"Continuing Anglican" Churches - We would argue the most consistently traditional or "classical" Anglican churches.

Continuing Anglican Miscellany

"Anglican Realignment" Churches (ACNA, AMiA, and others) - Conservative but markedly less traditional than the Continuing Anglican Churches.

Reformed Episcopal Church - Currently part of the Anglican Realignment but these days much more like the traditional Continuing Anglican bodies.


1662 Book of Common Prayer Online

1928 Book of Common Prayer Online

A Living Text

Alastair's Adversaria

Akenside Press

American Anglican Council

American Anglican Council Videos on the 39 Articles


Anglican Audio

Anglican Bible and Book Society

An Anglican Bookshelf (List of recommended Anglican books)

Anglican Catholic Church

Anglican Catholic Liturgy and Theology

Anglican Church in North America

Anglican Church Planting

Anglican Eucharistic Theology

Anglican Expositor

Anglican Internet Church

Anglican Mainstream

Anglican Mission in the Americas

Anglican Mom

An Anglican Priest

Anglican Radio

Anglican Rose

Anglican Way Magazine

Anglicanly Speaking

The Anglophilic Anglican

A BCP Anglican

The Book of Common Prayer (Blog of Photos)

The Book of Common Prayer (Online Texts)

The Cathedral Close

The Catholic Anglican

Chinese Orthodoxy

The Church Calendar

Church Society

Classical Anglicanism:  Essays by Fr. Robert Hart

Cogito, Credo, Petam

Colorado Anglican Society

(The Old) Continuing Anglican Churchman

(The New) Continuing Anglican Churchman

The Continuum

The Curate's Corner

The Cure of Souls

Drew's Views

The Evangelical Ascetic

Faith and Gender: Five Aspects of Man

Fellowship of Concerned Churchmen

Forward in Christ Magazine

Forward in Faith North America

Francis J. Hall's Theological Outlines

Free Range Anglican

Full Homely Divinity

Gavin Ashenden

The Hackney Hub

The Homely Hours

International Catholic Congress of Anglicans

Jesse Nigro's Thoughts

The Latimer Trust

Laudable Practice

Martin Thornton

Meditating on "Irvana"

New Goliards

New Scriptorium (Anglican Articles and Books Online)

The North American Anglican

O cuniculi! Ubi lexicon Latinum posui?

The Ohio Anglican Blog

The Old High Churchman


Prayer Book Anglican

The Prayer Book Society, USA

Project Canterbury

Ritual Notes

Pusey House


Rebel Priest (Jules Gomes)

Reformed Catholicism

Reformed Episcopal Church

The Ridley Institute

Ritual Notes

River Thames Beach Party

The Secker Society

Society of Archbishops Cranmer and Laud

The Southern High Churchman

Stand Firm


The Theologian

The World's Ruined


To All The World

Trinity House Blog

United Episcopal Church of North America

Virtue Online

We See Through A Mirror Darkly

When I Consider How My Light is Spent: The Crier in the Digital Wilderness Calls for a Second Catholic Revival



The Babylon Bee

Bad Vestments

The Low Churchman's Guide to the Solemn High Mass

Lutheran Satire


Ponder Anew: Discussions about Worship for Thinking People


Black-Robed Regiment

Cardinal Charles Chaput Reviews "For Greater Glory" (Cristero War)

Cristero War

Benedict Option

Jim Kalb: How Bad Will Things Get?

The Once and Future Christendom



Christians in the Roman Army: Countering the Pacifist Narrative

Bernard of Clairvaux and the Knights Templar

Gates of Nineveh

Gates of Vienna

Islamophobes (We're in good company)

Jihad Watch

Nineveh Plains Protection Units

Restore Nineveh Now - Nineveh Plains Protection Units

Sons of Liberty International (SOLI)

The Muslim Issue

The Once and Future Christendom



Abbeville Institute Blog

Art of the Rifle

The Art of Manliness

Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture

Church For Men

The Church Impotent: The Feminization of Christianity, (Leon Podles' online book)

The Counter-Revolution

Craft Beer

Eclectic Orthodoxy

First Things

The Imaginative Conservative

Joffre the Giant: Excursions in Christian Virility


Men of the West

Mercurius Pragmaticus Redivivus

Mere Comments

Mitre and Crown

Monomakhos (Eastern Orthodox; Paleocon)

