Saturday, 12 January 2013

Castles, abbeys and the desolation of Priory Hall

Broadmeadow Water and the bay of Malahide Estuary in front of the Gourmet Food Parlour this week (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2013)

Patrick Comerford

As a busy week was about to merge into a busy weekend, I took Friday morning off and four of us went to lunch in the MU Gourmet Food Parlour about a half mile outside Malahide on the coastal path to Portmarnock.

The restaurant is beside the Malahide United Gym building on an elevated spot looking out over Broadmeadow Water and the bay of Malahide Estuary across towards Portrane. Although we could not see as far as Skerries on a hazy, foggy, rainy day, this was a truly beautiful backdrop for our lunch.

We are also looking out to Robswalls Castle is in the townland of Robswalls overlooking the Broadmeadow Water, also known as Malahide Estuary and only a few short minutes from the coast road footpath from Malahide to Portmarnock.

Robswalls Castle … a private house with a monastic and mediaeval history (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2013)

The castle stands on the side of a main road between Malahide an ordinary house with a square tower attached. But the two-storey house has a stone staircase that gives access to the watch tower and battlements.

The original tower was built over four floors, probably in the 15th century by the de Bermingham family.

The castle walls hang above the Coast Road from Malahide to Portmarnock (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2013)

The castle is said to stand on a site once owned by the Cistercian Monks of Saint Mary’s Abbey in Dublin. At the dissolution of the monasteries during the reign of Henry VIII in 1540, Robswalls Castle was granted to Patrick Barnwall of Turvey, Solicitor General for Ireland.

At one time, the castle had its own small harbour hewn out of the rocks underneath and had a three-storied circular staircase.

I walked briefly along the shoreline before returning to work in the afternoon.

Father Collins Park stands on land once owned by Grange Abbey (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2013)

But earlier in the day, I had a walk in the rain around Father Collins Park beside Donaghmede and Clongriffin. The park is on lands that were part of the original and extensive Grange of Baldoyle belonging to the Priory of All Saints, which stood on the site of Trinity College Dublin. The ruins of the chapel of Grange Abbey stand near the park.

At the dissolution of the monasteries, Grange Abbey also changed hands and was given to the Corporation of Dublin City.

Five 50 kW wind turbines provide power for the waterfalls and fountains in Father Collins Park (Photograph : Patrick Comerford, 2013)

Father Collins Park, which is administered by Dublin City Council, is named after a popular local parish priest, Father Joe Collins and was opened in 2009.

This is Ireland’s first wind powered and self-sustainable public park, and was designed by Argentinian architects Abelleyro and Romero. The park has won a number of awards for sustainability, public space, public parks and environmentally friendly initiatives.

The park’s five 50 kW wind turbines provide power for the waterfalls and fountains, draining the lake, public lighting, depots and sports facilities. Its 26 ha includes natural woodland, sports fields, a running and cycling track, a promenade, a concert amphitheatre and picnic areas.

The open lands of Father Collins Park host migrating birds during the seasons of migration. The undisturbed lands in park remain an important refuge and hub for Arctic and European migratory birds.

Right turn only … but Priory Hall is still blocked off (Photograph: Patrick Cmerford, 2013)

Outside the park, the road heading south towards Clare Hall has a junction where the lights are primed for a right turn only. But that right turn only leads into the blocked-off entrance to Priory Hall, an estate that is still fenced off while the people who bought homes there are left homeless.

How many children missed a Christmas at home in Priory Hall? How long is their agony and suffering going to continue?

Priory Hall … how many children were missed out on Christmas at home? (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2013)

Anglicanism (part-time) 4.3: Is there an Anglican culture? Anthony Trollope and the ‘Barchester’ novels

For many people their first introduction to Anglican culture is through the Barchester novels of Anthony Trollope

Patrick Comerford

MTh Part-Time

EM8825:
Anglican Studies in an Irish context:

Saturday, 12 January 2013:

4.3: Is there an Anglican culture? Anthony Trollope and the Barchester novels

Introduction:

This morning, we were asking whether there is such a thing as an “Anglican culture,” and we were looking at the poetry of TS Eliot and the novels of Rose Macaulay as examples.

But for many people their first introduction to Anglican culture may come in the Barchester novels of Anthony Trollope (1815–1882).



Trollope, who lived in Ireland from 1841 to 1851, was one of the most successful, prolific and respected Victorian novelists. His best-loved works, collectively known as the Chronicles of Barsetshire, revolve around cathedral and church life in the imaginary county of Barsetshire.

Although Trollope also wrote perceptive novels on political, social, and gender issues, and on other topical matters, his novels about Church life are among the important accounts of Anglican spirituality and culture in the Victorian era.

1, The Warden

The Warden is the first novel in Anthony Trollope’s series, the Chronicles of Barsetshire. Trollope said his first vision for The Warden came to him while walking in the cathedral close of Salisbury Cathedral. It was his fourth novel and was published in 1855.

The Warden concerns Canon Septimus Harding, the elderly warden of Hiram’s Hospital and Precentor of Barchester Cathedral.

Hiram’s Hospital is an almshouse supported by the income from a mediaeval charitable bequest to the Diocese of Barchester. The income maintains the almshouse itself, supports its twelve bedesmen, and, in addition, provides a comfortable abode and living for its warden. Canon Harding has been appointed to this position through the patronage of his old friend, the Bishop Grantly of Barchester, who is also the father of Archdeacon Grantly to whom Harding’s older daughter, Susan, is married.

The warden, who lives with his remaining child, an unmarried younger daughter, Eleanor, performs his duties conscientiously.

The story concerns the impact upon Harding and his circle when a zealous young reformer, John Bold, launches a campaign to expose the disparity in the apportionment of the charity’s income between its object, the bedesmen, and its officer, Canon Harding.

John Bold embarks on this campaign out of a spirit of public duty, despite his romantic involvement with Eleanor and previously cordial relations with Canon Harding.

Bold attempts to enlist the support of the press and engages the interest of The Jupiter (a newspaper representing The Times), whose editor, Tom Towers, pens editorials supporting reform of the charity, and presenting a portrait of Canon Harding as selfish and derelict in his conduct of his office.

This image is taken up by the commentators, Dr Pessimist Anticant and Mr Popular Sentiment, who have been seen as caricatures of Thomas Carlyle and Charles Dickens respectively.

Ultimately, despite much brow-beating by his son-in-law, the Archdeacon, and the legal opinion solicited from the barrister, Sir Abraham Haphazard, Mr Harding concludes that he cannot in good conscience continue to accept such generous remuneration and resigns the office.

John Bold, who has appealed in vain to Tom Towers to redress the injury to Mr Harding, returns to Barchester, where he marries Eleanor.

Those of the bedesmen of the hospital who have allowed their appetite for greater income to estrange them from the warden are reproved by their senior member, Bunce, who has been constantly loyal to Harding whose good care and understanding heart are now lost to them.

2, Barchester Towers

The second novel, Barchester Towers (1857), is possibly Trollope’s best known work. Among other things, it satirises the then raging antipathy in the Church of England between High Church and Evangelical adherents.

Barchester Towers concerns the leading citizens of the imaginary cathedral city of Barchester. The much loved bishop having died, all expectations are that his son, Archdeacon Grantly, will gain the office in his place.

Instead, owing to the passage of the power of patronage to a new Prime Minister, a newcomer, the far more Evangelical Bishop Proudie, gains the see. His wife, Mrs Proudie, exercises an undue influence over the new bishop, making herself unpopular with right-thinking members of the clergy and their families. Her interference in the reappointment of the universally popular Canon Septimus Harding (hero of The Warden) as warden of the hospital is not well received, although she gives the position to a needy clergyman with a large family to support.

Even less popular than Mrs Proudie is the bishop’s newly appointed chaplain, the hypocritical Revd Obadiah Slope, who takes a fancy to Harding’s wealthy widowed daughter, Eleanor Bold, and hopes to win her favour by interfering in the controversy over the wardenship.

The bishop, or rather Mr Slope under the orders of Mrs Proudie, also orders the return of the Revd Dr Vesey Stanhope from Italy. Dr Stanhope has been there, recovering from a sore throat, for 12 years and has spent his time catching butterflies. With him to the Cathedral Close come his wife and his three children.

The younger of Dr Stanhope’s two daughters causes consternation in the Palace and threatens the plans of Mr Slope. Signora Madelina Vesey Neroni is a crippled serial flirt with a young daughter and a mysterious husband whom she has left. Mrs Proudie is appalled by her and considers her an unsafe influence on her daughters, her servants and Mr Slope. Mr Slope is drawn like a moth to a flame and cannot keep away. Bertie Stanhope is a man skilled at spending money but not at making it; his two sisters think a marriage to rich Eleanor Bold will suit, and they pay off his debts.

Summoned by the local clergy to assist in the war against the Proudies and Mr Slope is another clergyman, the brilliant Revd Francis Arabin. Mr Arabin is a considerable scholar, a fellow of Lazarus College Oxford, and almost followed his mentor, John Henry Newman, into the Church of Rome. He is genuinely attracted to Eleanor, but the efforts of Archdeacon Grantly and his wife to stop her marrying Slope also interfere with any relationship that might develop.

Finally, at the Ullathorne garden party, matters come to a head. Mr Slope proposes and is slapped for his presumption, Bertie proposes and is refused with good grace and the Signora has a chat with Mr Arabin. Mr Slope’s double-dealings are now revealed and he is dismissed by Mrs Proudie, and the Signora. The Signora drops a delicate word in several ears and Mr Arabin and Eleanor become engaged.

The old dean of the cathedral having died it seems obvious that Mr Arabin should become the new dean, with a beautiful house in the Close, 15 acres of garden and an income even greater than that of his wife.

With the Stanhopes’ return to Italy, life in the Cathedral Close returns to its previous quiet and settled ways and Mr Harding continues his life of gentleness and music.

3, Doctor Thorne

The third Barchester novel, Doctor Thorne (1858), is mainly concerned with the romantic problems of Mary Thorne, niece of Doctor Thomas Thorne (a member of a junior branch of the family of Mr Wilfred Thorne, who appeared in Barchester Towers), and Frank Gresham, the only son of the local squire, although Trollope as the omniscient narrator assures the reader at the beginning that the hero is really the doctor.

The major themes in this book are the social pain and exclusion caused by illegitimacy, the nefarious effects of the demon drink, and the difficulties of romantic attachments outside one’s social class. The novel also gives a vivid picture of electioneering and all the just-legal shenanigans that accompany the event. Most of the action takes place in a village of Barsetshire and a country house not far off.

The idea of the plot was suggested to Trollope by his brother Thomas.

When their father dies, Doctor Thomas Thorne and his younger, ne’er-do-well brother Henry are left to fend for themselves. Dr Thorne begins to establish a medical practice, while Henry seduces Mary Scatcherd, the sister of stonemason Roger Scatcherd. When Scatcherd finds out that Mary has become pregnant, he seeks out Henry and, in the ensuing fight, kills him.

While her brother is in prison, Mary gives birth to a girl. A former suitor offers to marry her and emigrate to start a new life, but refuses to take the baby. Dr Thorne persuades her to accept the generous offer, promising to raise his niece. He names her Mary Thorne but, wishing neither to have her illegitimacy made public nor to have her associate with the uncouth Roger Scatcherd, he keeps her birth secret. He tells Scatcherd that the baby had died.

After his release from prison, Scatcherd rises quickly in the world. In time, his skills make him extremely rich. When he completes a seemingly-impossible important project on time, he is created a baronet for his efforts. Throughout his career, he entrusts his financial affairs to Dr Thorne. When Thorne becomes the family doctor to the Greshams, he persuades Scatcherd to loan ever growing sums to the head of the family, the local squire. Eventually, much of the Gresham estate is put up as collateral.

Meanwhile, Mary grows up with the Gresham children and becomes a great favourite with the whole family. As a result, Thorne feels obliged to tell his friend the squire her secret.

Mary falls in love with Frank Gresham, the son and heir of the squire of Greshamsbury and nephew of the Earl and Countess De Courcy, and he with her. However, his parents desperately need him to marry wealth, in order to rescue them from the financial distress resulting from the squire’s expensive and fruitless campaigns for a seat in Parliament.

His snobbish mother and aunt wish him to marry an eccentric, if kind-hearted, older heiress, Martha Dunstable. He reluctantly visits her at Courcy Castle and they become friends. But foolishly and playfully he proposes. She demurs, knowing that he does not love her, and he tells her about his love for Mary.

Sir Roger is a drunkard, and Dr Thorne tries in vain to get him to curtail his drinking. In his will, he stipulates that bulk of his estate should go to his odious, dissolute only son Louis Philippe, but leaves Dr Thorne in control of the inheritance until the heir reaches the age of 25. Should Louis die before then, Scatcherd stipulates that the estate must go to the eldest child of his sister Mary. Dr Thorne is forced to divulge Mary’s history, but Scatcherd leaves the will unchanged.

Sir Roger eventually dies of his excesses, and Sir Louis inherits his vast wealth. The son proves just as much an alcoholic as the father, and his weaker constitution quickly brings him to the same end. After consulting with many lawyers, Dr Thorne confirms that his Mary is the heiress, richer than even Miss Dunstable.

Unaware of these proceedings, the more-resolute Frank finally persuades his doting father to consent to his marriage to Mary. When all is revealed, everyone is elated, even Frank’s mother and Countess De Courcy.

4, Framley Parsonage


The fourth novel, Framley Parsonage, was first published in serial form in the Cornhill Magazine in 1860.

The hero of Framley Parsonage, the Revd Mark Robarts, is a young vicar, newly arrived in the village of Framley in Barsetshire. The living has come into his hands through Lady Lufton, the mother of his childhood friend Ludovic, Lord Lufton.

Mark Robarts has ambitions to further his career and begins to seek connections in the county’s high society. He is soon preyed upon by local MP, Mr Sowerby, to guarantee a substantial loan, which Mark in a moment of weakness agrees to, even though he does not have the means and knows Sowerby to be a notorious debtor.

The consequences of this blunder play a major role in the plot, with Mark eventually being publicly humiliated when bailiffs begin to confiscate the Robarts’s furniture. At the last moment, Lord Lufton forces a loan on the reluctant Mark.

Another plot line deals with the romance between Mark’s sister Lucy and Lord Lufton. The couple are deeply in love and the young man proposes, but Lady Lufton is against the marriage. She would prefer that her son instead choose the coldly beautiful Griselda Grantly, daughter of Archdeacon Grantly, and fears that Lucy is too “insignificant” for such a high honour.

Lucy herself recognises the great gulf between their social positions and declines. When Lord Lufton persists, she agrees only on condition that Lady Lufton asks her to accept her son. Lucy’s conduct and charity (especially towards the family of the poor curate, the Revd Josiah Crawley) weaken Lady Lufton’s resolve. In addition, Griselda becomes engaged to Lord Dumbello. But it is the determination of Lord Lufton that in the end vanquishes the doting mother.

The book ends with Lucy and Ludovic’s marriage as well as three other marriages of minor characters. Two of these involve the daughters of Bishop Proudie and Archdeacon Grantly. The rivalry between Mrs Proudie and Mrs Grantly over their matrimonial ambitions forms a significant comic subplot, with the latter triumphant. The other marriage is that of the outspoken heiress, Martha Dunstable, to Dr Throne, the eponymous hero of the third novel in the series.

5, The Small House at Allington

The Small House at Allington, the fifth Barchester novel, was published in 1864. The novel concerns the Dale family, who live in the “Small House,” a dower house intended for the widowed mother (Dowager) of the owner of the estate. The landowner, in this instance, is the bachelor Squire of Allington, Christopher Dale. Dale’s mother having died, he has allocated the Small House, rent free, to his widowed sister-in-law and her daughters Isabella (“Bell”) and Lilian (“Lily”).

