Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Conservative evangelical plans for a rival structure

Updated again Saturday

Harry Farley reports in Christian Today on a document, discussed at a recent conservative evangelical conference, that he describes as containing “extensive plans by conservative evangelicals to form a rival Anglican structure to the Church of England in the UK”.

Read his full report here: Blueprint for Church schism revealed as conservative Christian leaders plot separate Anglican structure. He quotes extensively from the document, which is titled Credible Bishops.

The Conference website is here. The About Us page describes the organisers:

We are a conference organised by Anglican Mission in England, Church Society, and Reform. The conference is chaired by William Taylor, rector of St Helen’s Bishopsgate in London. The planning committee comprises William Taylor, Mark Burkill, Susie Leafe, Lee McMunn, Brian O’ Donoghue, Lee Gatiss and Richard Farr.

The full text of the Credible Bishops document is available as a PDF here.

The conference has now issued this statement:

‘Credible Bishops’ paper: A Statement from ReNew, Friday 12 May 2017

Reference has been made in newspapers and on social media this week to ‘Credible Bishops’, a discussion document produced for the 2016 ReNew Conference. ReNew’s goal is to pioneer, establish, and secure healthy local Anglican churches across the length and breadth of England, and this document was designed to stimulate debate at last September’s conference.

Recent events, and discussions at General Synod, have served to reduce confidence in the structures of the Church of England.

There should be little surprise that Anglican Evangelicals in England are desirous of orthodox episcopal oversight. They are eager to remain in the strongest possible fellowship with those in the Church of England and in the vast majority of global Anglicanism, who are faithful in theology and practice to our historic formularies.

Such oversight may emerge in different ways for the benefit of the many churches and separate organisations associated with ReNew.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 10 May 2017 at 4:30pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England

Sadly, a paper such as this popped up in the US before the break here. In fact those who wrote it followed their plan to the letter.

Posted by: Tom Downs on Wednesday, 10 May 2017 at 4:53pm BST

Clearly a case of the chickens coming home to roost. We told you so...

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Posted by: Kurt Hill on Wednesday, 10 May 2017 at 5:26pm BST

This is sad. Especially since the CoE leadership seems decidedly homophobic. They aren't homophobic enough?

I'm so confused about the "lack of representation" of the evangelical view, to me it seems like that tail has been wagging the dog. And the upset over +Philip North, who is Anglo-Catholic... I don't get it.

If they feel they need to leave CoE, I hope that it can be a "velvet" revolution/schism.

Believe it or not, I wish them well and they are our sisters and brothers in Christ. My beef is that the "anti" positions do not have power over me, LGBTQI people, women, girls, etc. And that they make every effort to make their "disagreement" as kind as possible, remembering the truly vulnerable people in this story.

It seems to me that the CoE leadership have not absorbed or accepted the findings of Christian Social Justice movements of the past and present. They don't get that "disagreement" is an attack on one's being, especially when the "disagreers" have power over the "disagreed upon." This is true whether it's about women and girls, LGBTQI people, or race. Mutual flourishing can only work at the local level, not in the realm of larger leadership and power. For all the bashing of TEC, we do have conservative parishes that can call male rectors and refuse to marry LGBTQI people, or divorced people, or whatever.

Posted by: Cynthia on Wednesday, 10 May 2017 at 5:46pm BST

Thank goodness these narrow-minded evangelicals are planning to leave the Church of England. They have contributed to making the brand toxic. Their departure is a cause for rejoicing.

Posted by: FrDavidH on Wednesday, 10 May 2017 at 5:54pm BST

Kurt, unlike TEC, thanks to the CoE's large evangelical faction, LGBT people won't be treated as equals in England until the hardliners stop blocking reform. Now the Sheffield debacle's nixed any hope of persuading them that equality's compatible with protecting their beliefs, alternative structures are the only hope.

So let them be set up. The sooner they are, the sooner justice will come to England, and the sooner TEC will be brought in from the cold. Liberals should welcome this move.

Posted by: James Byron on Wednesday, 10 May 2017 at 6:19pm BST

I agree, James. Good fences make good neighbours. "In my house there are many rooms" and it would make for better neighbourliness if these people occupied a different one. A velvet divorce if possible, but a divorce nevertheless. That's what they think and we should let them go in peace. And realise that arguments about money and property should take a back seat.

Posted by: Turbulent priest on Wednesday, 10 May 2017 at 6:42pm BST

Interestingly....extreme Anglo-Catholics in the 19th century tried the same thing by obtaining a " pure" episcopal line of succession via mysterious clandestine ordinations.

Posted by: robert ian williams on Wednesday, 10 May 2017 at 7:14pm BST

Couldn't agree more, Cynthia. So long as they go their own way, and give up on imposing their dogma on everyone else, I too wish 'em well.

Now if the much larger group of open evangelicals would just do the same, England, and the rest of the Communion, can at last move on from the Anglican culture wars that've reduced the church to a bad joke, and get back to the little matter of enacting the gospel.

Posted by: James Byron on Wednesday, 10 May 2017 at 7:48pm BST

How can members of General Synod be planning this? And why is a woman involved? Shouldn't she be at home? Or at least wearing a hat? Actually, those are serious questions for people who take that kind of thing seriously when they want to, and not when they don't.

Posted by: Jeremy Pemberton on Wednesday, 10 May 2017 at 8:01pm BST

Cynthia - apparently the Church can't possibly be homophobic enough.

