For Anglicans in Search of Their Heritage

I strongly suggest reading Brandon Letourneau’s essay, Principles and Distinctives of Anglican Ceremonial, published by The North American Anglican.

Some nuggets:

So then, the first principle of Anglican Ritual is the conviction that all public worship, as an administration of the Church’s teaching authority, ought to convey biblical truth. This is precisely why aping other traditions, who do not share this conviction, results disastrously. If ceremonial communicates an underlying principle, then shouldn’t it be assumed that ceremonials not our own are communicating a different and at worst a damaging principle? The fact that a good many American priests have never read our formularies is evidence of this intellectual usurpation. And yet, there is perhaps nothing more “Anglican” in the American Church than the emulation of other jurisdictions.

Here’s another point where I had to resist the urge to grab a highlighter and go to work on my computer monitor, but instead I have bolded my personal emphasis:

This brings me to a second point of Anglican ceremonial, and it’s quite maddening that this point must be made at all, and yet here I am: Anglicanism is not Roman Catholicism, or Eastern Orthodoxy, or American Revivalism. Anglicanism is Anglicanism. Not only are we not these others, but these others have failed us. Bl. Percy Dearmer puts it best:

This Church was, in fact, in a mess. She had tried so many ways of escape! She had tried Geneva; she had tried Rome; she had essayed a mixture of the two in varying proportions, which was called Moderate; she had tried laissez faire, by which each man did what he found easy and thought nice; she had even tried (heroic and marvellous as it may seem) to establish a Cathedral type of Service in every village church. The one thing that she had never tried to do was to carry out her own laws, and to apply her own principles. (Loyalty to the Prayer Book)

I could go on and on about how inconsistent Anglican worship has become due to the ignorance or obstinacy of some (most?) clerics. But I will leave this for the reader to discover. One need only place himself within three Anglican parishes to experience three different liturgies and a thousand conflicting doctrines. This is all to say that our apparel matters. Our actions and words matter. There is no part of the liturgy that is flippant or irrelevant, and very few that one party or another hasn’t given a martyr or two for. This is because Anglican worship is permeated with a sense of its audience. It is for someone, or someones, and we care a great deal about its presentation.

I would hope every ACNA postulant and current clergy read, mark, and inwardly digest.

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