alter anything in them on one’s own authority.

10. In administering the sacraments in which holy oils must be used, the minister must use oils pressed from olives and consecrated or blessed recently by a bishop. If they are not available, any presbyter in case of necessity may bless the oil of the sick or oil of catechumens during the actual celebration of the appropriate sacrament. Sacred chrism must be consecrated only by a bishop. The pastor is to obtain the holy oils from his own bishop and is to preserve them diligently with proper care.
Sacred chrism, the oil of catechumens, and the oil of the sick are three separate oils, and under no circumstances may oil already blessed as one kind of the sacred oils be blessed as another, nor may one oil serve as more than one kind of sacred oil.

11. The minister is to seek nothing for the administration of the sacraments, always taking care that the needy are not deprived of the assistance of the sacraments because of poverty.

POLICY ON BAPTISM
1. Baptism, the gateway to the sacraments and necessary for salvation by actual reception or at least by desire, is validly conferred only by a washing of true water with the proper form of words. Through baptism men and women are freed from sin, are reborn as children of God, and, configured to Christ by an indelible character, are incorporated into the church.

2. This proper form includes a statement of the intent to baptize and is done in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. The traditional formula in the eastern rites is: “The servant of God N. is baptized in the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”. The traditional formula in the western rites is: “N., I baptize  you/thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit/ Ghost.”

3. Baptism is administered according to the order prescribed in the approved liturgical books, except in case of urgent necessity when only those things required for the validity of the sacrament must be observed.

4. The celebration of baptism must be prepared properly; consequently:

An adult who intends to receive baptism is to be admitted to the catechumenate and is to be led insofar as possible through the various stages to sacramental initiation, according to the direction of the ordinary.

The parents of an infant to be baptized and those who are to undertake the function of sponsor are to be instructed properly on the meaning of this sacrament and the obligations attached to it. The pastor personally or through others is to take care that the parents are properly instructed through both pastoral advice and common prayer, where possible, visiting them.

5.  The prescripts of the sacramental policies on adult baptism are to be applied to all those who, no longer infants, have attained the use of reason. A person who is not responsible for oneself is also regarded as an infant with respect to baptism.

6. Apart from a case of necessity, the water to be used in conferring baptism must be blessed according to the prescripts of the liturgical books.

7. Baptism is to be conferred either by immersion or by pouring.

8. Although baptism can be celebrated on any day, it is nevertheless recommended that it be celebrated ordinarily on Sunday. All Saints’ Day, the Feast of the Baptism of Christ, Easter, and Pentecost are especially appropriate times for the celebration of baptism. The most appropriate occasion for baptism is the Easter Vigil.

9. The ordinary minister of baptism is a bishop, a presbyter or a deacon. A deaconess may also be given faculties to baptise.

10.  When an ordinary minister is absent or impeded, a cleric or another person designated for this function by the local ordinary, or in a case of necessity any person with the right intention, confers baptism licitly. Pastors of souls, especially the pastor of a parish, are to be concerned that the Christian faithful are taught the correct way to baptize.

11. Anyone who has not been baptized may be baptized; no one who has been baptized may be re-baptized.

12. For an adult to be baptized, the person must have manifested the intention to receive baptism, have been instructed sufficiently about the truths of the faith and Christian obligations, and have been tested in the Christian life through the catechumenate. The adult is also to be urged to have sorrow for personal sins.

13. An adult in danger of death can be baptized if, having some knowledge of the principal truths of the faith, the person has manifested in any way at all the intention to receive baptism and promises to observe the commandments of the Christian religion.

14. Parents are obliged to take care that infants are baptized in the first few weeks;  as soon as possible after the birth or even before it, they are to go to the pastor to request the sacrament for their child and to be prepared properly for it.

15. An infant in danger of death is to be baptized without delay.

16. For an infant to be baptized licitly, the parents or at least one of them or the person
who legitimately takes their place must consent.

17. If there is a doubt whether a person has been baptized or whether baptism was conferred validly and the doubt remains after a serious investigation, baptism is to be
conferred conditionally.

18. Those baptized in a non-Catholic/Orthodox ecclesial community must not be re-baptized, absolutely or conditionally, unless, after an examination of the matter and the form of the words used in the conferral of baptism and a consideration of the intention of the baptized adult and the minister of the baptism, a serious reason exists to doubt the validity of the baptism.

