Project Canterbury

The Diocese of Jamaica
A Short Account of Its History, Growth and Organisation

By J.B. Ellis, M.A.

London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1913.

Chapter XVIII.

MANY features of Jamaica life have necessarily been omitted from these pages as being outside their scope and purpose; much growth, especially in recent years, bearing on the many efforts now being made to raise the material condition of the great mass of the people has been at best but hinted at, and that only when connected in some way with the Church. But there still remain a few matters to be mentioned, which are not exclusively or directly a part of the story of the Church of England, but in which all Churches are equally concerned and interested. These are not associated with current politics or secular controversy, but they touch the human and social side of life to which no Church can be indifferent.

Obeah.--In the month of November, 1911, a person calling himself Professor-- living in Edgware Road, London and described as a well-groomed man of colour, born in Jamaica, was sent to prison as a rogue and vagabond for pretending, or professing, to tell fortunes with intent to deceive His Majesty's subjects. According to newspaper reports it was stated, and proved from the rascal's cash-book, that he had received more than £650 1h fifteen months by his fraudulent tricks. The defence set up on his behalf by his solicitor was that he was a Jamaican, and that West Indians were supposed to know more about magic than English men and women. Fortunately the magistrate before whom the case was tried had spent two years in Jamaica and was able to say that he did not know of any magicians there. In view of the opinion thus expressed by the magistrate--probably the best and the best-known in London--the prisoner pleaded guilty and was duly, though very leniently, sentenced. This indicates to a great extent the impression conveyed to many home-readers by tourists, with a turn for writing and a desire to write something tasty and spicy, who bring back with them thrilling stories of the prevalence of the practice of Obeah. Many of these stories are as old as the old days of sailing ships, and may be found in old and almost forgotten books and pamphlets; many of them are ubiquitous; their narrative, like history, repeats itself with but slightly different geographical settings. What was told, and probably truthfully told, in Antigua a hundred years ago was related fifty years ago as having quite recently happened in Trinidad, and thirty years later a modern traveller in Jamaica was regaled with the same story of what took place "on this very estate, I assure you, my dear sir." No dates are mentioned and the guileless tourist fills his note-book with century-old yarns which he believes to be present day happenings.

But what are the facts? It is possible, and from the accepted derivation of the word, very probable, that Obeahism has its roots far away in the past, being a by-product of the old serpent worship prevalent in Egypt in the days of Moses. Be this, however, as it may, the Obeahism which prevailed in Jamaica and is now dying there came from West Africa. It was a strange compound--a sorcery which played on and took advantage of the nerves of a nervous and superstitious people; a knowledge of the healing power of certain leaves and certain roots and of the bark of trees, together with an equal knowledge of the baneful and poisonous power of other vegetable substances; a claim to possess some mysterious power, sometimes to detect, sometimes to prevent crime, sometimes to kill, sometimes to concoct a harmless and sentimental love-philtre. It will readily be understood how these supposed gifts in the hands of unscrupulous men wrought havoc among timid and credulous people. But that was Obeah as it left Africa more than a century ago. The exercise of the art was accompanied by a ritual at once debasing and indescribable and terrifying and, as it now seems, foolish and unmeaning. Often too it worked in secret and then it was most harmful. Anyone who wants to know what unrestrained Obeahism might have developed into should read Hesketh Pritchard's "Where Black rules White." But the point is that in Jamaica it has been restrained. And there are several reasons for this. The original Obeahmen were natives of Africa, and their Jamaica-born successors never had the same power or dire influence. That is natural enough. Then it must be remembered that the teaching of Christian missionaries both before and after emancipation was sufficient to prevent Obeahism from becoming a Religion or a Creed, like Vaudouism. It gradually became more dreaded than practised, but the dread was a very real thing when it was honestly believed that there was only a thin border line between rank imposture and secret poisoning. One may not believe in the poisoner, but one cannot help being afraid of the possible poison. And yet, as that most careful and accurate writer, the Rev. W. J. Gardner, clearly shows, the reported ability of the Obeahman, even in his palmiest days, to poison has been greatly exaggerated. But as long as the possibility and the supposed power were there, the fear was bound to continue. And the Obeahman traded on fear. The fight between faith and superstition is often long, especially when the superstition is old and active and the faith is new and unproved. But there is an end to the fight. "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve." When this truth is realised it leads logically to the "Get thee behind me, Satan," which West Indian negroes have learnt to say to the Obeahman. Bearing on this point I quote in full a short passage from Bishop Nuttall's address to the Synod of 1888, perviously referred to, the accuracy of which passage is admitted by everyone who has not wilfully shut his eyes to the most evident facts:--

