When the Bishop of the Armed Forces and Chaplaincy tasks completion of this tutorial as part of the endorsement process, then its completion becomes a prerequisite requirement for ordination to the priesthood (or for other certification as set forth by the bishop). Through directed readings and discussion, this tutorial explores the rich heritage of the Anglican tradition, its ancient origin in England, development and expansive influence throughout the world, and especially its impact in North America.
Of special emphasis in this tutorial is the origin and development of the Church of England. Clearly, there was a church in England before there was a Church of England. A history of Anglicanism is, therefore, a story that covers the beginnings of Christianity in ancient Roman Britain and its continuing development in the Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, Norman, and Medieval periods.
It was, however, the Reformation that birthed the Church of England, and consequently this period merits close examination as especially formative of the received doctrines and disciplines of Anglican churches today. For example, the Book of Common Prayer, Articles of Religion, Book of Homilies, and Richard Hooker’s Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity are the fruit of the Reformation and its immediate aftermath. Even so, the Reformation is not the final chapter of the Anglican story. It continues through Stuart England amid the clash of the Puritan and Glorious Revolutions and into the age of an emerging worldwide British Empire with the great missionary forays of the 18th and 19th centuries. It was indeed British colonialism that seeded what would eventually become the Anglican Communion, an expression of Reformed Catholic faith that today counts 74 million members worldwide.
Another emphasis of this tutorial is Anglicanism’s influence on North America. Anglicanism is the oldest expression of English-speaking Christianity in America. American Anglicanism dates to the missionary outreach of the Church of England in the Virginia Colony founded at Jamestown in 1607. From this date forward its influence on American ideals and institutions include the biblical spirituality and literary artistry of its Prayer Book, theological conceptions of natural law and civil government, and the moral formation of early America’s great leaders. Nearly two-thirds of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and over one-half of the signers of the Constitution were Anglicans.
Attention will be given to the influence of Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment trends on Anglican theology and worship. The current developments in the Global South realignment and renewal of Anglicanism amid the theological controversies and liturgical innovations by the Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada will be considered as a potential for a new chapter in the history of Anglicanism.
Regardless of your level of education in Anglican Church history, theology or liturgics, you will have the opportunity through this course to grow in your knowledge and understanding of Anglicanism – and of what some might refer to as the Anglican ethos.
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