Lily has for a long time been secretly loved by John Eames, a junior clerk at the Income Tax Office, while Bell is in love with the local doctor, James Crofts. The handsome and personable, but somewhat mercenary Adolphus Crosbie is introduced into the circle by the squire’s nephew, Bernard Dale. Adolphus rashly proposes marriage to portionless Lily, who accepts him, to the dismay of John Eames.

Crosbie soon jilts her in favour of Lady Alexandrina de Courcy, whose family is in a position to further his career. Lily meets her misfortune with patience, and remains single, continuing to reject Eames, though retaining his faithful friendship. Bell marries Dr Crofts, after refusing an offer of marriage from her cousin Bernard.

As with all of Trollope's novels, this one contains many sub-plots and numerous minor characters. Plantagenet Palliser (of the Pallisers series) makes his first appearance, as he contemplates a dalliance with Griselda Grantly, the now-married Lady Dumbello, daughter of the archdeacon introduced earlier in the Chronicles of Barsetshire.

6, The Last Chronicle of Barset

The final Barchester novel, The Last Chronicle of Barset, was first published in 1867. This novel concerns an indigent but learned clergyman, the Revd Josiah Crawley, the curate of Hogglestock, as he stands accused of stealing a cheque.

The novel is notable for the non-resolution of a plot continued from the previous novel in the series, The Small House at Allington, involving Lily Dale and Johnny Eames. Its main storyline features the courtship of Crawley’s daughter, Grace, and Major Henry Grantly, son of the wealthy Archdeacon Grantly.

The archdeacon, although allowing that Grace is a lady, does not think her of high enough rank or wealth for his widowed son; his position is strengthened by Crawley’s apparent crime.

Almost broken by poverty and trouble, Crawley hardly knows himself if he is guilty or not; fortunately, the mystery is resolved just as Major Grantly’s determination and Grace Crawley’s own merit force the archdeacon to overcome his prejudice against her as a daughter-in-law.

As with Lucy Robarts in Framley Parsonage, the objecting parent finally invites the young lady into the family; this new connection also inspires the dean and archdeacon to find a new, more prosperous, post for Grace’s impoverished father.

Through death or marriage, this final volume manages to tie up more than one thread from the beginning of the series. One subplot deals with the death of Mrs Proudie, the virago wife of the Bishop of Barchester, and his subsequent grief and collapse. Mrs Proudie, upon her arrival in Barchester in Barchester Towers, had increased the tribulations of the gentle Canon Harding, the title character of The Warden. He dies of a peaceful old age, mourned by his family and the old men he loved and looked after as Warden.

Barchester on television

The Barchester Chronicles is a 1982 BBC television serial adaptation of the first two Barchester novels, The Warden and Barchester Towers. The series, directed by David Giles, was largely filmed in and around Peterborough Cathedral, where the locations included the Deanery and Laurel Court.

The series starred Donald Pleasence as Mr Harding, Nigel Hawthorne as Archdeacon Grantly, Angela Pleasence as Mrs Grantly, Cyril Luckham as Bishop Grantly, David Gwillim as John Bold, George Costigan as Tom Towers, John Ringham as Finney, Barbara Flynn as Mary Bold, Janet Maw as Eleanor Harding, Clive Swift as Bishop Proudie, Geraldine McEwan as Mrs Proudie, Alan Rickman as Obadiah Slope, Susan Hampshire as Signora Madeline Neroni, and Ursula Howells as Miss Thorne.

Canon Patrick Comerford is Lecturer in Anglicanism and Liturgy, the Church of Ireland Theological Institute. These notes were prepared as a supplement to a lecture on ‘Anglican Culture’ on the MTh part-time course, EM8825: Anglican Studies in an Irish context, on Saturday 12 January 2013.

Anglicanism (part-time) 4.2, Is there a way of talking about an ‘Anglican Culture’?

‘April is the cruellest month’ … words that have come to mind constantly this time last year during the search for two fishermen off the shore of Skerries (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

EM8825: Anglican Studies in an Irish context

MTh Part-Time:

Saturday, 12 January 2013:

4.2:
: Is there a way of talking about an ‘Anglican Culture’?

Part 1: Anglican culture and the poetry of TS Eliot;

Introduction:

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.


These are the opening lines of TS Eliot’s poem, The Waste Land (1922), which is regarded a one of the most important poems of the 20th century.

I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

These words came to mind constantly two years ago as I thought again and again of the people in Skerries who were searching desperately for two missing fishermen:

April is the cruellest month …
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.


Throughout the poem we find allusions to The Book of Common Prayer, and Old Testament allusions, where the narrator finds himself in a summer drought that has transformed the land into a desert, who is referred to as the “Son of Man,” with references to Ezekiel, and to the Gospels.

The American-born English poet, playwright and literary critic, Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888-1965), was perhaps the most important poet in the English language in the 20th century. And he is one of the greatest examples of how Anglican spirituality, Anglican liturgy, Anglican memory and Anglican history have been conveyed through the generations through the arts, particularly through poetry, drama and fiction.

The calendars of Anglican churches throughout the world recalls the saintly memory of some of the great creative figures in Anglicanism over the generations.

For example, the calendar in Common Worship commemorates the poets George Herbert (27 February), Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy “Woodbine Willie” (8 March), John Donne (31 March), Christina Rossetti (27 April) and John Keble (14 July), and writers like Julian of Norwich (8 May), Evelyn Underhill (15 June), John Bunyan (30 August) and Samuel Johnson (13 December).

To that list we might, perhaps, add writers such as CS Lewis and Dorothy Sayers. Or if we were to think of writers who been conduits of Anglican spirituality and Anglican thinking we might think of Anthony Trollope (1815-1882), author of the Chronicles of Barchester, or, today, Susan Howatch and Catherine Fox.

Is there an ‘Anglican culture’?

A mural on a wall in Lichfield commemorating Samuel Johnson (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Anglican culture has been expressed in architecture, poetry, literature, novels, and music.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) is often remembered as the compiler of his great Dictionary, but forgotten as a spiritual writer.

In his last prayer, on 5 December 1784, before receiving Holy Communion and eight days before he died, Samuel Johnson prayed:

Almighty and most merciful Father, I am now, as to human eyes it seems, about to commemorate, for the last time, the death of thy Son Jesus Christ our Saviour and Redeemer. Grant, O Lord, that my whole hope and confidence may be in his merits, and his mercy; enforce an accept my imperfect repentance; make this commemoration available to the confirmation of my faith, the establishment of my hope, and the enlargement of my charity; and make the death of thy Son Jesus Christ effectual to my redemption. Have mercy on me, and pardon the multitude of my offences. Bless my friends; have mercy upon all men. Support me, by the grace of thy Holy Spirit, in the days of weakness, and at the hour of death; and receive me, at my death, to everlasting happiness, for the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Lichfield’s Market Square and Johnson’s statue viewed from Johnson’s house in Lichfield (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

This morning, as we conclude this module in Anglicanism, I want to suggest that there is an “Anglican culture” that conveys and carries through the generations an Anglican approach to spirituality and theology. For those who are entering Anglican ordained ministry but who are not cradle Anglicans, I believe it is important to be sensitive to this, to grasp this but even more importantly to be enriched by this.

I want to look at this through the poetry and the writing of TS Eliot, one of the greatest poets of the last century, and later – if we have time – to look at it through the eyes of one novelist and one novel in particular, Rose Macaulay (1881-1958) and her final novel and masterpiece, The Towers of Trebizond (1956)

TS Eliot as an Anglican poet

The poem by TS Eliot (right) that made his name as a poet, The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock (1915), is regarded as a masterpiece of the modernist movement. It was followed by some of the best-known poems in English, including The Waste Land (1922), The Hollow Men (1925), Ash Wednesday (1930), and the four poems in Four Quartets (1943).

Of course, many know him since schooldays or childhood for Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (1939), a collection of light verse that inspired Cats (1981), the musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Eliot also wrote several plays, including Murder in the Cathedral (1935) and The Cocktail Party (1949), and he received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1948.

Although he was born in the US, he became a British citizen in 1927 at the age of 39, a few months after his conversion to Anglicanism. When he renounced his US citizenship, he said: “My mind may be American but my heart is British.”

Eliot was born in St Louis, Missouri, the youngest child in a prominent Unitarian and academic family; his mother was a poet and social worker.

He began to write poetry at the age of 14 under the influence of Edward Fitzgerald’s Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, but he destroyed those early poems, and his oldest surviving poem dates from January 1905. He studied philosophy at Harvard (1906-1909), where the Harvard Advocate published some of his poems.

After working as a philosophy assistant at Harvard (1909-1910), Eliot moved to Paris, where he studied philosophy at the Sorbonne (1910–1911), before returning to Harvard (1911-1914) to study Indian philosophy and Sanskrit. He then moved to Merton College, Oxford, but left after a year, commenting: “Oxford is very pretty, but I don’t like to be dead.”

By 1916, he had completed a PhD dissertation for Harvard on Knowledge and Experience in the Philosophy of FH Bradley, but he never returned for his viva voce exam.

Meanwhile, in 1915 he had been introduced to Vivienne Haigh-Wood, and they married within weeks. Their marriage was a catalyst in his writing The Waste Land, and was the subject of the movie Tom and Viv (1994).

24 Russell Square, where TS Eliot worked for Faber and Faber, is now part of the School of Oriental and African Studies in London (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

He took up several teaching posts, including teaching at Highgate School, where his pupils included John Betjeman, and lecturing at Birkbeck College, London. By 1917, he was working at Lloyds Bank, and on a visit to Paris in 1920 he met James Joyce. But in 1925, Eliot joined the publishers Faber and Gwyer, later Faber and Faber, where he spent the rest of his career, eventually becoming a director.

On 29 June 1927, Eliot was baptised and confirmed an Anglican; a few months later he would become a British citizen. He became a churchwarden at Saint Stephen’s Church, Gloucester Road, London, and specifically identified with the Anglo-Catholic expression of Anglicanism, describing himself a “classicist in literature, royalist in politics, and Anglo-Catholic in religion.” Later, he would say his religious views combined “a Catholic cast of mind, a Calvinist heritage, and a Puritanical temperament.”

When he was offered the Charles Eliot Norton Professorship at Harvard (1932-1933), he left his wife Vivienne in England. On his return, he filed for divorce, and she spent the rest of her life in a psychiatric hospital until her death in 1947.

Eliot first published his poems in periodicals, small books or pamphlets, and then collected them in books. His first collection was Prufrock and Other Observations (1917). In 1920, he published more poems in Ara Vos Prec (London) and Poems: 1920 (New York).

In 1925, he collected The Waste Land and the poems in Prufrock and Poems into one volume and added The Hollow Men in Poems: 1909-1925.

The Hollow Men was written when Eliot was going through difficult times in his work and with his first wife’s health. Writing about his earlier poem, The Waste Land (1922), Eliot concluded that “some forms of illness are extremely favourable to religious illumination.” This sets the background for the circumstances surrounding The Hollow Men, which was written when Eliot was going through a wilderness experience.

From then on, Eliot updated this work as Collected Poems. Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (1939) is a collection of light verse. Poems Written in Early Youth, posthumously published in 1967, is mainly poems published in The Harvard Advocate (1907-1910). Inventions of the March Hare: Poems 1909-1917 (1997) includes works he never intended to publish but that were published posthumously.

Although the main character in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (1915) seems to be middle-aged, Eliot wrote most of the poem when he was only 22. It is well known for its opening lines, comparing the evening sky to “a patient etherised upon a table” – an image that was considered shocking and offensive. The poem follows the conscious experience of Prufrock, lamenting his physical and intellectual inertia, the lost opportunities in his life and his lack of spiritual progress.

In 1922, the same year as James Joyce published Ulysses, Eliot published The Waste Land at a time of personal difficulty: his marriage was failing, and both he and Vivienne were suffering from nervous disorders. The poem slips between satire and prophecy, and is marked by abrupt changes of speaker, location and time. Yet it is a touchstone of modern literature. Among its well-known phrases are: “April is the cruellest month,” “I will show you fear in a handful of dust,” and the Sanskrit mantra that ends the poem: “Shantih, shantih, shantih.”

While earlier commentators tended to read ‘The Waste Land’ as a secular commentary on life in London in the inter-war years, more recent studies see in this poem a description of Eliot’s pilgrimage to faith from the Unitarianism of his childhood and youth, through his readings in Hinduism to his preparation for his eventual Baptism in 1927 and his subsequent, life-lasting Anglo-Catholicism.

In a recent study, (‘Liturgical influences of Anglo-Catholicism on ‘The Waste Land’ and other works by TS Eliot,’ Fordham University, 1999), A. Lee Fjordbotten says ‘The Waste Land’ reveals a spiritually searching and developing Eliot who is anticipating his formal conversion in 1927. He points out that the structure of the poem is similar to the traditional process of conversion, especially as seen in the season of Lent.

In this way, the poem becomes the chronicle of Eliot’s own spiritual journey to conversion, and he analyses the five sections of ‘The Waste Land’ liturgically, in relation to the five Sundays of Lent and their respective themes.

In a study last year of ‘The Waste Land’ (‘The Prefiguration of TS Eliot’s conversion in ‘The Waste Land’,’ in the Saint Austin Review, January/February 2012, pp 19-20), Paula L. Gallagher, says the beginning of Eliot’s conversion is prefigured in this poem and begins with his recognition of the emptiness of modernity.

She argues that the poem – far from being just the apogee of modernist despair – significantly prefigures his conversion to Anglo-Catholicism: “Eliot’s personal journey through the Waste Land – from the rejection of modernity, to the search for Christ, to the arrival of rain – contains imagery, allusions and ideas that prefigure that conversion to Anglo-Catholicism.”

Eliot’s major poem of the late 1920s, The Hollow Men (1925), was written in the context of post-war Europe. It is deeply indebted to Dante and wrestles with the difficulty of hope and religious conversion, and with Eliot’s failed marriage. It concludes with some of Eliot’s best-known lines:

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.


Not long before he reached the age of 40, Eliot made a decision that influenced his poetry and drama for the rest of his life. On the Feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, 27 June 1927, he was baptised and so began a life-long commitment to Anglo-Catholicism. Eliot was probably converted through reading the prayers and sermons of Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626), Bishop of Winchester.

The tomb of Lancelot Andrewes in Southwark Cathedral ... “his prayers and sermons were critical in TS Eliot’s conversion to Anglicanism and had an abiding influence on his writings (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

In his essay, For Lancelot Andrewes: an Essay on Style and Order (1928), published the following year, Eliot argued that Andrewes’s sermons “rank with the finest English prose of their time, of any time.” Eliot spoke of his indebtedness to the bishop’s writings: he is “the first great preacher of the English Catholic Church,” he had “the voice of a man who had a formed visible church behind him, who spoke with the old authority and the new culture.”

For Eliot, “The intellectual achievement and the prose style of Hooker and Andrewes came to complete the structure of the English Church as the philosophy of the thirteenth century crowns the Catholic Church … the achievement of Hooker and Andrewes was to make the English Church more worthy of intellectual assent. No religion can survive the judgment of history unless the best minds of its time have collaborated in its construction; if the Church of Elizabeth is worthy of the age of Shakespeare and Jonson, that is because of the work of Hooker and Andrewes.

“The writings of both Hooker and Andrewes illustrate that determination to stick to essentials, that awareness of the needs of the time, the desire for clarity and precision on matters of importance, and the indifference to matters indifferent, which was the general policy of Elizabeth … Andrewes is the first great preacher of the English Catholic Church.”