Posted by: Davis on Wednesday, 10 May 2017 at 9:30pm BST

Homophobia isn't an unpleasant undercurrent at Jesmond Parish Church, it's been their bread and butter for a least the quarter of a century that I've known of them at first hand, and presumably at least since Decriminalization. They face a dilemma: if they leave the *actually* mainstream Anglican polity in England, they surely lose a vital part of their raison d'être: what's left to protest against once they are in their safe orthodox space (at most two or three churches in the geographical diocese, so we are told elsewhere on these threads)? I doubt they'll be going anywhere soon. Besides, the (actually) mainstream Anglican brand is still worth latching your wagon to when it comes to running a religious enterprise in this country. No talk of orthodoxy versus heterodoxy or when inviting local children to their holiday clubs, etc. You only run into that as an attendee when they decide you don't fit in (or witness some of the crasser episodes in their pastoral ministry). I've met enough survivors of that ministry to know what I'm talking about.

JPC claims to be "cost neutral" as far as the diocese is concerned (in terms of cash - and that questionably so) while happily and cynically exploiting the cultural capital of the established church and steadily devaluing it in the process. So no, I doubt they'll be going anywhere soon, and expect the ABY and others will collide with this as they have done for years.

If you think that we can all flourish separately in spaces that do or do not celebrate the rights of all God's people according to taste, notwithstanding the theological problems of such a model of Christianity, you've not had a parish like this on your doorstep. Their calling is to grow - but that others may wither and expire.

Posted by: ExRevd on Wednesday, 10 May 2017 at 11:10pm BST

I see that their statement of belief says that marriage is a lifelong Union between one man and one woman. No divorcees then as well as no nasty homosexuals?

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Thursday, 11 May 2017 at 3:18am BST

I note that a General Election is in the offing and so far the campaign consists of mere slogans and mantras - "strong and stable" - "Britain for the many not the few" being much quoted examples.
My favourite, however, is "A Coalition of Chaos" and I wonder if this would also be a good mantra for the current condition pertaining within the diocese of Newcastle?

Posted by: Father David on Thursday, 11 May 2017 at 8:19am BST

The more I read this news about Jesmond, and their ilk, the more my heart cries out to our Religious Communities to openly participate in the councils of our church, and by their example show us the way forward of living and proclaiming the Gospel in the life of our nation.
We all can speak from our own experiences of the hurt, damage and cruelty received at the hands of these consevative evangelicals, and their negative message.
It is only a few weeks ago we read of the close encounter the ABC had with such groups as a student leader.
Commited to our care are the souls of this nation. M ost of whom are simply asking and looking for the active message of the positive gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and continuing in their parish worship.
All this unchristian behaviour by Jesmond and their ilk simply drives the humble Anglican away, and those looking for the churches true message.

Fr John Emlyn

Posted by: Fr John E. Harris-White on Thursday, 11 May 2017 at 8:19am BST

I do not know how this will all play out. Nor, I suspect, do the conservatives who triggered this. I am still less sure that others here read the tea leaves as clearly as they claim. The Anglican evangelical tradition is complex, diverse and in significant transition. This makes it hard for those watching from the outside to read the motives and ‘get’ the behaviour. But the Newcastle initiative has plainly been divisive even within its own ranks on the conservative wing. It is also true that the congregations under these conservative leaders often have little idea of what their leaders are committed to. Debate of core issues is not encouraged. The teaching style tends to be prescriptive, didactic and top down. But I remain deeply grateful for this broad tradition for my own faith and nurture - though I share the prevailing concerns on significant issues. Kick it if you like but please pray for the CofE Anglican tradition at this time. It is highly significant that at the last Synod debate on the Bishop’s sexuality report two senior evangelicals publically owned their change of mind on the issues of same-sex relationships and expressed regret that had not been more open in public debates. There is a significant internal debate going on. Labels like ‘bigots’ and ‘homophobes’ achieve nothing, though I understand the anger. At its core the priority for evangelicals is faithfulness to scripture and theology. It is also very Anglican priority – and it is where many are working very hard. And if we are not prepared to engage on those terms we are actually part of the problem.

Posted by: David Runcorn on Thursday, 11 May 2017 at 9:23am BST

'Now if the much larger group of open evangelicals would just do the same, England, and the rest of the Communion, can at last move on from the Anglican culture wars that've reduced the church to a bad joke, and get back to the little matter of enacting the gospel'.

My dad, who lived and died as an evangelical Anglican, used to say 'Why should I be the one to have to leave the church I've been part of my whole life?'

Posted by: Tim Chesterton on Thursday, 11 May 2017 at 9:45am BST

'Lack of representation of the evangelical view.' Really? Are they talking about the current Church of England? Where on earth are these people living?

At least the time and cost outlay of placating this particular puritan revival, which the Archbishops will unanimously prioritise on the usual spurious grounds of 'unity', will have the unintended consequence of kicking Reform and Renewal into the long grass. Then we can all be freed to get on with the real task of mission.

Posted by: Simon R on Thursday, 11 May 2017 at 10:10am BST

Simon R asks "Where on earth are these people living?" As a possible answer may I suggest that they are currently domiciling in the same place as Jean-Claude Junker allegedly reported that the Brexitian Prime Minister was living in a "deluded" state and from "a different galaxy".

Posted by: Father David on Thursday, 11 May 2017 at 11:12am BST

Let them go if they want to. In fact I'd go further and say that the CofE structures should do everything they can to hurry them on their way. '"Cofe" churches that carry on as if they're independent evangelical churches should be made to be just that : independent of the CofE.

Posted by: Cantab on Thursday, 11 May 2017 at 11:58am BST

@ExRevd: I note the painful but highly perceptive remarks that you have made about the impact that ostensibly ‘successful’ churches can have upon their neighbours, especially if their approach to the structures of deanery and diocese tends to be abrasive.

There are a number of instances I have noted where a successful church of the type described at Jesmond (which I do not know) can become a sort of ecclesiological cuckoo-in-the-nest.
This is the case even where the successful church relates tactfully with its neighbours. For example, I can think of one church plant close to the City, which has handily revived a church on the cusp of closure, but which has inadvertently harmed the prospects of another struggling church (of ancient provenance) in the vicinity – struggling, despite the fact that it has benefitted from an exceptionally long but dedicated and imaginative incumbency.

