Lambeth Palace, the official London residence of the Archbishops of Canterbury since the 13th century, also gives its name to the Lambeth Conference (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)
Church of Ireland Theological Institute
TH 8825: Anglican Studies in an Irish context
MTh Year II, Semester 2:
Mondays, The Hartin Room, 10.30 a.m. to 1 p.m:
Monday, 18 January 2016.
1.1: Anglican Studies in an Irish context, Outline of module, readings, essays, &c.
1.2: Who we are (1): an introduction to Anglicanism in Ireland today.
1.3, Who we are (2): an introduction to the Anglican Communion today.
The compass rose, the symbol of the Anglican Communion, signifying its worldwide membership and decentralised organisation. It is surmounted by a bishop’s mitre, in the centre is the cross of Saint George, and the Greek motto is Ἡ ἀλήθεια ἐλευθερώσει ὑμᾶς, The truth will set you free (John 8: 32). It was designed by Canon Edward Nason West of the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, New York
1.3, Who we are (2): an introduction to the Anglican Communion today.
The present state of the Anglican Communion:
The Anglican Communion is a communion of churches spread across all the inhabited continents, bound together through a number of instruments.
Traditionally there have been four instruments of unity, now known as the “Instruments of Communion”:
● The Archbishop of Canterbury, who calls and convenes the Lambeth Conference and the Primates’ meetings. He is often referred to as a “focus of unity.”
● The Lambeth Conference, first called in 1867 and now meeting every 10 years – the last meeting was in Canterbury in 2008. The Anglican Primates agreed at their meeting last week to support the Archbishop of Canterbury’s intentions to call the next Lambeth Conference in 2020.
● The Anglican Consultative Council, formed in 1968. ACC-15 met in Christchurch, New Zealand, from 27 October to 7 November 2012. ACC-16 is due to take place in Lusaka, Zambia this year [8-20 April 2016].The Church of Ireland members are the Revd Dr Maurice Elliott (Director of the Church of Ireland Theological Institute) and Mr Wilfred Baker (Cork).
● The Primates’ Meeting, which takes place every two or three years. The latest meeting took place last week in Canterbury [11 to 15 January 2016]. Two previous meetings have taken place in Ireland: in Dromantine, near Newry (2006), and the Emmaus Retreat Centre in Swords, Co Dublin (January 2011). Last week, the Primates agreed to meet again in 2017 and 2019.
In addition, roles in maintaining Anglican unity are played by:
● The Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council, increasingly being referred to as the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion. This is a 14-member group (15, if the Archbishop of Canterbury is present). Seven members are elected by the ACC; five are members of the Primates’ Standing Committee; and the elected Chair and Vice-Chair of the ACC. Its defined function is to assist the Churches of the Anglican Communion in advancing the work of their mission worldwide.
● The secretary of the Anglican Communion Office, the Most Revd Josiah Idowu-Fearon, who succeeds Canon Kenneth Kearon, who became Bishop of Limerick last year [24 January 2015].
● The Mothers’ Union.
● The mission agencies, although they have no instrument of unity that holds them together.
The debates aimed at dealing with diversity and tension within the Anglican Communion and on the Anglican Covenant now include discussions about the instruments of communion or unity and the discipline needed to hold together the Anglican Communion and to deal with any breaches of the Covenant after it has been ratified.
Of course, there are major questions about the continuing place within the Anglican Communion of those provinces or dioceses that fail to, or refuse to, sign up for the covenant.
What is the Anglican Communion?
The Anglican Communion, which describes itself as the Anglican/Episcopal family, consists of about 80 million Christians who are members of 44 different churches. It is the third largest communion or international denomination of Christians, following Roman Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox Churches. The Anglican Communion is made up of 34 provinces, four United Churches, and six other churches, spread across the globe.
These include four churches in the Indian sub-continent in which Anglicans merged with other denominations to form new, united churches (Bangladesh, North India, Pakistan and South India). There are four national churches (Spain, Portugal, Sri Lanka and Bermuda), that are still so small that they, along with the small Anglican presence on the Falkland Islands, accept the Archbishop of Canterbury as their Metropolitan.