"At the last English Church Congress," said the Bishop, "held at Wolverhampton, Canon Isaac Taylor made some references to Jamaica to which I have briefly replied. I think it well to reaffirm here, in your presence, what I have thus written to England. I have said:--"A long and close acquaintance with the people of Jamaica leads me to conclusions respecting them directly the opposite to those expressed by Canon Taylor. I think there is abundant evidence to show, not that 'the negroes of Jamaica are lapsing into Obeahism,' but that as a body they are (as rapidly as can reasonably be expected) developing in general knowledge and in all those qualities, attainments and beliefs which go to make up an intelligent, industrious, progressive Christian community. And as to Canon Taylor's view of the inability of negroes to understand and appreciate Christianity in the form in which it is presented by the Church of England, the answer to this, as far as Jamaica is concerned, is furnished by the continuous and rapid growth of our Church in this Diocese--as an institution chiefly supported by the voluntary contributions of the black people."

What was true in 1888 is much more true in 1913. Some words of Burke on slavery and the slave trade may well be applied to Obeahism. "I confess," he said, "I trust infinitely more (according to the sound principles of those who have at any time ameliorated the state of mankind) to the efforts and influence of religion than to all the rest of the regulations put together."

Other causes have combined to help. Prominent among them must be placed the establishment by Sir John Peter Grant in the year 1868 of a Government Medical Service, bringing medical and surgical aid within reasonable reach of the majority of the population. The towns in an Island Colony are generally on the sea coast; the country districts are not thickly populated. Doctors in towns could earn a livelihood; they could not do so in many parts of the country. Hence the wisdom of the State subsidising medical officers in country districts. Now the most beneficial--perhaps the only beneficial--aspect of Obeahism was that its professors had some (unqualified) knowledge of healing and doubtless up to the extent of their capacity did some service to suffering humanity. The Government Medical Service put within the reach of the people at fixed moderate charges the Obeahman's knowledge of medicines without the superstition and the pretended supernatural powers which were such a terror to an untaught and credulous and undeveloped people. What had happened elsewhere happened in Jamaica with similar results. Thus, speaking of his experiences in West Australia and New Zealand years ago, Sir George Grey, one of the greatest of British Proconsuls, said:--

"The mystery of managing native races resolves itself into a few natural laws. My hardest trouble was the witchcraft, which held in bonds the savage peoples whom I had to govern. It might differ, here or there, in its characteristics; the evil was there all the same. Not merely did the natives believe in witchcraft, but their chiefs made a profit therefrom and were staunch in its maintenance. My antidote was the introduction of medical aid, so that in the cures wrought these children of the dark might see what surpassed their own magic. They were discomfited, as it were, on their own ground."

Then Sir George added "Superstition, which I distinguish from witchcraft, though the greater evil flourished on the less, had its best treatment in the spread of the Christian religion." So in Jamaica Christian teaching, education, the gradual growth of civilisation in various forms are combining to what is hoped will be a speedy end to a foolish and degrading superstition. I refer of course to the harmful aspects of the old Obeahism as it was imported from Africa. Superstitions of some sort will continue to exist as long as people are superstitious; fanciful people will always have their fancies and will be influenced by them in their conduct. These superstitions and fancies, however, are innocent and harmless, even if unconvincing to an unimaginative person. The most and the worst that can be done is to smile at them. But to associate negro superstitions and fancies with an old time belief in a system, often vicious, sometimes criminal, is as unreasonable as it would be to connect some innocent English or Scotch or Irish fancy with some dead and gone creed, which was debasing and irreligious.

Naturally, all Christian Churches have taken strong action against this evil, when and where it has been found to be indulged in, and this not merely by teaching and personal influence but by the exercise of ecclesiastical discipline. The Church of England (Canon XXXVIII.), expressly directs that "all persons who in any way participate in the practice of Obeah shall, on the facts coming to the knowledge of the clergyman of the Church attended by them, be expelled from the Holy Communion and public notice thereof given in Church." There has not been much occasion in recent years to give practical effect to this Canonical regulation which was passed forty years ago in the earlier days of Disestablishment, when Obeah was a much more prevalent practice than it is to-day. As a matter of fact, any misguided Church member who lapses into a temporary dallying with Obeah has the grace and the shame to abstain from approaching the Lord's Table and practically excommunicates himself.