On the other hand, he was deeply disparaging when it came to John Donne:

“About Donne there hangs the shadow of the impure motive; and impure motives lend their aid to a facile success. He is a little of the religious spellbinder, the Reverend Billy Sunday of his time, the flesh-creeper, the sorcerer of emotional orgy. We emphasize this aspect to the point of the grotesque. Donne had a trained mind; but without belittling the intensity or the profundity of his experience, we can suggest that this experience was not perfectly controlled, and that he lacked spiritual discipline.”

Eliot was influenced too by the monastic life of Nicholas Ferrar’s community at Little Gidding, and admired the works of Richard Hooker, George Herbert and Jeremy Taylor – and the churches of Christopher Wren.

Eliot’s writings after his baptism reflect how much an impression Andrewes’s sermons had made on him. His sermons on the Nativity were a special favourite of Eliot. His poem, Journey of the Magi (1927), the first of the Ariel Poems and written shortly after his baptism, begins with a direct quote from Andrewes’s sermon on the Epiphany at Christmas 1622. In that sermon, “Of the wise men come from the East,” Andrewes opens with the words:

“It was no summer progress. A cold coming they had of it at this time of the year, just the worst time of the year to take a journey, and specially a long journey in. The ways deep, the weather sharp, the days short, the sun farthest off, in solstitio brumali, ‘the very dead of winter’.”

Eliot opens his Journey of the Magi with similar words:

A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.


There are other references to Andrewes’s sermons in his poems. One phrase from Andrewes that figures in Eliot’s poetry – “Word without a word” – occurs three times in Andrewes’s Nativity Sermons in which he refers to “the eternal Word” as having always existed and the co-creator of the universe but now as a babe not “able to speak a word.”

Ash Wednesday marked TS Eliot’s conversion to Anglicanism

Ash Wednesday (1930) was his first long poem after his conversion to Anglicanism in 1927, and has been described as Eliot’s conversion poem. It deals with the struggle that arises when one who has lacked faith acquires it, and with the aspiration to move from a spiritual barrenness to the hope for human salvation.

In Ash Wednesday, Eliot took that “flashing phrase” from Andrewes, “Word without a word,” to highlight that the world still lives in darkness as the Word is still unheard:

If the lost word is lost, if the spent word is spent
If the unheard, unspoken
Word is unspoken, unheard;
Still is the unspoken word, the Word unheard,
The Word without a word, the Word within
The world and for the world;
And the light shone in darkness and
Against the Word the unstilled world still whirled
About the centre of the silent Word.

O my people, what have I done unto thee.


In his sermons, Andrewes was critical of contemporaries who followed their own spirit rather than the Holy Spirit. He believed parish church is where the local community assembles to offer up their prayers and praises. Eliot lamented also that church community life no longer existed as families spent Sundays as a day off from religion, and so bells were no longer necessary in the city to summon people to church, as he expressed it in Choruses from ‘The Rock’ (1934):

That the country now is only fit for picnics,
And the Church does not seem to be wanted
In country or in suburb.


The Four Quartets ... regarded by TS Eliot as his masterpiece, led to him receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature

Eliot regarded the Four Quartets as his masterpiece. This is the work that led to his receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature. This is not one poem but four long poems, each published separately: Burnt Norton (1936), East Coker (1940), The Dry Salvages (1941) and Little Gidding (1942).

Each poem has five sections, each begins with a meditation or reflection on the place that gives the poem its title, and each meditates on the nature of time in a theological, historical or physical respect and its relation to the human condition. In addition, each poem is associated with one of the four classical elements, air, earth, water or fire.

Burnt Norton asks what it means to consider things that might have been:

Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden.


A terrace of almshouses in East Coker ... the village that inspired TS Eliot was his ancestral home and his ashes are buried at the parish church ... “In my beginning is my end”

East Coker, the second of his Four Quartets, is set in late November and ends: “In my end is my beginning.”

But it opens:

In my beginning is my end. In succession
Houses rise and fall, crumble, are extended,
Are removed, destroyed, restored, or in their place
Is an open field, or a factory, or a by-pass.
Old stone to new building, old timber to new fires,
Old fires to ashes, and ashes to the earth
Which is already flesh, fur and faeces,
Bone of man and beast, cornstalk and leaf.
Houses live and die: there is a time for building
And a time for living and for generation …

In my beginning is my end. Now the light falls
Across the open field, leaving the deep lane …

Wait for the early owl.


‘Now the light falls ... I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope.’ autumn sunsets turn to winter at Skerries Harbour (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Out of darkness, Eliot offers a solution in East Coker:

Now the light fails … I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope.

East Coker ... TS Eliot’s ancestral village in Somerset (Photograph: The Guardian)

The Dry Salvages treats the element of water, drawing on images of river and sea. It strives to contain opposites:

... the past and future
Are conquered, and reconciled.


Julian of Norwich ... All shall be well and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well

Little Gidding treats the element of fire, drawing on Eliot’s experiences as an air raid warden during the Blitz in London. This is the most anthologised of the Four Quartets. In Little Gidding, the Four Quartets end with the well-known affirmation by Julian of Norwich:

And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.


‘To make an end is to make a beginning’ (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

In Little Gidding, Eliot exposes the expression of the Catholic faith in Andrewes’s time. There are paradoxical lines that crystallise the significance of the Incarnation:

What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from.

… A people without history
Is not redeemed from time, for history is a pattern
Of timeless moments.


The community at Little Gidding maintained 24 hours of prayer, including long hours of night vigils. Little Gidding was a place “where prayer has been valid” and where “prayer is more/than an order of words”:

… You are here to kneel
Where prayer has been valid. And prayer is more
Than an order of words, the conscious occupation
Of the praying mind, or the sound of the voice praying.


The Four Quartets must be understood within the framework of Christian thinking, tradition, and history. Eliot draws upon the theology, art, symbolism and language of such figures as Dante, and mystics like Saint John of the Cross and Julian of Norwich. The “deeper communion” sought in East Coker, the “hints and whispers of children, the sickness that must grow worse in order to find healing,” and the exploration that inevitably leads us home all point to the pilgrim’s path along the road of sanctification.

Eliot directed much of his creative energies after Ash Wednesday to writing plays. A pageant play, The Rock (1934) was first performed to raise funds for churches in the Diocese of London.

A former Dean of Canterbury, Bishop George Bell (1883-1958) of Chichester, asked Eliot to write his best-known play, Murder in the Cathedral (1935) for the Canterbury Festival in 1935. The play tells the story of the murder and martyrdom of Saint Thomas a Becket.

The Cocktail Party (1949) was Eliot’s modernising of Alcestis by Euripides. Professor Guy Martin once offered a course at Harvard Divinity School on the writer as theologian, focussing on the poetry, prose and the plays of TS Eliot, examining the way he contributed to the relationship between religion and literature. As part of their final examination, the members of the class produced The Cocktail Party.

Eliot was a member of a group that produced the report Catholicity (1947) as a contribution to the process that resulted in the Church of England’s Report on Doctrine (1948).

In 1958, Archbishop Geoffrey Fisher of Canterbury appointed Eliot to a commission that produced The Revised Psalter (1963). Another member of the commission was CS Lewis, who had once been a harsh critic of Eliot. In 1935, Lewis wrote to a mutual friend that he considered Eliot’s work to be “a very great evil.” However, during their time on that commission their antagonism turned to true friendship.

In 1957, at the age of 68, Eliot secretly married his second wife, Esmé Valerie Fletcher, then aged 32, who had been his secretary at Faber and Faber for almost eight years.

The wall plaque in Saint Michael’s Church, East Coker, Somerset, commemorating TS Eliot (Photograph: John Snelling)

Eliot died in London on 4 January 1965. His ashes were taken to Saint Michael’s Church in East Coker, the Somerset village from which his ancestors had emigrated to New England in the 17th century. A wall plaque in the church commemorates him with a quotation from his poem East Coker:

In my beginning is my end. In my end is my beginning.

He is also commemorated in Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey, where a stone quotes from Little Gidding:

the communication
Of the dead is tongued with fire beyond
the language of the living.


Part 2: Is there an Anglican culture? Rose Macaulay and The Towers of Trebizond

“Take my camel, dear,” said my Aunt Dot, as she climbed down from this animal on her return from High Mass (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Introduction:

We have been asking whether there is an ‘Anglican Culture’ that acts as a conduit for Anglican history, theology and spirituality, and for the Anglican story.

We have looked, as an example, at the writings of TS Eliot. As a second example I would like to introduce the writer Rose Macaulay (1881-1958) and her novel, The Towers of Trebizond (1956). It was the last of her novels, and the most successful, and for it she received the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction.

The book was described in The New York Times: “Fantasy, farce, high comedy, lively travel material, delicious japes at many aspects of the frenzied modern world, and a succession of illuminating thoughts about love, sex, life, organised churches and religion are all tossed together with enchanting results.”

The famous opening sentence is:

“Take my camel, dear,” said my Aunt Dot, as she climbed down from this animal on her return from High Mass.

For months after the publication of this novel in 1956, guests at London cocktail parties could be heard quoting those opening lines.

The author:

Dame Rose Macaulay (right) was the author of 35 books – 23 of them novels – and is best remembered for Potterism, a satire of yellow journalism; a biography of Milton; her haunting post-World War II novel, The World My Wilderness; two travel books, They Went to Portugal and Fabled Shore; and her masterpiece, The Towers of Trebizond.

Rose Macaulay was born in Rugby in 1881, the second of seven children in a family of Anglican clerics and eminent academics. She spent her early childhood in Varezze, a small Italian seaside town. In 1894, her family returned to England, and after studying modern history at Somerville College, Oxford, she began a career as a writer, supporting herself as a novelist, journalist, and critic.

After a time of spiritual questioning as an adolescent, she grew into a young woman with a serious approach to religion. After attending a retreat at Saint Alban’s, a High Church parish in Holborn, around 1909, she undertook the disciplined practices associated with Anglo-Catholicism, regularly going to confession at Saint Edward’s House in Westminster, which was the London headquarters of the Cowley Fathers.

During World War I, she worked as a nurse and as a civil servant in the War Office before taking up a position in the British Propaganda Department. There, in 1918, she met Gerald O’Donovan (1871–1942) from Ireland, a former Roman Catholic priest, a novelist, and a married father of three. O’Donovan was 45 and the married father of three; she was 36. They fell in love and eventually began a long affair that lasted until his death in 1942.

By 1922, Macaulay felt that she could no longer make her confession or receive Holy Communion. Her separation from the Church lasted for almost 30 years, during which time she continued to feel “Anglican,” as she put it, but she was “an Anglo-agnostic,” for whom Anglicanism had dwindled down to “a matter of taste and affection . . . rather than of belief.”

This long period of estrangement began to come to an end on 29 August 1950, when out of the blue received a letter from Father Hamilton Johnson. Less than five months later, on 12 January 1951, she went to Saint Edward’s House and made her confession to a priest.

In her 70th year, Rose Macaulay returned to the Church of England as a communicant. She adopted a rule of life, and each morning she attended the early Eucharist at Grosvenor Chapel in South Audley Street, a liberal Anglo-Catholic church with dignified services – high but not extreme, and a church later celebrated in poetry by John Betjeman.

In a letter to Father Hamilton Johnson in 1952, Macaulay spoke of the experience of “being in the Church” as “a wonderful corporate feeling of being carried along, being part of the body ...” The post-1950 Macaulay appears to represent the full, committed life of faith that follows on the stage that Austin Farrer called initial faith. Like Augustine, she knew that the strand of surety is an elusive beach; its shifting sands mean that Christian conversion is never complete and final.

Towards the end of her life, she told her sister Jean that “religious belief is too uncertain and shifting a ground (with me) to speak of lying or truth in connection with it. One believes in patches, and it [“believe”] is a vague, inaccurate word. I could never say ‘Ι believe in God’ in the same sense that I could say ‘Ι believe in the sun & moon & stars’.”

As Augustine makes clear in the Confessions, his conversion did not mean that he had now arrived safely in port; the harbour of the convert is regularly buffeted by storms.

Macaulay was never a simple believer in “mere Christianity.” During the 1930s and 1940s, when CS Lewis, Austin Farrer, Dorothy L. Sayers and others were writing books that were imaginative yet consistently orthodox, Macaulay was a lapsed Anglican, alienated from the church. Even after her return in 1950-1951, she writes The Towers of Trebizond, whose heroine is to some extent her alter ego, and who occupies a place at the border or beyond Christianity.

She was sceptical about much that the Anglican tradition deemed essential, and for a long period described herself as an “Anglo-agnostic,” never certain of her unbelief, or free of spiritual guilt, or unable to appreciate a good sermon. Her brand of Anglicanism was high and broad – liturgically Catholic and intellectually engaged. She admired the Cambridge Platonists of the 17th century and in her personal devotions often used the Great Antiphons.

A mentor to Elizabeth Bowen and a friend of Ivy Compton-Burnett, Rupert Brooke, EM Forster, and Rosamond Lehmann, Macaulay was a well-known figure in London’s literary world and a fabled wit. She was named a Dame Commander of the British Empire (DBE) shortly before her death in 1958.

The Plot:



The book abounds with historical references, including Saint Paul’s fourth missionary journey, the Fourth Crusade, English Christianity since the Dissolution of the Monasteries, 19th century travellers to the Ottoman Empire, World War I, and the archaeological search for the ruins of Troy.

The scene moves from Turkey when the two senior characters elope to the Soviet Union, and Laurie meets her lover and her semi-estranged mother in Jerusalem.

Gerald O’Donovan suffered serious head injuries in a car accident with Rose Macaulay in the Lake District, and the accident may have inspired the fatal accident on the return journey in The Towers of Trebizond. The final chapters raise multiple issues such as the souls of animals.

Back in London, Laurie is at the wheel of the car in which Vere dies. Her own pride and impetuosity cause her to reject her lover’s caution and to assert her rights against a bus that has crashed a red light. Now, without Vere, Laurie feels that she must live “in two hells, for I have lost God” and lost, too, “the love I want.”

Against an Anglo-Catholic backdrop, the book deals with the attractions of mystical Christianity and the conflict between Christianity and adultery, a problem Macaulay faced in her own life because of her 22-year affair with Gerald O’Donovan.

The Towers of Trebizond is part satire, part travel book, part comedy, part tragedy ... and at all times a spiritual reflection on the pilgrimage of life. It starts off as a comic novel, and there is scarcely a line in the first third of the book that fails to provoke laughter or, at the least, a pleasurable sense that someone is tickling your brain.

The characters:

The book is largely autobiographical. It follows the adventures of a group of people travelling from Istanbul – or Constantinople, as Father Chantry-Pigg insists on calling it, – to Trebizond. In this book, Trebizond is not simply the old name for Trabzon, the former Byzantine port on the shores of the Black Sea in north-eastern Turkey. Trebizond is the “fabled city” that the heroine Laurie feels cut off from; Trebizond can be read as symbolising the Christian faith, or the church; Trebizond could be Bunyan’s Celestial City, Augustine’s City of God, or ultimate, unattainable Truth.

● Laurie, the narrator, is a woman in her mid-30s. Like Macaulay, she too has a long-term love affair with a married man.

● Dorothea ffoulkes-Corbett is the otherwise the eccentric Aunt Dot. Barbara Reynolds suggests she is based on Rose Macaulay’s friend, Dorothy L Sayers. A hale, elderly woman, Aunt Dot justifies her love of world travel by claiming it to be in the service of Anglican mission work and a project to emancipate the women of Turkey by converting them to Anglicanism and popularising the bathing hat.