The Once and Future Christendom

The Orthosphere

Paterfamilias Daily

Tales of Chivalry

The Midland Agrarian

Those Catholic Men

Tim Holcombe: Anti-State; Pro-Kingdom

Midwest Conservative Journal

Pint, Pipe and Cross Club

The Pipe Smoker

Red River Orthodox

The Salisbury Review

Throne, Altar, Liberty

Throne and Altar

Project Appleseed (Basic Rifle Marksmanship)


What's Wrong With The World: Dispatches From The 10th Crusade


Numavox Records (Music of Kerry Livgen & Co.)




A Defense of the Doctrine of the Eternal Subordination of the Son  (Yes, this is about women's ordination.)

An (Extended) Short History of the Diaconate

Essays on the Ordination of Women to the Priesthood from the Episcopal Diocese of Ft. Worth

Faith and Gender: Five Aspects of Man, blog of Fr. William Mouser, International Council for Gender Studies

Father is Head at the Table: Male Eucharistic Headship and Primary Spiritual Leadership, Ray Sutton

FIFNA Bishops Stand Firm Against Ordination of Women

God, Gender and the Pastoral Office, S.M. Hutchens

God, Sex and Gender, Gavin Ashenden

Homo Hierarchicus and Ecclesial Order, Brian Horne

How Ordaining Women Harms Ministry to Men, C.R. Wiley

Let's Stop Making Women Presbyters, J.I. Packer

Liturgy and Interchangeable Sexes, Peter J. Leithart

Male-Only Ordination is Natural: Why the Church is a Model of Reality, Steven Wedgeworth

Ordaining Women as Deacons: A Reappraisal of the Anglican Mission in America's Policy, John Rodgers

Priestesses in Plano, Robert Hart

Priestesses in the Church?, C.S. Lewis

Priesthood and Masculinity, Stephen DeYoung

Reasons for Questioning Women’s Ordination in the Light of Scripture, Rodney Whitacre

Streams of the River: Articles Outlining the Arguments Against the Ordination of Women to the Priesthood ,

Traditional Anglican Resources

William Witt's Articles on Women's Ordination (Old Jamestown Church archive)

Women Priests?, Eric Mascall

Women and the Priesthood, Catholic Answers

Women Priests: History & Theology, Patrick Reardon

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                  Theme Music:  Healey Willan - Missa brevis No. 2 in F Minor


Another Orthodox Fellow Comments

Here.  I quote the text of his comment here in its entirety, followed by my response to selected components of it that caught my attention:

Please forgive me for the late response to your post. I found your website (in a round about way) by Googling "Orthodoxy and Calvinism."

I just wanted to respond to some of the comments you've made to the good deacon. I think you were rather harsh and arrogant. I was going to point out the logical fallacies that you employed (numerous as they are), but have since thought better of it.

I would only ask that you forgive us of our shortcomings, fat priests and all, because our shortcomings do not mean that the Orthodox Church is not the "pillar of truth." But you would know that because you studied logic.

It seems to me that many of your responses, as intelligent as you may be, a founded on ignorance. I will give two examples and then stop there. One, we allow our laity to divorce three times as a concession. It is for the sake of chasity that we do so, not because we think divorce is good or anything like that. We just realize that people are sinners and sometimes, as unnatural as it may be, divorce and remarriage are necessary for the sanctity of the laity. To present our position in any other terms would be straw manning us.

Also, to compare the good deacon's question of priests divorcing to Orthodoxy's position on divorce really is comparing apples and oranges. The priest stands as Christ for the laity and, according to canon law, he is held to a much higher standard and rightfully so. We even go so far as to say that if the priest accidentally kills someone (let's say in a car accident for instance), he is to be defrocked. I think this all clearly shows a lack of understanding our position, no matter how long you were in the Orthodox Church or what your education was (an appeal to authority).

Second, on the issue of the celibacy of Bishops. You obviously don't mean that Orthodoxy holds that Bishops must always have been celibate as Orthodox Christians because that would be just plain stupid. But again, I feel as if you don't understand our position on this one. What was true for the apostles, was not true for the church of later centuries; in order to protect itself from corruption, the Church imposed some rules upon itself. This is totally okay, and to quote scripture at the issue doesn't really answer the problem; how do we prevent bishopesque monarchies from forming?