Marriages and Births.--There is one depressing feature of Jamaican, and indeed of all West Indian, life which cannot be overlooked here, namely the large number of men and women who are content to dispense with any ceremony of marriage, whether performed in church or chapel or at a registrar's office. The Registrar-General's statistics show that no less than 60 per cent, of the births are those of children born out of wedlock. Many of these, it is true, are the offspring of consistent, rather than of promiscuous, concubinage, and it may be that the 40 per cent, of legitimate births is not to be despised as a sign of progress among a people whose ancestors less than a century ago were permitted and encouraged to breed like cattle and were denied admission to that "holy estate which Christ adorned and beautified with His presence and first miracle that He wrought." Inherited instincts and habits do not disappear in one, two or three generations, but the Churches can strain and struggle to teach the children of the present generation to transmit to their descendants instincts and habits both holier and purer than those which they inherited from their ancestors. But still the fact remains that these figures year by year indicate little or no sign of alteration or improvement. And the time has almost, if not quite, gone when thinking people can complacently take icfuge from anomalies or wrong-doings or apparent defiance of Christian duties, rites and requirements behind the shelter of a system which ceased to exist three-quarters of a century ago. This argument has been used as an excuse quite long enough. No one in his senses would say a word in extenuation or apology for any wrong action or improper custom in England or anywhere else because that custom or action had been prevalent or permitted before the accession of Queen Victoria to the throne.

Nor must it be forgotten that much of the percentage of illegitimacy is due to unfortunate circumstances and. conditions quite as much as to inherited habits or vicious inclinations. For the majority of those who help to swell the totals of illegitimacy live in homes--if a one-roomed hut can be called a home--in which the chances of either physical or moral health are very remote. We know, of course, in this connection the wonderfully pure lives of Irish peasantry, housed little, if any, better than the peasantry of Jamaica, and enduring climatic or other hardships unknown in the West Indies. And we also know that there are in Jamaica poor people, poor black men and women, not merely one here and one there, but in far greater numbers than the traducing critics of their race would have us believe, who are to-day living pure and virtuous lives in the midst of every sort of allurement and incitement to sin. Any reform in this important matter must be based on pity, not on blame. I personally knew of one really pathetic case, not in Jamaica but in one of the Leeward Islands, where a young man told me that he could not marry a girl who was the mother of his children because his parents had been so good to him, and his marriage would seem a reproach on them--or, as he put it, "to shame them." It is not a question of overlooking or winking at sin where sin exists and beyond doubt it does exist in white as well as in black, in well-to-do as well as in poor, but it would be unjust to pass a sweeping condemnation where there is such a loud call for pity. The Church of England and other churches, both through their ordinary ministrations and by special efforts, are doing what they can to bring about an improvement, but so far they have not met with much success. Advice, warning, exhortations are of little avail. Threats, lectures, denunciations are worse than useless. Some years ago petitions were presented to the then Governor, begging for legislation which might tend to the removal of obstacles in the way of purity of living; these petitions were from separate denominations, and from a meeting consisting of ministers of almost every denomination. In some points these petitions may have been, through intense earnestness and strength of feeling, incautiously worded; some suggestions, unless modified, may have been Utopian in theory and impossible in practice; but the petitioners deserved a better fate than they received, namely, that of being alternately flattered and snubbed in a series of solemn platitudes.

The Housing Problem.--Already a distinct improvement has taken place in new cottages built in every country parish; and the Archbishop in the year 1909 submitted to certain persons.likely to take a sympathetic interest in the matter, a Memorandum suggesting a method by which improved houses might be provided for the poorer class of Kingston workers. He proposed that this should be done on strictly business lines, quite apart from other efforts which philanthropy might suggest or personal generosity be prompted to give effect to. The outcome of this Memorandum was the formation of the "Kingston Model Dwellings, Limited." The principal objects for which this company was formed are thus stated:

"To purchase and acquire from time to time parcels of land in the parishes of Kingston and St. Andrew for the purpose of erecting thereon residences, rooms, cottages, or other buildings to be let to tenants, or sold to tenant-purchasers at such rental or upon such terms as may from time to time be decided upon by the Company--the intention being that such residences, cottages, rooms and other buildings are to be occupied as dwellings of a better class than are at present available by working people of limited resources at a moderate rental, and the profits and dividends of shares are to be limited to 5 per cent, on the amount of capital paid from time to time after payment of all necessary working expenses."

