Fr. Edward Kironde (March 9, 2014) (click here for audio)
(including a brief summary of Rev. Charles Simeon by Fr. Phil Eberhart)
The Worldwide Anglican Communion
The Anglican Communion - Worldwide (click for map)Polity and GovernanceThe AC is made up of 80 million Christians, in 44 provinces including 34 provinces, 4 united churches as well as 6 others. Each province is auto-cephalis, meaning that each is an entity unto itself - self-headed, literally. No one owes any allegiance to a "pope" and no one is required to take oaths of obedience to any one, save clergy to local bishops.The Anglican Communion Office is under the auspices of the Archbishop of Canterbury, currently The Most Rev'd and Right Honorable Justin Welby.Since there is no external means of binding us together, there must be internal means.The Instruments of Communion (Unity) are intended to function as those internal means:2. The Lambeth Conferences (next one is in 2018)3. The Primates (heads of the provincial churches)4. The Anglican Consultative Council (ACC)Provincial GovernanceEach Province is lead by an elected Archbishop (Primate, see above) and a House of Bishops. The House of Bishops represents the leadership of each Diocese within the boundaries of the Province.Each Diocese also has a yearly gathering, a Synod or Convention, to do the business of their life together and for worship, fellowship and communion together. The Synod is a representative form of government with delegates from each of the parishes represented.The Synod is led by a bi-cameral house - The House of Bishops and The House of Deputies, who are the delegates aforementioned. Our own Senate and House of Representatives in the US is fashioned after this parliamentary form of government, that has its roots in our English History.
As has been stated, Reformation theology was in process of being formed in the 14th and 15th Centuries and came to a head in the 16th century with the continental Reformation movement and in Britain, subsequently. The theological ground was swelling and shifting throughout this whole period and really didn't come to rest until much later.
Contributors to the coherence that there was were the Archbishops of Canterbury, beginning before Cranmer, with Matthew Parker and other bishops who were present at the same time, namely, John Jewel and Richard Hooker. All of these Anglican "Divines" are credited with significant works of theological thought that contributed to the reformation in England.
British Colonial Expansion
In 15th Century Britain began to expand its borders to the West and to the East. Through exploration and trade, the influence of the British Commonwealth was felt virtually around the world. Many places were "colonized" as trade expanded with India and Africa, both West and East, as well as in the Middle East and Islamic nations. A comparison of the map of the British Empire with that of the Anglican Church above will find much in common.
Along with that expansion came an expansion of Evangelicalism or Missionary Zeal. The Evangelical revivalists of England were influential not only across England but in its colonies and mission agencies such as the Church Missionary Society and the "Society for the Propogation of Christian Knowledge" (SPCK) were formed and flourished, even to today. Names we know today as influencers and evangelist in both church and state, are John Wesley, George Whitefield, William Wilberforce, John Newton, and many others.
Behind many of these was a rich and influencial group of N. London evangelicals known as The Clapham Sect. They were responsible for ending slavery, (Amazing Grace, the movie) and for many other works of establishing evangelical reforms in Britain and missions around the world. An enjoyable movie about this period is the recent film, AMAZING GRACE
A noteworthy preacher in that group was Rev. Charles Simeon, vicar of Holy Trinity Church, Cambridge. His story is fascinating as he held the vicarage of his church for his entire ministry, 54 years in one pulpit! Simeon's story is one that is extraordinary in its pathos and its influence, for he was seen as one of the fathers of modern evangelicalism and his ministrations to students at King's College, Cambridge fueled the expansion of the Church Missionary Society and the works of missions around the world for decades.
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