Again, please forgive me for my hubris and if you have discussed these issues in pasts posts. I have only read a few and I do not have enough time to read the others.

Well, I believe I've previously addressed the issue of my "harsh and arrogant" tone, so I won't do so again here, except to say that I did give credit to the Orthodox Church where it was due, and that any criticisms I did lodge, however "harsh and arrogant", were likewise due. 

"I was going to point out the logical fallacies that you employed (numerous as they are), but have since thought better of it."  Talk about being long on assertion and short on specifics. ;>)   I really would like to have known what all those numerous fallacies were.  Next. . .

I would only ask that you forgive us of our shortcomings, fat priests and all, because our shortcomings do not mean that the Orthodox Church is not the "pillar of truth." But you would know that because you studied logic.

Right.  Whether or not the Orthodox Church is the "pillar of truth" (a reference to I Tim. 3:15) is not so much a logical issue as it is a biblical, historical and empirical one.  I maintain on biblical, historical and empirical grounds that the "church of the living God" referenced in that verse does not subsist in the Eastern Orthodox Church.  I say rather that the Eastern Orthodox Church, empirically and historically, is a "branch" or "province" of that church.  On biblical grounds, I say that the Eastern Orthodox Church will never be any kind of "pillar of truth" until it conforms itself, in terms of both its orthodoxy and orthopraxis, with the soteriology of Holy Scripture.  Which is to say until it experiences its own Reformation.

The writer misses the point entirely on the issue of divorce.  My point there was that the Orthodox Church is in no place to criticize the admittedly errant practice of some Continuing Anglicans (as to clergy) when its own practice (as to laity) is just as errant.

Lastly, the rather unintelligible penultimate paragraph of the response shows that the writer fails to grasp the point that what is true for the church of the first century MUST be true for the church of subsequent centuries, and that the Orthodox Church's requirement that bishops be unmarried is unapostolic and hence illegitimate, yet another sign that Orthodoxy is not the "pillar of truth" the writer thinks it is.


Rose Window and Mural: Christchurch Cathedral (NZ)

Photo taken in Nov. 2010, three months before the devastating earthquake that destroyed this beautiful Neo-Gothic edifice:


Psalm 138 Westminster Abbey


Tallis: Verily, Verily I Say Unto You


Book of Common Prayer Printed 1638

This prayerbook + Bible resided in Christchurch Cathedral, NZ until the Feb. 2011 quake which brought that glorious edifice down.  I took this photo in November of 2010.  I don't know whether the prayerbook survived.  It was located in a part of the cathedral, near the spire, which sustained tremendous damage.  I'm guessing this is the 1604 BCP of James I:


I Love It

Frequently Asked Questions About the Assault on the (Episcopal) Diocese of South Carolina

South Carolina in "secesh" again, and its bishop Mark Lawrence is a modern Anglican hero.


Evolution of the English Prayer Book 



Although the 1662 Book of Common Prayer is now supplemented by numerous revised forms throughout the Anglican communion, it establishes for Anglicans their standard of worship. Yet this is not the beginning of the English worship tradition. For that we must trace the development of Christian worship from the New Testament church itself.

Development of Christian worship
i] Luke tells us that the early believers met in their homes to "break bread" (most likely the communion service) and attended services at the Temple, Acts 2:46. Here then is the origin or our two main services, the Lord's Supper and Morning and Evening prayer.
ii] The early church. The Didache, 2nd century, teaches that the Lord's Prayer is to be said three times a day (Jewish hours of prayer). In the middle of the 2nd century Justin Martyr describes a Communion service similar to the Prayer Book - Bible readings, sermon, prayers, sharing the bread and wine. Cyprian, 250AD, writes of the key phrases in the service, "Lift up your hearts", "We lift them to the Lord", and the Sanctus "Holy, holy, holy....."
iii] Early English worship. England was evangelized from Gaul which followed Eastern (later Orthodox), rather than Western, worship traditions. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Christian church in England was confined to Wales, and later Ireland. The arrival of Augustine in 597AD introduced the Western, or Latin worship forms. This form was set in 1085 with the "Sarum Use", drawn up by Osmund Bishop of Salisbury.