19. If in these cases the conferral or validity of the baptism remains doubtful, baptism is not to be conferred until after the doctrine of the sacrament of baptism is explained to the person to be baptized, if an adult, and the reasons of the doubtful validity of the baptism are explained to the person or, in the case of an infant, to the parents.

20. Insofar as possible, a person to be baptized is to be given a sponsor who assists an adult in Christian initiation or together with the parents presents an infant for baptism. A sponsor also helps the baptized person to lead a Christian life in keeping with baptism and to fulfill faithfully the obligations inherent in it. A sponsor must be a mature baptized Christian who is active in his or her Christian church. It is not necessary that a sponsor be a member of this branch of the church.

21. A person who administers baptism is to take care that, unless a sponsor is present, there is at least a witness who can attest to the conferral of the baptism.

22. To prove the conferral of baptism, if prejudicial to no one, the declaration of one witness beyond all exception is sufficient or the oath of the one baptized if the person received baptism as an adult.

23. The pastor of the place where the baptism is celebrated must carefully and without any delay record in the baptismal register the names of the baptized, with mention made of the minister, parents, sponsors, witnesses, if any, the place and date of the conferral of the baptism, and the date and place of birth.

24. If the baptism was not administered by the pastor or in his presence, the minister
of baptism, whoever it is, must inform the pastor of the parish in which it was administered of the conferral of the baptism, so that she or he records the baptism. 

POLICY ON CONFIRMATION OR CHRISMATION
1. The sacrament of confirmation strengthens baptized Christians and obliges
them to be mature witnesses of Christ by word, and deed and to spread and
defend the Christian faith. It imprints an indelible character, enriches
baptized Christians by deepening the gift of the Holy Spirit, enables them
to continue on their Christian journey, and binds them more perfectly to
the church.

2. The sacrament of confirmation is conferred by the anointing of chrism on the forehead, which is done by the imposition of the hand and through the words prescribed in the approved liturgical books.

3. The chrism to be used in the sacrament of confirmation must be consecrated by a bishop even if an archpriest administers the sacrament.

4. It is desirable to celebrate the sacrament of confirmation in a church and during mass; for a just and reasonable cause, however, it can be celebrated outside mass and in any worthy place.

5. The ordinary minister of confirmation is a bishop, however an archpriest is also automatically provided with this faculty and also confers this sacrament validly. In danger of death, any priest may confer the  sacrament.

6. The bishop is obliged to take care that the sacrament of confirmation is conferred on Christians who properly and reasonably seek it.

7. Every baptized person not yet sacramentally confirmed and only such a person is capable of receiving confirmation. This jurisdiction recognizes as sacramental confirmation those confirmations performed by bishops in the apostolic succession or priests authorized by them. Confirmations performed in churches not possessing the apostolic succession are not regarded by this jurisdiction as sacramental confirmation. Those Christians in this order so confirmed are encouraged to complete their confirmation by being sacramentally confirmed by a bishop in this jurisdiction or order.

8. To receive confirmation licitly outside the danger of death requires that a person who has the use of reason, be suitably instructed, properly disposed, and able to renew the baptismal promises.

9. The sacrament of confirmation is to be conferred on the faithful when a person is ready to make a mature commitment to follow Christ. There is no one age at which every Christian is able to make this commitment, and any attempt to link confirmation with a specific age is to be strongly discouraged. Those in danger of death are encouraged to receive the sacrament.

10. Insofar as possible, there is to be a sponsor for the person to be confirmed; the sponsor is to take care that the confirmed person behaves as a true witness of Christ and faithfully fulfills the obligations  inherent in this sacrament. A sponsor must be a mature sacramentally confirmed Christian who is active in his or her Christian church. It is not necessary that a sponsor be a member of this branch of the church.

11. The pastor of the place where the confirmation is celebrated must carefully and without any delay   record in the sacramental register the names of the confirmed, with mention made of the minister, parents, sponsors, witnesses, if any, the place and date of the conferral of the confirmation.

POLICY ON THE MOST HOLY EUCHARIST

1. The most august sacrament is the most holy eucharist in which Christ the Lord himself is contained, offered, and received and by which the Church continually lives and grows. The eucharistic sacrifice, the memorial of the death and resurrection of the Lord, in which the sacrifice of the cross is perpetuated through the ages is the summit and source of all worship and Christian life, which signifies and effects the unity of the people of God and brings about the building up of the body of Christ. Indeed, the other sacraments and all the ecclesiastical works of the apostolate are closely connected with the most holy eucharist and ordered to it.

