Sunday, Oct 29, 2006: “Anglicanism: Session 6”

St. Mark’s Adult Education Meeting Summary
Lecture Series Led By Rev. Mike Kreutzer
Sunday, October 29, 2006


Anglicanism, Session 6, notes


Henry VIII had been declared “Supreme Head of the Church” in England. The 1559 Act of Supremacy, at the beginning of the reign of Elizabeth I, changed the title to “Supreme Governor” of both Church and State. Over the centuries, however, that authority had been modified. This was especially true following the revolution and the Commonwealth of 1649-1659, when Parliament gained more and more authority over both Church and State. As a result, the Church came increasingly under lay control, even though the bishops had a constitutional right to sit in the House of Lords.


As the C of E began to spread beyond England, the conflicts that had taken place in the mother country manifested themselves in conflicts within other Anglican churches. The other churches also had to struggle once again with the fundamental question of authority that had been at the heart of the initial English Reformation. These struggles were faced first by the churches in Scotland and America.




The church in Scotland had long exercised a large degree of independence from the church in England. For years, there had been an unusual blend of both Anglicanism and Presbyterianism in the land. But it was with the accession to the throne of William III and Mary II (1689) that a more formal break came. 


The bishops in Scotland refused to swear allegiance to the new rulers (“non-jurors”). Their church came to recognize the authority neither of the Crown nor of Parliament, and so had to struggle with the locus of authority for itself. The loyalty of the Scottish Church was suspect for years in the eyes of the English, and bishops there were not officially tolerated until 1712.


Many of the clergy in Scotland supported those who rejected the claim to the British throne of the House of Hanover, and instead asserted that the descendants of James (the House of Stuart) were the rightful rulers. Some of them participated in the Jacobian rebellion in 1745. Afterwards, Scottish clergy were not permitted to officiate at worship until 1792, when the last claimant in the House of Stuart had died. Even after that, Scottish clergy were not permitted to hold church positions in England. The churches in England and Scotland were not in any real sense in Communion with one another during those years.


By the time that the Oxford Movement, with its emphasis on the independence of the Church, came along in the next century, the church in Scotland was naturally attracted to it and influenced by it. Bishops came to exercise a strong leadership role in the Scottish Episcopal Church, further distinguishing it from the Presbyterian Church in the land. The Movement’s emphasis on the independence of the Church reinforced the Scottish Church’s sense of separateness from the C of E.


The Scottish Episcopal Church currently consists of seven dioceses. It has a General Synod, which consists of three houses: Bishops, Clergy and Laity. The Church is led by its Primus, Archbishop A. Bruce Cameron.


The United States


Over in the American colonies, the British chaplains who had brought the church’s presence had to deal with the absence of bishops. Governors appointed the clergy, often through commissaries. But it often happened that the governors and the commissaries would find themselves in conflict with each other, the old commissaries were removed from their posts and new commissaries were then appointed. The result was a sort of power-vacuum which left many parishes to operate fairly independently of one another.


Chapman suggests that, even if bishops had been appointed for the colonies, their role would have been very different in America than it was in England, since the English bishops had exercised authority also in the civil life of the people. When the Episcopal Church was established in 1789, the role of bishops was still uncertain (recall the conflicting views of Church and of Bishops between the northern states and the southern states). 


The Episcopal Church struggled for many decades with questions about its identity, its relationship to other churches, and the role of bishops. Bishop Samuel Provoost resigned in 1801, having decided that the Episcopal Church would die out without its old forms of relationship to the state.


The Episcopal Church did not establish a formal communion with the C of E until 1840.




The situation in Canada was very different from that in the U.S. The legislature in Nova Scotia had established the C of E as the official church in 1758. SPG chaplains served in place of bishops. The Governors appointed the clergy. By act of Parliament, every member of the clergy received a grant of 400 acres of land to help support them.


During the American War of Independence, many loyalists fled to Canada, including many Anglican clergy. The English governor appointed a bishop for the diocese of Nova Scotia, which also included at that time New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. He was Charles Inglis, an Irishman who had been Rector of Trinity Church, New York. Consecrated in 1787, he took charge of a church with 11 clergy. He was apparently not an easy person to get along with, and he made no friends by the fact that he didn’t want to travel: a real problem for a bishop with such an expansive diocese. In its early years, the Canadian Church was led, and financed, mostly by High-Churchmen and so adopted that style of worship and of life. In 1793 a new bishop was appointed for Quebec.