1. The Medieval Latin Sarum Use.
These medieval services were detailed in some 5 service books. They were the main services in use at the time of the reformation in England, and so were Archbishop Cranmer's main source for composing the Prayer Book. Cranmer simplified them into one book and so moved worship from the priest to the people. Sadly the trend in Prayer Book revision is toward a resource book for priests, and so moves away from the people. The medieval service books were as follows:
Breviary: Morning and Evening Prayer, Litany and Psalter.
Missal: Holy Communion, Collects, Epistles and Gospels.
Manual: Occasional services, eg. Baptism.
Pontifical: Confirmation and Ordinal.
Pie: Calendar and Tables, directions to Priest.

i] Breviary. This retained the traditional Jewish hours of prayer - seven times a day. Mattins and Lauds before sunrise. Prime dawn. Tierce 9am, Sext Noon, Nones at 3pm. Vespers and Compline in the evening. Early Christian writers mention these prayer times. The services focused on the Psalter, scripture reading and prayers. Cranmer simplified them into two services, Mattins and Evensong, later called Morning and Evening Prayer. He removed anything he believed was contrary to scripture, eg. prayers to the saints.

ii] Missal. The Mass book focused on the prayer of consecration known as the Canon. Cranmer used elements of the service in Holy Communion, removing all references to offering the consecrated elements of bread and wine as a sacrifice, "oblation". The reformers rejected the notion of "real presence", ie. that the consecrated bread and wine is changed into the actual body and blood of Christ during the prayer of consecration (transubstantiation).

iii] Manual. The occasional services in the Sarum Use formed the basis of the Prayer Book services of Baptism, Matrimony, Visitation of the Sick, Burial, and Churching of Women. The Burial was changed the most, removing all ideas of Purgatory. The ancient form was followed: Psalm, Litany, Lord's Prayer, Versicles (short petitions) and Collects.

iv] Pontifical. Formed the basis of Ordination and Confirmation.

2. Eastern Gallic sources
The Gloria in Excelsis is a Greek hymn of the 4th century. Sursum Corda ("Lift up your hearts........") and the Tersanctus ("Let us give thanks to the Lord.......") are of Greek origin. These come to us through the Western rite and so were part of the Sarum Use.
From the ancient Spanish Prayer Book which used Gallic and therefore the Eastern rite, Cranmer took the Prayer of St.Chrysostom and the doxology of the Lord's Prayer ("For the kingdom, the power.............")

3. Reformation Sources

i] Foreign reformers.
a) Cardinal Quignon. In 1535 he produced a revised Breviary in Spain with the Pope's blessing. Cranmer adopted his new placement of the Confession and Absolution at the beginning of the service, and his emphases on the reading of scripture. Cranmer's original preface "Concerning the Service of the Church" reflects Quignon's preface.
b) Archbishop Hermann. In 1547 his original Lutheran liturgy, edited by Bucer and Melanchthon, was published and used by Cranmer for his Prayer Books. The "Comfortable Words" in the Communion service came from Hermann's liturgy.
c) Martin Bucer and Peter Martyr. Both these Lutherans fled to England and were able to influence Cranmer's work.
d) Valerandus Pollanus and John A'Lasko. These Calvinist ministers fled persecution, and in England were able to share their worship traditions with Cranmer. Pollanus was responsible for the placement of the Ten Commandments at the beginning of the Communion service and the addition of the phrase "write your law in our hearts........" to the Kyrie ("Lord, have mercy on us").

ii] English Reformers
Much of our Prayer Book was composed by English Churchman. Cranmer composed the exhortations and some of the Collects, eg Advent 1 & 2. Most of the Collects came from the Latin Missal and some from the service books of Pope Gelasius (490AD) and Pope Gregory I (590AD). The "Prayer for Parliament" was composed by Archbishop Laud, "All Sorts and Conditions of men" by Bishop Gunning, "General Thanksgiving" Bishop Reynolds, a Puritan.