Ten Anglican churches in the Caribbean, Central and Latin America have special links to the Episcopal Church in the US (TEC). For example, the Diocese of Haiti is the largest diocese, in terms of numbers, in TEC.
The newest Anglican province is the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Hong Kong and Macao, with three dioceses (Hong Kong Island, Eastern Kowloon, Western Kowloon), and one missionary area (Macao).
Many of the dioceses in these churches are small compared with the dioceses of the Church of Ireland. Others are vast: the Diocese in Europe alone, which is part of the Church of England, stretches from Morocco in North Africa to Vladivostok in Siberian East Asia. There have been Anglican churches on Continental Europe since the early 17th century, but the Diocese of Europe dates from the establishment of the Diocese of Gibraltar in 1842, and its territorial embrace overlaps with a number of other Anglican churches and dioceses:
Saint George’s Anglican Church in a quiet corner of Salamanca in Madrid (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)
● The Convocation of American Churches in Europe, which is part of TEC and has its own bishop, has a cathedral in Paris and churches and missions in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland.
● The Spanish Episcopal Reformed Church.
● The Lusitanian Church (Portugal).
The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East is spread across three continents, from Libya in North Africa, to Cyprus in the Mediterranean, to the Gulf States and Iran, to Ethiopia in the Horn of Africa.
As Mark Chapman says in The Anglican Covenant (p. 2):
“Anyone who travels across the world will soon realize that in some ways Anglicanism is a bit like Microsoft or any other global brand – in that it covers most of the inhabited world, and is the third largest Christian denomination after Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, with perhaps 80 million members. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, may not be quite as well known as Bill Gates, but I would guess that his beard and his eyebrows command a pretty high degree of international recognition.”
The Anglican Church in Bucharest ... a variety of languages reflecting the origins of the Anglican community in the Romanian capital (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)
A variety of languages is in use throughout the churches of the Anglican Communion, both in the liturgy and in the common, spoken language of the people. At meetings of the Parochial Church Council in the Church of the Resurrection in Bucharest, I have heard prayers in both English and Romanian, the walls of the church are decorated with icons with inscriptions in English, Greek, Romanian and Church Slavonic. Until recently, the chaplain was the Revd Patrick Irwin, from a well-known Irish clerical missionary family, and the church recently celebrated its centenary [20 October 2013].
The linguistic riches of the Anglican Communion include:
● Portuguese in Portugal, Brazil, Mozambique and the new Diocese of Angola;
● Spanish in Spain, Mexico, much of Central and Latin America, and also in the Philippines and in many parts of the United States;
● French in Rwanda, Burundi and DR Congo;
● A mixture of Arabic and English in Sudan, Egypt and throughout the Middle East.
● A variety of languages in the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, including Greek, Turkish, French, Arabic, Ethiopic, and languages from the Indian sub-continent and the Philippines.
● There are Anglican dioceses where the first language of the liturgy and language used in synods and church administration are Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Swahili, &c.
Indeed, English is a minority language in the Anglican Communion.
The origins of the Anglican Communion
Mark Chapman says that in the days of the British Empire there was an obvious connection between Anglicanism and England … But while many of the member churches in the Anglican Communion claim a direct link with the Church of England, and see this as an important element in what defines them as Anglican, it is not always so, and has not always been so.
There are four Anglican churches on these islands:
● The Church of England,
● The Church of Ireland,
● The Scottish Episcopal Church; and
● The Church in Wales.
These four churches have distinctively different origins. The Church of Ireland, the Church in Wales and the Scottish Episcopal Church point out that the origins of Christianity in their countries predate the mission in England of Saint Augustine of Canterbury, who was sent from Rome in the year 597.
The Church of Ireland claims to be the successor to the ancient Celtic and Anglo-Norman churches. In the late mediaeval period, the churches in the dioceses in the ancient Viking cities of Ireland, including Dublin, Waterford, Cork and Limerick, sometimes continued to look to Canterbury for their episcopal orders and succession.
