Australian Anglican Consecrated Single Persons

The aim of the Advisory Council for Anglican Religious Life in Australia is to advise and inform the Bishops’ Conference of the Anglican Church on the Religious Life as lived in the communities and by individuals in Australia. Members of the religious communities and individuals living the Religious Life may receive from the Bishops’ Conference both advice and direction on the role of the Religious Life in the Anglican Church.
anglican cathedral
The Advisory Council provides the following guidelines for what it calls “Consecrated Single Persons”

“The term ‘solitary religious’ or ‘solitaries’ is normally only used of persons who have been members of Religious Communities for a number of years before their vocation to solitude has been recognised, and while they may live apart, they remain a member of their Community.

There have been since early Christian times, men and women who believe that they are called by God to dedicate themselves by vow and live a consecrated life without living in a Community with a specific leader and rule. This autonomous vowed life has been recognised by both eastern and western Churches as an authentic Christian vocation. Since their vocation shares many of the characteristics of Religious Communities living with vows, the Advisory Council offers the following guidelines:

a] Single persons who believe themselves to be called to such a life and have been encouraged in this conviction by a wise counsellor should be sponsored either by their Parish Priest or another appropriate spiritual guide, who will, when they judge the time is right, present the candidate to the Diocesan Bishop or other Bishop appointed by him. The Bishop may make arrangements for the candidate to receive further guidance and advice. If the Bishop is satisfied the candidate manifests signs of a valid vocation, the Bishop then receives the candidate’s vows. At this stage the candidate should make a temporary commitment for a specific period, which commitment may be renewed until such time as the Bishop considers that life profession is appropriate.

b] Consideration should be given as to whether it is more appropriate for the person to make a single vow, normally chastity, perhaps in the form of vowing to live simply in the unmarried state in the world for the sake of the gospel, rather than, for example, vows relating to poverty. obedience or stability, which may be difficult to fulfil in a situation where the person is self-supporting and not living under obedience in a Community. The Bishop should decide whether it is more appropriate for the vow to be received privately or publicly in the presence of the local congregation.

c] The person who has taken the vow is accountable to that Bishop who has received the vow, and shall report to the Bishop at least annually.

d] This individual is best advised not to adopt any kind of quasi-religious habit or dress, although a badge or medal may be appropriate. It is not normal for the individual to take a
new name in making the vow.

e] In receiving this vow, the Bishop should make it clear that neither the Diocese nor the Bishop is responsible for providing work, accommodation or stipend. As chief pastor of the Diocese, the Bishop accepts pastoral and spiritual responsibility for the person, but may delegate these to the Parish Priest or some other suitable person.

If for good reason, the individual moves to another Diocese, the Bishop who watched over the vocation and received the profession should commend the individual to the Bishop under whose jurisdiction the individual now lives. Equally, if the Bishop who received the vows retires or leaves the Diocese, the individual should be commended to the Bishop’s successor.

f] It is important that any vow which is received by the Bishop should be recorded with the secretary of the Advisory Council so that a permanent record is available to Bishops and others of those who have taken such vows.”

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