The move toward an English Prayer Book
As the reformation swept through England, changes were made to the Latin worship. Wycliff was the first to produce an English Bible. His work was followed by Tindale and Coverdale. From 1529 various versions of the Bible were produced in English. In 1536 the first Bible in English was placed in a church. They were so precious they were actually chained to the lectern. In 1543 permission was given for a chapter to be read at Morning and Evening Prayer, then in 1547 the Epistle and Gospel were read in English.
Processions with chanted prayers (Litanies) were commonly used for the invocation of Saints, adoration of relics, and pilgrimages. Cranmer worked on the old Latin service book called the Processional, and produced his first Litany in 1544. Liturgical processions were forbidden in 1547, and then Cranmer produced a revised Litany in 1549.
In 1548 Cranmer produced his "Order of the Communion". It was a small pamphlet authorising the laity to take both the bread and the wine at communion, and providing a little service of preparation in English to be said in relation to the Latin prayer of consecration - the Canon. This little service was included in his first Prayer Book - Invitation ("You that do truly...."), Confession, Absolution, Comfortable Words and Prayer of Humble Access ("We do not presume.....").

The first Prayer Book of Edward VI, 1549

1. Preface
In the preface to this book (found in the 1662 book under the heads "Concerning the Service of the Church" and "Of Ceremonies") Cranmer laid down five principles of reform.
i] Preservation. He sought to maintain the worship traditions of the English church, rather than design a new form of worship that reflected the era of the new learning.
ii] Simplicity. The services were simplified to allow the stress to fall on the "often reading and meditation in God's Word."
iii] Purity. The removal of anything that was contrary to scripture.
iv] Common tongue. Worship should be in the language of the people. Latin was seen as a spiritual language. It is common for religions to emphasize mystery through a special religious language.
v] Uniformity. In the past many dioceses had their own "Use". "Now from henceforth all the whole realm shall have but one Use."

2. The services
The services in this book, although shortened and simplified, reflected the Latin Sarum Use:

i] Daily Services of Mattins and Evensong.
The Lord's Prayer. Said by the minister alone.
Versicles (short petitions). "Open our lips........"
Canticles, Psalm, lessons
Kyrie. "Lord have mercy......."
The Apostle's Creed. Said kneeling as a confession.
The Lord's Prayer
The Lesser Litany. "Lord show us your mercy.........."
Collects of the Day, Peace and Grace (third Collect)

ii] Litany for Wednesdays and Fridays.

iii] Holy Communion, Sunday following Morning Prayer. Most of the elements of this service were taken up in later Prayer Books, although there were changes in position and the removal of Biblically unsound material.
The Lord's Prayer. Said by the minister alone
Prayer of Preparation. "Almighty God to whom all hearts....."
Kyrie. "Lord have mercy......"
Gloria in Excelsis. "Glory to God in the highest......." Greeting. "Lord be with you....."
Royal prayer. "Almighty God, whose kingdom is everlasting....."
Collect, Epistle and Gospel
The two exhortations
Offertory sentences
The Canon - prayer of consecration from the Latin Mass, consisting of the following elements:
Invitation. "Lift up your hearts......"
Preface. "Therefore with angels......."
Sanctus. "Holy, holy.........."
Benedictus. "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest." Dropped in 1552.
Prayer of the Church ("the whole state of Christ's Church [militant here in earth]")
Prayer of Consecration. "Almighty God......."
Prayer of Oblation. "Lord and heavenly Father, we your servants entirely desire your fatherly goodness......."
The Lord's Prayer.
The Pax. Greeting of peace. "The peace of the Lord......
Agnus Dei. "Jesus, Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world, etc." Dropped in 1552.
Cranmer's Order of Communion
Invitation ("You that do truly....")
Comfortable Words. Scripture sentences. "Hear the words...."
Prayer of Humble Access ("We do not presume.....").
The Communion in both kinds. ie. bread and wine.
Sentences. Scripture verses encouraging Godly living. Later dropped
Prayer of Thanksgiving. "Almighty and everliving God, we heartily thank you that you graciously feed us........"
The Blessing.
A list of 8 collects is provided for special prayer to be said after the Offertory, eg. for rain.