2. The Christian faithful are to hold the most holy eucharist in highest honor, taking an active part in the  celebration of the most august sacrifice, receiving this sacrament most devoutly and frequently, and worshiping it with the highest adoration. In explaining the doctrine about this sacrament, pastors of souls are to teach the faithful diligently about this obligation.

3. The eucharistic celebration is the action of Christ himself and the church. In it, Christ the Lord, through the ministry of the priest, offers himself, substantially present under the species of bread and wine, to God the Father and gives himself as spiritual food to the faithful united with his offering.

4. The minister who is able to confect the sacrament of the eucharist in the person of Christ is a validly  ordained bishop or priest alone. A priest with faculties from the Presiding Bishop celebrates the eucharist licitly in this jurisdiction.

5. Remembering always that in the mystery of the eucharistic sacrifice the work of redemption is exercised continually, priests are to celebrate frequently; even if the faithful cannot be present, it is the act of Christ and the Church in which priests fulfill their principal function. Concelebration is permitted in accordance with the rubrics, but there must be one principal celebrant who shall utter the words of institution over both the bread and wine.

6. A priest is not to neglect to prepare himself properly through prayer for the celebration of the eucharistic sacrifice and to offer thanks to God at its completion.

7. In the eucharistic celebration deacons and lay persons are not permitted to offer priestly prayers, especially the eucharistic prayer, or to perform actions which are proper to the celebrating priest.

8. The ordinary minister of holy communion is a bishop, presbyter, deacon or deaconess. A sub-deacon or acolyte is always permitted to administer the chalice and, in the absence of a bishop, priest, or deacon should be the minister of holy communion if present.

9. Priests have the obligation to bring the most holy eucharist as viaticum to the sick.

10. Any baptized Christian who approaches reverently can and must be admitted to holy communion. The Holy Celtic Church offers the sacrament of holy communion to all baptized Christians regardless of their denominational affiliation. The holy eucharist was established by Jesus Christ and is His supper, and participation in the  holy eucharist is the birthright of all baptized Christians. While it is true that all who come to the altar must examine themselves, and in extremely rare cases the bishop may determine that a particular person who is living a life of enmity against the gospel is to be excommunicated until they repent, these issues are separate from our obligation to ecumenical hospitality.

11. A person who has already received the most holy eucharist can receive it a second time on the same day only within the eucharistic celebration in which the person participates.

12. It is highly recommended that the faithful receive holy communion during the
eucharistic celebration itself. It is to be administered outside the mass, however, to those who request it for a just cause, with the liturgical rites being observed.

13. The eucharistic fast, whether from midnight, for three hours, or for one hour, is a salutary practice recommended to the faithful; however, it is not obligatory in this church, and the faithful are urged to receive regardless of whether or not they have fasted, if they are spiritually disposed. The elderly, the infirm, pregnant women, and any others whose health would be affected are strongly discouraged from observing the Eucharistic fast.

14. The Christian faithful who are in danger of death from any cause are to be nourished by holy communion in the form of viaticum.  Even if they have been nourished by holy communion on the same day, those in danger of death are strongly urged to receive communion again.

15. Holy viaticum for the sick is not to be delayed too long; those who have the care of  souls are to be zealous and vigilant that the sick are nourished by viaticum while fully
conscious.

16. The members of this order are permitted to receive holy communion in other churches which invite them to receive, according to the dictates of their conscience.

17. The most holy eucharistic sacrifice must be offered with bread and with wine. A little
water should be mixed with the wine. The bread must be only wheat and recently made so that there is no danger of spoiling. The wine must be natural from the fruit of the vine and alcoholic. To receive under one or  either species for health reasons is perfectly acceptable.

18. At every mass offered by a member of the 3A METHODIST CHURCH, opportunity is always to be given to every communicant to receive holy communion in both kinds separately. Intinction may be offered as an additional alternative, but not as the sole method of administration. Communicants may choose to receive in only one kind, but must always be offered the option of receiving in both kinds. The reserved sacrament may be offered in only one kind outside of mass because of the difficulty of reserving the Precious Blood.

19. It is absolutely forbidden, even in extreme urgent necessity, to consecrate one matter without the other.
20. The celebration and distribution of the eucharist can be done at any day and hour except those which the liturgical norms exclude. While it is desirable that the eucharist be celebrated in a place set apart for prayer on an altar which is consecrated, it may be celebrated in any decent place.

21. The most holy eucharist may be reserved in the oratory of any community, member of the clergy, seminarian, or religious in the order. An oratory is a place set aside for prayer, and may be a room or a part of a room in a private house. In oratories where the most holy eucharist is reserved, there must always be someone responsible for it.