As to this plan (which I deprecate in the strongest terms as another instance of the ‘paranoid style’ of conservative evangelical church politics), it is worrying that it involves Bishopsgate. Having worshipped across the London diocese I have come to the regretful conclusion that its much-vaunted success is founded upon two pillars: Bishopsgate and HTB. The situation in much of the rest of the diocese is as bad (and sometimes worse) than anywhere else, as demographic changes have largely extinguished the churchgoing community in much of west, east and north Middlesex, whilst a general indifference seems to have had a negative impact upon attendance in the south-west of the diocese.

Now, I am going to write something which some may construe as unfair: I greatly prefer the more collegiate attitude of HTB to the somewhat rebarbative, pushing and hard neo-Calvinism of Bishopsgate. Whilst Bishopsgate has done some excellent work at reviving several churches in the City (most recently St Nicholas Cole Abbey, which had long lain in decay) there have been costs (viz. the unsympathetic treatment meted out to the interior of the very ancient St Peter Cornhill). However, and as I have been told, Bishopsgate tends not to take risks in places (of which there are many in London and Southwark) where there is little chance of an immediate financial return.

So, if Bishopsgate and its satellites secede from the structures of the London diocese, it will be an extremely damaging blow (although here I am assuming that Bishopsgate still contributes significantly to London’s coffers).

Posted by: Froghole on Thursday, 11 May 2017 at 12:27pm BST

are you saying you have "mutual flourishing" in TEC? I may have misread you but you seem to be saying evangelicals and other 'deplorables' are only okay at the local level. But for evangelicals to flourish requires bishops to treat them well, for example sending student ministers to appropriate seminaries. Is this happening in your diocese for example?

Posted by: john sandeman on Thursday, 11 May 2017 at 1:20pm BST

This may not be the place to ask, but given all the talk of Bishopsgate, what exactly is happening at St Michael Cornhill? Mr Skrine from Bishopsgate is now P-in-C, succeeding Bishop Platten.

Posted by: Stanley Monkhouse, aka Fr William on Thursday, 11 May 2017 at 5:28pm BST

John S., Cynthia--"Is it happening in your diocese?" I've certainly seen it work in the dioceses I've served over the last 40 years. Local parishes have been given wide leeway to minister as they see fit. Our bishops have bent over backward to accommodate them. And we've sent seminarians to Trinity and Nashotah House. The problems start when the local parish won't support the diocese financially and campaigns to change the diocesan policy or agenda. We only lost clergy and parishioners when they realized they could not make the majority agree with them.

Posted by: Tom Downs on Thursday, 11 May 2017 at 5:34pm BST

Tim, I don't envisage anyone leaving, but Anglicanism fragmenting into a loose confederation. In England, some deal would have to be worked out with the cathedrals; but that done, it'd free up churches to go their own way, whether that's evangelical, liberal, Anglo-Catholic, or po-mo, with affirming churches among all groups.

The trick now is to facilitate a smooth breakup, without protracted lawsuits over church real estate.

Posted by: James Byron on Thursday, 11 May 2017 at 7:10pm BST

"...expect the ABY and others will collide with this as they have done for years". ExRevd

I think you probably meant "collude" there, but both words work quite well.

Posted by: Edward Prebble on Thursday, 11 May 2017 at 9:12pm BST

America, in general, is not the type of environment where a specific Anglican Evangelicalism can “flourish,” Obadiah/John. Our religious culture and history are so different from Australia’s in this regard. With the exception of Virginia and a couple of other places, Episcopalianism has always been a minority denomination, surrounded on all sides by Evangelical “sectaries.” If people want the “Evangelical experience,” they don’t turn to TEC; there are plenty of other faith communities that have always offered this. People have historically come to the Episcopal Church because of our blend of Latitudinarian Low Church liberalism and Catholic High Church liturgicalism, not because of any happy-clappy ambience.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Posted by: Kurt Hill on Thursday, 11 May 2017 at 9:15pm BST

Brother Sandeman (and always good to see your words): I don't know that we'd call it "mutual flourishing;" but, then, we don't have a formal agreement of that sort. We still have two seminaries that would seem relevant to that discussion (one more anglo-catholic and one more evangelical), and they still get Episcopal seminarians. They also get seminarians preparing for other bodies (we have long used the phrase "continuing Anglican"), although last time I checked (admittedly a while ago) they had more students from TEC than from ACNA bodies.

As I said, we have never had a formal commitment/agreement comparable to the concept of "mutual flourishing" as I see here at TA. So, no explicit commitments that this party can continue to elect bishops or ordain clerics who oppose this/support that. People still have opinions, obviously; and General Convention has leaned progressive in the last few triennia. However, most change has come as people "voted with their feet."

Posted by: Marshall Scott on Thursday, 11 May 2017 at 9:41pm BST

David Holloway is staunchly against the remarriage of divorced persons, but then he chooses a denomination called REACH which is notoriously liberal on divorce. the fact is that conservative evangelicals wedded to sola scriptura and the perspicuity of scripture can't agree what our Lord taught about heterosexual marriage...hence the careful wording which leaves out the divorce question.

Posted by: robert ian williams on Thursday, 11 May 2017 at 10:02pm BST

Evangelicals have been treated far worse than lgbti ?

News to me.

Some of us have been driven out of 'the *church of our birth',. We have felt we had and have little choice (called survival).

Of course, as Evangelicals should / must know, no one denomination is the holy Catholic Church....

Posted by: Laurie Roberts on Thursday, 11 May 2017 at 11:43pm BST

John, I said that mutual flourishing can really only happen at the local level, and not in a situation where conservatives exercise power to exclude LGBTQI people, women, minorities, etc. And yes, I believe that some TEC conservative parishes are flourishing.