The reformation in Scotland was followed by turmoil over whether the reformed church should be episcopal or Presbyterian in its style of church government. After the Episcopal Church was disestablished in 1689, it suffered under penal laws in force from 1746-1792. This church developed its own (high) liturgy; it had strong links with the dissenting, high church Nonjurors of the Church of England, and did not adopt the 39 Articles until the end of the 18th century.
Historically, there have been strong links not only between the Church of Ireland and the Church of England, but there have also been strong links between the Church of Ireland and the Scottish Episcopal Church.
At the restoration of Charles II, and the restoration of the episcopal model of church in the Church of Ireland in 1660, four of the eight remaining bishops of the Church of Ireland were of Scottish birth, or of immediate Scottish ancestry. Later, when it came to framing its own Ecclesiastical Canons, the Episcopal Church of Scotland looked not only to the 1603 Canons of the Church of England, and the 1636 Canons of the Church of Scotland, but also to the 1634 Canons of the Church of Ireland.
Just as it would be wrong to define the distinctive characteristics of the Church of Ireland or the Scottish Episcopal Church within the strictures of our links with the Church of England – in so far as it is missing a lot of the subtleties and salient facts – so too the Anglican Churches around the world cannot be defined as Anglican solely because of their links, directly or indirectly, to the Church of England.
Some of those churches trace their episcopal succession, their liturgies, their ways of doing theology, their stories, to the Episcopal Church of Scotland, including the Episcopal Church in the US (TEC), which in turn introduced Anglicanism to many parts of Latin America, to Korea, to Japan and to many parts of China.
Anglican origins and Irish missionaries
Charles Inglis from Glencolumbcille, Co Donegal … the first Anglican bishop in Canada
Some of the churches in the Anglican Communion trace their historical origins, at least in part, back to the Church of Ireland:
Canada: The first Anglican bishop in Canada was Charles Inglis from Glencolumbcille, Co Donegal; Toronto has often been called the “Belfast of Ontario.” He is commemorated in a memorial plaque in the south aisle of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin.
South Africa: The first Anglican celebration of the Holy Communion in South Africa was by a priest of the Church of Ireland, and church historians see this event as marking the origins of the present-day Anglican Church of Southern Africa (ACSA).
Many other Anglican churches, including those in Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, owe their growth and present numbers to Irish missionaries. Irish missionaries were pioneers in establishing an Anglican presence in parts of Persia/Iran, India, China, &c.
Indigenous Anglican churches
In addition, some churches in the Anglican Communion are indigenous churches that grew up in their own special circumstances, and looked not to the Church of England, but to the US or even to Ireland for episcopal succession:
Mexico: The Anglican Church of Mexico originated indigenously in 1810, and sought orders from the Episcopal Church in the US.
Spain: The Spanish Reformed Episcopal Church arose through the work of a former Roman Catholic priest. At first, it was under the pastoral care of the Bishop of Mexico, but it received its episcopal orders from the Bishop of Meath in 1894, and was not fully integrated into the Anglican Communion until 1980. Is it Anglican? Is it indigenous? Is it a daughter church of the Church of Ireland?
Portugal: the Lusitanian Church (the Portuguese Episcopal Church) was formed by dissident Roman Catholic priests who formed congregations and adapted the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.
India: The Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Malabar in India, although not a full member of the Anglican Communion, is in full communion with all the member churches, and sends its bishops to the Lambeth Conferences. Yet its origins are to be found in the Syrian Orthodox Church in India.
These churches in the Anglican Communion display diversity in language, culture, origins, and ethnicity. So to be Anglican is not to share a common English heritage, culture, or liturgy, nor is to look to the See of Canterbury as the source of Episcopal government.
It would be wrong to equate Anglican with some form of ecclesial “Englishness.”
It would be wrong to assume that the Anglican Communion finds its identity through links with the Church of England.
● What do we mean by Anglican?