● Father Hugh Chantry-Pigg, Aunt Dot’s friend, is an Anglo-Catholic priest who keeps his collection of sacred relics in his pockets, and who is “better at condemning than at loving.” Barbara Reynolds has suggested this character has elements of Father Patrick McLaughlin (1909-1988), the Dublin-born Father Gilbert Shaw (1886-1967), Vicar of Saint Anne’s, Soho, and Father Gerard Irvine.

● Dr Halide Tanpinar is a Turkish feminist doctor. She had once converted from Islam to Anglicanism, and she now acts as a foil to these main characters.

● Xenophon is a Greek-speaking, over-indulged young man.

● Aunt Dot’s addled camel was a present to her from a rich Bedouin tycoon. The anxieties over the half-crazed camel’s love-life are in contrast to the subsequent nurture of an ape named Suliman in advanced Anglo-Catholic ritualism.

● Vere, Laurie’s lover, is always in the background although not in the touring party.

On the way, they also meet magicians, Turkish policemen, juvenile British travel writers, and a BBC broadcasting team following Billy Graham on tour.

“I wonder who else is rambling about Turkey this spring,” wonders Aunt Dot at one point. “Seventh-Day Adventists, Billy Grahamites, writers, diggers, photographers, spies, us, and now the BBC.” As Compton Mackenzie writes, at times it feels as if Macaulay has blended love and lunacy to produce a kind of Alice Through the Looking Glass of modern life, or, as another reviewer says, has re-staged the Mad-Hatter’s tea party and has taken it on the road.

The Turkish woman doctor says in the book of Aunt Dot, “She is a woman of dreams. Mad dreams, dreams of crazy, impossible things. And they aren’t all of conversion to the Church, oh no. Nor all of the liberation of women, oh no. Her eyes are on far mountains, always some far peak where she will go. She looks so firm and practical, that nice face, so fair and plump and shrewd, but look in her eyes, you will sometimes catch a strange gleam.”

Reading the book:



The first half of The Towers of Trebizond reads as a satirical picaresque that lampoons Anglican narrowness, and the back-biting competition within English literary society. Set in what was once called “the Levant,” the book crawls with literary tourists, each determined to get their travel book out first. Dot is writing one, too, with Laurie providing the illustrations.

Aunt Dot is both adventurous and provincial. When Father Chantry-Pigg says one ought not to go to Russia because it would mean condoning a government that persecutes Christians, Aunt Dot replies: “If one started not condoning governments, one would have to give up travel altogether, and even remaining in Britain would be pretty difficult.”

When Aunt Dot and Father Chantry-Pigg slip over the border into the Soviet Union, leaving Laurie alone, the novel undergoes a subtle but complete tonal shift.

In the last half of the book, as Laurie wanders Turkey on her camel, running into acquaintances and making do as best she can on the little money she has, the novel becomes a serious, though never heavy-handed, study of a crisis of faith, although Laurie knows herself too well to be thrown into a tizzy over her inability to give herself over to a faith, any faith:

“Nothing in the world, for instance, could be as true as some Anglicans and Calvinists and Moslems think their Churches are, having the faith once for all delivered to the saints. I suppose this must be comfortable and reassuring. But most of us know that nothing is as true as all that, and that no faith can be delivered once for all without change, for new things are being discovered all the time, and old things dropped, like the whole Bible being true, and we have to grope our way through a mist that keeps being lit by shafts of light, so that exploration tends to be patchy, and we can never sit back and say, we have the Truth, this is it, for discovering the truth, if it is ever discovered, means a long journey through a difficult jungle, with clearings every now and then, and paths that have to be hacked out as one walks, and dark lanterns swinging from the trees, and these lanterns are the light that has lighted every man, which can only come through the dark lanterns of our minds.”

Here we find a mature acceptance of uncertainty and confusion as part of our natural condition.

Yet neither Macaulay – who was reconciled with Anglicanism shortly after the book was published and before her death – nor her fictional counterpart can be fully content with that. Reassurance that hangs just out of reach is always a tempting thing, even when you know that the only way to accept it is to short-change your intellect and your own messy experience. Her lover accepts what he calls her “church obsession ... So long as you don’t let it interfere with our lives.”

Macaulay never denies the appeal of belief, the longing for reassurance, but like any adult, she never denies that life is a trade-off either.

While Father Chantry-Pigg is in most respects not a model of ministry to be closely emulated, sometimes his perceptions are accurate. One Sunday morning, he celebrates the Eucharist on the deck of their ship as they are approaching Trebizond. Afterwards, he finds Laurie alone and forces her to confront the seriousness of the dilemma in which she is caught.

‘Later in the morning, when I was on deck looking through glasses at the first sight of Trebizond, Father Chantry-Pigg came and stood by me and said, “How much longer are you going on like this, shutting the door against God?”

This question always disturbed me; I sometimes asked it of myself, but I did not know the answer. Perhaps it would have to be for always, because I was so deeply committed to something else that I could not break away.

“I don’t know,” I said.

“It’s your business to know. There is no question. You must decide at once. Do you mean to drag on for years more in deliberate sin, refusing grace, denying the Holy Spirit? And when it ends, what then? It will end; such things always end. What then? Shall you come back, when it is taken out of your hands and it will cost you nothing? When you will have nothing to offer to God but a burnt out fire and a fag end? Oh, he’ll take it, he’ll take anything we offer. It is you who will be impoverished for ever by so poor a gift. Offer now what will cost you a great deal, and you’ll be enriched beyond anything you can imagine. How do you know how much of life you still have? It may be many years, it may be a few weeks. You may leave this world without grace, go on into the next stage in the chains you won’t break now. Do you ever think of that, or have you put yourself beyond caring?

Not quite, never quite. I had tried, but never quite. From time to time I knew what I had lost. But nearly all the time, God was a bad second, enough to hurt but not to cure, to hide from but not to seek, and I knew that when I died I should hear him saying, “Go away, I never knew you,” and that would be the end of it all, the end of everything, and after that I never should know him, though then to know him would be what I should want more than anything, and not to know him would be hell. I sometimes felt this even now, but not often enough to do what would break my life to bits. Now I was vexed that Father Chantry-Pigg had brought it up and flung me into this turmoil. Hearing Mass was bad enough, hearing it and not taking part in it, seeing it and not approaching it, being offered it and shutting the door on it, and in England I seldom went.

I couldn’t answer Father Chantry-Pigg, there was nothing I could say except “I don’t know”. He looked at me sternly and said, “I hope, I pray, that you will know before it is too late. The door won’t be open for ever. Refuse it long enough, and you will become incapable of going through it. You will, little by little, stop believing. Even God can’t force the soul grown blind and deaf and paralysed to see and hear and move. I beg you, in this Whitsuntide, to obey the Holy Spirit of God. That is all I have to say.’

Possessing a deeply ambivalent attitude toward the Church, Laurie is better at loving than at praying: her affair with a married man has kept her away from the Church of England for ten years. “From time to time,” she says, “I knew what I had lost. But nearly all the time, God was a bad second, enough to hurt but not to cure, to hide from but not to seek.” She acknowledges the other pole of her ambivalence toward Christianity when she remarks that, although “the Church met its Waterloo . . . when I took up with adultery,” Anglicanism was still “in the system,” and, once in, “I think one cannot get it out.”

In a conversation in Jerusalem with a sceptical acquaintance named David, Laurie searches for an answer. After telling him that she has not got the answers and that he should take his questions to the bishop, she suggests that he read “some of the liturgies and missals.” Like a good Anglican, she reaches into liturgy for her answer.

Her reply comes by way of the Great Antiphons, recited during the seven days leading to the Christmas Vigil. Laurie quotes for David the Advent hymns to the divine wisdom (O Sapientia) and to the divine light (O Oriens, O Dawn of the East).

What holds Laurie back from a fully committed Christian faith is, in large measure, her attachment to her lover, Vere, who brings her great joy and contentment.

Laurie’s Augustine-echoing resistance to being delivered just yet is only one of the reasons behind her disinclination to rejoin the Church. There are also the faults of Christian institutions down the centuries. She observes how the Church “grew so far, almost at once, from anything which can have been intended.” It “became ... blood-stained and persecuting and cruel and war-like and made small and trivial things so important.”

Laurie’s objections are intellectual as well as moral. The church, she says, began “with a magnificent idea,” but that idea had “to be worked out by human beings who do not understand much of it but interpret it in their own way and think they are guided by God, whom they have not yet grasped.” She questions the historicity of the gospel accounts: “I wonder what was really said, how far the evangelists got it right, and how much they left out, writing it down long after.” She is aware that “some of the things they forgot and left out might have been very important, and some of the things they put in they perhaps got wrong, for some sound unlikely for [Jesus] to have said.”

She sees that “no Church can have more than a very little of the truth,” and therefore she finds it impossible “to believe, as some people do, that one’s Church has all the truth and no errors, for how could this possibly be?”

The book ends with Laurie in what she describes as a dual hell, though there is more acceptance than torment in her description. The revelations in The Towers of Trebizond are all of the earthly variety, and Macaulay makes that seem, if not everything, then enough for any reasonable person.

The impact of the book

Constance Babington-Smith writes that “many Anglicans, and also many would-be believers” responded to The Towers of Trebizond in a manner that Macaulay found profoundly moving. “Some weeks after the book was out she wrote ... that she was beginning to feel ‘almost like a priest,’ for so many people were telling her how much she had helped them in their religion.”

Macaulay delighted in pointing out that The Towers of Trebizond helped to convince many readers to turn toward the Church and what it stands for. Her novel had, she said, decided a young woman at a crucial moment in her life for the right course, and clergy read parts of it to ordinands besieged by doubt, without plunging them into deeper anguish. David Hein says many clergy and laity found their faith reinvigorated by reading The Towers of Trebizond.

The paradox of its popular reception by Christians and would-be believers is part of the mystery of The Towers of Trebizond. The book presents dilemmas and reveals their attractions, but it declines to provide easy answers and solutions.

The capacity of Anglicanism to hold together contradictions increased Macaulay’s appreciation of Anglicanism. She wrote The Towers of Trebizond after her return to the Church of England, but does not mark out for her readers the steps on the journey of faith they only they could take for themselves. She said it was “meant to be about the struggle of good and evil, its eternal importance, and the power of the Christian Church over the soul, to torment and convert.”

The ending is gratifyingly indeterminate, reassuring in its refusals. What makes the author of this book worthy of consideration as a spiritual mentor for 21st century seekers has much to do with her willingness to acknowledge difficulties.

In the days following Vere’s death, Laurie, stricken with grief and remorse, rejects what he rejected, giving up what he mockingly called her “church obsession.” She turns her back on the Church and all that it stands for, “knowing that God is leaving us alone for ever; we have lost God and gained hell.”

At the end of this novel, there is still much that restrains Laurie from moving toward the shimmering towers of Trebizond, and it is impossible to say in which direction she will eventually turn. As one literary scholar wrote: “It is the highest of ironies that a novel which ends on such a note of – perhaps even unchristian? – despair should be hailed as one of the twentieth century’s most luminous Christian novels.”

The Towers of Trebizond ends in silence and in waiting. It is an honest reckoning with the cognitive obstructions of Christian faith, and it throws out a line – albeit one that in the darkness might be hard to recognise – to all who struggle with doubt.

Additional reading:

TS Eliot, Collected Poems 1909-1935 (London: Faber & Faber, 1953).
TS Eliot, Selected Poems (London: Faber & Faber, 1954/1976).
TS Eliot, The Complete Poems & Plays (London: Faber and Faber, 1969).
High Kenner (ed), TS Eliot, a collection of critical essays (Englewood Cliffs NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1962/1963).
Steve Ellis, TS Eliot, A Guide for the Perplexed (London: Continuum, 2009).
David Hein, ‘Faith and Doubt in Rose Macaulay’s The Towers of Trebizond,’ Anglican Theological Review, Winter 2006.
David Hein (ed), Readings in Anglican Spirituality (Cincinnati, Ohio: Forward Movement Publications, 1991).
Rose Macaulay, The Towers of Trebizond (London: Collins, 1956).
Rose Macaulay, The Towers of Trebizond (London: Fontana, 1962, 3rd impression, February 1970), the edition I have used while preparing this essay.
Rose Macaulay, The Towers of Trebizond (New York: New York Review Books, 2003).
Richard H Schmidt, Glorious Companions: Five Centuries of Anglican Spirituality (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 2002).
Constance Babington-Smith, Rose Macaulay (London: Collins, 1972). Alice Crawford, Paradise Pursued: The Novels of Rose Macaulay (Madison, New Jersey: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1995).
BVarry Spur, ‘Anglo-Catholic in Religion’ TS Eliot and Christianity (Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 2010).
BC Southam, A Student’s Guide to the Selected Poems of TS Eliot (London: Faber & Faber1968/1971).
George Williamson, A Reader’s Guide to TS Eliot, a poem-by-poem analysis (London: Thames and Hudson, 1955/1976)/


Next: (additional posting):

Canon Patrick Comerford is Lecturer in Anglicanism and Liturgy, the Church of Ireland Theological Institute. This essay is an extended version of notes prepared for a lecture on the part-time MTh Year II course, EM8825: Anglican Studies in an Irish context, on Saturday 12 January 2013

Anglicanism (part-time) 4.1: The Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral and the emergence of the Anglican Communion; mission, ecumenical engagement and the debates today

Lambeth Palace, seen from Westminster on the opposite bank of the River Thames ... the London home of the Archbishop of Canterbury also gives its name to the Lambeth Conference (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

EM8825: Anglican Studies in an Irish context

MTh Part-Time:

Saturday, 12 January 2013:


4.1: The Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral and the emergence of the Anglican Communion; mission, ecumenical engagement and the debates today.

Part 1: The Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral and the emergence of the Anglican Communion.

At the beginning of this module, we looked at the Anglican Communion, and who were are as a global communion of Churches, sharing much in common when it comes to liturgy, heritage, understanding of the church (ecclesiology), church order and structures, and ways of doing theology.

We looked at the tensions of holding together diversity in unity, and how the four instruments of communion act as agents for that: the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lambeth Conference, the Primates’ Meeting and the Anglican Consultative Council. But we said very little about we got to being the Anglican Communion, very little about how we managed to agree on these as the four instruments of communion, and little at all about the process that led to the recent debates about the Anglican Covenant.

This morning, I want to look at today’s debates in the Anglican Communion and how they affect the Church of Ireland.

Origins in disputes

John Colenso ... his heresy trial was one of the principal reasons for calling the first Lambeth Conference

As we saw, the origins of that Anglican Communion as we have come to know it can be found in two legal battles and a doctrinal dispute that rocked the Anglican churches in the 1850s and 1860s. The first of these legal battles became known as the Eton College Case. In 1857, the courts ruled that the established Church of England could not exist in those colonies where there was a local legislature.

A year earlier, the Bishop of Cape Town, Robert Gray, called a diocesan synod in 1856 – a synod that preceded by 12 years the first diocesan synod in the Church of England, which was held in the Diocese of Lichfield in 1868.

A few years after his synod in Cape Town, Gray – by now accepted as Archbishop of Cape Town and Metropolitan – attempted to depose the Bishop of Natal, John Colenso, for heresy in 1863. Colenso appealed to the Privy Council in London, which ruled in March 1865 that Gray and his synod could only exercise authority over those who voluntarily accepted it. It also held that the letters patent issued to the bishop were invalid because the Cape Colony had its own legislature.

By the time the judgment was issued, Gray had tried Colenso on the grounds that Colenso had sworn canonical obedience to him as metropolitan, thus voluntarily accepting his jurisdiction. The rulings from Gray and the Privy Council left a complete mess. The letters patent were invalid, bishops had been appointed by patents issued in London and yet there was no established church for them to serve in because the colony had its own legislature.