I don't know about who is getting into which seminary. I didn't know that there are conservative seminaries for Episcopalians in the US. Most of the clergy I know went to the standard Episcopal seminaries, Yale, Harvard, or a local ecumenical one.

Posted by: Cynthia on Thursday, 11 May 2017 at 11:51pm BST

A divorce is the only way to escape an abusive spouse - both sides are abused by the other.

Split. Stop crying about it. You're victimizing yourselves and pretending it's all a matter of "love" and "faithfulness," when what it is - especially on the conservative, but also on the liberal - is a matter of fear, power and the need to be the "winner."

Just stop. Both sides are like Pharaoh - "Go! Get out! HEY! YOU GET BACK HERE!"

These are lives you're playing with, and, worse, souls. Neither side cares about the other's hurt feelings - that's ugly, but true, because the Church is as fallen as the rest of the world - but you don't have to keep hurting each other. Drop each other like a bad habit, because that's what it is and it's making a laughingstock of the Body of Christ, and that's on every one of you who refuse to entertain this necessary split.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Friday, 12 May 2017 at 6:37am BST

Thank you to the Episcopalians who responded to my comment. Instead of "down under" perhaps we should be called "upside down' because things have turned out so differently Anglican-wise in my country compared to yours. One thing that has often puzzled me is that there are no large flourishing more progressive churches here as there are in TEC. I take the point also that yes, the grads from Nashotah and Trinity must be serving somewhere.
Cynthia, I do get what you say about it being hard to know how LGBTQI people can flourish under leaders who exclude. I know it is not the same thing, but being an evangelical in a church which has a glass ceiling for that particular group is also an issue. David Gushee's recent pessimism about these groups woking together is instructive. as your president would tweet: sad.

Posted by: John Sandeman on Friday, 12 May 2017 at 8:06am BST


Simply 'Thank you'.

It is our Souls that are being damaged, and we all need the courage to stop behaving like 4 year olds, and allow each other to go happily on our journey with our like minded brothers and sisters.
My journey began in middle Anglicanism, but I found my true home in the Catholic wing of our church, begining by a bike ride to Winterbourne Down in Gloucestershire, and nosing around the church there, curious of the smell, and the robes.The vicar found me, and had the patience and love to explain and teach me what everything meant. It was the begining of my spiritual growth, and I thank GOD for him.

Let each of us grow in Grace, as the Lord leads us.

Fr John Emlyn

Posted by: Fr John E. Harris-White on Friday, 12 May 2017 at 8:48am BST

It'll be interesting to watch how this goes down, because the basic premise of the evangelical hard right --- the same sex relationships are a sin crying out to heave --- is one shared by Justin Welby and John Sentamu. Yeah, I know they claim they are on a journey and conflicted and struggling and all the rest, but they're being at best disingenuous: if they thought they could get away with full-on African calls for criminalisation, they would.

Posted by: Interested Observer on Friday, 12 May 2017 at 8:49am BST

The largest producer of TEC clergy is no longer a TEC seminary. That has been a fact for several years now.

Most assume that leeway at a diocesan level will time out so it is not surprising that the term of reference introduced is the vague "local level" -- which means no longer "diocesan." And that is where Sandeman's larger point really lies. "Mutual flourishing" will be a largely in-house progressive affair.

One could hope for Byron's notion above, but it would apply to the CofE and not TEC.

Posted by: crs on Friday, 12 May 2017 at 8:52am BST

Well I suppose that there's not much more to say. Except to note that in due course this group will find its way onto the Anglicans Online website that carries a 'Not in Communion' list of dozens and dozens of 'Anglican' breakaway churches.

Each of these groups who have departed the Anglican Communion, (mostly in an indignant and exclusivist way due to the iniquities of the mother Church) has a website, some congregations and lots and lots of bishops.

However, it's an ill wind that blows no-one any good as the guild of ecclesiastical outfitters, should such a thing exist, is laughing all the way to the bank.

Posted by: Nicholas Henderson on Friday, 12 May 2017 at 12:39pm BST

"Evangelicals have been treated far worse than lgbti ?"

Let me know when they start killing themselves because of how they've been treated.

Posted by: john (not mccain) on Friday, 12 May 2017 at 1:43pm BST

"the basic premise of the evangelical hard right --- the same sex relationships are a sin crying out to heave --- is one shared by Justin Welby and John Sentamu."

Over to you, Archbishops. Are same-sex sexual relationships, in and of themselves, sinful?

Or can they be holy, like other sexual relationships?

And don't say that it depends on whether the people involved were married in church. That would be circular reasoning.

Posted by: Jeremy on Friday, 12 May 2017 at 3:00pm BST

In the context of news of and thoughts about evangelical anglicans, the developments in the Baptist Union may also be of interest in themselves, and as potential pointers, perhaps ?

Especially as the Baptist Assembly is meeting tomorrow in Harrogate. New Website url and a quotation follow below. :--

Previously known as the Network of Baptists affirming LGBT Christians, we have updated our name, acknowledging that we continue to seek an inclusive approach to the journey of understanding that many are on regarding human sexuality. We remain committed to not only the declaration of the Good News of Jesus Christ, but also our Baptist values as we discern His Word together.'

Posted by: Laurie Roberts on Friday, 12 May 2017 at 4:02pm BST

"Evangelicals have been treated far worse than lgbti ?"

Let me know when they start killing themselves because of how they've been treated.

Posted by: john (not mccain) on Friday, 12 May 2017 at 1:43pm BST

That was what I was drivng at john. Thanks for the good point.