Already one block of buildings has been erected and is in use; and if it is found--and surely there is no reason why it should not be found--that the Company pays its way, further buildings will be erected, private enterprise will be stimulated, and much desirable improvement may be expected.

Again, the careful preparation of candidates for Confirmation and for formal admission into some denominations, together with vigilant supervision and kindly encouragement afterwards, are relied on to do a great deal; but still the dismal truth remains, that the percentage of illegitimate births is not perceptibly altered. It is a sad record to have to relate. As things now are, it seems that an appreciable fraction of the population of Jamaica is in danger of being morally debased, if not ruined, before it knows the meaning of sin, and before it has had time or opportunity to learn the meaning of self-control and self-restraint. The full meaning, the consequences, direct and indirect, of the fact that three out of every five children born in Jamaica are illegitimate need not be told in detail. The early fruits are seen in excessive infant mortality; the later fruits are often, not always, found in the absence of a home in the real sense of that sacred word, in the need of refining home influences, in the want of the truest and purest forms of domestic affection. Until this shockingly large percentage of illegitimacy is materially diminished, neither religion, nor education, nor civilisation can claim that it has done much more than begin its work.

Crime in Jamaica.--This is a dark picture, but in many other respects the general progress of Jamaica in all that tends to make for moral, intellectual, social or religious improvement is most marked. Amongst other indications of progress let me mention that prison statistics, both as to the number of persons convicted and as to the quality of the crime committed, compare favourably with those of other places which enjoy the advantages of a more protracted and a more deeply-rooted civilisation. In the cases of persons who are as yet unreached by education and only slightly influenced by religion the faults are the faults of a thoughtless and impetuous child rather than the developed vices of a hardened man. Commenting on criminal statistics, the New York World recently printed an article, extracts from which were republished in the London Standard of August 27th, 1912, in which it was stated that "the proportion of homicides to population in that country (U.S.A.) is about 10-04 to 100,000 population. In England it is 3 1/2 to 100,000 population." In Jamaica last year it was 3 to more than 800,000 population. If figures can speak, or if they have any meaning, these should be taken to indicate an absence of serious crime which would seem almost incredible to those who do not know the West Indies, and who talk and write about the negro race without any knowledge of local conditions and habits. So, too, it is worth putting on record here that no such thing as "lynching" is known in Jamaica, for the simple reason that the offences or crimes which provoke, or are alleged to provoke, this summary form of rough-and-ready justice and indignation and revenge have no existence.

But while there is this commendable absence of the more serious forms of crime, one cannot overlook the prevalence of pradial larceny which is a terrible drawback and discouragement to agricultural progress and a cruel wrong to industrious peasants striving to earn an honest and independent living. There does not at the present time seem to be much improvement in this matter. It is not only the number of arrests and convictions that is startling but still more the number of undetected offences, the quiet stealing of vegetables, fruits, poultry and so on by idle non-workers who are too willing to pick up a living by preying on their more industrious neighbours, and who are shrewd enough to escape detection. The processes of the law are costly, and in nine cases out of ten the cost is out of proportion to the market value of any ordinary theft. Many remedies have been suggested, some useful, some quaint, some impossible. Some latter-day writers have commented on the excellent management and arrangements in the prisons of Jamaica which they have visited, and in which they seem to find a cause and encouragement for crime. They complain that humani-tarianism in these institutions is carried to an unnecessary extreme and that prison life is an attraction rather than a deterrent. Certainly, and more particularly within recent years, the sanitary and other conditions of prisons have been greatly improved, but there has been no relaxation of punitive discipline. A prisoner, especially in the prison farm at Spanish Town, learns something about productive labour, and he also learns to be orderly, punctual, cleanly and industrious; and if he rightly learns these lessons his chances of being a useful citizen after his release are increased. I remember when, more than thirty years ago, a waterspout burst over St. Kitt's and did an enormous amount of damage, tearing up many old roads in and around Basseterre. A few days after I was staying with the Director of Roads, who was applying for men to repair the damage and to make new roads, some as labourers, some as foremen of gangs of labourers. One morning an applicant for work came--a strong, well-built fellow--and when my friend, the Director of Roads, asked for references as to his character and experience, he frankly replied that he could not produce much favourable evidence as to his character but, as far as experience went, he had just completed three years in prison in Antigua, and had spent most of his time there in road-mending. He proved to be a most efficient workman. But to say that prisons are too attractive or too comfortable, because they differ from the homes from which a great number of criminals come, is absurd. They may in some few cases encourage the bad, but they very often educate and bring out the possibilities for good in others who are not thoroughly bad. And who will say that any one is thoroughly bad? It need not be said that these critics of prison life and its attractions do not speak from personal experience. Nor do I. But I have in mind an old friend of mine (a gardener) who got into judicial trouble some years ago because a neighbour's fowl was missing and who, after some months' retirement from public life, assured me that in his well-considered judgment a prison in Jamaica was "no fit place for a Christian gentleman." There we have the verdict of experience. Nor is the problem solved by a broad and sweeping and rather common generalisation that "all negroes are born thieves." They are no more so than is any other section of the human race; and, whatever they were when born, the fact remains and is a solid truth that, as the result of education and religious teaching and example, the large majority of them are honest. Notwithstanding the dictum of Epimenides, there were doubtless many truthful men and women in Crete, and wholesale condemnation is as unjust as it is cruel. No, the root trouble about praedial larceny is not to be found in or removed by any pessimistic and complacent utterances about inherent racial tendencies, or in any comparison between a cleanly and healthy prison and a wretched and uncomfortable home: the thing is there and it must be cured: it must be met partly by religion, partly by education, and partly by public opinion, a communal determination in every district to make things too hot for idle non-workers to live by theft on the industry of honest, right-living people.

