Church of England
canons relating to initiation
B 21 Of Holy
It is desirable that every
minister having a cure of souls shall normally
administer the sacrament of Holy Baptism on Sundays at public worship
when the most number of people come together, that the congregation
there present may witness the receiving of them that be newly baptized
into Christís Church, and be put in remembrance of their own
made to God in their baptism.
B 22 Of the
baptism of infants
1. Due notice, normally of at
least a week, shall be given before a child
is brought to the church to be baptized.
2. If the minister shall refuse
or unduly delay to baptize any such infant,
the parents or guardians may apply to the bishop of the diocese, who
shall, after consultation with the minister, give such directions as he
3. The minister shall instruct
the parents or guardians of an infant to be
admitted to Holy Baptism that the same responsibilities rest on them as
are in the service of Holy Baptism required of the godparents.
4. No minister shall refuse or,
save for the purpose of preparing or
instructing the parents or guardians or godparents, delay to baptize any
infant within his cure that is brought to the church to be baptized,
provided that due notice has been given and the provisions relating to
godparents in these Canons are observed.
5. A minister who intends to
baptize any infant whose parents are
residing outside the boundaries of his cure, unless the names of such
persons or of one of them be on the church electoral roll of the same,
not proceed to the baptism without having sought the good will of the
minister of the parish in which such parents reside.
6. No minister being informed of
the weakness or danger of death of any
infant within his cure and therefore desired to go to baptize the same
either refuse or delay to do so.
7. A minister so baptizing a
child in a hospital or nursing home, the
parents of the child not being resident in his cure, nor their names on
church electoral roll of the same, shall send their names and address to
the minister of the parish in which they reside.
8. If any infant which is
privately baptized do afterwards live, it shall be
brought to the church and there, by the minister, received into the
congregation of Christís flock according to the form and manner
prescribed in and by the office for Private Baptism authorized by Canon
9. The minister of every parish
shall warn the people that without grave
cause and necessity they should not have their children baptized
in their houses.
B 23 Of godparents
1. For every child to be baptized
there shall be not fewer than three
godparents, of whom at least two shall be of the same sex as the child
of whom at least one shall be of the opposite sex; save that, when three
cannot conveniently be had, one godfather and godmother shall suffice.
Parents may be godparents for their own children provided that the child
have at least one other godparent.
2. The godparents shall be
persons who will faithfully fulfil their
responsibilities both by their care for the children committed to their
charge and by the example of their own godly living.
3. When one who is of riper years
is to be baptized he shall choose three,
or at least two, to be his sponsors, who shall be ready to present him
the font and afterwards put him in mind of his Christian profession and
4. No person shall be admitted to
be a sponsor or godparent who has not
been baptized and confirmed. Nevertheless the minister shall have
power to dispense with the requirement of confirmation in any case in
which in his judgement need so requires.
B 24 Of the
baptism of such as are of riper years
1. When any such person as is of
riper years and able to answer for
himself is to be baptized, the minister shall instruct such person, or
him to be instructed, in the principles of the Christian religion, and
him so to prepare himself with prayers and fasting that he may receive
this holy sacrament with repentance and faith.
2. At least a week before any
such baptism is to take place, the minister
shall give notice thereof to the bishop of the diocese or whomsoever he
shall appoint for the purpose.
3. Every person thus baptized
shall be confirmed by the bishop so soon
after his baptism as conveniently may be; that so he may be admitted to
the Holy Communion.
B 25 Of the sign
of the Cross in baptism
The Church of England has ever held and
taught, and holds and teaches
still, that the sign of the Cross used in baptism is no part of the
of the sacrament: but, for the remembrance of the Cross, which is very
precious to those that rightly believe in Jesus Christ, has retained the
of it in baptism, following therein the primitive and apostolic
B 26 Of teaching
1. Every minister shall take care
that the children and young people
within his cure are instructed in the doctrine, sacraments, and
of Christ, as the Lord has commanded and as they are set forth in the
Holy Scriptures, in The Book of Common Prayer, and especially in
Church Catechism; and to this end he, or some godly and competent
persons appointed by him, shall on Sundays or if need be at other
convenient times diligently instruct and teach them in the same.
2. All parents and guardians
shall take care that their children receive
B 27 Of
1. The bishop of every diocese
shall himself minister (or cause to be
ministered by some other bishop lawfully deputed in his stead) the rite
confirmation throughout his diocese as often and in as many places as
shall be convenient, laying his hands upon children and other persons
who have been baptized and instructed in the Christian faith.
2. Every minister who has a cure
of souls shall diligently seek out
children and other persons whom he shall think meet to be confirmed and
shall use his best endeavour to instruct them in the Christian faith and
as set forth in the Holy Scriptures, The Book of Common Prayer,
3. The minister shall present
none to the bishop but such as are come to
years of discretion and can say the Creed, the Lordís Prayer, and the
Commandments, and can also render an account of their faith according
to the said Catechism.
4. The minister shall satisfy
himself that those whom he is to present
have been validly baptized, ascertaining the date and place of such
baptism, and, before or at the time assigned for the confirmation, shall
give to the bishop their names, together with their age and the date of
5. If the minister is doubtful
about the baptism of a candidate for
confirmation he shall conditionally baptize him in accordance with the
form of service authorized by Canon B 1 before presenting him to the
bishop to be confirmed.
6. If it is desired for
sufficient reason that a Christian name be changed,
the bishop may, under the laws of this realm, confirm a person by a new
Christian name, which shall be thereafter deemed the lawful Christian
name of such person.
B 28 Of reception
into the Church of England
1. Any person desiring to be
received into the Church of England, who
has not been baptized or the validity of whose baptism can be held in
question, shall be instructed and baptized or conditionally baptized,
such baptism, or conditional baptism, shall constitute the said
reception into the Church of England.
2. If any such person has been
baptized but not episcopally confirmed
and desires to be formally admitted into the Church of England he shall,
after appropriate instruction, be received by the rite of confirmation,
if he be not yet ready to be presented for confirmation, he shall be
received by the parish priest with appropriate prayers.
3. If any such person has been
episcopally confirmed with unction or
with the laying on of hands he shall be instructed, and, with the
permission of the bishop, received into the Church of England according
to the Form of Reception approved by the General Synod, or with other
appropriate prayers, and if any such person be a priest he shall be
received into the said Church only by the bishop of the diocese or by
commissary of such bishop.