Welcome to Anglicanism.org a depository of papers and articles related to the generic theme of Anglicanism.

This website contains a free-to-use library for the study of Anglicanism. The site started life in 2009 as a specialist online vehicle for the publication of pre-doctoral papers but it has long since outgrown that rather narrow definition and (we like to think) become something much more accessible without surrendering academic integrity.

You are welcome to browse, to read and to download. Perhaps you may like to submit a paper, letter or comment as well? Additionally, we also have linked Facebook and Twitter pages, which we hope you will find both interesting and informative.

Editor: The Rev’d Dr. Nicholas Henderson
Email:  info@anglicanism.org

Latest Additions:

Open Letter on Assisted Dying 27th September 2023

Rabbi Jonathan Romain (Chair - Dignity in Dying) write an Open Letter: Dear colleagues, If you have not already come across them, I thought you might like to see two news items: 1. The Times survey earlier this month amongst clergy which, among many other topics it covered, revealed increased support for assisted dying among Church of England priests, and critically that opposition to law change among them has dropped. The survey shows a clear direction of travel among Church of England ministers. Not only has support for compassionate choice at the end of life gone up from 22 to 35 per cent, opposition to assisted dying has reduced significantly from 70 to 55 per cent. ...

Editorial: The next forty years and the end of mainstream Christianity?

The Editor, the Rev'd Dr. Nicholas Henderson writes: According to an article recently published in the U.K. Church Times an analysis of R-number modelling, as used during the Covid crisis, which calculates the growth or contraction rates of events and institutions, has given the Church of England a “reproduction potential” R number of 0.9. In short this means that at current rate of decline the Church will cease to exist in 2062. The C of E isn’t alone in this, the Church in Wales the Methodist Church and the Roman Catholics are also heading for oblivion. Only Baptist churches, Pentecostalist and other Evangelical churches are apparently bucking the trend … to a degree. All over the Western World a similar analysis can be applied to what might be called traditional churches. For example, the Episcopal Church in the United States, along with other major denominations, is currently having a crisis of candidates for ordination. Of course, the so-called developing nations have an entirely different growth narrative as the gravitational centre of the Christian Faith shifts south. ... Nevertheless, it might be worthwhile looking ahead to the next forty years or so to speculate what might be the ongoing challenges to us and the next two generations? This is about as far into the future as it is realistic to contemplate without writing dystopian science fiction. ...

REVIEW: The Precarious Church – Redeeming the Body of Christ by Martyn Percy

Sebastian Satkurunath writes: I wanted to like this book; I really did. The stated premise, that church is at its best when it is outward focused and trusting in God to provide rather than prioritising its own security in the form of financial resources and numerical growth, is a compelling and appealing one, and thoroughly in the spirit of the sermon of the mount (Mt 6.25-34). What’s more, there are clearly many ways in which the Church of England fails to meet this ideal, and I am quite sure that there is a valuable and interesting book to be written about how those failures play out and how we can, as an institution, repent of them, and learn to become more truly the body of Christ on earth. ...The book is a collection of essays, most of which have been previously published elsewhere, organised into seven sections, each of which concludes with a brief reflection and some discussion questions. ...

Comprehensive Anglicanism: antipodean initiatives

Bishop Stephen Pickard writes: In 2023 a number of concerned Anglicans from around Australia formed the National Comprehensive Anglicanism Network (NCAN). At the heart of this initiative was a concern for the church’s unity and witness to the gospel in a time of controversy, fracture and division. With this in mind NCAN has been established to support communication across local churches, agencies and individuals; to encourage grass roots Anglicans through resources relevant to Anglican life, spirituality and mission; to facilitate responses on a range of issues that concern the well-being and unity of the Anglican Church of Australia. We live in times of significant transitions, increasing complexity and for many, disturbing uncertainties. One consequence of this is increasing conflict between different approaches to respond to this context. Progressive and conservative elements clash, new alignments emerge, and a tribal mentality quickly takes hold. These dynamics are a feature of our social, political and religious environment. This is the larger context in which Gafcon was invented in 2008: a radical effort from conservative forces to control the direction of the Anglican Communion. Developments at the global level of Anglicanism are reflected in the Anglican Church of Australia. Most recently this concerns disagreement regarding same-sex relationships. In an earlier generation the focus was on the ordination of women as priests. And even now there are myriad matters (e.g. climate change, asylum seekers, racism, human sexuality, poverty, inequalities, technology, care of children, war and peace) that press in on the Body of Christ. NCAN has been set up to encourage responses to such matters that draw upon the rich traditions of Anglican Christianity that prize diversity, intelligent and reasoned argument, and a commitment to working together rather than apart. This includes our commitment to the Four Instruments of Communion that bind the world-wide Fellowship of Anglican Churches together as the Anglican Communion. ...