22. The reserved sacrament should be renewed at least once a month and the older hosts consumed properly. It is desirable that mass be celebrated in the oratory where it is reserved whenever possible.

23. It is desirable that a special lamp which indicates and honors the presence of Christ shine continuously before a tabernacle in which the most holy eucharist  is reserved, however this should be done in a way that does not endanger the faithful with fire.

24. In oratories where it is permitted to reserve the most holy eucharist, there can be exposition with the pyx or the monstrance; the norms prescribed in the liturgical books are to be observed.

25. Exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament is not to be held in the same area of the church or oratory during the celebration of mass, except on the feasts of Candlemas and Corpus Christi.

26. The minister of exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament and of eucharistic benediction is a priest, deacon, deaconess or sub-deacon; in special circumstances, the minister of exposition and reposition alone without benediction is the acolyte, or another junior cleric or religious. There may be processions of the Blessed Sacrament on appropriate occasions, especially on the feast of Corpus Christi.

27. While offerings may be accepted for the celebration of mass, any appearance of trafficking or trading is to be excluded entirely from the offering for masses.

POLICY ON RECONCILIATION or the SACRAMENT OF PENANCE 

1. In the sacrament of reconciliation, the faithful who confess their sins to a bishop or priest, are sorry for them, and intend to reform themselves obtain from God through the absolution imparted by the same minister the assurance of forgiveness for the sins they have committed after baptism and, at the same time are reconciled with the church which they have wounded by sinning.

2. The sacrament of reconciliation is conferred in two ways: individual and general. The faithful are encouraged to confess their sins individually either to a priest or bishop of this jurisdiction or of another. General confession and absolution should also be offered on a regular basis to the faithful, and the practice of offering it at every Sunday and holy day mass is strongly encouraged, and it may be offered at any mass.

3.  A bishop or priest alone is the minister of the sacrament of penance. A bishop may always validly absolve the faithful. All priests of this jurisdiction have the faculty to offer general confession and absolution, and to hear confessions and offer absolution to those in danger of death. The valid absolution of sins in individual confession for those not in danger of death requires that the priest have, in addition to the power of orders, the faculty from the bishop of exercising it for the faithful to whom he or she imparts absolution. Under no circumstances, other than danger of death, may a priest hear the confession of his spouse or partner or minor child. Bishops should not normally hear the confessions of clergy and seminarians under their authority, religious superiors should not normally hear the confessions of religious under their  authority, and priests with jurisdiction over other priests or seminarians should not hear the confessions of those priests and seminarians under their authority. The director of novices and the rector of a seminary or other institute of education are not to hear the sacramental confessions of their novices or students residing unless they freely request it in particular cases.

4. The faculty to hear confessions is not to be granted except to priests who are found to be suitable through an examination or whose suitability is otherwise evident.

5. The faculty to hear confessions habitually is to be granted in writing as part of the Letter of Faculties given to each priest.

6. The bishop is not to revoke the faculty to hear confessions habitually except for a grave cause.

7. The absolution of an accomplice in a sin against the sixth commandment of the decalogue is invalid except in danger of death.

8. In hearing confessions the priest is to remember that he is equally a judge and a physician and has been established by God as a minister of divine justice and mercy, so that he has regard for the divine honor and the salvation of souls.

9. In posing questions, the priest is to proceed with prudence and discretion, attentive to the condition and age of the penitent, and is to refrain from asking the name of an accomplice.

10. If the confessor has no doubt about the disposition of the penitent, and the penitent seeks absolution, absolution is to be neither refused nor deferred.

11. Before giving absolution, the priest may assign to the penitent a psalm, prayer, or hymn to be said, or something to be done, as a sign of penitence and act of thanksgiving.

12. The sacramental seal is inviolable; therefore it is absolutely forbidden for a confessor to betray in any way a penitent in words or in any manner and for any reason.

13. The interpreter, if there is one, and all others who in any way have knowledge of sins from confession are also obliged to observe secrecy.

14. A confessor is prohibited completely from using knowledge acquired from confession to the detriment of the penitent even when any danger of revelation is excluded.

15. A person who has been placed in authority cannot use in any manner for external governance the knowledge about sins which he or she has received in confession at any time.

16. All to whom the care of souls has been entrusted in virtue of some function are obliged to make provision so that the confessions of the faithful entrusted to them are heard when they reasonably seek to be heard and that they have the opportunity to approach individual confession on days and at times established for their convenience.