During the early 1800s, when the C of E was losing power in England and more and more MPs were members of other churches, support for the established church in Canada waned as well. During the 1830s riots broke out in upper Canada, partly over the large land grants given to the clergy. As a result, the land grants that had been given to the clergy were sold in 1839 and the money used for religious purposes. During the 1830s, grants from the SPG were reduced, forcing the Church to rely more on its own resources; in 1839, those grants were eliminated altogether.

The religious situation in Canada became more and more diverse, and the Church became increasingly separate from the national government. In 1851, the bishop of Nova Scotia was refused a seat in the legislature. The Anglican Church of Canada, which represented only a small minority of the residents, lost its status as the established church. From that point on, it had to support itself.


Following the Quebec Conference of 1851, synods were formed and in 1861 the Anglican Church of Canada became a separate province. A General Synod met on September 13, 1893 and declared its intention of remaining in communion with the C of E. Identity between the two churches was to be maintained through the use of the same Prayer Book and through adherence to the 39 Articles. Bishops were exchanged between the two Churches. The Anglican Church in Canada’s ties with the C of E were much stronger than their ties with the Episcopal Church.


Some of the same conflicts that afflicted the Church in England, and then the Church in America, began to afflict the Anglican Church of Canada, as well. Among these were the struggles between the High Church and the adherents of the Oxford Movement on the one hand and the Evangelicals on the other. In 1851, John Strachan, the first Anglican bishop of Toronto, had established Trinity College, which remained in the High Church tradition. In 1877, Evangelicals in Toronto formed Wycliffe College, which was intended to promote the Evangelical approach.

The Anglican Church of Canada now consists of 33 dioceses, led by a General Synod which meets every three years. Its members come from all dioceses and from the bishops, clergy and the laity. The Chair of General Synod is the Primate of the Church (Archbishop Andrew S. Hutchison).




Beginning in 1698, The East India Company was required to provide chaplains at its trading stations. Over time the Church Missionary Society (CMS) began to seek conversions among the native population. William Wilberforce successfully promoted the idea of providing a bishop for India, and in 1814, Thomas Middleton was consecrated the first bishop of Calcutta. His primary focus was on serving the English population rather than the natives. His diocese included India, Ceylon, Penang and Australia. In time, Middleton promoted the raising up of native clergy, whereas the Governor General of the East India Company wanted to continue exercising authority over its chaplains.


In 1817, the SPG likewise began refocusing its attention on the East. Conflicts arose between the SPG and the CMS. The SPG wanted the local bishop to exercise authority over the church, but the CMS wanted to reserve that power for the Society. The situation reached a temporary settlement in 1823 when Parliament authorized the second bishop of Calcutta, Reginald Heber, to ordain Indian clergy.


Today the Anglican Church in India consists of two provinces: The Church of North India and the Church of South India. Both are “United Churches.” The Church of North India “was inaugurated in 1970 after many years of preparation. It includes the Anglican Church, the United Church of Northern India (Congregationalist and Presbyterian). The Methodist Church (British and Australian Conferences), the Council of Baptist Churches in Northern India, the Church of the Brethren in India, and the Disciples of Christ.” The Church of South India “was inaugurated in 1947 by the union of the South India United Church (itself a union of Congregational and Presbyterian/Reformed traditions), the southern Anglican diocese of the Church of India, Burma, Ceylon, and the Methodist Church in South India.”


These are two of the four “United Churches” in the Anglican Communion. The other two are the Church of Pakistan and the Church of Bangladesh. Both of these unite the Anglican Church and other Christians Churches and were originally part of the Churches of India. Pakistan separated from India in 1947, and Bangladesh separated from Pakistan in 1971.




The penal colony in New South Wales was established in 1788. Chaplains served the colony, but the entire endeavor was ill-managed, and so the church, as well as the government, was widely resented.


In 1825, the colony was made an Archdeaconry of the Diocese of Calcutta, and began receiving support from the SPCK. In 1836, William Grant Broughton was consecrated the first bishop of Australia; his salary came from the English government. In 1842, the Diocese of Tasmania was created. In 1847, the diocese of Australia was divided into four dioceses, and Broughton became Bishop of Sydney and Metropolitan of Australia.


A General Synod held in 1872 formed the Australasian Board of Missions which undertook missionary work among the aborigines of Australia and the natives of the Torres Strait (between Papua New Guinea and Australia).


The Church became fully autonomous on January 1, 1962, (as the “Church of England in Australia”). It used the 1662 Prayer Book. In 1978 it published its first prayer book. In 1981, it adopted the official title of The Anglican Church of Australia. A second Anglican prayer book was published in 1995 with the title A Prayer Book for Australia. Women were first ordained to the Diaconate in 1985 and to the Priesthood in 1992. The Anglican Church of Australia currently includes 23 dioceses.


