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Hein, D., and Shattuck, G., The Episcopalians

By: Benjamin Knoll


  • Pre-Reformation English Christianity

  • It was the secular, rather than theological, privileges of the church that were most motivating for English Reformists.

  • Good short overview of English Reformation

  • Puritans, English Civil War, Richard Hooker

  • Hooker: Catholics said that tradition was sufficient. Puritans said that scripture was sufficient. Hooker said that Anglicanism holds scripture AND tradition AND reason together.

  • Coming to America

  • First Protestant service in Americas was 1578 in Hudson Bay. By Anglican priest Richard Hakluyt.

  • First Communion in Jamestown was May 14, 1607 by Robert Hunt

  • Jamestown was STRONGLY Anglican/religious. Had daily BCP services. Strong ministerial presence.

  • Clergy were as unfortunate as others, most died in first 50-60 years of Jamestown.


  • 1675 - Bishop of London came to be aware and concerned about Anglicans in New World.

  • William and Mary - first Anglican college in the colonies

  • 1700 - Anglicans were second in number in colonies after Congregationalists, and most were in VA/MD. Became strong in SC too.

  • In New England, Anglicanism was the "dissenting intruder" against the Congregationalist.

  • Because of benign neglect of England, parish vestries in New World had much more autonomy than counterparts in England.

  • Churchgoing was mostly adult activity; kids stayed home. Mostly white Englishpeople, the slaves, Indians, indentured servants, etc. had to hang back at the back of church building.

  • Those in New World tried starting 1706 to get a Bishop in the Americas. Southern Anglicans didn't much want this, though, as they liked their independence.

  • Colonial Anglican clergy were "conscientious, learned, and devout"; but there were reputations and attempts of anti-clericalism to paint them as lazy, drunken, and immoral. Some truth, but mostly not.

  • At this time, worship was 2-ish hours long, with the sermon 20-60 minutes of it. Communion was maybe 4x per year. Sermons were "carefully framed discourse on character, moral obligation, the orderliness and harmony of creation, and the reasonableness of Christianity." "Curb your passions," maintain control over yourself and society. Style was "quiet, genteel, and rational… designed to educate the mind rather than arouse the emotions."

  • Anglicanism was appealing to the "modern, rational, moderate, enlightened" classes.; Evangelicalism sought instead to focus on charisma, personal transformation, etc. etc. During the First Great Awakening, most Anglican clergy disapproved of the conversion-centered focus.

  • Anglicanism endorsed and did not challenge slavery.


  • Anglicanism was the symbol of British power with all the symbols: monarchy, episcopate, stately language of BCP, etc.

  • Colonial Anglicans really wanted a bishop. Many others did NOT, seeing it as a symbol of British political and religious power.

  • About 80% of northern clergy were loyalists, and about 20% of southern Anglican clergy were patriots.

  • It was an issue: they'd sworn an oath to the King, what do you do when your country rebels against the King?

  • Anglican loyalist clergy were persecuted, sometimes tarred and feathered.

  • Clergy in the north were high church Anglicans, those in the south were more rationalistic deists.

  • With the Revolution and subsequent independence, Anglicanism was disestablished in all the colonies, along with every other religion.

CHAPTER 4 – 1783-1811

  • The reorganization of TEC was taking place at the same time that the U.S. was also remaking its institutions. And it wasn't good in the 1780s; most Anglicans were loyalists and had fled. The whole thing almost died.

  • WILLIAM WHITE – rector in Philadelphia who proposed local/regional/national organization of a new Episcopal Church in the U.S.

  • 1783-1784 – conventions in MD and PA to say "we should organize a U.S. church"

  • What do we do with bishops? Most Americans saw them as symbols of British power. And people were getting used to the idea of not having someone tell them what to do.

  • SAMUEL SEABURY – high churchman with strong view of episcopate/ecclesiology. He tried really hard to get the British bishops to ordain him. Went to England. They said NO because they wouldn't take oath to King and that was required in canons for CofE. So he went up to Scotland and they said YES so long as U.S. used their prayer book.

