This is the second in a series of four posts on major issues facing the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church.
Polity (or Structure, depending on one’s angle of approach, though the two cannot really be separated) is arguably the elephant in the room at this convention.
Archbishop David Chillingworth: “We invoke the history of Samuel Seabury, consecrated in 1784 by the Scottish bishops as the first bishop of the church in the United States of America.”
By John C. Bauerschmidt. “All the whole realm shall have but one use”: with this phrase the preface of the first Book of Common Prayer marked the end of the old liturgical regime that had prevailed in England in the Middle Ages, with various liturgical “uses” prevailing in different dioceses, religious orders, and cathedral churches, and the establishment of one use throughout England, authorized by Parliament and enforced by the power of the Crown.
The canon of Scripture contains “all things necessary for salvation,” but it does not contain all things necessary for running the Church. This latter task is fulfilled by canon law.
The June 17 edition of The Living Church is available online to registered subscribers.
General Convention’s structure has slavishly copied in ecclesial ink the politics and legislative processes of American culture.
The Rev. Canon Leonel L. Mitchell, one of the scholars responsible for the Book of Common Prayer (1979), died May 23 at 81.