Posted by: Laurie Roberts on Friday, 12 May 2017 at 4:04pm BST

It seems to me that both scripture and the tradition of the Church are thoroughly ambiguous on such marginal issues as women's leadership and the nature of same-sex unions, and I cannot for the life of me see why divergent views cannot be accommodated within a single ecclesial structure. Christ's prayer that the Church seek "perfect unity" (John 17:23), however, does not seem to me to allow such a generous plurality of possible interpretations. The true church is the church that most devotedly, and through most patient self-sacrifice, seeks to restore the wholeness of Christ's body. The only possible response to still further division - no matter how insignificant - is therefore grief and regret. And, of course, we must keep a porch light on, in hopeful expectation of tehir return. As we sing on Maundy Thursday: "For all thy Church, O Lord, we intercede; make thou our sad divisions soon to cease; draw us the nearer each to each, we plead, by drawing all to thee, O Prince of Peace..."

Mark Brunton thinks that a divorce is not only possible but necessary, and compares both sides to Pharaoh in the Exodus story. I am reminded more of the harlots brought before Solomon with the living child:

'Then the woman whose son was living spoke to the king, for she yearned with compassion for her son; and she said, "O my lord, give her the living child, and by no means kill him!" But the other said, "Let him be neither mine nor yours, but divide him." So the king answered and said, "Give the first woman the living child, and by no means kill him; she is his mother." And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had rendered; and they feared the king, for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice.'

Posted by: rjb on Friday, 12 May 2017 at 4:34pm BST

Further to my note about the Baptist Union and affirm 's lgbt witness, I came across the BU Conference theme, theme and thought 'Anointed to do Good' could hardly be more biblical and as put here , very encouraging and practical :

Posted by: Laurie Roberts on Friday, 12 May 2017 at 5:52pm BST

'not because of any happy-clappy ambience.'

Kurt, I think you are confusing evangelicals with charismatics. There is no necessary connection between Anglican evangelicalism and a 'happy-clappy ambience'. I doubt if anyone would have called Charles Simeon, John Newton, J.C. Ryle, W.H. Griffith Thomas or John Stott 'Happy-clappy', and they certainly don't apply that description to J.I. Packer, Alister McGrath, Oliver O'Donovan or (to expand the list to non-Anglican evangelicals) Philip Yancey, Joel Green, Timothy Keller, Eugene Peterson, Katelyn Beatty or her fellow-editors of 'Christianity Today' magazine.

The fact that HTB folks and others like them are described in this way relates to their charismatic ethos, not their evangelicalism.

Posted by: Tim Chesterton on Friday, 12 May 2017 at 6:44pm BST

Well said, Tim.

As someone who's suggested that liberal churches adopt "happy-clappy ambience" (not my thing, but it's popular), I feel it's important to emphasize that it's not synonymous with evangelicalism, or any other faith tradition (there's plenty in the Catholic Church who embrace it).

Sniping at an entire style of worship, and not affectionately, makes liberalism look less motivated by justice than mere preference. If evangelicals and charismatics want to join forces, I embrace them (although not in the Peace ;-).

Posted by: James Byron on Saturday, 13 May 2017 at 5:31am BST

Jesmond is not happy clappy..keeps to the liturgy...and sings decent traditional hymns.

Posted by: robert ian williams on Saturday, 13 May 2017 at 5:28pm BST

Kurt, you said 'If people want the “Evangelical experience,” they don’t turn to TEC; there are plenty of other faith communities that have always offered this.'

I think there are some similarities here in Canada. I would note, however, that for those of us who want to be *liturgical* evangelicals, the field is a lot less crowded.

Posted by: Tim Chesterton on Sunday, 14 May 2017 at 12:48am BST

I can appreciate where Tim Chesterton and some other folks are coming from, and they rightly make some proper distinctions. No shorthand, “pet phrase” can capture the wide range of a school of thought, whether the phrase is “happy-clappy” or “smells and bells.” Nevertheless, historically speaking, American Anglicanism has always been strong on Latitudinarian liberalism and Catholic liturgics, while Evangelicalism has always been more peripheral to the Episcopal Church—with several schisms. American Evangelicalism—particularly in its Calvinist manifestations—has always been what most American Anglicans are not. Many Episcopalians are, in fact, refugees from the various Evangelical denominations here, and have been for centuries. (Though one could argue—and I would—that Wesleyan Evangelicalism in America actually has a High Church origin.)

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Posted by: Kurt Hill on Monday, 15 May 2017 at 4:31pm BST

Kurt, one of my problems is that I get different messages from different TEC members. You are telling me that Evangelicalism is peripheral to American Anglicanism, and yet Cynthia tells me that her experience of TEC is total inclusion where all points of view are welcomed and honoured, including evangelical churches.

But North America (not just TEC) is different, that's for sure. The Church of England's status as an established church has probably encouraged different theological persuasions to 'stay in' rather than splinter and form separate denominations as they did in other parts of the world. And of course much of Africa and southern South America was first evangelized by missionaries from the evangelical strand of Anglicanism. In this respect, I think, the rest of the world may be a little more theologically 'inclusive' than TEC.

Posted by: Tim Chesterton on Monday, 15 May 2017 at 6:18pm BST

Tim, Bexley Hall, Virginia Seminary, Sewanee, Western Seminary were all founded as evangelical seminaries. The first wearing of chasuble and Gospel procession in the upper midwest were regarded as Italian eccentricities, un-American, and condemned by the HOB at the time.

Kurt Hill has an equally eccentric take on american episcopal church history. He takes the last 40 years and makes them normative over history.

It is fine that TEC has become what it is for those who like this, but rewriting history is just that. "American Anglicanism has always been strong on Latitudinarian liberalism and Catholic liturgics" -- is rubbish, quite frankly. cTell it to Philander Chase.

Posted by: crs on Tuesday, 16 May 2017 at 7:39am BST

Tim Chesterton,

I fear that that well-wishing, rosy-viewed idea of "total inclusion" is the illusion. No organization can hold to a center if it "includes" those who break up its structure, polity and cohesion of viewpoint.