Jamaica does not loom largely in the present-day problems of Empire. It is a small place which, except on the occasion of some terrible calamity, does not supply sufficiently good "copy" to obtain frequent mention in the British Press. But at the same time, a great, and to some extent an Imperial, problem is being worked out there which cannot be overlooked. The great continent of Africa is being, year by year, more and more developed and gradually--whether rightly or wrongly, wisely or foolishly--partitioned among European nations: the benefits and comforts and advantages of civilisation are perhaps being more quickly introduced there than civilisation itself is being acquired. And in that continent there are estimated to be more than 200,000,000 persons belonging to some tribe or section of the negro race, and very many of these are British subjects or under British control and protection. What will their future be? Some day this question must be answered, this problem must be solved. One answer to that question and one solution of that problem may possibly be found in the West Indies, where members of their race, handicapped from the start by unfavourable conditions, have shown that they are capable of assimilating modern civilisation, of living Christian lives and of becoming useful and capable citizens of the Empire. The annals of the West India Regiment show that they can fight, the records of the Pongas and other missions prove that they can teach and preach the Gospel.

Another point to be noted is that Jamaica is no longer, as it used to be, a colony of large estates with many absentee proprietors. The decline, which began years ago, in the output of sugar estates, which required capital to run and which still, under altered conditions and with, but not without, sufficient capital can provide a moderate return, has led to other cultivation, such as that of bananas, oranges and other fruits: and here, according to the returns given in the 1912 Handbook, we find that, while sugar estates and grazing pens are owned and worked by large proprietors, the cultivation of other crops is extending in a remarkable way to small proprietors and settlers. Thus, about seven-eights of the acreage devoted to coffee cultivation is in the hands of small settlers or of proprietors with less than 50 acres of land, and one-fifth of the bananas and cocoa is produced on estates of less than 20 acres and by small settlers. This is to a great extent due to the agricultural teaching given in schools and training colleges, and to instructors throughout the island employed by the Jamaica Agricultural Society.

The next point to emphasise is that the sanitary conditions in Jamaica have been largely changed and improved. The fight against fever, with an increased knowledge of the causes of it, and of the remedies for it, is steadily being won, though the work, perhaps, is not being so thoroughly and masterfully done as in Havana or on the Isthmus of Panama. Years ago Jamaica shared with other places the unenviable claim to be called a "white man's grave." Perhaps it did not really deserve its bad reputation, for, as pointed out by Mr. Hastings Jay, Port Royal 200 years ago was practically the only station in the West Indies where England had anything like a hospital; to this hundreds and thousands of sailors were brought from the most deadly places in Central and Southern America to die of yellow fever. Absence of sanitary precautions and a knowledge of medicine, which would nowadays be considered less than elementary, enabled the fever to spread, but there is little or no evidence to show that it is indigenous to Jamaica. It is many years since there has been a really serious epidemic of yellow fever, though slight epidemics and sporadic cases have occurred occasionally. Possibly in few parts of the world is there a more healthy and pleasant climate than in some of the drier of the mountain districts of Jamaica, and many persons, both in England and more especially in the United States, have learnt to travel to Jamaica in order to avoid the severity of a northern winter, and of certain consequent ailments. Of course the climate varies, and there are low-lying lands which are unhealthy enough; but no invalid in search of good health would elect to sleep in a swamp or to take lodgings in a lagoon.