● What do we mean by the Anglican Communion?
● Where did those terms “Anglican” and “Anglican Communion” originate?
● How did the first Anglican churches outside these islands spring up?
The origins of a global Anglicanism:
Initially, it may be said, Anglicanism of the English variety followed not only the colonial flag, but also trade and commerce, and the penal system. But it soon started to spread too due to the endeavours of the missionary societies, including the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge (SPCK, 1698); the (United) Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG, 1701, later USPG – Anglicans in World Mission, and, now simply Us); and the Church Mission(ary) Society (CMS, 1799), which is commemorating the bicentenary of its presence in Ireland last year (2014).
North America: The Eucharist was first celebrated according to Anglican rites in North America in present-day Canada at Frobisher Bay in 1578. In what is today the US, the first celebration of the Eucharist according to Anglican rites was at Jamestown in Virginia in 1607.
Latin America: The roots of the Anglican Church in Latin America were being planted with the arrival of English colonists on the Miskita coast in Central America from 1740. Expatriate Anglican chaplaincies were established in 1810 in Brazil, where the church today is Portuguese-speaking.
Europe: Soon there was also a diffuse and diverse Anglican presence on the European Continent. Anglican chaplaincies were established in ports in the Netherlands and other parts of Europe in the 17th century, and further afield as the Levant and East India Companies flourished. From the time William Laud was Archbishop of Canterbury in the 1630s, Anglicans abroad, in the colonies or in the centres of trade, were theoretically under the jurisdiction of the Bishops of London, not of the Archbishops of Canterbury.
In the 17th century, there was an Anglican presence in such diverse places in Europe as the Dutch ports, including Amsterdam; in Zakynthos and Piraeus (both now in Greece but then part of the Venetian and Ottoman empires), where the presence of the Levant Company meant there were Anglican services and Anglican burials; and in Paris, where there was also a Nonjuror Anglican presence at the Jacobite court in exile, those serving it including the former Chancellor of Connor, the Irish theologian, Charles Leslie.
Anglicans in North America
Bishop George Berkeley … an early missionary from the Church of Ireland
With the foundation of SPCK in 1698 and SPG in 1701, both under the patronage of the bishops of both the Church of England and the Church of Ireland, a new missionary era opened up for Anglicans. In North America, the early SPG missionaries included Bishop George Berkeley, who went to Bermuda.
In the 18th century, SPG and later CMS were active in missionary work in Canada. The first regular church services in Canada began in 1710 at Port Royal, and the first Anglican church built in present-day Canada was Saint Paul’s, Halifax, built in 1750.
By now there was strong pressure for bishops to serve the church in the colonies. Anyone wanting to work as an Anglican priest in the colonies had to be ordained in England by the Bishop of London. Except in Scotland, where the penal laws enforced diocesan and episcopal reorganisation on the nonjuring Episcopal Church, a royal charter was needed to create new Anglican dioceses, and new bishops had to be consecrated under a royal mandate. Among those who were early advocates of providing bishops for the colonies in America was the Co Donegal missionary, Charles Inglis.
The American Revolution meant the expulsion of many loyalist Anglicans, including Inglis, to neighbouring Canada. But it left Episcopalians in the new US without bishops. In 1783, the clergy of Connecticut elected Samuel Seabury (1729-1796) as their bishop and sent him to London for consecration. But legal constraints prohibited the bishops of the Church of England from consecrating him – there was no diocese created by royal charter, no royal mandate to consecrate him, and he could be regarded as either a foreigner or a traitor.
Seabury turned to the nonjuring bishops of the Episcopal Church of Scotland, who consecrated him in 1784. He returned to America, promising to adapt the distinctive Scottish Communion in his office, and providing a line of episcopal succession that owes its origins not to the Church of England, but to Scotland.
By now, the church in the US was being slowly organised, and the convention in Philadelphia in 1785 and the election of a presiding bishop in 1789 mark not, as Charles Long asserts, the formation of “the first Anglican Province independent of the Church of England,” but the formation of the first Anglican Province outside British jurisdiction.