It was a difficult mess from which the churches in the colonies would find it even more difficult to disentangle themselves.

The crisis over the deposition of Colenso and the problems it left inspired the Irish-born Bishop of Ontario, 40-year-old John Travers Lewis (1825-1901), and the Provincial Synod of the Anglican Church in Canada in 1865 to issue a formal request to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Charles Longley, asking him to call a General Council of the Anglican Communion “in every land.”

And so, the first Lambeth Conference met from 24-27 September 1867 and the Anglican Communion was formally established because of a dispute involving a church that traces its origins to an Irish missionary, and because of the response to that dispute by an Irish-born bishop in Canada, John Travers Lewis. Lewis was born in Garrycloyne Castle, Co Cork, and had been a curate in Newtown Butler, Co Fermanagh, before going as a missionary in 1849 to Canada, where he ended his days as Archbishop of Ontario.

The First Lambeth Conference, 1867

Canterbury Cathedral .... the Lambeth Conferences are called by the Archbishop of Canterbury

Eventually, the Convocation of Canterbury agreed to support sending out an invitation to all bishops in communion with the Church of England. But it was agreed that any conference could not enact any canons or reach any decisions binding on the Church.

At the time, there were 145 bishops in the Anglican Communion world-wide – if Colenso is included in this count. The invitations went from Lambeth Palace on 22 February 1867 to 144 bishops of the Anglican Communion, including the 12 bishops of the Church of Ireland. In addition, there were Irish bishops working with the Churches overseas, including Lewis of Ontario.

Preparatory discussions

A number of preparatory meetings were held before the conference was convened, and these were attended by the Archbishops of Armagh and Dublin and the Bishops of Meath and Down.

A number of priorities for the conference, including visible church unity and mission, emerged as central themes at these meetings.

The Bishop of Montreal, Francis Fulford (1803-1868) – who would play a key role at the conference – saw Anglican unity as a step towards eventual unity or reunion with the English Nonconformists, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Scandinavian Church, and even the Church of Rome. In 1861, as Metropolitan of Canada, he had called the first provincial synod of the “United Church of England and Ireland in Canada” in Montreal.

Lewis of Ontario wanted the conference to discuss methods of bringing about inter-communion with the Greek and Scandinavian Churches.

Bishop Horatio Southgate (1812-1894), the former American Episcopal bishop in Constantinople who by then was a parish rector in New York, wanted to restore the Creed of Nicaea and Constantinople to its original state by removing the filioque clause in the hope of advancing relations with the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Some bishops even suggested conferring the title of Patriarch on the Archbishop of Canterbury.

On the other hand, the Dean of Westminster Abbey, Arthur Stanley, objected to the invitation to the Episcopal Church in the US, pointing out that that church had abandoned the Athanasian Creed. At the same time, he pleaded for the invitation to be extended to the Lutheran Churches of Scandinavia.

Conference debates

Eventually, the conference met at Lambeth Palace for four days from 24 to 27 September 1867. The invitation was accepted by 76 bishops, including 18 English bishops, six from the Scottish Episcopal Church, and five from the Church of Ireland: the archbishops of Armagh (Beresford) and Dublin (Trench), and the bishops of Meath (Butler), Kilmore (Verschoyle) and Limerick (Graves).

In addition, there were 24 bishops from the Churches in the colonies, including Cork-born John Travers Lewis from Ontario, and 19 from the US including John Henry Hopkins (1792-1868), the first Episcopal Bishop of Vermont and the eighth Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church – he was born in Dublin on 30 January 1792, but had emigrated with his parents to Philadelphia when he was a boy.

A number of English bishops, however, refused to attend, including the Archbishop of York and the Bishop of Durham. No one session was attended by all the bishops present – and only Beresford of Armagh and Butcher of Meath were present for the formal photograph.

But the signatures of all the bishops were printed with the final encyclical letter, and the names of several bishops who were unable to attend were added to the list.

In their resolutions, the bishops described themselves as the “Bishops of Christ’s Holy Catholic Church in visible Communion with the United Church of England and Ireland.”

At the opening service of Holy Communion, Archbishop Trench of Dublin read the Epistle and Archbishop Beresford of Armagh read the Gospel: in the absence of the Archbishop of York, the Archbishop of Canterbury was finding ways of demonstrating that the two Irish archbishops were Primates in their own right too.

Bishop John Henry Hopkins ... the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church and Bishop of Vermont, was born in Dublin

At the opening, the Archbishop of Canterbury had the two Irish archbishops seated to his immediate right and left: seated to his right were the Archbishop of Armagh, the Bishop of London (the most senior-ranking bishop in the Province of Canterbury, but also the Bishop of the capital of the Empire), the Presiding Bishop of the American Church (the Dublin-born Bishop John Henry Hopkins of Vermont), the Primus of Scotland, the Bishop of Calcutta (India) and the Bishop of Sydney (Australia); ranged to his left were the Archbishop of Dublin, the Bishop of Montreal (an interesting precedent given the role of the Canadian Church in prompting this conference), and the Bishops of New Zealand and Cape Town.

Obviously, there was an intention to visibly symbolise the universal nature of a communion spread across every continent; there was a visible impression that the home churches were the Church of England, the Church of Ireland and the Scottish Episcopal Church; and there was the clear sign that the American church had not separated from the other Anglican churches.

But the gathering was not a synod, and any attempts to make it one were strongly opposed. The Archbishop of Canterbury had difficulty in keeping the bishops to the agenda, and this drew a negative reaction from some of the Bishops of the Church of England who had agreed to attend only after they had debated and accepted the initial agenda. Their worries and fears were that their independent exercise of episcopal authority within their dioceses might be infringed upon.

On the first day, the bishops produced a preamble that included a reference to “the first Four General Councils” of the church. Some bishops were quite insistent that the reference should be to four, not six, councils; others felt that any reference to any councils would detract from the supremacy of Scripture.

In the end the words “General Councils” were retained, without number, although the first four councils would eventually become a sort of benchmark for Anglicans in deciding what acceptable and orthodox doctrine was.

A more important statement in the preamble was the expression of “ardently longing” for church unity, which would continue to be an important agenda item for successive Lambeth conferences. And so naturally the main agenda items for the conference were Anglican unity, the colonial churches and co-operation in mission.

The conference spent its first day considering inter-communion between the Anglican Churches, recognising the real fear that the lack of formal links could cause a breakdown in relations between the different Anglican Churches.

On the second day, the conference turned its attention to the Churches in the colonies, and despite the protests of several bishops, Longley agreed to a request from Gray to change the already-agreed programme and an unexpected debate opened up on the grades of synodical authority within the Anglican Communion, including diocesan, provincial and perhaps even patriarchal synods. But all the conference could agree on was a general resolution calling for the maintenance of unity of faith and discipline, and a committee was appointed to report on the subject.

When it came to the debate on mission on the third day, Gray was anxious to gain support for his action against Colenso.

The American Presiding Bishop, John Henry Hopkins, was ruled out of order when he tried to introduce a resolution of condemnation. The Bishop of Vermont felt a resolution from Bishop Selwyn of New Zealand did not go far enough, and that it should declare Colenso deposed and excommunicated.

Eventually, the bishops agreed, in a 49-10 vote, that the situation in Natal had deeply injured the whole Anglican Communion. Once again a committee was appointed to draft a latter on the subject.

The bishops discussed setting up a Spiritual Court of Appeal, but once again this was referred to a committee to consider. The conference agreed that a short “encyclical letter” should be signed by the bishops, but this too was committed to a committee to draft.

When a second and unexpected debate on the Colenso affair arose, and the bishops eventually agreed 43-3 on the procedures to be put in place for choosing and consecrating a new bishop for the Diocese of Natal.

In all, the conference passed 13 resolutions, perhaps the most important being one calling for a synod or synods above the provincial synods, in order to maintain unity in faith and discipline; another calling for a voluntary spiritual tribunal to hear appeals beyond provincial level; and two resolutions supporting Gray’s action against Colenso. But the resolutions also looked at the principles under which The Book of Common Prayer should be revised.

The bishops who formed the drafting committees were asked to stay on in England, and the conference closed on the Friday evening. On the Saturday, 34 bishops attended a closing communion service in Lambeth Parish Church. It had been expected that this would take place in Westminster Abbey, but Dean Stanley had refused the use of the abbey except for some form of mission service. The bishops could attend, but they would have to make it clear that any such service was being held “without any relation to the Conference itself.”

Westminster Abbey ... Dean Stanley refused the use of the abbey for the closing service (Photograph Patrick Comerford)

During the next few months, the drafting committees met, and they presented their reports, nine in all, at a further session on 10 December.

Six resolutions were passed at the adjourned conference. But by now most of the bishops had returned home, and so the reports were simply received and sent for publication, without any real debate. It was realised that this first Lambeth conference had not been organised in a way that allowed the bishops to work efficiently and to carry that work forward. Another Lambeth Conference was inevitable – and that would make both the Lambeth Conference and the Anglican Communion institutions.

Achievements and failures

The first Lambeth Conference failed to achieve any great accomplishments. Despite the preliminary debates that discussed mission, unity, inter-communion with the Scandinavian Churches, and even the removal of the filioque clause, many of its final reports and resolutions look like petty, internal housekeeping.

But the significance of the first Lambeth Conference lies not in those reports and resolutions but in the very fact that it had met. The Anglican Communion, a concept only first articulated in 1851, now had a visible structure of unity in the forum of the Lambeth Conference. This unity would be maintained despite the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland.

To put that first Lambeth Conference into the context of its time, we must remember it met at the same time Pope Pius IX was planning to call the first Vatican Council, held in 1869-1870. It was a time when the larger Church groupings were afraid of fraying at the edges, they needed to show their unity, they needed a visible forum for debate, and they were seeking visible signs of authority.

For Roman Catholics, that would be expressed in the doctrine of Papal Infallibility. Anglicans, however, would opt for a more diffuse form of authority, and have refused over the decades either to confer the title of Patriarch on the Archbishop of Canterbury, or to give super-synodical powers to the Lambeth Conferences.

Nor should the timing of this first Lambeth Conference be separated from the political climate globally.

Many pointed out that the American Civil War had just ended, and that such a conference would not have been possible a few years earlier.

Others pointed out that the conference was meeting in the climate of the great powers of Europe being at peace for the first time in living memory.

And, of course, this of course was the year in which Alfred Nobel invented dynamite and in which Karl Mark published the first part of Das Kapital.

A second Lambeth Conference would meet in 1878, and the conferences have met since then at roughly 10-year intervals.

In all, there have been 14 Lambeth Conferences: the last one in Canterbury in July and August 2008. Will there be another one in 2018?

Whatever happens, the Lambeth Conference has developed into a deliberative body, convened solely at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury. It still has no canonical or constitutional status, although it has enhanced the archbishop’s primacy within the Anglican Communion.

For some, these are weaknesses, for others these are strengths.

Huntingdon’s proposals

William Reed Huntington (1838-1909) ... he inspired the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral

The next conference took place in 1878. But two other important events in the life of the Anglican Communion took place before that: the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland; and, in 1870, the publication by an American Episcopal priest, William Reed Huntington (1838-1909), of his book, The Church Idea, An Essay toward Unity.

Huntington later became rector of Grace Church, an influential New York parish. Although never a bishop, Huntington had more influence on the Episcopal Church – perhaps even on the Anglican Communion – than most bishops.

Huntingdon’s proposals in the Church Idea were aimed initially at establishing what he described as “a basis on which approach may be by God’s blessing, made toward Home Reunion” – his way of describing Anglican reunion with the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox Churches. But his proposals eventually helped the formulation of the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral, which summarised four elements that would help both define what an Anglican Church is and what Anglicans would accept as the basis for talks on Church unity.

Huntingdon was worried about what the word Anglicanism conveyed, and its nostalgic appeal. “The word brings up before the eyes of some a flutter of surplices, a vision of village spires and cathedral towers, a somewhat stiff and stately company of deans, prebendaries and choristers, and that is about all.” [The Church Idea, p. 124].

And he warned:

“If our whole ambition as Anglicans in America be to continue a small, but eminently respectable body of Christians, and to offer a refuge to people of refinement and sensibility, who are shocked by the irreverences they are apt to encounter elsewhere; in a word, if we are to be only a countercheck and not a force in society; then let us say as much in plain terms, and frankly renounce all claims to Catholicity. We have only, in such a case, to wrap the robe of our dignity about us, and walk quietly along in a seclusion no one will take much trouble to disturb. Thus may we be a Church in name, and a sect in deed.”

It is interesting to note that Huntington was anticipating by 50 years Ernst Troeltsch’s formative church-sect typology.

But Huntingdon’s vision of the Church was formed by a very deep theology. He wrote:

“But if we aim at something nobler than this, if we would have our Communion become national in very truth, – in other words, if we would bring the Church of Christ into the closest possible sympathy with the throbbing, sorrowing, sinning, repenting, aspiring heart of this great people, – then let us press our reasonable claims to be the reconciler of a divided household, not in a spirit of arrogance (which ill befits those whose best possessions have come to them by inheritance), but with affectionate earnestness and intelligent zeal.” [p. 159.]

And so, in pursuit of those claims, Huntingdon laid out his four principles:

● The Holy Scriptures as the Word of God;
● The Primitive Creeds as the Rule of Faith;
● The two sacraments ordained by Christ himself (i.e., Baptism and Holy Communion); and
● The Episcopate as the keystone of Governmental Unity.

Huntingdon’s proposal stood for almost a century and a half as a cornerstone of Anglican ecclesiology and Anglican ecumenical endeavour. They were eventually adopted at the 1888 conference, and the formula has become known as the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral. Are they being replaced by an Anglican Covenant?

But before Huntingdon’s quadrilateral came before the worldwide Anglican Communion, the bishops met once again at a second Lambeth Conference, in 1876.

Lambeth 2:

In the intervening years, between the first Lambeth Conference in 1867 and the second conference in 1876, the Church of Ireland was disestablished. But the first Lambeth Conference had shown that the bishops of the Established Church of England could maintain inter-communion with the bishops of non-established churches, such as Scotland and the US, and so disestablishment was not a barrier to maintaining communion.

Archbishop Archibald Cambell Tait ... called the second Lambeth Conference

The second Lambeth Conference was called by Archibald Campbell Tait (1811-1882), Archbishop of Canterbury, who was born and raised a Scottish Presbyterian. He became an Anglican at Oxford, was Dean of Carlisle at the age of 38, Bishop of London at 45, and became Archbishop of Canterbury at the 57, a year after the first Lambeth Conference. Disraeli chose Tait as Archbishop of Canterbury because he saw him as a strong foil to both the “Rits” and the “Rats” – the Ritualists and the Rationalists in the Church of England.

Tait had supported Dean Arthur Stanley in refusing to allow the use of Westminster Abbey in connection with the first Lambeth conference, and he had been a vociferous supporter of John Colenso, the Bishop of Natal, whose controversial writings and refusal to resign had triggered the first Lambeth Conference.

Tait would only agree to a second Lambeth Conference if:

● there were grave matters to be discussed;
● it was accepted that the conference could have no role in defining doctrine;
● it was accepted that the formularies of the Church of England were subject to interpretation in English law; and
● it was accepted that another conference would have no power to pass resolutions or canons that were binding on individual bishops or the constituent member churches of the Anglican Communion.

Lichfield Cathedral, with Selwyn House to the right ... Bishop Selwyn of Lichfield was the prime supporter of a second Lambeth Conference (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

The prime English supporter of a second conference was the Tractarian Bishop of Lichfield, George Augustus Selwyn (1809-1878).