  • Seabury came back and said "let's have a convention" but half the Anglicans were suspicious of his high-church bishop ordination.

  • 1785 – Philadelphia meeting. Decided on draft of first constitution, a version of the BCP, and wanted to ask again for ordination from CofE bishops.

  • By 1787 they were good to go, but still questions about high vs. Low church and how democratic vs hierarchical the church would be. The high churchmen thought they should have more "privileges" and deference and the low church people were suspicious of that.

  • ABSOLOM JONES – St. Thomas African Episcopal Church

  • At end of this period, Anglicanism was still viewed with suspicion – it's the English Church! BUT there was a small but strong contingent among middle/upper class in cities.

CHAPTER 5 – 1811-1865

  • JOHN HENRY HOBART – he was a strong high church bishop in 1820s New York. Moved the TEC to a more high-church high-ecclesiology direction. (Examples: Anglicanism the "one true church" and there's no need to interact with other churches.)

  • Early missionary efforts

  • Oxford Movement – most American evangelical Anglicans were as horrified as the one in England. There was a similar conflict over that.

  • Women's orders and organizations began.

  • 1853 – William Muhlenberg tried to get the Church to simplify its liturgy and its ordination process. It failed.

  • CIVIL WAR: south formed the Confederate Episcopal Church when the war started. Northern TEC clergy were muted and wanted there to be peace and didn't want to ruffle feathers. When the war was over, the northern bishops welcomed the southern bishops back more or less as if nothing had happened and said they were happy to have them back. (Sigh.)

CH 6: 1865-1918

  • TEC flourished after the Civil War. It attracted affluent Americans due to its stability and traditions. Episcopalians came to be leaders in many aspects of American life.


  • This was a reaction to the High Church vs. Low Church Oxford vs. Evangelicalism debate. A "middle way" of BROAD CHURCH was proposed. Promoted by F. D. MAURICE and PHILLIPS BROOKS.

  • Evangelicals tended to distrust intellectualism and this was troubling to the Broad Church folks.

  • "Church Congresses" started in 1874 - basically conferences/symposia to feature church theologians and others from different perspectives and backgrounds to share.

  • Showed TEC's general openness to intellectual inquiry. Helped prevent some of the major schisms of other denominations over evolution and modernism.

  • William Porcher DuBose - professor at Sewanee who promoted evolution and reconciliation of science and religion.


  • There was an ecumenical movement in the TEC about the idea of making TEC a "Church for Americans" (broadly speaking) and opening up with being in communion with other Mainline Protestants.

  • Proposed a Quadrilateral: 1) Bible as authoritative, 2) Apostles and Nicene Creeds, 3) two sacraments, 4) episcopate as governance.

  • The idea was that if any other church could sign on to this we could be in communion.

  • Over 20 years they invited other churches into this quadrilateral but there were no takers.


  • Even though the Oxford Movement had officially ended, its influence was still large. In late 19th century many priests and bishops began ratcheting up the smells, bells, liturgy, etc.

  • This was opposed as being too Catholic/Popish.

  • Led to a schism with Reformed Episcopal Church leaving in 1873. It wasn't terribly successful, though.


  • Many women's groups popped up to do good works (kind of like the Relief Society)

  • A few women deacons were "set apart" (but not ordained!) in the 1850s and 1860s.


  • Guilded Age promoted Prosperity Gospel: you live a good life and God will reward you your good works with wealth BUT you have a strong obligation to share those with others.

  • Some TEC priests/bishops embraced this Prosperity Gospel view. Others strongly rejected it.


  • Several missions to proselyte, convert, and Anglicize Native Americans.


  • See notes above/below.

CH 7: 1918-1958

  • TEC was very optimistic in the 1920s. Lots of social prestige and growth.

  • "Faith and Order" movement was an attempt among Mainline and other Christians to have more ecumenical relations. TEC was early supportive but didn't end up joining.

  • There were some talks about being in full communion or entering into an ecumenical structure with the Presbyterian Church but that didn't materialize. Too much opposition to episcopate for Presbyterians.