Eventually, in 1786, an act was passed allowing the Archbishop of Canterbury to consecrate bishops who were not crown subjects. In the following year, two more Americans were consecrated at Lambeth Palace. That year also saw the consecration of the Irish-born Charles Inglis as Bishop of Nova Scotia. An Act passed in 1819 allowed the ordination in the Church of England of clergy to serve outside the Church of England, provided they were going to minister in the colonies. The act speaks of them of being “ordained for the cure of souls in his Majesty’s foreign possessions.” An Act of 1841 allowed the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to consecrate bishops to work “in any foreign country” without requiring the oath of allegiance.
Anglican expansion beyond Europe and North America
So, what about Anglican expansion outside Europe and North America?
In West Africa, Anglican mission work began on the Gold Coast (present-day Ghana) in 1752.
South Africa: The oldest Anglican province in Africa is the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. Although Roman Catholic missionaries had arrived with the early Portuguese explorers, and the Dutch Reformed Church was present since the 17th century, the first Anglican presence in Cape Town is recorded in 1806.
But Bishop Harry de Vere White, who chronicled the labours of Irish SPG missionaries, traces the origins of the ACSA to the arrival of the first SPG missionary in South Africa, the Revd William Wright from Cork. Wright arrived at the Cape on 21 March 1821, and White sees Wright’s first celebration of the Holy Communion according to Anglican rites at Cape Town as “the beginning of the Province of South[ern] Africa.”
In India, SPCK worked in areas where there were British traders but no British colonies. There, unsure about the legal status of the Church of England clergy, SPCK initially employed Lutheran clergy from Denmark. In 1814, a bishop was consecrated for Calcutta, but his jurisdiction included most of Asia and much of Africa too, with Australia as an archdeaconry in his diocese.
Australia: The Anglican Church came to Australia in 1788 with the “First Fleet,” primarily convicts and military personnel. Free settlers soon followed, and Australia received its first Anglican bishop in 1836.
The Anglican Churches in south-east Asia date back to a chaplaincy formed in West Malaysia in 1805.
Two Anglican bishops were consecrated for the West Indies in 1824.
Anglicanism was spreading rapidly, in an unplanned and uncontrolled way, following commerce, colonialism, trade and the penal system, and the travels of explorers and adventurers. It was outside the grasp of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, and outside the limitations of any legislation passed by parliament in Westminster.
In 1841, the Colonial Bishoprics’ Fund was created, and speeded up the expansion of the colonial episcopate. The first bishop for Southern Africa was appointed in 1847, the first bishop for south-east Asia was consecrated in 1855.
The tomb of Bishop George Augustus Selwyn in Lichfield Cathedral ... his introduction of synodical government in his diocese influenced church governance many parts of the Anglican Communion (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)
In many colonies, the Anglican churches were seeking or finding their own measure of autonomy: in 1844, Bishop George Augustus Selwyn of New Zealand called an informal synod; New Zealand was granted a measure of self-government in 1852, and in 1857 the Church of New Zealand received its own constitution.
Bishop Samuel Crowther, the first black African Anglican bishop … from a window in the CMS offices in Oxford
By 1864, Anglicanism had its first black African bishop with the consecration of Samuel Adjai Crowther (1806-1891) as Bishop for Nigeria. Three years later, in 1867, there were nearly 50 bishops in the British colonies, and 35 dioceses in the USA.
A new communion?
Anglicanism was no longer a collection of churches offering to serve people from England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. It was no longer even confined to areas under British rule. Even in the Church of England and the Church of Ireland, there were early questions too of who we were in communion with.
In Ireland and in England at the end of the 17th century, our churches were happy to welcome the Huguenots. They were welcomed, found a place within the church, and allowed to continue their ministries, provided all future ordinations were carried out by bishops.
