Defining Anglicanism – by ACC Archbishop Mark David Haverland

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Source: Defining Anglicanism | Anglican Catholic Liturgy and Theology

What I would describe as an absolute tour de force by The Right Reverend Mark David Haverland, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Anglican Catholic Church (a Continuing Anglican jurisdiction with which the UECNA is in communion). He writes, inter alia,

“Anglicanism is not a distinctive and finished system, but an approach, a method, and a temper. Anglicanism is not doctrines that distinguish it from those of other Churches, because Anglicans assert that what they believe is plainly founded in the Scriptures believed by those other Churches and in the first millennium of those Churches. That same faith of the first millennium is or should be decisive in all Churches for interpreting the Scriptural deposit.

“That which distinguishes Anglicans in doctrinal terms, then, is a kind of restraint concerning doctrinal commitment flowing from an unwillingness to innovate or even to receive older teachings that go far beyond Scripture and the consensus of the Churches. It is precisely this self-limitation which makes possible an openness to the great Churches of the East and the West. We assert and press nothing as essential, so far as we can see, that they do not themselves affirm, only questioning their differences from each other which seem to have no strong foundation in the Fathers or in the consensus of the first millennium.”

If that doesn’t hit the nail on the head, I don’t know what does. He also seems to take a bow to what I describe – approvingly, I might add! – as cultural Anglicanism, an approach which is characterized by defining “Anglican”

“rather non-theologically by emphasizing its cultural or civilizational characteristics, products, and influences. I have myself used this approach on occasions. On this view… Anglicanism is Anglican chant, Vaughan Williams hymns, the King’s College service of Lessons and Carols, and the English musical and choral tradition; the sermons of John Donne and Lancelot Andrewes; the poems of George Herbert, John Keble, W.H. Auden, and T.S. Eliot; the Barsetshire novels and Swift’s satires and Robertson Davies’s Salterton trilogy and the writings of C.S. Lewis; the sons and daughters of Anglican rectories; the prose of Hooker’s Laws and the Authorized Version of the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer; a deeply felt but undemonstrative and unsentimental piety; Wren churches and English country parishes; the moral seriousness that outlawed the slave trade and stopped suttee and beat the Nazis; Evensong of a summer’s afternoon; the Queen’s Christmas address with its consistent, gentle emphasis on our Saviour’s birth.

“This approach might look at first like the ‘kitchen sink’, as it accumulates the stuff of centuries in an apparent gatherum omnium.  In fact, however, there is a good deal of definition and coherence to the list.  There’s no modernism or neo-Pentecostalism in it, for one thing.  For another thing, while a Roman Catholic or an Eastern Orthodox Christian might think some important things are missing from it, there’s little or nothing positively in it that he would find objectionable.”

Let me be clear: I love this tradition, deeply and passionately. It is a good bit of what brought me into Anglicanism in the first place, and I would hate to lose it. But – and this is the point I think Archbishop Haverland was getting at – this approach is, by itself, merely (or mainly) cultural, and, I must reluctantly admit, a bit hazy and nostalgic: unless stiffened and given spiritual and theological substance by the first and more rigorous set of criteria Archbishop Haverland delineates above.

There is, in my view, nothing wrong with cultural Anglicanism, if it flows out of and serves as a very fitting and proper cultural expression of theological Anglicanism. If it does not, if it’s expected to stand on its own without the theological and doctrinal substance of the Holy Scriptures, the Patristic Creeds and Councils, and the overall witness of the ancient and undivided Church of the first millennium of the Christian era, it can be a bit of a house built upon sand.

There are plenty of people out there, in the Episcopal Church, the Church of England, and elsewhere in the Anglican Communion, who love these things, too; but who also embrace all manner of theological and moral innovation and relativism. Glorious choral music, fine poetry and literature, and pastoral country scenes (as per the picture with which I opened this post), while highly admirable in themselves, are not sufficient.

At any rate: click through the link to Archbishop Haverland’s essay, and “read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest” it. Spiritual nourishment to start your Lenten observance! And may God indeed bless you with a holy Lent.

 

Glories of the West: New research and artist’s impressions shed light on Windsor Castle’s 1,000-year history

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Reconstruction image of Windsor Castle in its earliest form, a motte and bailey castle, around 1086 ©

The story of Windsor Castle’s transformation from the wooden fortress built by William the Conqueror in the 11th century to the Palace that today serves as an official residence of Her Majesty The Queen.

Source: New research and artist’s impressions shed light on Windsor Castle’s 1,000-year history | Royal Collection Trust

This looks marvelous!!!

“The story of Windsor Castle’s transformation from the wooden fortress built by William the Conqueror in the 11th century to the Palace that today serves as an official residence of Her Majesty The Queen, has been brought to life in new artist’s impressions. Based on the evidence of new research, historic manuscripts, drawings and paintings, and recent GPS surveys, the illustrations were specially commissioned for Windsor Castle: A Thousand Years of a Royal Palace, published by Royal Collection Trust today. The most comprehensive study of the Castle in more than a century, this book sets the architectural and artistic history of Windsor against the backdrop of wider social, political and cultural events in the life of the Monarchy and the nation.”

