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Letter and Resolutions of the Conference of the Bishops of the Anglican Communion in China, Hongkong and Corea Held at Shanghai October 14th-20th, 1899.

Shanghai: no publisher, 1899.


To the



WE, Bishops of the Holy Catholic Church, in full communion with the Church of England, having jurisdiction in China, Hongkong, or Corea, assembled at Shanghai under the presidency of the Right Reverend GEORGE EVANS MOULE, by Divine Providence Bishop of the Church of England in Mid-China, after receiving in Holy Trinity Church the Blessed sacrament of the Lord's Body and Blood and uniting in prayer for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, have taken into consideration various questions affecting the welfare of God's people and the condition of the Church in these lands.

After a conference of three days in association with several of the most experienced Priests of our respective dioceses and during other three days of consultation apart, the Resolutions hereto appended were passed by us unanimously; it being, nevertheless, clearly understood that no resolution of the Conference would be held to be binding on the clergy and people of our respective dioceses merely in virtue of such resolution.

In the interval since our first Conference the Diocese of Victoria with jurisdiction in South China, has been happily filled by the consecration and installation of our Rt. Rev. brother J. C. HOARE, and his presence with two of his senior Presbyters gave a much needed completeness to our meeting.

[2] We would call upon you all to join us in giving thanks to Almighty God for His goodness in permitting us again to meet in conference together and for his favour manifested to us all during these meetings.

Praying that the deepened sense of our oneness in Jesus Christ and in the bonds of our common Communion which has been vouchsafed to ourselves during this Conference may be abundantly granted to our clergy and their flocks, we are, with brotherly love,

Your servants for His sake,

G. E. MOULE, Bishop in Mid-China,--President.
C. P. SCOTT, Bishop in North China.
C. J. CORFE, Bishop of the Church of England in Corea and Shingking.
F. R. GRAVES, Bishop of Shanghai.
W. W. CASSELS, Bishop in Western China.
J. C. VICTORIA, With missionary jurisdiction in South China.

SHANGHAI, October 21st, 1899.

I. The Bishops thank the Committee appointed by the Conference of 1897 for the very valuable assistance which they have received from their Reports on the three subjects referred to them, namely, the proper terms for the Three Orders of the Holy Ministry, the Baptismal Formula, and Order and Discipline, and, having the Reports before them passed the following Resolutions.

A.--Terms for the Holy Ministry.

That this Conference recommends the adoption, as renderings for Bishop, Priest, and Deacon respectively, of Hui-tu (會督), Hui-chang (會長) and Hui-li (會吏), with transliterative alternatives to be determined hereafter; it being understood that Chu-chiao (主教) having been for many years officially recognised in the Anglican, as well as in the Latin and Greek Communions, be used at discretion as a third term for Bishop.



1. That this Conference approves of the distinction between "hearers" and "catechumens" as definite stages of preparation for Holy Baptism in the case of adults.

2. That hearers be admitted to the catechumenate by a special service to be sanctioned by the Bishop, and that [3/4] catechumens have special seats assigned to them in church where it is possible.

3. That a prayer in behalf of catechumens be provided for use in Divine Service.

4. That the baptism of catechumens take place as far as possible at stated times, e.g. Christmas, Easter and Whitsuntide.

5. That due notice be given in the case of minors or married women to the parents, husbands, or guardians before the Sacrament is administered.

6. That Christian parents should in no case betroth their children to heathen.

7. That, in marriages between a Christian and a non-Christian, the marriage should not be held in the church nor the Marriage Service used until the non-Christian party is baptized.

8. That when a member of the Church removes from one jurisdiction or parish to another he should take with him letters of commendation from the Bishop or Priest in charge to the ecclesiastical authorities of the jurisdiction or parish to which he goes.


1. That when grievous and notorious sin has been committed the offender, if penitent, and at the discretion of the Priest, be required to make a public confession of his sin in the presence of the whole congregation.