In the early 18th century, Archbishop William Wake (1657-1737) of Canterbury corresponded on Christian unity and his hopes for inter-communion of some form with Continental theologians such as:
● the German Moravian bishop and theologian Daniel Ernst Jablonski (1660-1741), who tried but failed to bring about a union of German Lutherans and Calvinists;
● the Swiss Calvinist theologian, Jean-Alphonse Turrettini (1671-1737) of Geneva;
● the French Gallicans, including Piers de Girardin and Louis Ellies Dupin (1657-1719), who also had a vision of uniting the Orthodox and Western churches.
The Nonjurors had a scheme for their form of Anglicanism to be recognised by the Patriarch of Jerusalem, seeing the Eastern Orthodox Church as natural partners for forming a wider church family.
The first missionary endeavours beyond the colonial boundaries saw Anglicans in SPCK happy to employ Danish and German Lutherans, provided they used the liturgy of The Book of Common Prayer. In the early 19th century, Anglicans were happy to collaborate with the Lutherans in establishing a bishopric in Jerusalem.
If the English language or some links with British sovereignty did not define “Anglicanism,” then adherence to The Book of Common Prayer or the 39 Articles did not provide that definition either.
The Scottish liturgy, which was considerably “higher” than the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, influenced and shaped the liturgy of the Episcopal Church in the US (TEC); for a long time, the 39 Articles were not part of the tradition of the Scottish Episcopal Church until 1811, and when they were adopted by the Episcopal Church in the US, they were modified to delete all references to the English sovereign.
The term ‘Anglican’
The terms Anglican and Anglicanism derive etymologically from the Latin anglicanus, meaning English. It is a term that predates the Reformation and that had medieval usage.
So far, the earliest use of the term I can find is in Ireland, as early as 1172, almost half a century before it is used in England.
In the 12th century, separate and various Irish Rites were being used liturgically throughout the island. But these were abolished, at the Synod of Cashel in 1172, when the Roman Rite juxta quod Anglicana observat Ecclesia, or the rite “as observed by the Anglican Church,” was finally substituted.
This is almost half a century before the Magna Carta in 1215, which refers to Anglicana ecclesia, the English Church. The same phrase is used again at the time of the Reformation – in 1534 in the act confirming the royal supremacy, and in 1562 in John Jewel’s defence of the English Reformation, Apologia Ecclesiae Anglicanae.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, however, the term “Anglican” begins to refer more specifically to a distinct theological position. The Dublin-born political philosopher Edmund Burke refers to “Catholicks, Anglicans or Calvinists,” and the historian Thomas Babington Macaulay to Anglican doctrine. The French form anglicanisme occurs, it seems, for the first time in 1817, presumably by analogy with gallicanisme, and John Henry Newman uses the phrase “Anglicanism” from 1838 on.
Gregory Cameron identifies the first use of the term ‘Anglican Communion’ in 1843 in the title of a book by John Jebb, The Choral Service of the United Church of England and Ireland, being an Inquiry into the Liturgical System of the Cathedral and Collegiate Foundations of the Anglican Communion (LOndon: James Parker, 1843).
This John Jebb (1805-1886) was born in Dublin, the nephew of John Jebb (1775-1833), Bishop of Limerick, and he was a canon of Limerick Cathedral until he moved to England in 1843, the year this book was published.
Four years later, in 1847, Horatio Southgate, the Missionary Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the Dominions of the Sultan, spoke of “each of the three branches of the Anglican Communion …, namely, the English, the Scotch, and the American … I then combined the three under the title, ‘The Anglican Branch of the Church of Christ’.”
In 1851, the Bishop of Maryland, William Whittingham, referred to the need for a common code of canon law that could be recognised “by the whole of the Churches of the two Communions.” By the mid-19th century, it was common to refer to the growing family of Anglican and Episcopal churches as “two communions.”
The term “Anglican Communion” is eventually used as a defining term at the first Lambeth Conference in 1867.
Origins in disputes
Lambeth Palace, seen from Westminster on the opposite bank of the River Thames … the venue of the first Lambeth Conference in 1867 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)
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.
Some 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.”