This steady improvement in sanitation, combined with increased facilities for steamship travelling and the building of well-equipped hotels, has resulted also in a great number of tourists from the United States, and some from Great Britain, spending a portion of the cooler months (December to March) in Jamaica not for reasons of health but for purposes of holiday-making, pleasure and recreation. There is much to see, to learn, to enjoy and to interest. For Jamaica has not lost its romance of history, of scenery, of ethnological development. Its social and racial conditions differ in toto from those of Australian and Canadian colonies, and present aspects as interesting to the philanthropist, the political economist, or the statesman, as are the problems of colonies and countries largely peopled by conquered races or by emigration from home. So, too, the botanist, the ornithologist (though many birds are protected by law), the conchologist, the marine zoologist, will find ample scope for his special subject: while the insect population, including butterflies and moths, is varied and interesting, and war is being waged on the malaria-carrying mosquito.

But the change from "Jamaica as a yellow fever bed," to "Jamaica as a winter health resort," is not so great as is the change which has come over the moral, social and religious condition of the Colony. About the middle of the eighteenth century Dr. Johnson, whose faithful servant, Francis Barber, was a Jamaican negro, wrote that Jamaica was "a place of great wealth and dreadful wickedness, a den of tyrants and a dungeon of slaves."

Things have changed since then, even more than they have in the Fleet Street which Dr. Johnson loved so dearly. The tyrants have gone, the slaves no longer exist, and the den and the dungeon are things of the past; there certainly is not great wealth, but there is reason to believe that present-day wickedness deserves a much milder adjective than "dreadful." Little more than 100 years after Johnson wrote, the Lord Chief Justice of England (Sir Alexander Cockburn), in the course of a memorable charge, declared that there was not a "stone in the island of Jamaica which, if the rains of heaven had not washed off from it the stains of blood, might not have borne terrible witness to the manner in which martial law had been exercised for the suppression of native discontent." It would be more difficult nowadays to find these stones than it is to find traces of Spanish occupation or of the aboriginal Indians disturbed by Columbus. "The gentle rain" has indeed dropped "from Heaven upon the place beneath," and now we see:

"The rainbow to the storms of life,
The evening beam that smiles the clouds away
And tints to-morrow with prophetic ray."

For in the place of this "native discontent" we find in Jamaica a contented population, containing upwards of eight hundred thousand persons, African by descent but British subjects by birth, speaking (with idiomatic variations) the English language, enjoying English institutions, with an English literature and English laws, loyally bound by ties, both of gratitude and of affection, to the British Throne. And in bringing about this change, the Church of England, in spite of imperfections, drawbacks, failures and even scandals, may fairly claim to have done her part. Much as there is to regret, much as there is to try to forget, much as there is to ask to be forgiven in the records of the past years of the Church of England in Jamaica, there is much more to encourage us in the present and to inspire us in the future.


I here append a copy of the Canonical Regulations having reference to the Registration of Church members.

"It is clearly the duty of every member of the Church, of whatever station in life, to contribute according to his means for its maintenance and extension. It is, therefore, the duty of the communicants of the Church and all other persons, who claim to be under the pastoral care of its clergy and to receive the benefit of their services, to get themselves registered as members of some congregation and to subscribe to the Diocesan Church Fund according to their means. Such subscription shall be at the minimum rate of threepence per week; provided that the clergy, with the concurrence of their Church Committees, shall be empowered to remit this contribution or to reduce it in case of poverty, or for other cause shown. The wealthier laity should not limit their contributions but, over and above the minimum rate, should give as God hath prospered them."--Canon VIII., Art I (of Finance).

"It shall be the duty of every clergyman and catechist to keep a Register, or Registers, of the names of the communicant and of the non-communicant members of the church or churches under his care, in the form approved by the Synod. Provided that the name of no person shall be entered or retained on the Register who is under ecclesiastical censure, lawfully conveyed, or who refuses, or neglects, after sufficient opportunity has been given him or her, to subscribe to the Diocesan Church Fund, unless he or she has been exempted from the payment of such subscription, in the manner prescribed by the Canon of Finance. Provided, also, that this Canon shall not be so interpreted as to impose on any clergyman, having conscientious objections thereto, the necessity of refusing to admit to the Holy Communion persons who may refuse, or neglect, to subscribe to the Diocesan Church Fund as aforesaid."--Canon XL., Art. I (of Registration of Church Members).

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