Selwyn was only 32 when he was consecrated Bishop of New Zealand in 1841, and had introduced synodical government to the Anglican Church in New Zealand. As Primate of New Zealand, he had been a key figure at the first Lambeth Conference, acting as corresponding secretary. During that Lambeth Conference, he accepted an invitation to become Bishop of Lichfield, and moved there in 1868. There he also introduced synodical government for his new diocese, and his ideas on synodical church government had a strong influence on the constitution accepted by the Church of Ireland immediately after disestablishment.

The tomb of Bishop Selwyn in Lichfield Cathedral ... his introduction of synodical government in his diocese transformed many parts of the Anglican Communion (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Apart from Selwyn, 42 of the 46 American bishops signed a petition in 1874 asking for a second, and a longer, Lambeth conference.

When the second conference was called, the Church of England bishops in the Province of York accepted the invitation enthusiastically. And, while Dean Stanley was still prepared to refuse the use of Westminster Abbey, he was not given the opportunity – instead, Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London was used for the opening service.

The invitations to attend the second Lambeth Conference were sent to 173 bishops (compared to 144 in 1867), and 108 accepted (compared with 76 in 1867). The actual attendance from 2 to 27 July 1876 was 100, a higher proportion of the Anglican episcopate than in 1867. The nine Irish bishops who took part were the Archbishops of Armagh and Dublin, and the bishops of Meath, Down, Killaloe, Limerick, Derry, Cashel and Ossory.

The second conference, like the first one, was also introspective. Of the six subjects on the agenda, three were really a continuation of the first conference:

● the relationships between the various Churches of the Anglican Communion;
● establishing a projected Board of Arbitration; and
● the relationship of missionary bishops and missionaries overseas to the local church.

The debate on the relationship between missionary bishops and the place of missionaries in the overseas churches had important implications for Anglican unity and for the future cohesion of the Anglican Communion.

Thankfully, the bishops resisted a proposal to accept in principle the idea of having one bishop for chaplains ministering to European communities and another for those missionaries ministering to “native” Christians.

As one commentator has written, “then the Anglican Church would have written into its heart an apartheid as adamant as an Afrikaaner’s.”

The new items on the agenda at the second Lambeth Conference included a discussion on modern forms of infidelity and the best way of dealing with them; and the condition, progress and needs of the various Churches of the Anglican Communion. The questions of ritual included private confession, which the conference agreed should not be compelled for anyone.

The decree on papal infallibility, which was promulgated at the first Vatican Council eight years earlier, was condemned. There was a general concern among the bishops that new legislation would make divorce easier. The bishops also discussed the possibility of inter-communion with the Old Catholics. And they called for an Annual Day of Prayer for Christian Unity.

In retrospect and with hindsight, it is difficult to grasp that no formal resolution was passed calling for another, third Lambeth conference.

Once again, there were few momentous decisions. Nevertheless, the calling of a second conference turned the Lambeth Conference from an occasion into an institution.

When Tait died in 1882 and was succeeded as Archbishop of Canterbury by Edward White Benson (1829-1896), there was no doubt that a third Lambeth conference would be called.

Meanwhile, in the USA …

Meanwhile, in the United States, William Reed Huntington’s ideas contained in his quadrilateral were beginning to stir responses.

Huntington was Rector of All Saints’ Church in Worcester, Massachusetts, at the time his book, The Church Idea, was published. It has been suggested that he first articulated his Quadrilateral idea in the late 1860s to his colleagues in a local ecumenical clergy fellowship in Worcester, Massachusetts, of which he was the co-founder with his neighbour, Father John Power of Saint Paul’s Roman Catholic Parish, and in a sermon he preached in his parish in 1870.

Dante described Peschiera as a fortress beautiful and strong ... it is one of the four Italian fortress cities inspired Huntington’s numbering of his principles (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Huntington’s numbering of his four principles was inspired, he said, by the four fortress cities in the Veneto and Lombardy – Mantua, Verona, Peschiera and Legnano – which had provided the Hapsburgs with the means of keeping control of northern Italy from 1815 to 1859.

But in essence the political climate that helped Huntington to develop his ideas was the new unity in America brought about by the end of the Civil War in 1865. He was one of several Anglicans in America who turned their attention to this issue at this time; others included William Augustus Muhlenberg, Thomas H. Vail, and Edward A. Washburn.

Huntington was also echoing but altering the six visible signs of the Church that had been developed by Frederick Denison Maurice in The Kingdom of Christ (1838).

Huntington’s Quadrilateral was adopted overwhelmingly by the American House of Bishops at their meeting in Chicago on 20 October 1886. However, the Chicago resolution added the word “historic” to the fourth point about the “episcopate,” and the US bishops those four points were passed on by to the next Lambeth Conference in 1888.

Lambeth 3 (1888):

Archbishop Edward White Benson (1829-1896) (right), who succeeded Tait as Archbishop of Canterbury in 1882, called the third Lambeth Conference in 1888.

Benson had been a public school master at Rugby and Wellington, and is better remembered for the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols, which he introduced at Truro Cathedral on Christmas Eve 1880, than for his role in consolidating the Lambeth Conference as an institution underpinning the Anglican Communion.

In 1886, without any petition from abroad, Benson sent out 211 invitations, calling the third Lambeth conference in 1888 and asking for suggestions for the agenda.

In all, 145 bishops attended the third Lambeth Conference, from 3 to 27 July 1888. The 11 Irish bishops present were the Archbishops of Armagh and Dublin, and the Bishops of Meath, Derry, Kilmore, Clogher, Limerick, Cashel, Cork, Ossory and Killaloe. And there were other Irish-born bishops present too, including Bishop Magee of Peterborough, who would later become Archbishop of York, and Bishop Lewis of Ontario.

One of the principle items on Benson’s agenda was the relationship between the Anglican Churches and the other Christian Churches. Other agenda items included: intemperance, purity, the care of immigrants, and socialism. The bishops at the third Lambeth Conference were deeply concerned at the high figures for emigration from both Britain and Ireland, they commended co-operatives, and they agreed that “between socialism, as thus defined, and Christianity there is obviously no necessary contradiction.”

Indeed, the bishops accepted that “much of what is good and true in Socialism is to be found in the precepts of Christ,” and they spoke of the need to move beyond charity to social and Christian duty. They also discussed Sunday observance, polygamy and divorce.

But their most important discussion was focussed on ecumenical relations, particularly with the Eastern Churches, the Scandinavian “and other Reformed Churches,” the Old Catholics, “and others” – note that there was no specific mention of Rome in this agenda item, but there was a hope that the Gallican movement in France would develop “towards establishing a basis for intercommunion between the Churches of France and England.”

Huntington’s quadrilateral was adopted and endorsed, as Resolution 11 (see below), with a number of other alterations in addition to those made at Chicago:

Point 1, on the Holy Scriptures, was embellished with material from Article 6 in the 39 Articles.

Point 2, on the Primitive Creeds, was embellished with material from Article 8.

Point 3, on the Sacraments, was rephrased with material from Article 25.

Interestingly, the Lambeth Conference did not change the wording of Point 4, leaving intact the term “historic episcopate,” even though it would have been possible to draw from Article 36.

When the American General Convention of the Episcopal Church in the US met in Chicago in 1895, it adopted the Lambeth revision of the quadrilateral, so that it has since become known as the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral.

What is the status of the Quadrilateral?

The resolutions of Lambeth Conferences are not binding. The only moral authority they have is that they may be considered as the mind and thinking of the majority of the bishops then attending a Lambeth conference. In that sense, the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral does not have a guaranteed place in fundamental Anglican canon law.

Nevertheless, in 1979, the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral was bound in with the American Book of Common Prayer as one of the “Historical Documents of the Church,” along with the Definition of Chalcedon, the Quicunque Vult (the Athanasian Creed), the Preface to the first Book of Common Prayer, and the Articles of Religion (the 29 Articles).

In the Anglican Church in Japan, the wording of the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral is included in the “General Principles in common with the Holy Catholic Church throughout the world.”

In Canada, the Anglican Church of Canada has entrenched in its constitution what amounts to a fuller form of the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral.

For over a century, therefore, the four points of Huntington’s Quadrilateral, as altered at Chicago and at Lambeth, have been seen as the distinctive characteristics of Anglican ecclesiology.

They remain the Anglican basis for discussing unity with other Churches and remain the cornerstone and standard by which the Episcopal Church (TEC) and many other member Churches in the Anglican Communion approach questions of unity with other Churches.

Ridley Hall, Cambridge, founded in 1881 … the Ridley Cambridge Draft was finalised there in April 2009 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Subsequent Lambeth Conferences

In all there have been 14 Lambeth Conferences between 1867 and 2008:

1, 1867;
2, 1878;
3, 1888;
4, 1897;
5, 1908;
6, 1920;
7, 1930;
8, 1948;
9, 1958;
10, 1968;
11, 1978;
12, 1988;
13, 1998;
14, 2008.

In addition, a number of events between the Lambeth Conferences might have threatened Anglican unity, and political events interrupted calling Lambeth Conferences. But the conferences continued, and Anglican unity, though never anything but imperfect, has been maintained. These potentially disruptive events included:

● The disestablishment of the Church of Ireland in 1869.
● The decision by Archbishop Plunket of Dublin, Bishop Stack of Clogher and Bishop Welland of Down to consecrate a bishop for the Spanish Episcopal Reformed Church in 1894 despite strong misgivings and opposition within the Church of England.
● The Kikuyu Conference of 1913.
● World War I (1914-1918).
● World War II (1939-1945).
● The formation of the Church of South India in 1947.
● The ordination of women, first in ECUSA (now TEC) and then in other Anglican churches, and the subsequent formation of “continuing” churches.
● The consecration of the first women bishops.
● The consecration of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003.
● The approval of the blessing of same-gender unions in the Diocese of New Westminster in Canada.

Maintaining unity

Today’s debates on human sexuality and homosexuality are posing the latest threat to Anglican unity. But has it always been so? Herbert Hensley Henson (1863-1947), when he was Bishop of Durham, once acknowledged that “under the description of ‘the Anglican Communion,’ there are gathered two mutually contradictory conceptions of Christianity.”

Yet, Anglican unity has been maintained since that first Lambeth Conference in 1867, and was strengthened by the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral (1886-1888).

The English theologian Paul Avis and the American J. Robert Wright have described Huntington’s book and the way it helped to shape the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral as “probably the most significant Anglican work on ecclesiology.”

According to Paul Avis, the teachings of the Lambeth Conference merely “supplement the Quadrilateral.”

However, the range of topics that has been discussed at the Lambeth Conferences – and that, to some degree, has been reflected in the printed reports – has developed Anglican self-consciousness in the midst of great cultural diversity.

Appeal to All Christian People

From the beginning, Christian unity beyond the confines of Anglicanism has been one of the leading themes of the Lambeth Conferences. Outstanding among the moves on Christian unity is the Appeal to All Christian People issued by Lambeth 1920 and addressed to all those throughout the world who had received Christian baptism, and it invited the Churches to seek unity together.

Bishop Herbert Hensley Henson … played a controversial but key role in steps towards Christian unity at the 1920 Lambeth Conference

The appeal was inspired, to a large measure, by Bishop Frank Weston (1871-1924). Earlier, both Weston and Charles Gore (1853-1932), the founder of the Community of the Resurrection and Bishop of Oxford, had expressed their doubts about calling the 1920 Lambeth Conference, and they had strongly voiced the view that the Bishop of Hereford, Herbert Hensley Henson, who was about to become Bishop of Durham, was a heretic.

Henson was a controversial bishop and had been in the public eye from 1892 after an outburst at a diocesan conference at which he referred to dissenting Protestant churches as “emissaries of Satan.” Yet, as a canon of Westminster Abbey, he was a vociferous advocate of inter-communion between the Church of England and all regular Protestant churches. According to the Church historian, Owen Chadwick, Henson was a theological liberal, who tried to “restate the doctrines of the Church of England in such a way that they will not offend intelligent men”. His nomination as Bishop of Hereford in 1917 and as Bishop of Durham in 1920 provoked what Henson himself called a “heresy hunt.”

(In the first of her Starbridge novels, Glittering Images, Susan Howatch carries a quotation from Henson’s letters at the beginning of each chapter. In the novel’s afterword, she acknowledges that the character of Bishop Jardine is based on Henson, although the unusual details of Jardine’s personal life are not part of Henson’s life story.)

Some years earlier, Weston also led the Anglo-Catholic protests after what he described as a “Pan-Protestant” communion at Kikuyu in 1913 after a mission conference drawing together representatives of the Church Mission Society and other evangelical, non-Anglican mission agencies working in Kenya, including Presbyterians.

Yet, despite Weston’s objections to what had happened at Kikuyu, he was seen going to the other extreme ten years later. At the 1923 Anglo-Catholic Congress in London, Weston succeeded in persuading the congress to send greetings to the Patriarch of Constantinople and to send what was described as “a respectful telegram of congratulation” to the Pope, who was addressed in the greetings as “The Holy Father.”

Despite their differences, Weston and Henson eventually came to the Lambeth Conference in 1920, and they sat down together at the same committee that produced that Appeal to All Christian People issued by the conference.

The Appeal is significant because it described all those who had undergone Trinitarian baptism as members of the Christian Church. In this statement, we can see Anglicans holding that the unity of the Church is grounded in the one baptism.

Anglicans have been the first to perceive the ecumenical significance of the mutual recognition by the Churches of common baptism.

The Appeal also recognised the authorisation of the Holy Spirit in the ministries of the non-episcopal churches. But it argued that the episcopate is a God-given instrument of unity and continuity that will enable God’s people to meet in the security of one Eucharist.

The 1920 Lambeth Conference also agreed that while maintaining The Book of Common Prayer as the Anglican standard of doctrine and practice, liturgical uniformity should not be required as a necessity throughout the Anglican Communion.

Three bishops from the Old Catholic Church in the Netherlands attended Lambeth 1920. The Old Catholic Church traces its beginnings to the mainly German-speaking groups that split from the Roman Catholic Church in the 1870s following the decree on papal infallibility at the First Vatican Council (1869–1870), and an earlier group in the Diocese of Utrecht who had rejected papal authority since the 18th century. They removed the requirement for clerical celibacy in 1874 and had replaced Latin in the liturgy with the local languages by 1877.

The Society of Saint Willibrord was founded in 1908 to foster closer relations between the Church of England and the Old Catholic Church. At first, its activities were aimed at promoting full communion between the two Churches, a major step towards visible communion with other Churches that came about a year after the 1930 Lambeth Conference with the Bonn Agreement (1931) between the Church of England and the Old Catholics of The Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland.

The Bonn Agreement established full communion between the Church of England and the Old Catholic Churches, and this full communion has since been extended to all member churches of the Anglican Communion.

The Bonn Agreement incorporates three statements:

● Each Communion recognises the catholicity and independence of the other and maintains its own.
● Each Communion agrees to admit members of the other Communion to participate in the Sacraments.
● Full Communion does not require from either Communion the acceptance of all doctrinal opinion, sacramental devotion or liturgical practice characteristic of the other, but implies that each believes the other to hold all the essentials of the Christian faith.

Classic statements of Anglican identity

Both the 1930 and the 1948 Lambeth Conferences provided classic statements of Anglican identity. The 1930 Lambeth Conference described the Anglican Communion as “a Commonwealth of Churches without a central constitution … a federation without a federal government.”