Some English bishops doubted the wisdom or even the legality of calling such a conference. But the idea was supported at a meeting of the Lower House of the Convocation of Canterbury in May 1866. But Longley conferred with other bishops beyond the boundaries of the Church of England and the Church of Ireland, beyond the colonial boundaries too: among those he consulted was the American Episcopalian Bishop of Illinois, Henry John Whitehouse (1803-1874).
It was clear, as the invitations were being sent out, that the proposed meeting could neither enact canons nor make any decision that was binding on the Church. Nevertheless, the invitations went out to “the bishops in visible communion with the United Church of England and Ireland” to a meeting under the Presidency of the Archbishop of Canterbury in Lambeth Palace. The invitations were sent to 150 bishops: 67 attended, although the Archbishop of York, petulant if not hostile from the first refused.
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.
Next: Week 2 (25.01.2016)
2.1, The mission of Patrick and early Irish Christianity;
2.2, Challenges facing the future of the Anglican Communion.
Member Churches of the Anglican Communion:
A world map showing the Provinces of the Anglican Communion (blue), as well as the Churches in full communion with the Anglican Communion: the Nordic and Baltic Episcopal Lutheran Churches of the Porvoo Communion (green), and the Old Catholic Churches in the Utrecht Union (red)
The Anglican Church of Burundi; the Church of the Province of Central Africa; Province de l’Eglise Anglicane du Congo; the Anglican Church of Kenya; the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion); l’Eglise Episcopal au Rwanda; the Anglican Church of Southern Africa; the Episcopal Church of the Sudan; the Anglican Church of Tanzania; the Church of the Province of Uganda; the Church of the Province of West Africa.
Africa, Asia and Europe (1):
The dioceses of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East: the Diocese of Egypt with North Africa, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and Djibouti (blue); the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf (red); the Diocese of Egypt (orange); the Diocese of Iran (green)
The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East.
The Church of Bangladesh; Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui; the Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean; the Nippon Sei Ko Kai (the Anglican Communion in Japan); the Anglican Church of Korea; the Church of the Province of Myanmar (Burma); the Church of North India (United); the Church of Pakistan (United); the Episcopal Church in the Philippines; the Church of the Province of South-East Asia; the Church of South India (United); the Church of Ceylon (Sri Lanka; Extra-Provincial to the Archbishop of Canterbury).
Australasia and Oceania (4):
The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia; the Anglican Church of Australia; the Church of the Province of Melanesia; the Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea.
Central and Latin America (8):
Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil; Iglesia Anglicana de la Region Central de America; la Iglesia Anglicana de Mexico; Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur de America; the Church in the Province of the West Indies; Iglesia Episcopal de Cuba; Bermuda (E-P to Canterbury); Falkland Islands (E-P to Canterbury).
North America (2):
The Anglican Church of Canada; The Episcopal Church (TEC, formerly ECUSA).
In addition, the Anglican Church of North America is demanding recognition within the Anglican Communion.
The Church of England; the Church of Ireland; the Scottish Episcopal Church; the Church in Wales; the Lusitanian Church (E-P to Canterbury); the Reformed Episcopal Church of Spain (E-P to Canterbury).
The reports and resolutions of the Lambeth Conferences.
The Anglican Covenant.
For a full text of the Anglican Covenant: click here.
For a full text of the Anglican Primates’ communique, 15 January 2015, click here.
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 (London: Mowbray, 2008).
MD Chapman, The Hope of Things to Come, Anglicanism and the Future (London: Mowbray, 2010).
MD Chapman, 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 (London: Continuum, 2003).
GR Evans, JR Wright (eds), The Anglican Tradition (London: SPCK, 1991).
R. Hannaford (ed), The Future of Anglicanism (Leominster: Gracewing, 1996).
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(Revd Canon Professor) Patrick Comerford is Lecturer in Anglicanism and Liturgy, the Church of Ireland Theological Institute. This lecture was part of the Module TH 8825, Anglican Studies in an Irish context, with MTh students on 18 January 2016.