That is why this "stay-together-for-God" concept is not anything that serves God. It is a necessity in order to pursue the path God has set to each iteration of His Church. To do other multiplies confusion, hurt, anger, despair.

It tells conservatives this "welcome/not-welcome" and it tells those of us liberals profess to care for "welcome/but-not-as-welcome-as-wealthy-conservatives." A church, like a human, cannot serve two masters.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Tuesday, 16 May 2017 at 9:56am BST

Well, crs, feel free to differ! You are certainly welcome to your reading of history, but I think you exaggerate Evangelical influence here. I said that Evangelicalism was historically “more peripheral” in the American Episcopal Church than Latitudinarianism (“Broad Church”) and Catholicism (“High Church”); I didn’t say it was “non-existent”. I think, Tim, that my description of TEC’s historic ethos is true if one looks at the long-term trajectory of American Anglicanism from 1564 and the first readings of Divine Service in what is now the USA to the present day—not simply that of the past 40 years. The recent past simply confirms the long-term patterns in many ways (e.g., the Evangelical denunciatory campaigns, their scapegoating of groups and individuals, the multiple schisms, etc.) I think that the historical record shows that the influence of Evangelicalism compared to that of Broad and High Anglicanism has been episodic and temporary in the American Episcopal Church. (They shoot themselves in the foot a lot…)

Kurt Hill,
Brooklyn, NY

Posted by: Kurt Hill on Tuesday, 16 May 2017 at 3:55pm BST

Oops! In late July/early August of 1565 (NOT 1564) Commodore John Hawkins and the ships under his command, sailed to La Caroline, the French Florida colony composed of Huguenots (French Protestants), for rest and recreation from their plundering of the Spanish. It was likely aboard these ships anchored on the St. John’s River that the first Anglican religious services in what was to become the United States took place. And Anglican Divine Service was probably read at the Huguenot chapel ashore, as well.

Kurt Hill,
Brooklyn, NY

Posted by: Kurt Hill on Tuesday, 16 May 2017 at 4:06pm BST

Back in the early 1970s, two bishops from Virginia in successive years spent a term at Salisbury & Wells Theological College. The first was David Rhodes, whose see I forget, and the other Bill Marmion of SW Virginia. I got to know Bishop Bill and his wife quite well. Neither bishop had ever worn even a cope before they came to Salisbury: both went home with cope and mitre. But at that time dioceses in the south were very low church in their practice: maybe we had a hand in changing things, though I still note in photos of ECUSA ordinations the solecism of a stole worn over a scarlet chimere!

Posted by: cryptogram on Tuesday, 16 May 2017 at 4:20pm BST

When I attended VTS in the late 70s--so in the 40 year ambit--the Dean did not allow a *processional cross* to be visible or used. Look at any photo of the HOB vested in the period: only a handful wore a miter, and as noted, chasubles were to be seen chiefly in the soi disant biretta belt. Nashotah House was regarded as eccentric.

Your account of historical episcopalianism would benefit from a subscription to Anglican Church History or any textbook.

The point remains that the majority of seminaries trained evangelicals and represented the character of PECUSA, until the recent period.

Certainly to describe PECUSA as "American Anglicanism has always been strong on Latitudinarian liberalism and Catholic liturgics"
is projection and false.

Posted by: crs on Tuesday, 16 May 2017 at 6:57pm BST

I lived in the Eastern USA from 1957, and between 1963 and 1971 mostly in the Washington DC area. I have to take issue with crs about the claim that in the late 1970s "chasubles were to be seen chiefly in the soi disant biretta belt". Of course it is true that the "Virginia Low Church" tradition which dominated the VTS surrounding dioceses meant surplices and coloured stoles predominated. But ten years before crs was at VTS, there were chasubles in normal weekly use at a number of parishes in Northern Virginia and in Washington, not merely at Anglo-Catholic shrine parishes. Indeed they were in regular albeit not universal use at the Washington Cathedral. Even the evangelical dean Frank Sayre wore a chasuble occasionally.

And in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut they were very much the norm. Berkeley, General, Philadelphia seminaries predominated there.

As for the robing of bishops, I well remember an episcopal consecration at the Washington Cathedral, in 1971, the most striking feature of which was that no two bishops present wore the same vesture.

And as for processional crosses, they were two a penny in Washington parishes in that period. I'm quite prepared to believe they were not to be found on the VTS campus though. I also recall arrangements being made while I lived there for mass vestments to be loaned to VTS for a particular service on campus, which IIRC was organised for the better liturgical education of the ordinands.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 16 May 2017 at 7:44pm BST

I'd be curious to know more precisely where chasubles were worn regularly in VA in the 1960s.

Of course you also successfully make the point that what is now common practice was then not so in the least.

I am a third generation Episcopal priest. My grandfather was an AC. I know how odd it was for him to vest in a chasuble in low church S. Ohio, and in almost any place he might visit, save the 'underground railroad' of tractarian parishes.

The miter and episcopal ring were so rare that one KY bishop once said at VTS that he was happy to have seminarians kiss it, as it was in his back trouser pocket.

You are welcome to read Bishops By Ballot (re: 'High Church' Hobart) or the adventures of Bishop Ives in NC, who influenced by Newman sailed to Rome and knelt before the Pope. But these are tales of the strange of the day.

I hope you enjoyed your sojourn in the USA.

Posted by: crs on Tuesday, 16 May 2017 at 8:05pm BST

Truly some unusual formulations, crs @6:05.

I don’t know how often the chasuble was worn in Virginia in the 1960s, but it was likely worn in Pittsburgh in 1826 and was regularly worn in Vermont by 1860.

Episcopal rings have been sported by some Anglican bishops in America since at least 1723 when Bishop John Talbot (consecrated by Nonjuring English bishops circa 1722) wore one in New Jersey.