17. In danger of death, any priest is obliged to hear the confessions of the Christian faithful.

18. To receive the salvific remedy of the sacrament of penance, a member of the Christian faithful must be disposed in such a way that, rejecting sins committed and having a purpose of amendment, the person is turned back to God.

19. Every member of the Christian faithful of this jurisdiction is free to confess sins to a legitimately approved confessor of his or her choice, even to one of another jurisdiction.

POLICY ON THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY UNCTION

1.  The anointing of the sick, by which the church commends the faithful who are ill to the suffering and glorified Lord in order that the Lord relieve and save them, is conferred by anointing them with the oil of the sick and pronouncing the words prescribed in the liturgical books.

2. The oil of the sick is blessed by the bishop on Maundy Thursday and on other such
occasions as is appropriate. Any presbyter in case of necessity may bless the
oil of the sick during the actual celebration of the sacrament.

3.  The anointing with the words, order, and manner prescribed in the liturgical books are to be performed carefully. The minister is to perform the anointing with his or her own hand, unless a deaconess is present to assist with the unction of ladies and girls, in which case the priest or bishop says the words.

4. Pastors of souls and those close to the sick are to take care that the sick are consoled by this sacrament at the appropriate time.

5. The communal celebration of the anointing of the sick for many of the sick at once, who have been suitably prepared and are properly disposed, can be performed according to the prescripts of the bishop.

6. Every bishop or priest validly administers the  anointing of the sick.

7. All priests to whom the care of souls has been entrusted have the duty to administer the anointing of the sick for the faithful entrusted to their pastoral office, and are encouraged to enlist the assistance of other priests for this ministry.

8. Any priest is permitted to carry blessed oil with him or her so that he or she is able to administer the sacrament of the anointing of the sick in a case of necessity.

9. The anointing of the sick can be administered to any baptized Christian who begins to be in ill health due to sickness or old age.

10. This sacrament can be repeated if the sick person, having recovered, again becomes ill or if the condition becomes more serious during the same illness.

11. This sacrament is to be administered in a case of doubt whether the sick person is dangerously ill, or is dead.

12. This sacrament is to be conferred on the sick who at least implicitly requested it when they were in control of their faculties.

POLICY ON MARRIAGE

1. Marriage is a solemn and public covenant between two people, of the opposite, establishing between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, and is ordered by its nature to the good of the spouses. The union of spouses, 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 nurture of children in the knowledge and love of the Lord. The spouses must engage  themselves, so far as in them lies, to make their utmost effort to establish this relationship and to seek God's help thereto.

2.  Marriage has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament between baptized Christians, who solemnize their covenant in the presence of God and the church. For this reason, a valid matrimonial covenant cannot exist between baptized Christians without it being by that fact a sacrament. The essential properties of marriage are unity and lifelong covenant, which in Christian marriage obtain a special grace by reason of the sacrament.

3. The consent of the parties, legitimately manifested between persons qualified by law, makes marriage; no human power is able to supply this consent. Matrimonial consent is an act of the will by which two people mutually give and accept each other through an irrevocable covenant in order to establish marriage.

4.  All persons who are not married, are of adult age, and are capable of consent can
contract marriage.

5. Pastors of souls are obliged to take care that  their ecclesiastical community offers the Christian faithful the assistance by which the matrimonial state is preserved in a Christian spirit and advances in perfection. This assistance must be offered especially by:

1/ preaching and catechesis by which the Christian faithful are instructed about the meaning of Christian marriage and about the function of Christian spouses;

2/  personal preparation to enter marriage, which disposes the spouses to the holiness and duties of their new state;

3/ a fruitful liturgical celebration of marriage which is to show that the spouses signify and share in the mystery of the unity and fruitful love between Christ and the church;

4/ help offered to those who are married, so that faithfully preserving and protecting the conjugal covenant, they daily come to lead holier and fuller lives in their family.

6. Christians who have not yet received the sacrament of confirmation are encouraged to receive it before they are admitted to marriage if it can be done without  grave inconvenience.

7. To receive the sacrament of marriage fruitfully, spouses are urged especially to approach the sacraments of reconciliation and of the most holy eucharist.

8. Before solemnizing a marriage the officiating member of the clergy shall have
ascertained:

That both parties understand that holy matrimony is a physical and spiritual union of two people, entered into within the community of faith, by mutual consent of heart, mind, and will, and with intent that it be lifelong.