Crucial changes were made to the Cannon in later Prayer Books
a) Prayers for Mary and the Saints were deleted.
b) The prayer for the Holy Spirit to sanctify the elements was altered in 1552. "With thy Holy Spirit and word, vouchsafe to bless and sanctify these thy gifts, of creatures of bread and wine, that they may be unto us the body and blood of they most dearly beloved son Jesus Christ." Although not implying a doctrine of the real or objective presence of Christ in the elements, the idea that the Holy Spirit changes the elements, even "unto us" or "to us", was rejected by the reformers.
c) Reference to, we "make a ..... memorial" of Jesus' sacrifice in the communion, was dropped in 1552. Cranmer feared that the words would be misinterpreted.

iv] Baptism
On the first Sunday the Godparents were to bring the child to the front door of the church. With the minister present, the child was named and given the sign of the cross to exorcise unclean spirits. The Gospel was then read, Lord's Prayer said, and Creed recited. The child was then taken to the font, baptized, dressed in a "white vesture", and then anointed with oil as a sign of the "unction of the Holy Spirit." Much of this ritual was dropped in the 1552 book.

v] Confirmation
This service began with the Catechism. It could be used by the Bishop to test the candidates. It is very similar to the 1662 version, without the questions on the sacraments. The service was very simple and retained the sign of the cross, dropped in 1552. Cranmer added the laying on of hands, a primitive sign of prayer, "after the example of the Holy Apostles."

The Second Prayer Book of Edward VI, 1552
This book virtually sets the standard for all the English Prayer Books that follow. The 1662 book follows it closely. Many of the changes from the 1549 book were of a practical nature, but some changes were driven by two opposite influences.
a) The "Interim" (1548), an imperial edict against reform issued by the Holy Roman Emperor, drove both Martin Bucer and Peter Martyr across the channel to England. These men were to greatly influence Cranmer. Bucer wrote against the 1549 book, objecting to non-communicating attendance, bell-ringing during the service, prayers for the dead, and useless ceremonies. These criticisms were taken into account for the 1552 book.
b) Bishop Gardiner, the champion of the old learning (he championed the Mass), said he was well able to retain the doctrine of the Mass in the 1549 book. In fact, he argued that the book was at odds with Cranmer's paper on the Lord's Supper, published in 1549. This drove Cranmer to remove any words liable to be misinterpreted.

i] Morning and Evening Prayer
The Sentences, Exhortation, Confession and Absolution were added to the service. Reformation theology now shaped this service into a liturgy that proclaimed justification by grace through faith.

ii] Litany
A selection of prayers were added to the service which were separated in 1662 into the two sections called "Prayers" and "Thanksgivings". The Litany was now also to be said on Sundays.

iii] The Communion
Although ancient form was retained, the service was radically redrafted to remove any idea of the Roman Mass, and in so doing establish a new liturgical form which was neither Western or Eastern, but rather English.

a) Additions:
The Ten Commandments for self examination and personal confession to God.
Totally new words of administration, "Take and eat this in remembrance that Christ died for you, and feed on him in your heart by faith, with thanksgiving."
"Militant here in earth" was added to the title of the "Prayer for the whole state of Christ's church". The extended title rules out prayers for the dead.
"The Black Rubric". This note explains why Anglicans kneel to receive the bread and wine. It is not to worship any real presence.

b) Omissions (most already noted):
Mention of the faithful departed
Invocation of the Holy Spirit
The idea of performing a "Memorial".

c) Structural changes
Gloria in Excelsis is moved to the end of the service.
The Canon was broken up and rearranged with Cranmer's "Order of Communion" (1548). The new order was followed virtually unchanged in later Prayer Books, and in modern 1st Order services. This pattern is unique to the English liturgy.

iv] Baptism
Service at the front door of the church was abolished and now took place at the font.
Exorcising evil spirits
Chrisom. The white robe
Chrism. Anointing.

v] Confirmation.
Sign of the cross was omitted. Confirming prayer was simplified.

vi] Visitation of the Sick
Extreme Unction was dropped and reservation of the elements for private communion was no longer sanctioned.