Bishops John Henry Hobart (1811-1830), and Levi Silliman Ives (1831-1852), were no more “tales of the strange of the day” than some Evangelicals of the period. Take Bishop William Meade (1829-1862), for example, whose abhorrence of the image of the Holy Cross was such that he mutilated the pews of the chapel of Virginia Theological Seminary in the 1850s rather than have such things in “his” sanctuary. Or, Bishop George Cummins (1866-1873) who helped to lead the schismatics of 1873 out of the American Episcopal Church…

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Posted by: Kurt Hill on Tuesday, 16 May 2017 at 9:09pm BST

"You are telling me that Evangelicalism is peripheral to American Anglicanism, and yet Cynthia tells me that her experience of TEC is total inclusion where all points of view are welcomed and honoured, including evangelical churches."

Tim, I spoke about conservatives, not evangelicals, per se. I'm just not aware of an evangelical movement within TEC. We definitely have a broad range of liturgical styles, but my understanding of evangelical in the Anglican context in Canada and England isn't common here. And it could be because there are evangelical choices that don't involve all the "popery?" Just a guess.

Posted by: Cynthia on Tuesday, 16 May 2017 at 9:48pm BST

Well what do you know. A chasuble was "likely worn" here and there long after the Episcopal Church was well and truly underway, approaching the 20th century in Vermont.

The miter on the heads of 99% of Bishops? Fast forward another century.

And now suddenly there are evangelical counterparts to Ives after all -- and of course that would be the vast majority of low church, broad and evangelical american Bishops and clergy, graduates of the seminaries of PECUSA.

Posted by: crs on Wednesday, 17 May 2017 at 6:15am BST

Actually, crs, Samuel Seabury, “our first bishop” (at least the first one to be regularly consecrated) not only wore his miter (“pyramid hat”) from 1785 onward but may have also worn a fiddle-back chasuble (variously termed his “apron” or “smock”) about that time as well, for a brief period, anyway. (In Vermont in 1860 they were approaching the Civil War not so much the 20th century…)

I think I see why we are failing to communicate. You appear to conflate “Low Church” with “Evangelical.” Now, it’s true that Evangelical can be viewed as a subset of Low Church here, but no one should make the mistake of thinking that Low Church in America is a subgroup of Evangelicalism—which is what I think you believe, crs.

Liberal Catholic Churchmen, like me, probably have more in common with the liberal Low Church Latitudinarians (“Broad Church”) than I do with you, or Evangelicals of the ACNA or Jesmond Parish type—particularly in terms of social activism, and often in theological outlook as well. Liturgically, not so much in common…

But don’t equate Low Church with Evangelical. As early as the 1820s Low Church Latitudinarians, such as Bishop William White (consecrated 1787), were irritated that Evangelicals had highjacked the term “Low Church” for themselves. At the Pennsylvania Diocese Convention of 1827 when an Evangelical delegate suggested that Bishop William White was actually a Low Churchman (and by inference, a part of the Evangelical bloc), “The bishop snapped back that perhaps as the word had been used in England a hundred years earlier, he might have been. ‘But,’ he added, ‘as the word is understood in this country and among us now [e.g. Low Church = Evangelical], you might as well call me a Turk or a Jew.” See: David R. Contosta (Editor), This Far by Faith: Tradition and Change in the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania State University Press (University Park, 2012), page 139.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Posted by: Kurt Hill on Wednesday, 17 May 2017 at 4:48pm BST

Speaking of Bishop William Meade: Evangelical clergy such as Bp. Meade were a break with the past in Virginia, since Anglican Evangelicalism came late to the Old Dominion.

In 1773 the Evangelical “superstar” rector, Devereux Jarratt, wrote to John Wesley to acquaint him with the situation of the ninety-five Anglican parishes in “His Majesty's Most Ancient Colloney and Dominion of Virginia.” According to Parson Jarratt, clergymen were supplied to all save one of these parishes. Of these priests and deacons, “he knew of but one, besides himself, who entertained evangelical sentiments.” See: Abel Stevens, History of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States of America. Volume 1. Phillips & Hunt (New York, 1884), page 276.

So, on the eve of the War of the Revolution, there may have been but two Evangelical Anglican clergy in all of Virginia. Old Dominion parishes of the late Colonial Period may have frequently been Low Church parishes, but they were Latitudinarian, not Evangelical, in sentiment. Now, it’s true that after 1810 Evangelicalism became more prominent in Virginia, but it is important not to conflate “Low Church” with “Evangelical” here in America.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Posted by: Kurt Hill on Wednesday, 17 May 2017 at 5:14pm BST

Low church latitudinarian -- now there is a museum piece. It would represent the original seminary in Cambridge MA and maybe the old PDS. But not the hallmark of VTS, Sewanee, Bexley Hall or Western as founded. The old Evangelical Educational Society in DC was resolutely low church and evangelical.

In your zeal to turn everything into your homebrew category of "American Anglicanism has always been strong on Latitudinarian liberalism and Catholic liturgics" you confuse the situation badly. "When all you have is a hammer everything is a nail."

That said, you may be a bit landlocked in your own region in the NE -- the Province which at present has experienced the severest ASA decline.

Posted by: crs on Thursday, 18 May 2017 at 6:29am BST

Yes, crs, Latitudinarian is definitely a “museum piece” term, which is why I bracketed it with the more contemporary label “Broad Church” so that folks can appreciate the historical correlation I am making. (Not every Anglican enjoys rummaging around in the archival attic as much as I.) And I also agree with you about the Harvard Divinity School influence at EDS; (though there is the SSJE influence there, too, which Pope Francis might appreciate even if Evangelicals do not). I’m not familiar with PDS.