 

 

Nota Bene: On Lent and Politics

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Friends,

Several years ago I made the decision to open the focus of this blog to include not only historical, cultural and ecclesiastical Anglicana, but also political and meta-political posts relating to the ongoing war on – and the corresponding defense of – our Western culture and civilization.

Unfortunately, such contention can be not only psycho-emotionally, but spiritual exhausting, draining, and demoralizing. The war is by no means over; the battles rage on many fronts.

[We are not at the beginning of the end of this struggle – we may not even be at the end of the beginning – but there are some encouraging signs that the worm may be beginning to turn; Dr. Steve Turley is one of the more optimistic commentators on these encouraging trends.]

But even in physical combat, troops and units are sometimes rotated out of the front lines for a period of rest and recuperation before being recommitted to the struggle.

The season of Lent seems to me a good time to undertake such a “sabbatical.”

Accordingly, and barring something so extreme that I genuinely feel that I have no principled choice but to comment on it, I shall be doing my darnedest to avoid negative or polemical political posts in this blog, at least from now – Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent begins, or Ash Wednesday – through the Octave of Easter (which falls this year on Sunday the 28th of April), inclusive.

May God grant us all a holy Lent, and a blessed Easter!

And may God save the West. Because if He doesn’t, nothing we do will make a bit of difference, anyway. We are often called to be His hands in the world, but He is the Sculptor; we are, at best, His tools. May Our Lord grant that we be worthy tools, in the hands of the Master…

Shrove Tuesday – its meaning

 

 

While we’re eating our pancakes or doughnuts, let’s not forget that the real reason for Shrove Tuesday is to prepare for a holy celebration of Lent: it’s not only about pancakes, but about penitence for one’s sins! The doughnuts or pancakes were made in order to use up the fat and eggs from which folks would be abstaining during the Lenten Fast (this is also the origin of “Fat Tuesday,” or “Mardi Gras”).

As the images above point out, “shrove” is the past tense of the archaic English verb “to shrive,” meaning to be absolved of and receive pardon from one’s sins through confession and penitence, again in preparation for a holy Lent – the time of penitence and self-examination leading up to Good Friday and Easter, the commemoration of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. Or, as the Prayer Book exhortation puts it,

“… if there be any of you, who by this means [prayerful self-examination, and repentance before God on one’s own] cannot quiet his own conscience herein, but requireth further comfort or counsel, let him come to me, or to some other Minister of God’s Word” – another Anglican source refers to “a discrete and understanding priest” – “and open his grief; that he may receive such godly counsel and advice, as may tend to the quieting of his conscience, and the removing of all scruple and doubtfulness.”

The traditional Anglican standard for this sort of private confession to / with a priest is that “all may, some should, none must.” That seems, to me, a good approach.

Wishing everyone a holy, as well as a happy, Shrove Tuesday!

 

More on Shrove Tuesday (“Pancake Day”) customs in the UK

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As commented earlier, today is Shrove Tuesday, also known as “Pancake Day.” Apparently pancake races, in which the contestants have to flip pancakes while running along, are traditional for this day in parts of the British Isles. These are young choristers from the choir school of one England’s great cathedrals – I forget, now, which one (I’ve had the picture for quite a while…). Here are more customs, along with some recipes:

All About Pancake Day in the UK

Shrove Tuesday pancake races alive and well across the Diocese of Leeds

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Source: Shrove Tuesday pancake races alive and well across the Diocese of Leeds

Apparently there are some places in England that are keeping the tradition of Shrove Tuesday pancake races alive (although this is from 2015)!

“Pancake racing has been taking place this Shrove Tuesday… on streets across the diocese from village churches to Minsters and Cathedrals. It was the first experience of the traditional Ripon Shrove Tuesday Pancake races for the Dean, the Very Revd John Dobson, pictured below with a team of Cathedral staff racing along Kirkgate – including Canon Paul Greenwell, Verger Philip Bustard, Head verger Colin Belsey (right) and the Mayor of Ripon, Cllr Mick Stanley.”

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Why pancakes, and why races? According to the Diocese of Leeds’ website,

“Shrove Tuesday is part of the Christian calendar marking the eve of Lent (40 days of fasting and prayers before Easter ). It was historically held so people could use up their supplies from the pantry before Lent began on Ash Wednesday. The word shrove comes from the Old English word shrive – to confess one’s sins. On Shrove Tuesday people confess their sins and it’s believed that pancake races came from women rushing to church before the noon cut-off time, clutching their half-finished pancakes.”

The “why pancakes” part I knew, of course; but the “why races” is interesting, even if perhaps apocryphal!