New Zealand


Bishop Broughton of Australia visited New Zealand in 1838-9 and encouraged the development of a native clergy. George Augustus Selwyn arrived there in 1842 as New Zealand’s first bishop. In 1859 he established the Church’s Constitution which was based on the Constitution of the Episcopal Church. He visited the U.S. twice and served as guest preacher at the 1874 General Convention. The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia now consists of seven dioceses.


*** During a visit to England, Bishop Broughton came under the influence of the Oxford Movement and began to work for the independence of the churches from the government and from the Church of England. In 1850, he called the bishops of Australasia to Sydney, and they established a synodical form of government for the church which left no power to the Crown. He then called for the SPG to organize a meeting of the Anglican bishops of Africa and Canada to draft a joint declaration establishing their independence as well. He discussed the idea with the bishops of South Africa and received their support. He himself agreed to serve as Chair, but died before the meeting could take place. His proposals, however, were adopted by many dioceses and provinces and a new form of Anglicanism emerged: one of a communion of autonomous churches joined together by a shared history and tradition. The model came to be followed, not only in lands distant from England, but even in the Church in Ireland, which formally cut its ties to the state in 1871. ***


The Bishop of London was responsible for English churches overseas. In 1840 Bishop of London, Charles Blomfield called for the establishment of churches, led by bishops, throughout the British Empire. To accomplish that goal, he and others began the next year The Colonial Bishoprics Fund. By 1853, it had set up and established 15 dioceses around the Empire.


The CBF was supported by the SPG. Opposition came from the CMS, who insisted that the goal of missionary work should be to raise up native church leaders first, before bishops became involved. Part of their goal was apparently to ensure that control over the ventures was maintained by the Society, not be the bishops in the new churches themselves.


The CMS led a series of missionary efforts in Africa, working from a base in Sierra Leone. When English missionaries became ill, the CMS began focusing on developing a group of native clergy. A leader among them was Samuel Adjai Crowther, who was ordained in 1843 and in 1864 became the first black African bishop in the Anglican Communion.. He established the first mission station in the Niger Delta in 1845.


Despite the stated intent of developing a native church, the CMS insisted that the churches develop along European patterns, and it sought to maintain control of the churches and the missionary efforts.


Other missionaries followed in various parts of Africa. Some died of illness, others were killed at the orders of local leaders. Still others were resistant to submitting to the leadership of black African church leaders.


By the mid-19th century, the influence of the Tractarians was making itself felt in the churches of Africa, and bishops began to take on a greater role in leading missionary efforts.


Bishops in South Africa found themselves in conflict with each other over doctrine, in particular over the way that God might be working also in the lives of the non-Christians there. The Church there held its first Provincial Synod in 1870 as “The Church of the Province of Southern Africa.” At the Provincial Synod of September 8-9, 2006, it officially changed its name to “The Anglican Church of Southern Africa.” (It currently includes 25 dioceses in six different countries and is led by Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane.)


Conflicts over jurisdiction in some of the newer churches (see. Chapman, pp. 112-2) came to include American bishops as well as English bishops. They brought to the fore a need for inter-Anglican cooperation and dialogue. With means of transportation becoming faster, bishops began attending conferences in other places. Around the time of the SPG’s 150th anniversary celebration in 1851, the term “Anglican Communion” began to be used.

In 1865, the Canadian bishops formally requested the Archbishop of Canterbury to call for a synod of all colonial bishops. In time the bishops of the independent churches of Scotland and America came to be included as well.

Archbishop of Canterbury Charles Thomas Longley formally convened the First Lambeth Conference in September 1867. The Archbishop of York refused to attend, concerned that the Queen and Parliament might use the occasion to try to exercise authority over church matters. 76 bishops from around the world attended. The gathering issued an encyclical letter to all the Anglican churches as well as to other Christian churches.


As Chapman points out (p. 114), the gathering established a pattern for future gatherings and for the Anglican Communion as a whole. Issues of concern were discussed and debated, but no attempt at any sort of legislative action was taken. The Archbishop of Canterbury chaired the meeting, but did not attempt to exercise any authority over the member churches. His role was that of primus inter pares.


Due at least in part to historical circumstances, the gathering was one of bishops only. This tended to enhance the role of bishops. At the same time, the assembly called for the establishment of synods in all of the churches, thereby providing support for the involvement of all orders in the life and leadership of the church.


The authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury was limited to that of a moral authority. Provincial autonomy became a central hallmark of Anglicanism. The various national churches remained independent of one another. As Chapman observes (p. 115): “Meeting every 10 years has served as much to highlight differences as to emphasize similarities.”