That both parties freely and knowingly consent to such marriage, without fraud, coercion, mistake as to identity of a partner, or mental reservation.

That at least one of the parties has received holy baptism (unless the bishop has given a dispensation)

That both parties have been instructed as to the nature, meaning, and purpose of holy matrimony by the officiating member of the clergy, or that they have both received such instruction from persons known by the officiating member of the clergy to be competent and responsible.

9. Pastors of souls are to take care to dissuade youth from the celebration of marriage if they do not exhibit the maturity necessary to a fruitful marriage.

10. No one can enter into a valid marriage before completing his or her sixteenth year of age.

11.  Those bound by a public perpetual vow of celibate chastity in a religious institute must be released from that vow before entering into marriage.

12. Anyone who with a view to entering marriage with a certain person has brought about the death of that person’s spouse or of one’s own spouse invalidly attempts this marriage. Those who have brought about the death of a spouse by mutual physical or moral cooperation also invalidly attempt a marriage together.

13. Marriage is invalid between all ancestors and descendants, both legitimate and natural, as well as between siblings.

14. A person contracts invalidly who enters into a marriage deceived by malice, perpetrated to obtain consent, concerning some quality of the other partner which by its very nature can gravely disturb the partnership of conjugal life.

15. A marriage is invalid if entered into because of force or grave fear from without, even if unintentionally inflicted, so that a person is compelled to choose marriage in order to be free from it.

16.  To contract a marriage validly the contracting parties must be present together in
person.

17. Those being married are to express matrimonial consent in words or, if they cannot speak, through equivalent signs.

18. A marriage can be contracted through an interpreter; the officiating member of the clergy is not to officiate at it, however, unless certain of the trustworthiness of the interpreter.

19. Every marriage must be contracted before the local bishop, priest, deacon or deaconess. A priest or a bishop normally officiates at the celebration and blessing of a marriage, because such ministers alone have the function of pronouncing the nuptial blessing, and of celebrating the holy eucharist. In this order it is required that one, at least, of the parties must be a baptized Christian (unless this requirement be dispensed in a particular case by the bishop); that the ceremony be attested by at least two witnesses; and that the marriage conform to the sacramental policies of this church. A marriage may be celebrated within a celebration of the holy eucharist only if both parties are baptized.

20. The rites prescribed in the liturgical books approved by the church are to be observed in the celebration of a marriage.

21.  The officiating member of the clergy shall record in the proper register the date and place of the marriage, the names of the parties and their parents, the age of the parties, their residences, and their church status; the witnesses and the officiating member of the clergy shall sign the record. 

22. It shall be within the discretion of any member of the clergy of this church to decline to solemnize any marriage.

23. From a valid marriage there arises between the spouses a bond which by its nature is perpetual and exclusive. Moreover, a special sacrament strengthens and, as it were, consecrates the spouses in a Christian marriage for the duties and dignity of their state.

24. Each spouse has an equal duty and right to those things which belong to the
partnership of conjugal life.

25. When marital unity is imperiled by dissension, it shall be the duty, if possible, of either or both parties, before taking legal action, to lay the matter before a member of the clergy; it shall be the duty of such member of the clergy to act first to protect and promote the physical and emotional safety of those involved and only then, if it be possible, to labor that the parties may be reconciled.

25.  Any member of this church whose marriage has been annulled or dissolved by a civil court may apply to the bishop a judgment as to his or her marital status in the eyes of the church. Such judgment may be a recognition of the nullity, or of the termination of the said marriage; Provided, that no such judgment shall be construed as affecting in any way the legitimacy of children or the civil validity of the former relationship. Every judgment rendered under this section shall be in writing and shall be made a matter of permanent record in the archives of the jurisdiction.

26. If the priest signs a marriage license, he shall make certain all legal requirements are followed, and if a priest administers sacramental marriage without civil marriage, he shall counsel the couple to take all possible steps to protect themselves legally and shall be certain that the couple is clear that a civil marriage is not being entered into.

POLICY ON HOLY ORDERS

1. By divine institution, the sacrament of orders establishes some among the Christian
faithful as sacred ministers through an indelible character which marks them for all eternity. They are consecrated and designated, each according to his order, to nourish the people of God, fulfilling in the person of Christ the Head the functions of teaching, sanctifying, and governing.

2. The sacred orders are the episcopate, the presbyterate, and the diaconate. They are conferred by the imposition of hands and the consecratory prayer which the Ordinal of the jurisdiction prescribes for the individual orders.