The Prayer Book of Elizabeth I, 1559
After the death of Queen Mary both Protestant and Romanist extremists pushed for the adoption of their form of church poliety. Elizabeth steered a course of comprehension between hard-line Calvinist Protestants and sacramental Romanists who sought to gain the crown for Mary Queen of Scots (supported by France and Spain). Extremists on both sides secretly split from the Church of England. Elizabeth took the middle path and reinstituted the 1552 book with some changes.

i] Ornaments Rubric. Allowed a return to 1549 vestments, either Chasuble (a sacrificial garment favoured by Romanists) or Cope (a teaching gown favoured by the Protestants). The "Advertisements" of 1566 later ordered surplice with hood or tippet, and the cope on certain occasions. Although this was meant to restrain Roman practice, the Puritans were greatly offended and tended to defy this attempt to retain uniformity of dress.
ii] "Black Rubric" omitted.
iii] The words of Administration from the Prayer Books of 1549 and 1552 were combined.
iv] Prayer against the Pope was omitted.
v] A prayer for the Queen/King added to Morning and Evening Prayer.
vi] "Grace" added to Morning and Evening Prayer.
vii] The Oath of the King's "Supremacy" was changed to "Sovereignty". Now "Governor" of the church, not "Supreme Head".
viii] Articles of religion amended. In Edward's reign there were 42, in 1562, 38, and in 1571, 39.

The Prayer Book of James I, 1604
James I, the Son of Mary Queen of Scots, did not much like the English Protestants for the way they imprisoned his mother and later executed her. None-the-less the Puritans were now very strong and so petitioned the King (Millenary Petition) to further reform the church. They sought the removal of the following:
Sign of the cross at Baptism
The Surplice
Bowing at the name of Jesus
The ring in marriage
Readings from the Apocrypha
Baptism by laymen.

In 1604 the King called the Hampton Court Conference of Bishops and leading Puritans to discuss the issues. Other than authorising the publication of a new Bible in 1611, little was resolved. A new Prayer Book, with few changes, was authorised. It stayed in use until suppressed by the Puritan-led Long Parliament of 1645

Changes in the Prayer Book of 1604
i] The addition of the words "or remission of sins" to the Absolution in Morning and Evening Prayer. The Puritans wanted it noted that the church does not absolve, but rather only declares God's absolution (forgiveness) of the repentant sinner.
ii] Prayer for the Royal Family added to Morning and Evening Prayer, and Thanksgivings added to the Litany.
iii] Baptism by lay people now irregular. The Puritans didn't like the idea that Baptism was "necessary" (it must be done even by a lay person). Nor did they like the idea of women performing the service. Although "irregular", it was not forbidden, just not sanctioned.
iv] The questions on the Sacraments added to the Catechism, composed by Bishop Overal. The Puritans felt that Confirmees were not properly instructed, although they were less than happy with the additions.

The Prayer Book of Charles II, 1662

1. The suppression of the Book of Common Prayer, 1645
James I was succeeded by Charles I in 1625. Both he and Archbishop Laud tended toward an intolerant Roman position which finally led to revolt, the "Long Parliament", suppression of the Prayer Book, and the death of the king and Laud. Under the parliamentary period and Cromwell, it was an offence to even say a Prayer Book service in private. "The Directory", issued by the Westminster Assembly" replace the Prayer Book. It was not a service book, but rather a manual of directions. It did though contain "Prayers for those at Sea" given that sailors probably needed a little more help than just a set of directions. This prayer section influenced a similar inclusion in the 1662 book.

2. The Scotch Prayer-Book, 1637
John Knox had suppressed the use of the Book of Common Prayer in Scotland and it was not till 1616 that the General Assembly authorised the preparation of a Scottish Liturgy. Charles I wanted the Book of Common Prayer accepted, but he also didn't want to inflame the Scottish people. A Prayer Book for the Scots was produced in 1637 and was immediately rejected by the people, firing rebellion. Although it replaced Priest with Presbyter it returned to the Cannon of 1549, restoring the "Invocation" and "Memorial", prayers for the faithful departed, and Manual Acts over the consecrated elements. All had been removed in 1552. The Romanist tendencies of Laud, the Archbishop of England, are clearly evident. This book was to influence the 1662 book, although the revisers maintained the Elizabethan principle of upholding the standards of 1552.