[5] 2. That the offender undergo discipline, the term and nature of which should be fixed by the Priest after consultation with his assistants, a report of the Priest's action being made in every case to the Bishop for his confirmation.

3. That while under discipline the offender be placed in the position of a "hearer" or "catechumen."

4. That a prayer should be sanctioned by the Bishop to be used in behalf of the penitents during Divine Service.

5. That after a certain period the offender should be allowed to sit among the other Christians and to be present at the time of the celebration of the Holy Communion, but not to communicate.

6. That the names of those under discipline should be read publicly in the Church at the beginning of Lent and the autumnal Embertide.

7. That after the completion of the time of discipline the Bishop, or in his absence the Priest acting under his authority, should declare in the presence of the congregation that the offender is released from his discipline, after which he should be allowed to communicate.

8. That where an offender is unwilling to confess his sin the Priest should follow the rubrics at the beginning of the Communion Office.

9. That if an offender, after this, is still unwilling to confess his sin, he should, by the authority of the Bishop, be openly excommunicated from the Church and denied access to the building, his name should be posted on the [5/6] door of the Church, and he should be regarded in the light of a heathen until willing to make public confession of his fault.

10. That the Holy Communion is never to be denied to any who are sincerely repentant on their death bed or in time of serious illness. In the latter case, the one under discipline upon recovering, should make a public confession of sin in the presence of the congregation.

N.B.--It should be observed that the Church, as witnessed by the Book of Common Prayer, has always held in high regard the use of the season of Lent for public discipline.

II. That this Conference, in view the fact that the term Tsung Ku Chiao Hui (宗古教會), provisionally adopted in 1897 as the equivalent of Anglican Communion, has not proved generally acceptable, and that the term "Anglican" represents not a national religion or Church but rather that form of Catholic Christianity which is professed by us all, hereby agrees to sanction the use of a transliteration of Anglican as a common designation of this branch of the Church Catholic, in China and Corea. [Long used in Fuhkien as 安立間, and in North China as 安立甘.]

III. That, with a view of promoting the circulation of the Anglican Record, Bishop GRAVES be request, in consultation with the Rev. F. L. H. POTT and [6/7] Mr. A. J. H. MOULE as a committee, to decide upon such modifications of the recommendations passed by the Conference of 1897 as may be necessary and to communicate their design to the Bishops through the President.

IV. That this Conference has heard with satisfaction of the growing adoption of "Lord's Day" (主日) for Sunday, and with much interest of the experiment made since the last Conference of introducing names analogous to the European names for the days of the week.

V. That, in view of misunderstandings which exist regarding the position of the Anglican Communion in relation to other Christian bodies working in China, this Conference, believe that a statement on the subject will be of use in avoiding such misunderstandings, requests one of their number to prepare a statement to be sent to each Bishop for his consideration and remarks, by him to be sent to the President to be laid before the next Conference.


I. That Christian Marriage is the union of one man with one woman until death shall part them, and that it cannot be [7/8] dissolved by mutual consent, nor is divorce permissible for any cause except the single cause allowed by our Lord.

2. That marriages are not permitted by the Church within the prohibited degrees, and that Chinese Christians should observe the Chinese law forbidding marriages between persons of the same surname.

3. That Christians are forbidden to take a concubine, and that if they do so they will be excommunicated.

4. That Christians should in no case betroth their sons or daughters to heathen, and that those who do so are subject to the censure of the Church.

5. That Christians should avoid all marriage customs which are idolatrous, coarse or indecent, and, at the time of the celebration of marriage, should endeavour to arrange all things in a manner befitting the union between two members of Christ's Body.

VIII. That this Conference records its sense of deep thankfulness to Almighty God for His assistance vouchsafed during the six days' session now ended, and resolves that [8/9] (D.V.) a similar conference be convened at Shanghai by the Senior Bishop in the spring of 1902.

IX. That the above resolutions in English and Chinese be printed and circulated through the Bishops in their respective dioceses.

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