3. In addition to the sacramental orders, the order of the subdiaconate and the minor orders of acolyte, exorcist, reader, and doorkeeper provide the church with other clerical ministries. These are conferred in accordance with the rites provided in the Ordinal of the jurisdiction, as is the admission to the clerical state.

4. Ordination is to be celebrated within a solemn celebration of the mass.

5. The minister of sacred ordination is a consecrated bishop 

6. The principal bishop consecrator in an episcopal consecration is preferably to be joined by at least two consecrating bishops; it is especially appropriate, however, that all the bishops present consecrate the elect together with the bishops mentioned. A solo consecration is considered valid under normal  circumstances.

7.  A baptized and confirmed Christian man alone receives sacred ordination validly.

8. He must possess due freedom in order to be ordained. It is absolutely forbidden to force anyone in any way or for any reason to receive orders or to deter one who is canonically suitable from receiving them.

9. Those aspiring to the diaconate and priesthood are to be formed by careful preparation, in accordance with the Proficiency Requirements for Ordination. This is normally accomplished by completing the studies offered by St Gall's Seminary. The Dean may give credit for studies completed elsewhere.

10. The bishop is to take care that before candidates are promoted to any order, they are instructed properly about those things which belong to the order and its obligations.

11. Only those are to be promoted to orders who, in the prudent judgment of their own bishop, all things considered, have integral faith, are moved by the right intention, have the requisite knowledge, possess a good reputation, and are endowed with integral morals and proven virtues and the other physical and psychic qualities in keeping with the order to be received.

12. The priesthood is normally conferred on those who have reached there twenty fourth birthday and possess sufficient maturity; it is preferable than an interval of at least six months to one a year is to be observed between the diaconate and the presbyterate. The diaconate is not to be conferred except on those who have attained their twenty-first birthday and possess sufficient maturity. The episcopate may be conferred on those who have attained their thirtieth birthday, however, on ccasion if the mission of the church requires it and if the candidate possesses sufficient maturity a younger priest may be consecrated. Per saltam ordinations are considered valid but are not normally permitted.

13. No one shall be admitted to the office of cleric unless he has attained his sixteenth birthday and possess sufficient maturity.

14. A man is ordained licitly only if he has received the sacrament of confirmation.

15. Females are limited to the Dianconate.

16. Each candidate for ordination will normally first be admitted as a cleric and ordained as a doorkeeper, a reader, an exorcist, and an acolyte. It is preferable that a suitable time is to be observed between each of these steps and between ordination to the subdiaconate and ordination to the diaconate.

17. After an ordination has taken place, the names of those ordained and of the ordaining minister and the place and date of the ordination are to be noted in a special register to be kept carefully in the archives of the jurisdiction; all the documents of individual ordinations are to be preserved carefully.

18. Clerics are bound by a special obligation to show reverence and obedience to their own bishop. The bishop shall give each priest and deacon a Letter of Faculties that covers the faculties given that clergy member. No clergy member of this church shall exercise any sacramental ministry in any church of any other denomination or jurisdiction without the express permission of the bishop with ecclesiastical jurisdiction (or, in the absence of a bishop, the appropriate ecclesiastical authority). 

19. No member of this church may participate by laying on of hands in an ordination of any person without the permission of the Presiding Bishop. 

20. Only clerics can obtain offices for whose exercise the power of orders is required.

21. Unless a legitimate impediment excuses them,  clerics are bound to undertake and fulfill faithfully a function which their ordinary has entrusted to them.

22. Since clerics all work for the same purpose, namely, the building up of the body of Christ, they are to be united among themselves by a bond of unity and prayer and are to strive for cooperation among themselves according to the prescripts of particular law.

23. Clerics are to acknowledge and promote the mission which the laity, each for his or her part, exercise in the church and in the world.

24. In leading their lives, clerics are bound in a special way to pursue holiness since, having been consecrated to God by a new title in the reception of orders, they are dispensers of the mysteries of God in the service of Christ’s people.

25. In order to be able to pursue this perfection:

they are first of all to fulfill faithfully and tirelessly the duties of the pastoral ministry; whether contemplative or apostolic

they are to nourish their spiritual life from the regular celebration of the Eucharist

priests, deacons, deaconesses and clerics in minor orders are obliged to carry out the divine office daily according to proper and approved liturgical books;

they are equally bound to make time for spiritual retreats

they are urged to engage in mental prayer regularly, 

to approach the sacrament of reconciliation frequently and to use other common
and particular means of sanctification.