This is how the bishops at the 1930 Lambeth Conference defined the Anglican Communion:

The Anglican Communion is a fellowship, within which the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church, of those duly constituted dioceses, provinces or regional Churches in communion with the See of Canterbury, which have the following characteristics in common:

● they uphold and propagate the catholic and apostolic faith and order as they are generally set forth in The Book of Common Prayer as authorised in their several churches;
● they are particular or national churches, and as such, promote within each of their territories a natural expression of Christian faith, life and worship; and
● they are bound together not by a central legislative and executive authority, but by mutual loyalty sustained by the common counsel of the bishops in conference.

Lambeth after World War II

Both World War II and the formation of the Church of South India in 1947 failed to disrupt the unity of the Anglican Communion.

The 1948 Lambeth Conference helped heal the terrible disruption brought about by World War II. It also issued another seminal statement on the dispersed nature of Anglican authority that is deservedly regarded as a classical definition of the nature of Anglicanism.

That statement is worth quoting in full:

“The positive nature of the authority which binds the Anglican Communion together is ... moral and spiritual, resting on the truth of the Gospel, and on a charity which is patient and willing to defer to the common mind.

“Authority, as inherited by the Anglican Communion from the undivided Church of the early centuries of the Christian era, is single in that it is derived from a single divine source, and reflects within itself the riches and historicity of the Divine Revelation, the authority of the eternal Father, the incarnate Son, and the life-giving Spirit. It is distributed among Scripture, Tradition, Creeds, the Ministry of the Word and Sacraments, the witness of the saints, and the consensus fidelium, which is the continuing experience of the Holy Spirit through his faithful people in the Church.

“It is this dispersed rather than a centralised authority having many elements which combine, interact with, and check each other; these elements together contributing a process of mutual support, mutual checking, and redressing of errors or exaggerations in the many-sided fullness of the authority which Christ has committed to his Church. Where this authority of Christ is to be found mediated not in one mode but in several we recognise in this multiplicity God’s loving provision against the temptations to tyranny and the dangers of unchecked power.”

The 1948 Conference also condemned the unilateral war-time decision by Bishop Ronald (“R.O.”) Hall of Hong Kong to ordain the Revd Florence Tim Oi Li (right) to the priesthood on 25 January 1944. She was ordained not because her bishop had strong principles about the ordination of women, but due to necessity – but because she was needed to serve Anglicans who had been cut off from the rest of the Church by the Japanese invasion of China.

Contraception and family planning

In 1958, the Lambeth Conference gave guarded approval to family planning and contraception, declaring “self-discipline and restraint are essential conditions of the responsible freedom of marriage and family planning …”

Fifty years earlier, in 1908, the bishops expressed alarm at the increasing availability of the “artificial restriction of the family.” The 1920 Lambeth Conference expressed grave concern and issued an “emphatic warning” against contraception. There was noticeable shift in attitude in 1930. However, by today’s standards, the 1958 resolution must be regarded as ground-breaking, coming ten years before Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae.

The 1968 Lambeth Conference noted the publication of the encyclical and, while expressing its appreciation of the Pope’s deep concern for the institution of marriage and the integrity of married life, it disagreed with his views on contraception and affirmed the two relevant resolutions passed 10 years earlier.

These statements (see Appendix 2) show how the Lambeth Conferences can move on moral issues from total opposition, to qualified acceptance, and then full acceptance. The change also reflects the changing of status of women in the world, and also within the Anglican churches.

In this change of opinion and teaching on contraception, we can see how the Anglican Church relies on the experience of the faithful members in working out its moral judgments. According to a leading Anglican ethicist, Professor Gordon Dunstan, it “exemplifies an instance in which the magisterium of the Church formulated and ratified a moral judgement made by a sort of Consensus Fidelium, for which a good theological justification was worked out ex post facto.”

As the former Bishop of Oxford, Richard Harries, has pointed out, this is a crucial indication of the nature of Anglican moral judgments. They are not simply laid down from on high. The official pronouncements of the Church must reflect the tested experience of the wider Christian community, particularly the experience of lay people.

That Lambeth Conference in 1968 also reflected the growing worldwide sense of the problems of the “Third World” and the chasm between the rich and poor nations and Churches. It established the Anglican Consultative Council. And the conference also accepted that women who had been ordained as “deaconesses” should be accepted as “deacons.”

The “irregular” ordination of eleven women as priests in the Church of the Advocate in Philadelphia in 1974

Shortly after the 1968 Lambeth Conference, the ordination of women threatened a major rift within the Anglican Communion. Women were ordained in Hong Kong in 1971, in Canada in 1976 and in the US (after several irregular ordinations starting in 1974) and in New Zealand in 1977.

The 1978 Lambeth Conference was unable to do more than accept that there was a variety of practice while affirming its commitment to the preservation of Anglican unity.

Eucharistic hospitality

On the eve of the 1978 Lambeth Conference, Stephen Sykes published his The Integrity of Anglicanism, a book that marks the beginning of the current preoccupation with Anglican identity.

In the practice of Eucharistic hospitality, Anglicans show that we believe that the common baptism we share calls for unity in the Eucharist – for that is where the Body of Christ, to which we already belong by baptism, is most fully known.

The Eucharist, or Holy Communion, is the paradigm of koinonia and this concept – so fruitful in current ecumenical work – is particularly congenial to Anglicans. Anglicans have contributed to the ecumenical theology of communion, and this theology is particularly reflected in the document of the 1988 Lambeth Conference, The Truth Shall Set You Free.

The growing strength and confidence of the Anglican provinces in the developing world has intensified the centrifugal forces within the Anglican Communion.

At the 1998 Lambeth Conference, the battle lines were drawn up between first and second world liberals and third world conservatives over human sexuality, and the chasm opened even wider two years ago at the 2008 Lambeth Conference.

Statements over the decades

Over the past century, the Lambeth Conferences have also produced important statements on:

● drug abuse (1908).
● moral principles in economic life (1908).
● moral responsibility in politics (1908).
● war and peace (1897 – when war was decried as “a horrible evil” – 1920, 1930, 1968 – when the use of nuclear and bacteriological weapons were condemned “emphatically” and the right of conscientious objectors upheld – and 1978).
● human rights (1948, 1978).
● contraception (1908, 1920, 1930, 1958, 1968).
● social responsibility (1958, 1978).
● the family (1958).
● the ministry of the laity (1968).
● ecology (1968).
● sexuality and homosexuality (1988, 1998).

In 1968, Lambeth asked the member churches to consider whether the 39 Articles need to be bound up with The Book of Common Prayer and suggested that assent to the 39 Articles should no longer be required of ordinands, and suggested that where subscription is required and given, it is only in the context of setting them in their historical context.

Today’s agenda

An important reader for the 1998 conference produced by Chris Sugden and Vinay Samuel, Anglican Life and Witness, shows the variety of issues that confront Anglican life in our days:

● fascism and nationalism,
● the family,
● the Gospel and Culture,
● homosexuality,
● HIV/AIDS,
● Christian faith an economics,
● trade and development,
● the impact of the market economy on the poor,
● business and corruption,
● the media and modernity,
● Christian feminism,
● population control,
● adolescence and youth ministry,
● dialogue,
● accessible liturgy,
● contraception,
● genocide in Rwanda.

The stresses within the Anglican Communion have been increased by the different speeds at which the Anglican provinces are ordaining women as deacons, priests and bishops.

The acceptance of the notion of “impaired communion” between provinces that no longer enjoy a full, mutual recognition of ministries, because of this issue, called into question the reality of a coherent and unified Anglican identity. The possibility then arose of a diversity of interpretations of Anglican identity emerging within the Anglican Communion.

In addition, there have been serious questions about the continuing value of the Lambeth Conferences as they have evolved: their expense; their practical ineffectiveness; the English or Anglo-Saxon domination in the proceedings; and their limitation to bishops only. But as the conference came into being through a desire for consultation on common problems, we have not yet seen another effective way in which mutual responsibility can be totally exercised by the bishops of the Anglican Communion.

A shared Anglican ecclesiology?

Paul Avis, in his book The Identity of Anglicanism: Essentials of Anglican Ecclesiology (London: T&T Clark/Continuum, 2007, pp 160-162), lists the principal sources (indicative rather than definitive texts) that are relevant to Anglican ecclesiology as:

● The historic formularies (i.e., the 39 Articles, the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and the 1550/1662 Ordinal).
● The ecclesiological teachings of the Lambeth Conferences since 1867.
● The report of the Church of England’s Doctrine Commission, Doctrine in the Church of England (1938).
● Recent ecclesiological statements from the House of Bishops of the Church of England.
● The ARCIC Agreed Statements.
● The Dublin Agreed Statement (1984) of the international Anglican-Orthodox dialogue.
● The WCC Lima Statement, Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry (1982).
● The WCC Faith and Order Commission statements on unity, including New Delhi (1961) and Canberra (1991).
● The Porvoo Communion Statement (1996).
● The writings of Richard Hooker summarised by PE More and FL Cross in their 1935 anthology Anglicanism (London: SPCK, 1935).
● The corpus of Anglican spiritual and theological writing anthologised in Love’s Redeeming Work edited by Geoffrey Rowell, Kenneth Stevenson and Rowan Williams (Oxford: OUP, 2004).

The Primates of the Anglican Communion at their meeting in Swords, Co Dublin, two years ago. Seated on each side of Archbishop Rowan Williams are Archbishop Alan Harper and Canon Kenneth Kearon; in the back row (second from left) is the Irish-born Scottish primus, Bishop David Chillingworth

Paul Avis concludes his chapter on ‘Anglican Ecclesiology in the Twenty-first Century’ with this assessment of the state of Anglicanism today:

“Anglicanism does indeed attempt to hold together elements that are opposed in other traditions – though not without strains. It defines itself as catholic and reformed; orthodox in doctrine yet open to change in its application. Its polity is both episcopal (and its bishops have real authority) and synodical – an unusual combination in a church that has maintained the historic episcopate. It acknowledges an ecumenical council as the highest authority in the Church, but is not opposed in principle to a universal primacy and virtually never has been. It confesses the paramount authority of Scripture, but reveres tradition and harkens to the voice of culture and science. It tries to be neither centralized nor fragmented, neither authoritarian nor anarchic. It is comprehensive without being relativistic. This interesting experiment has endured and evolved for nearly five centuries; in spite of the present difficulties, I believe it is worth persevering with.” [Paul Avis, The Identity of Anglicanism: Essentials of Anglican Ecclesiology (London: T&T Clark, 2007), pp 168-169.]

But given the present difficulties, can Anglicanism persevere?

Indeed, we might ask, can it survive?

And what is holding Anglicanism together at this present moment?

Unity agreements and the future of Anglicanism

What are the problems facing Justin Welby as he becomes Archbishop of Canterbury in two months’ time?

The future of Anglicanism was never seen in isolation from the future of the rest of the church. From the beginning, the Lambeth Conferences looked at both the future of Anglicanism, and the ecumenical future. But today question marks hang over the future of the Anglican Communion, and these include the following issues:

● Whether the Anglican Covenant is in danger of creating a two-tier Anglican Communion.
● Whether the Anglican Covenant is in danger of creating an Anglican ‘Curia’.
● The role of the Archbishop of Canterbury as the focus of unity for the Anglican Communion.
● The future of the Lambeth Conference as a purely Episcopal gathering.
● The status, role or authority of Lambeth Conference resolutions.
● The tension between maintaining theological diversity and unity in communion.
● The possibility of a future Anglican Congress that is representative of the laity.

Although the Church of England and the Episcopal Church in the United States (TEC) continue, in many ways, to dominate the agenda, the budgets and the ethos of the Anglican Communion. As Professor Alister McGrath pointed out at a conference in Oxford on the “Future of Anglicanism”: “On any given Sunday there are more Anglicans attending church in the west African state of Nigeria than in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and Australia, taken together.”

Anglican Churches are thriving and growing in many parts of Africa and Asia. But Anglicans appear to be in decline, numerically, in the traditional Anglican heartlands such as England, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

In America, the decline of Anglicanism or Episcopalianism is in sharp contrast to the rise in membership of pentecostal and evangelical churches. Alister McGrath claims: “The implications for the future direction of Anglicanism are momentous.”

The future of Anglicanism and other communions of churches

But of course, the Anglican Communion is not the only communion or grouping of churches of which the Church of Ireland and other Anglican Churches are now a part. In terms of looser alliances and federations we are part of the Irish Council of Churches (1922), the Conference of European Churches (1957), the World Council of Churches (1948) and Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (1990).

From the very beginning, the Lambeth Conferences were concerned not only with the unity of the churches that now form the Anglican Communion, but were anxious to pursue unity with other Churches, including the Old Catholics and the Scandinavian Lutherans.

The Anglican Churches and the Old Catholics have been in communion since the Bonn Agreement (1931), recognising each other’s orders, episcopate, ministry, &c, so forming effectively an overlapping communion – at least on continental Europe.

But the Church of Ireland is also part of a closer communion of churches, which is emerging in Northern Europe and which is being referred to increasingly as the Porvoo Communion – a grouping of more than a dozen Anglican and Lutheran churches in these islands, Scandinavia and the Baltic states.

The future of the Anglican Covenant

We have already referred to the Anglican Covenant, and we shall return to it again soon. It was been sent to the provinces for their adoption, and the General Synod of the Church of Ireland, when it met in Armagh two years ago (May 2011), agreed to “subscribe” to the Covenant.

In the Church of England, the Act of Synod adopting the Covenant has been sent to the diocesan synods before it can return to the General Synod for approval. And there it fell. Like the measure on women bishops, is it possible that it may return to diocesan synods and even to the General Synod for debate again?

Is it still a living document for the rest of the Anglican Communion?

What would it mean if the Anglican Covenant became an instrument of communion or unity in the Anglican Communion, but the Archbishop of Canterbury was the primate of a Church that has rejected it?

We shall have to wait to see.

Part 2: the Anglican Communion; mission, ecumenical engagement and the debates today.

The Mission was the No 1 movie on the Church Times ‘Top 50 Religious Films’ list … but how do we respond as Anglicans to Missio Dei?

Introduction:

The Anglican Communion understands mission as primarily God’s mission (Missio Dei). For the member churches of the Anglican Communion, God’s mission is holistic, concerned for all human beings and the totality of a human person; body mind and spirit. It is concerned for the totality of God’s creation. This holistic understanding of mission is expressed in the Anglican Communion’s Five Marks of Mission.

The Anglican Communion has expanded the language in its Five Marks of Mission after the Anglican Consultative Council agreed in Auckland, New Zealand (ACC-15), two months ago [7 November 2012] to say that the Anglican Communion’s mission is marked by efforts to “challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation.”

The Five Marks of Mission, initially agreed to during the ACC’s 1984 and 1990 meetings, and amended in 2012, are:

● To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom;
● To teach, baptise and nurture new believers;
● To respond to human need by loving service;
● To seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation;
● To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.

ACC-15 decided to append new language to the fourth mark of mission, rather than the original proposal to add a sixth mark that would have read “to advance peace, eliminate violence and reconcile all.”

Before ACC-15, the five marks of mission read:

● To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
● To teach, baptise and nurture new believers
● To respond to human need by loving service
● To seek to transform unjust structures of society
● To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth

As you can see, the Five Marks of Mission are not comprehensive in themselves. But they serve as a guide and they help the member churches of the Anglican Communion to live out a mission lifestyle in our local contexts, and in a variety of ways.

Mission takes place primarily in a local context – congregation, parish, diocese and province – but it is the responsibility of every baptised Christian; young and old, male and female, lay and ordained.