  • Barthian neo-orthodoxy became popular in response to the Great Depression, but so did William Temple's Social Gospel in the 1930s. More effort by TEC to see itself as a mover to help broader society become more just and equitable.

  • After WW1 TEC became much more pacifist, didn't want a repeat, but then supported WW2 when it became inevitable.

  • Post WW2 America became very churchy as Boomers moved out into the suburbs to start their new lives. TEC grew.

  • Growing interdenominational liturgical movement--reemphasized participation of laity in worship; simple design of buildings; Sunday morning worship into lives throughout the week (emphasis on Eucharist every week)

  • Tillichian theology also became very popular during this time among TEC. Existentialist and making room for doubt and nuance.

  • Process theology also came into TEC at this time.

  • Post WW2 saw a revitalization of urban ministries as many TEC members moved out to suburbs.

  • In 1930s, less than 2% of all black churches were TEC. In the 1940s the TEC adopted integration in governing councils of church (even as segregated congregations continued de facto). By 1952, TEC said all Episcopal seminaries had to integrate. Embarrassment for Sewanee that didn't integrate at first.

  • In 1920s, church is still very patriarchal, enforcing male language in leadership canons. National council and others opened up to women in the 1930s. By 1950s, women were being hired as associates for Christian education and youth ministries and national organizations changed accordingly.

CH 8: 1958-2003


  • 1958 - Gen Convention resolution on supporting civil rights.

  • 1960 - some TEC support for sit-ins.

  • Southern bishop opposition, though, prevented TEC doing anything official until 1963 when Lichtenberger presiding bishop issued an official pastoral letter supporting Civil Rights movement.

  • Jonathan Daniels was killed - white seminarian in Selma in 1965.


  • John Hines PB in 1967 called for a commitment of 1/3 of TEC budget for social justice. (GCSP - General Conv Special Program)

  • Mistake 1: didn't involve black clergy

  • Mistake 2: underestimating ability of national bishops to undermine the effort.

  • It ended up being defunded at GC BUT it was very controversial.

  • 1969 GC - antiwar protests, arguments over GCSP

  • Conservative PB elected in 1974 - John Allin


  • Women allowed to serve on vestries only in the 1950s. In 1960s not allowed to preach, be a LEM, etc.

  • 1964 - deaconness could be a married woman.

  • 1970 - deaconness became just a "deacon" and could be a woman

  • Early 1970s - most TEC committees were in favor of women's ordination. 1973 women's ordination vote failed by a narrow margin.

  • Dec 1973 - women deacons showed up to an ordination service and hoped that bishop would ordain them. He was a liberal bishop but still felt that he couldn't do it without the canons saying so.

  • July 1974 - Philadelphia 11 were ordained as priests by retired bishops. House of Bishops met in emergency session and declared the ordinations invalid.

1976 GC - GC changes canons to allow ordination of women


  • All but most liberal churches in America did not allow for ordination of openly LGBTQ until after 2000.

  • Spong ordained an openly gay man in 1989. Robert Williams. Williams was a firebrand and embarrassed Spong, though. Williams was removed from his position (but stayed ordained).

  • May 1996 judicial decision - "CORE DOCTRINE" = essential, unchangeable truths from Creeds, "DOCTRINAL TEACHINGS" change over time (slavery, divorce, contraception, etc.) Said that this was the latter, not the former.

  • Gene Robinson ordained as bishop in 2003.

  • PB Griswold in early 2000s tried to say that the church could live in the tension between conservatives and liberals.


  • In late 20th and early 21st centuries, TEC had become "trendier than thou"

  • Groups organized to hold the line on traditional identity: Prayer Book Society of the TEC; Evangelical and Catholic Mission; Episcopalians United for Revelation, Renewal, and Reformation. -- opposing the feminists and intellectuals, etc.

  • Episcopal Charismatic Fellowship in the 1970s - gifts of the spirit and charisma!


  • Some efforts to enter into full communion with other Mainline Protestant churches but it never bore out.

  • In 1980s and 1990s TEC and ECLA became in full communion; there was even an effort to more or less merge completely but it failed on the part of the ECLA over doctrinal differences (place of bishops).

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