26. Even after ordination to the priesthood or diaconate, clerics are to pursue sacred studies and are to strive after that solid doctrine founded in mystical theology, handed on by their predecessors, and commonly accepted by the church.

27. They are also to acquire knowledge of other sciences, especially of those which
are connected with the sacred sciences, particularly insofar as such knowledge contributes to the exercise of pastoral ministry.

28. Some practice of common life is highly recommended to clerics; where it exists,
it must be preserved as far as possible.

29. Clerics are to maintain regular communication with the Presiding Bishop and Synod.

30. Clerics are to foster simplicity of life and are to refrain from all things that have a
semblance of vanity.

31. Clerics are to refrain completely from all those things which are unbecoming to their  state.

32. Clerics must refrain from mixing partisan politics in their ministry.

33. Most especially, clerics are always to foster the peace and harmony based on
justice which are to be observed among people.
 
LITURGICAL  RITES
The 3A METHODIST CHURCH  values liturgical diversity, and welcomes the variety of liturgical rites used in its constituent communities. Our official and normative rites are:


The Roman Missal
Anglican Missal


 Other rites may be used with the permission of The Presiding Bishop.
The Presiding Bishop may update the list of approved liturgies at anytime.


PROCESS OF DISCERNMENT OF VOCATION FOR ORDAINED MINISTRY
I. Initial Contact 
Men interested in ordained ministry with the 3A METHODIST CHURCH should contact the Presiding Bishop, generally using the Vocations page on the church
website. He will explain the discernment process and briefly explain the
formation process for candidates for ordination or transfer clergy, as is
appropriate, by email and in at least one telephone contact discusses with
the potential candidate their:

1. agreement with this Statement of Faith and Sacramental Policies;
2. compatibility with the church and member clergy;
3. their vision for participation in the church, as a secular cleric, monk, nun or oblate;
4. brief personal background;
5. brief religious/vocational background.

After points 1 and 2 have been answered satisfactorily, usually in the first or second email exchange, the potential candidate will be invited to complete and application form. If this is satisfactory the candidate will be invited to submit a background check
(Police Check).

If the candidate is already ordained and seeking incardination, if his application is then approved by the Presiding Bishop he will be sent a letter of faculties. 

If he is not already ordained the Presiding Bishop will discern with him a suitable course of study either with St Gall's Seminary or another academic institution.

Each diocesan seminarian should be appointed a mentor. 


Each OSBA seminarian should be appointed a Novice Master or Mistress. A professed monk or nun may be released from his or her vows only by the Presiding Bishop/Abbot and after a period of three months from the time of asking. A professed monk or nun may not  normally be dismissed without notice but only after a  period of three months by a two thirds majority decision of all professed  brethren and sisters, except in cases of overt disobedience or disloyalty .

All seminarians in formation should adhere to the following expectations:
1.  Daily praying of evening and morning office with psalms, readings, petitions, and reflection from approved Divine Office text
2. Weekly Eucharist as a minimum, more often if available
3. Reservation and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
4. Attendance at an Annual Retreat
5. Spiritual exercises through direction or journaling
6. Fostering of community with ordained clergy through periodic communication
7. Keeping a portfolio of completed seminary studies for review by the Presiding Bishop/Abbot.

POLICY ON SEXUAL MISCONDUCT
Clergy and lay leaders shall practice the highest standards of ethical behavior in all their ministry.

Background checks shall be required of any who apply to become clergy of this Jurisdiction, and any laity who work with children as part of their ministry in this Church. Anyone who has been convicted of sexual activity with a minor or of coercive sexual behavior shall be ineligible for ordination, incardination, or ministry with children.

Clergy shall not initiate or begin romantic or sexual relationships with members of any congregation they may serve without a dispensation from the Presiding Bishop.

Clergy shall not engage in coercive behavior to obtain sexual favors from any whom they serve. If any member of the clergy is accused of this or of sexual activity
with a minor, the Presiding Bishop's Council  shall conduct an investigation to
determine if the charges are true, and if they are, the clergy member shall
have their faculties revoked. The accusations of coercive behavior or
sexual advances toward minors shall also be immediately reported to the
civil authorities to be investigated.
Postal Address

3A METHODIST  DIOCESE OF MAMFE,
P.O.BOX 52, MAMFE, SOUTH WEST REGION, CAMEROON
 
TEL: +237 670932537
EMAIL: 3amethodist[email protected]gmail.com