Right from the first meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Nairobi, Kenya (ACC-1) in 1971, Mission has been an important strand of the work of the Anglican Communion Office. At this first meeting, the ACC identified four themes:

● Unity and Ecumenical Affairs;
● the Church’s role in Society;
● Order and organisation in the Anglican Church,
● Mission and Evangelism.

The “Five Marks of Mission” were subsequently developed by the Anglican Consultative Council at meetings between 1984 and 1990,:

These five points have won wide acceptance among Anglicans, giving parishes, dioceses and Anglican provinces around the world a practical and memorable checklist for mission activities.

The Five Marks stress the doing of mission. Faithful action is the measure of our response to Christ (cf. Matthew 25: 31-46; James 2: 14-26).

The first mark of mission, identified at ACC-6 with personal evangelism, is really a summary of all that mission is about, because it is based on Christ’s own summary of his mission (Matthew 4: 17; Mark 1: 14-15; Luke 4: 18, Luke 7: 22; cf. John 3: 14-17). Instead of being just one (albeit the first) of five distinct activities, perhaps this ought to bed be the key statement about everything we do in mission.

But, as the Anglican Communion travels further along the road towards being mission-centred, do the Five Marks need to be revisited? And, if so, what is missing?

The challenge facing us is not just to do mission but to be a people of mission. That is, we are learning to allow every dimension of Church life to be shaped and directed by our identity as a sign, foretaste and instrument of God’s reign in Christ. Our understanding of mission needs to make that clear.

All mission is done in a particular setting or context. So, although there is a fundamental unity to the good news, as we saw last week it is shaped by the great diversity of places, times and cultures in which we live, proclaim and embody it. The Five Marks should not lead us to think that there are only five ways of doing mission!

For example, we can also see mission as celebration and thanksgiving. An important feature of Anglicanism is our belief that worship is central to our common life. But worship is not just something we do alongside our witness to the good news: worship is itself a witness to the world. It is a sign that all of life is holy, that hope and meaning can be found in offering ourselves to God (cf. Romans 12: 1).

And each time we celebrate the Eucharist, we proclaim Christ's death until he comes (I Corinthians 11: 26). Our liturgical life is a vital dimension of our mission calling; and although it is not included in the Five Marks, it undergirds the forms of public witness listed there.

Some Readings on Anglican Mission:

1, Anglicans in Mission, a transforming journey, ed Eleanor Johnson and John Clark (London: SPCK, 2000).

This is the report of Missio, the Mission Commission of the Anglican Communion, to the Anglican Consultative Council, which met in Edinburgh in September 1999 (ACC-11). The report was prepared by an international team from 19 nations, in the context of the 1990s, when Anglican Churches throughout the world were responding to the call from the 1988 Lambeth Conference for a “dynamic missionary emphasis going beyond care and nurture to proclamation and service.”

The members of the commission grew together through their meetings and encounters with Christians in the nations where they met. They recognised that the member Churches of the Anglican Communion were on a journey together that would transform them as they sought to follow God in his life-giving mission of love to the world.

Their report reflects on this journey towards transformation, and combines exhilarating stories of mission and evangelism with:

● Theological insight
● Advice and strategies for successful mission
● Reflection on the changing patterns and structures for international mission
● A review of the Decade of Evangelism, with guidelines to strengthen partnerships.

Their report concludes with a list of prayers and resources for mission to continue to challenge the Church today.

2, Communion in Mission (London: Anglican Communion Office, 2006).

This is the report of the Inter Anglican Commission on Mission and Evangelism (2001-2005) to ACC-13 in Nottingham, and includes the interim report to ACC-12, Travelling Together in God’s Mission, and final reports of two major mission consultations in Nairobi and Cyprus.

The report identifies a number of strategic ways in which the Anglican Communion has moved forward in mission and evangelism supported by a growing network of connections.

It calls Anglicans to a renewed commitment to working together in mission as companions, friends and brothers and sisters, strengthening the relationships that hold us together for the sake of mission in the world.

It calls for a development of Covenants in Mission across the Anglican Communion. The report is earthed in stories from around the Anglican Communion and includes questions for discussion and reflection.

3, Mission in the 21st Century: Exploring the Five Marks of Global Mission, ed Andrew Walls and Cathy Ross (London: Darton Longman Todd, 2008).

This is a collection of essays written in advance of the Lambeth 2008 Conference, where the theme for the Anglican bishops was “Equipping Bishops for Mission.”

The agenda and content of the 2008 Lambeth Conference, which had the theme, “Equipping Bishops to Fulfil Their Leadership Role in God’s Mission,” was very much shaped by the Anglican Communion’s understanding of mission as central to the existence and life of the Church.

In preparing for the 2008 Lambeth Conference, the Mission Department of the Anglican Communion Office carried out a survey on mission and evangelism issues around the Communion and produced a booklet, Holistic Mission, out of which many Self Select Sessions were prepared for the bishops and the spouses at the Lambeth Conference.

Mission and Mission agencies in the Church of Ireland today:

The Church of Ireland Council for Mission, which reports to the General Synod, includes members elected by the General Synod, representatives from the 12 dioceses of the Church of Ireland, one member each from the Bishops’ Appeal and the Mothers’ Union, one person from the Methodist Church, and representatives from the mission agencies working within the Church of Ireland through the Association of Mission Societies (AMS), of which I am a former chair.

The 22 member organisations are:

The Bible Society in Northern Ireland, the Church Army, Church Mission Society Ireland (CMS Ireland), Church’s Mission and Jewish People Ireland (CMJ Ireland), Church Pastoral Aid Society (CPAS), Crosslinks, Dublin University Far Eastern Mission (DUFEM), Dublin University Mission to Chota Nagpur, Intercontinental Church Society (ICS), Interserve, Irish Church Missions, Jerusalem and Middle East Church Association, Kilbroney Centre, the Leprosy Mission, Mission to Seafarers, National Bible Society of Ireland, SAMS UK and Ireland (South American Mission Society), Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK), Tearfund Ireland, Us Ireland (formerly USPG Ireland), Us Northern Ireland (formerly USPG Northern Ireland), and Wycliffe Bible Translators.

The Bishops’ Appeal, Christian Aid and the Mothers’ Union are not members. Why do you think this is so?

Is there a difference between “home mission” and “foreign missions”?

Two years ago (2011), the report of the Church of Ireland Council for Mission spoke of how mission in the Church of Ireland is often driven by the mission agencies (see p. 391).

But should the Church take ownership of mission and drive it forward, owning the agenda and taking responsibility for identifying the resources? This implicit, for example in the full legal name of the Episcopal Church (TEC) in the US a national church corporate body, which is the “Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America.”

Is there a conflict between the goals of development and mission, or are they complementary?

Do the mission agencies give the impression of over-emphasising fund-raising in the parishes at the expense of empowering parishes to engage in mission?

Do the present divisions within the Anglican Communion have their sources in, or reflect the differences in emphasis of the mission agencies based in these islands?

Concluding comments:

The memorial in Saint Matthew’s Church, Westminster, to Bishop Frank Weston (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Bishop Frank Weston, who was the Bishop of Zanzibar from 1908, held together in a creative combination his incarnational and sacramental theology with his radical social concerns formed the keynote of his address to the Anglo-Catholic Congress in 1923. He believed that the sacramental focus gave a reality to Christ’s presence and power that nothing else could. “The one thing England needs to learn is that Christ is in and amid matter, God in flesh, God in sacrament.”

And so he concluded: “But I say to you, and I say it with all the earnestness that I have, if you are prepared to fight for the right of adoring Jesus in His Blessed Sacrament, then, when you come out from before your tabernacles, you must walk with Christ, mystically present in you through the streets of this country, and find the same Christ in the peoples of your cities and villages. You cannot claim to worship Jesus in the tabernacle, if you do not pity Jesus in the slums … It is folly – it is madness – to suppose that you can worship Jesus in the Sacraments and Jesus on the throne of glory, when you are sweating him in the souls and bodies of his children.”

Appendix 1:

Huntington’s four principles:

● The Holy Scriptures as the Word of God;
● The Primitive Creeds as the Rule of Faith;
● The two Sacraments ordained by Christ himself;
● The Episcopate as the key-stone of Governmental Unity.

The Chicago Quadrilateral (1886):

● The Holy Scriptures of the Old Testament and New Testament as the revealed Word of God;
● The Nicene Creed as the sufficient statement of the Christian Faith.
● The two Sacraments – Baptism and the Supper of the Lord – ministered with unfailing use of Christ’s words of institution and the elements ordained by him.
● The Historic Episcopate, locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying needs of the nations and peoples called of God into the unity of His Church.

The Lambeth Quadrilateral (1888):

● The Holy Scriptures of the Old Testament and New Testaments, as “containing all things necessary to salvation,” and as being the rule and ultimate standard of faith.
● The Apostles’ Creed, as the Baptismal Symbol; and the Nicene Creed, as the sufficient statement of the Christian Faith.
● The two Sacraments ordained by Christ Himself – Baptism and the Supper of the Lord – ministered with unfailing use of Christ’s words of institution, and the elements ordained by him.
● The Historic Episcopate, locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying needs of the nations and peoples called of God into the Unity of His Church.

Lambeth Conference 1888, Resolution 11

Appendix 2:

1930 Lambeth Conference definition of the Anglican Communion:

The Anglican Communion is a fellowship, within which the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church, of those duly constituted dioceses, provinces or regional Churches in communion with the See of Canterbury, which have the following characteristics in common:

● They uphold and propagate the catholic and apostolic faith and order as they are generally set forth in The Book of Common Prayer as authorised in their several churches.
● They are particular or national churches, and as such, promote within each of their territories a natural expression of Christian faith, life and worship. And
● They are bound together not by a central legislative and executive authority, but by mutual loyalty sustained by the common counsel of the bishops in conference.

1948 Lambeth Conferences statement on the dispersed nature of Anglican authority (a classical definition of the nature of Anglicanism):

The positive nature of the authority which binds the Anglican Communion together is ... moral and spiritual, resting on the truth of the Gospel, and on a charity which is patient and willing to defer to the common mind.

Authority, as inherited by the Anglican Communion from the undivided Church of the early centuries of the Christian era, is single in that it is derived from a single divine source, and reflects within itself the riches and historicity of the Divine Revelation, the authority of the eternal Father, the incarnate Son, and the life-giving Spirit. It is distributed among Scripture, Tradition, Creeds, the Ministry of the Word and Sacraments, the witness of the saints, and the consensus fidelium, which is the continuing experience of the Holy Spirit through his faithful people in the Church.

It is this dispersed rather than a centralised authority having many elements which combine, interact with, and check each other; these elements together contributing a process of mutual support, mutual checking, and redressing of errors or exaggerations in the many-sided fullness of the authority which Christ has committed to his Church. Where this authority of Christ is to be found mediated not in one mode but in several we recognise in this multiplicity God’s loving provision against the temptations to tyranny and the dangers of unchecked power.

Appendix 3:

Lambeth Conference statements on contraception:

1908: The Conference regards with alarm the growing practice of the artificial restriction of the family, and earnestly calls upon all Christian people to discountenance the use of all artificial means of restriction as demoralizing to character and hostile to national welfare.

1920: The Conference, while declining to lay down rules which will meet the needs of every abnormal case, regards with grave concern the spread in modern society of theories and practices hostile to the family. We utter an emphatic warning against the use of unnatural means for the avoidance of conception, together with the grave dangers – physical, moral and religious – thereby incurred, and against the evils which the extension of such use threatens the race.

1930: Where there is a clearly felt moral obligation to limit or avoid parenthood, the method must be decided on Christian principles. The primary and obvious method is complete abstinence from intercourse (as far as may be necessary) in a life of discipline and self-control lived in the power of the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless in those cases where there is such a clearly felt moral obligation to limit or avoid parenthood, and where there is a morally sound reason for avoiding complete abstinence, the Conference agrees that other methods may be used, providing that this is done in the light of the same Christian principles.

1958: The Conference believes that the responsibility for deciding upon the number and frequency of children has been laid by God upon the consciences of parents everywhere: that this planning, in such ways as are mutually acceptable to husband and wife in Christian conscience, is a right and important factor in Christian family life and should be result of positive choice before God.

1968: [T]he Conference finds itself unable to agree with the Pope’s conclusion that all methods of conception control other than abstinence from sexual intercourse or its confinement to the periods of infecundity are contrary to the “order established by God.” It reaffirms the resolutions of the 1958 Conference of 113 and 115.

Reading:

The reports and resolutions of the Lambeth Conferences.

The Anglican Covenant and the three draft covenants, Nassau (2007), Saint Andrew’s Draft (2008) and Ridley (2009).

Two years ago, The Church Times [18 March 2011] published a 12-page guide to the Anglican Covenant, including a six-page annotated version, with explanatory marginal notes and comments.

P. Avis, The Anglican understanding of the Church (London: SPCK, 2000).
P. Avis, The Identity of Anglicanism: essentials of Anglican ecclesiology (London: T&T Clark/Continuum, 2007).
I. Bunting (ed), Celebrating the Anglican Way (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1996).
MD Chapman, Anglicanism: a very short introduction (Oxford: OUP, 2006).
MD Chapman (ed), The Anglican Covenant: Unity and Diversity in the Anglican Communion (London: Mowbray/Continuum, 2008).
MD Chapman (ed), The Hope of Things to Come (London: Mowbray, 2010).
MD Chaprman, Anglican Theology (London: T&T Clark, 2012).
C. Chartres (ed), Why I am still an Anglican (London: Continuum, 2006).
D. Dormor et al (eds.), Anglicanism: The answer to modernism (Continuum, 2003).
GR Evans, JR Wright (eds), The Anglican Tradition (London: SPCK, 1991).
R. Hannaford (ed), The Future of Anglicanism (Leominster: Gracewing, 1996).
C. Helfling, C. Shattuck (eds), The Oxford Guide to the Book of Common Prayer (Oxford: OUP, 2006).
R. Holloway (ed), The Anglican Tradition (London: Mowbray, 1984).
CH Long (ed), Who are the Anglicans? (Cincinnati: Forward, 1988).
A. McGrath, The SPCK Handbook of Anglican Theologians (London: SPCK, 1998).
S. Neill, Anglicanism (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1958 and later eds).
S. Platten (ed), Anglicanism and the Western Christian Tradition (Norwich: Canterbury Press, 2003).
J. Rosenthal (ed), The Essential Guide to The Anglican Communion (Harrisburg: Morehouse, 1998).
C. Sugden, V. Samuel (eds.), Anglican Life and Witness (SPCK, 1997).
S. Sykes, The Integrity of Anglicanism (London: Mowbray, 1978).
S. Sykes, Unashamed Anglicanism (London: DLT, 1995).
S. Sykes, J. Booty (eds), The Study of Anglicanism (London: SPCK, 1988).
The Virginia Report: The Report of the Inter-Anglican Theological and Doctrinal Commission (Harrisburg: Morehouse, 1999).
JCW Wand, Anglicanism in History and Today (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1963).
S. Wells, What Anglicans Believe (Norwich: Canterbury Press, 2011).
SR White, Authority and Anglicanism (London: SCM, 1996).
The Windsor Report 2004: The Lambeth Commission on Communion (London: Anglican Communion Office, 2004).
A. Wingate et al (eds), Anglicanism: A Global Communion (London: Mowbray, 1998).
WJ Wolf, JE Booty, OC Thomas, The Spirit of Anglicanism (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1979).

Next:

4.2: Is there a way of talking about an ‘Anglican Culture’?

Canon Patrick Comerford is Lecturer in Anglicanism and Liturgy, the Church of Ireland Theological Institute. These notes were prepared for a lecture on the MTh part-time course, EM8825: Anglican Studies in an Irish context, on Saturday 12 January 2013