Category Archives: Old High Church

Religious Society at Madeley

Fletcher’s Barn & Vicarage

Our chapel’s class meeting aims to have no practice without historical consideration or precedent. As a consequence,  we’ve examined a number of Protestant Rules (especially Wesley’s) going back to Josiah Woodward’s discipline in the 1690’s. While ultimately adopting Wesley’s 1739 Order for ourselves, we noticed slight variations from local society to society. Recently read was the Rule for the Society at Madeley written by the Rev. John Fletcher. Fletcher’s Rule is fascinating, if nothing else, for his frequent reference to Church authority for the Evangelical Society.  And, by this preoccupation with Establishment, we get a glimmer of how Religious Society was inspired by the Prayer Book and exhortations for Holy Communion. In other words, Fletcher hints an older connection between Evangelical and High Church principle.  Continue reading

Connecticut Concordate

His Grace, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Seabury

The Connecticut Concord was signed Nov. 14 1784 by the Rt. Rev. Dr. Samuel Seabury as a condition to his elevation to the episcopate while in Aberdeen Scotland.  The Concordant established several points for the primitive source of doctrine, certain manners regarding territorial integrity,  and perpetual goodwill between churches. However, the Concordate’s principle article had the Connecticut church adopt, as far as possible, the communion office belonging to the first prayer book of Edward VI, it being most agreeable with primitive pattern.  It’s from this Concordant that the  American High Church party, starting with the New Englanders, as well as later traditionalist Anglicans, would make the  1549 BCP a moniker.

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Parker’s Discipline

Archbishop Matthew Parker

The 1571 canon is frequently quoted without reference to the context of the Book of Discipline wherein it’s found. Introduced by Parker, and perhaps inscribed by Elizabeth herself, the canons passed the southern convocation of Canterbury and the Bishops of York added their signatures. However, it never gained ratification  from the Queen, or the entire realm, who preferred leaving normal church matters to the Archbishops. Consequently, the legal history of the canon is similar to the Book of Advertisements; mostly, they are diocesan and regional Articles, adopted by Canterbury and London with less impact elsewhere. But the canons provide the earliest terms of subscription prior to Whitgift’s three-articles.

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The Crown’s Style

King Henry VIII and Emperor Maximilian

The English Crown’s title, “King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, &c.”, somewhat summed Anglican polity before the rise of the Quadrilateral and Lambeth Communion. Lambeth was a devolutionary answer to the crisis of Empire that resulted in creating a number of equally independent churches. Before Lambeth, Anglican churches weren’t based on popular sovereignty but royal Supremacy. This resulted in a communion with degrees and hierarchies– some nearer, some further– in the Church of England. And, because Anglican colonial government likewise centered on establishment, the style marked proximity to an ecclesiastical center. When Lambeth formed in 1887, it’s national character rejected the original regiment based on supremacy (1). Continue reading

Old High Church Tenets

I normally try to write my own articles, but the following essay by M’ Lord Peter Robinson, Presiding Bishop of UECNA,  is an excellent summary of high church principles. Old High Church– or what best approximates it– today exists in few quarters. The only dioceses which appear to promote such tenets are the UECNA’s Western one (Bp. Robinson), the Reformed Episcopal Church’s Diocese of Mid-America (DMA), and Petite Riviere/New Dublin (of the late-Rev. Dr. Crouse) in Canada.  Classical High Church has a potential to create a center Anglicanism in North America, strongly based on 39 articles and prayer book, where disparent evangelicals and anglo-catholics might find coherence. Continue reading