The rise and rise of autocracy

The Editor - The Rev'd Dr. Nicholas Henderson writes: Democracy is the de jure status of the world with only Saudi Arabia, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Brunei, Afghanistan and the Vatican not claiming that system. The question must therefore arise as to what democracy really is? Increasingly, with a tightening of centralised state control, bringing the judiciary under governmental oversight and electoral manipulation, democracy appears more like a veneer of legitimisation for what are otherwise autocracies. We might initially cite as examples former communist states such as China or Russia but more worrying are countries such as Turkey, or even in the European Union, Hungary and Poland where the drift towards autocracy is growing. The term democracy is from the ancient Greek δημοκρατία. This can be broken own into dêmos (the common people) and krátos (force or might). Under the ruler Cleisthenes in 508 BC we first have Athenian democracy. Since then the freedom of the people has been hard fought both for and against. In truth the default position for most of human history has been autocratic rule by monarchs and dynasties. Democracy is a fragile flower that is always in danger of withering and reverting to autocratic rule. ...

REVIEW: God Interrogated – Reinterpreting the Divine by Lynne Renoir

In this Review Rosalind Lund writes: Lynne Renoir grew up in a deeply conservative Christian home and spent the first fifty years of her life deeply committed to the Christian Faith. However, despite believing that Christianity is true, she did not experience any sort of transformation, which she feels the scriptures describe as normative for the believer. Eventually, she came to feel that either her attempts to reach God, or allow God to reach her, were in some way defective. Lacking the sort of transformation which she sees as the necessary confirmation of belief, she now feels she must question the whole idea of an all-powerful God. In keeping with her desire to question the existence of God, Lynne Renoir embarked on postgraduate degrees in psychology and philosophy and research into quantum theory. Her conclusions cover God and Philosophy, God and Science, and finally God and Belief. ...

Anglicanism traces its antecedents back to the independent Romano-British Church during the first few centuries of Christianity, the arrival of St Augustine of Canterbury at the behest of Pope Gregory the Great in the late sixth century, a replacement of indigenous Celtic/Irish traditions with Latin oversight in the seventh century and then onwards to the tumultuous sixteenth century the Reformation and the break with Rome. Subsequently modern Anglicanism has slowly emerged, at times almost accidentally, at first in the English speaking world and then as a worldwide denomination.

To describe Anglicanism in a paragraph scarcely does it justice but being in communion with the see of Canterbury has come to define a type of Christianity with a wide range of liturgical practice, a spectrum of theological interpretation and the inevitable tensions that exist in a body that spans countries and cultures. Not strictly speaking a Church, although the term ‘Anglican Church’ is frequently used, the Anglican Communion is now represented in some 144 countries.

The Compass Rose is the emblem of the Anglican Communion. It was originally designed by the late Canon Edward West of New York. The Greek inscription ‘The Truth Shall Make You Free’ (John 8:32) surrounds the cross. The compass points to Anglican/Episcopal Christianity throughout the world with the mitre on the top indicating the role of episcopacy and apostolic order that is characteristic of churches of the Communion.

The modern design is by Giles Bloomfield and the symbol was set in the nave of the mother church of the Anglican Communion, the Cathedral Church of Christ in Canterbury, founded 597 – (photograph above). It was dedicated by Archbishop Robert Runcie at the final Eucharist of the Lambeth Conference in 1988. A similar Compass Rose was dedicated in Washington National Cathedral in 1990 to encourage worldwide use. The official Anglican Communion flag with the emblem was designed by the Rev’d Bruce Nutter of Australia.

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