Frankly, crs, I think you are trapped in the classic, century-old Evangelical narrative of the Episcopal Church’s history. This narrative dove-tails with the classic, century-old Anglo Catholic narrative of Church history. Each classic narrative is, at the same time, both antagonistic, but also mutually reinforcing. Both of them tend to conflate “Low Church” (lack of incense, holy water, Eucharistic vestments, the use of processional crosses, crucifixes, etc.) with “Evangelical.” While it’s true that Evangelicals may share certain characteristics with Low Church people, they tend not to share other aspects. Low Church Episcopalians tend to be tolerant of others, accepting that there may be more than one way to be an Episcopalian. Bishop William White is often said to typify this trend in American Anglicanism. The Evangelical extremes, along with the Anglo Catholic extremes, trend rather toward exclusivism.

Anglican and Episcopal History (formerly the Historical Magazine of the Protestant Episcopal Church) is a fine magazine and well-worth a subscription (I read it in the library!) However, it is not a substitute for more lengthy historical studies.

With all respect, crs, I recommend you become more familiar with contemporary scholarship and new research focusing on aspects of seventeenth, eighteenth and early nineteenth century American and British Anglicanism. In the past few decades a growing number of scholars both in the UK and the USA have re-visited Anglicanism’s pre-Tractarian/Ritualist past. They have brought forward new appreciations, interpretations, and understandings of that history, challenging sacred cows of both Evangelicals and Anglo Catholics.

These scholars include: Nicholas M. Beasley, Edward L. Bond, Charles D. Cashdollar, Kenneth Fincham, Alison Findlay, Nicholas Gianopulos, Bruce Cooper Gill, Deborah Mathias Goughly, Clare Haynes, George Herring, Judith Maltby, Louis. P. Nelson, Graham Parry, Brent S. Sirota, Julie Spraggon, Nicholas Tyacke, Dell Upton, Alexandra Walsham, Lauren F. Winner, and Nigel Yates.

Good reading!

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Posted by: Kurt Hill on Thursday, 18 May 2017 at 3:30pm BST

Thanks. I am happy to hold to the reality that "evangelical" represents a bona fide position within, yes, wait for it, the history of anglicanism in the USA.

You can stick with your long list of favorite authors and views like "American Anglicanism has always been strong on Latitudinarian liberalism and Catholic liturgics."

There is an old joke about mission work west of the alleghenies. Baptists went first on foot, Methodists next on horseback, Presbyterians waited for the train, and Episcopalians for the club car on the train.

This sounds like your brand of Episcopalian.

Have a good day and enjoy your fiddle back chasuble and a good martini! à bientôt

Posted by: crs on Friday, 19 May 2017 at 6:11am BST

Come on, crs, I have NEVER said that Evangelicalism does not “represent a bona fide position within” TEC (or Anglicanism in general). I, (and others) simply believe that the historical record shows that it is “more peripheral” (i.e., less central) to the unique ethos of the American Episcopal Church. There appear to be some parallel developments in the Scottish Church, likely for similar reasons.

But that is NOT to say that Evangelicalism has not had its influence on most of us High/Catholic (or Broad/Latitudinarian) Episcopalians as well. English High Churchmen of the 1820s thought that Bishop Hobart was an eccentric, too. He was, on the one hand probably the most Catholic bishop in all of Anglicanism at the time. On the other hand, his sermons were, shall we say, “very enthusiastic.” Evangelicalism also influenced the relatively early use of composed hymns in the liturgy—in addition to the common chanting or metrical singing of the Psalms. (Thank God camp meetings revivals never really caught on, though…)

Anyway, much of the new research, and its increasing data base, is as critical of 100-year-old High Church and Broad Church “party lines” as it is of any Evangelical shibboleths.

For example, architectural simplicity and symmetry of the pre-Gothic Revival eara do not necessarily equate with “austerity.” It is misleading to claim, as some Anglo Catholic writers have done for at least the last century, that prior to Pusey, Newman, Neale, et alia most Anglican parish churches and chapels were just bleak displays of Puritan-like severity. In America, at least, that was not the case. No far away Oxford dons, or groups of English Ritualist enthusiasts were required to rescue Episcopalians from the patterns of “puritan austerity” they daily saw around them in other American denominations. Yet some High Church people are simply unaware of how the Gothic Revival influences their Sunday Liturgy.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Posted by: Kurt Hill on Friday, 19 May 2017 at 1:54pm BST

To continue, crs: Examination of the historical evidence by a growing number of contemporary scholars simply does not support the dreary, late nineteenth century Anglo Catholic narrative of an overarching pre-Tractarian Anglican asceticism. If seventeenth, eighteenth and early nineteenth century Episcopal churches and chapels were not as multihued and highly decorated as they would be during the Gothic Revival era, neither were they generally of the austere plainness commonly associated with the Puritans, the Quakers, and the other non-liturgical American Protestants.

The development of Tractarianism and Ritualism certainly intensified—and modified, sometimes significantly—many High Church customs and practices which were already extant among certain Anglicans, both in Britain and America, but they did not originate most of them.

For example, take the employment of incense—the use of which was perhaps the biggest of the bones of contention during the rise of Ritualism in the 1860s and 1870s. Incense was, in fact, utilized by some American Anglicans as an adjunct to religious rites from at least the seventeenth century, perhaps as early as 1610. Early American Anglicans even exported incense to markets in Europe! And while the custom of using incense on occasion apparently went out of fashion around 1800 in both Old World and New World Anglicanism, American Episcopalians pioneered the re-introduction of this ancient usage in the 1820s, long before the British Ritualists did.

I think the new research and scholarship is fascinating…

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Posted by: Kurt Hill on Friday, 19 May 2017 at 5:48pm BST

"So long as they go their own way, and give up on imposing their dogma on everyone else."

But do those w/ dogmas to impose ever really give up on trying to impose those dogmas on "everyone else"?

Posted by: JCF on Sunday, 28 May 2017 at 11:16am BST
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