3. The restoration of the Prayer Book
In 1660 Charles II was crowned the new king in a climate of good-will and tolerance. "No man shall be disquieted or called in question for differences of opinion in matters of religion", said Charles.
In 1661 he called the Savoy Conference between the two major factions, the Presbyterians (Puritans) and Episcopalians (Romanists). The conference was deadlocked. The Presbyterians didn't want the restoration of the Prayer Book, and if restored they wanted the right of an alternate Use. They were asked to define what they regarded as actually "sinful" in the book. They identified eight sins, eg. kneeling to receive communion, sign of the cross at Baptism, wearing of the surplice, pronouncing a baptized infant regenerate..... They opposed responsive saying of Psalms, responses to the ten commandments, bowing at the name of Christ in the creed, responsive prayers...... Richard Baxter even produced an alternate liturgy to either replace the Prayer Book or for use alongside it.
The conference failed due mainly to the intransigence of the puritans. Yet their inflexible position was equalled by the Episcopal Bishops who demanded that ministers appointed during the Commonwealth period must receive Episcopal ordination. Many refused and were ejected from their Parishes. The King now appointed a committee of Bishops to revise the Prayer Book. It received Royal assent in May 19, 1662.

4. Changes in the 1662 Prayer Book
i] The Preface. A new Preface was written by Bishop Sanderson. It spoke of the struggle of the times, of the need to "keep the mean", "moderation". Three aims are stated. To preserve peace and unity in the church. To promote piety and devotion. To restrict the quarrelsome, those who would promote their own form. ii] A new calendar and rubrics
iii] The 1611 version of the Bible is used.
iv] Lengthened Morning and Evening Prayer. Prayers for the King, Royal Family, Clergy, St.Chrysostom's prayer and The Grace, are removed from the Litany and added to Morning and Evening Prayer.
v] Shortened Litany. Sentence on "rebellion" and "schism" added. "Minister" replaces "Deacon" (to placate Puritans). Prayers and Thanksgivings removed.
vi] Special Prayers and Thanksgiving sections added. Added to the Litany selection were prayers for Parliament, "All sorts and conditions of men", the General Thanksgiving and Ember Collects.
vii] Changes to the Lord's Supper:
a) Commemoration of the faithful departed in the form of a thanksgiving is returned to the prayer for the Church ("militant here in earth"). A Romanist inclusion.
b) The "Black Rubric" explaining the reason for kneeling at Communion was restored. It is not for the adoration of the elements of bread and wine as if they represented the "corporal" (originally "real and essential presence") of Christ. The changed wording does encourage a "receptionist" view. Although the elements are not the actual "corporal" body of Christ, they are to those who receive them in faith, Christ's spiritual body. A questionable view.
c) In the prayer for the Church, "oblations" is added to "alms". This refers to the other gifts of the people, but with the rubric ordering the bread and wine to be placed on the table, there is the implication that this is done for sacramental purposes. An unacceptable view.
d) The manual acts in the prayer of Consecration are restored. Cranmer removed these in 1552.
e) Extra rubrics (rules). Additional bread and wine, if required, are to be consecrated. Remaining elements to be covered by a white linen cloth. All remaining elements to be consumed in the church following the service. This was most likely added to prevent irreverent treatment of the elements, but not to restrict "Communion by extension" (elements taken to the sick") or "Reservation". None-the-less, such practice was dispensed with in the 1552 book.
viii] Service of Baptism for Adults added. This aided mission work in the Colonies. The service is theologically flawed.
ix] Confirmation service. Catechism separated from the service of Confirmation and replaced with a simple question and answer section.
x] Communion no longer compulsory in the Marriage service.
xi] Burial service rearranged. Our "hope" is shifted to the resurrection itself, rather than a "hope" that our dead brother will rise.
xii] Prayers for those at Sea added. A puritan initiative.
xiii] St.Matthew's conclusion to the Lord's Prayer is added where there is a note of praise and thanksgiving in the service.

Key Prayer Book dates
1543. A chapter of the Bible is allowed to be read in church.
1544. Litany in English
1547. Epistle and Gospel read in English at the Mass
1548. The laity allowed to take the cup at Mass
1549. First Prayer Book of Edward VI
1550. Ordinal in English
1552. Second Prayer Book of Edward VI
1559. Prayer Book of Elizabeth I
1604. Prayer Book of James I, and Hampton Court Conference.
1637. The Scottish Prayer Book
1661. Savoy Conference.
1662. Prayer Book of Charles II
1764. Scottish Prayer Book (Communion - emphasising the invocation of the Holy Spirit.
1789. First American Prayer Book (follows Scottish tradition).
1877. The Irish Prayer Book
1928. An Alternative order of Communion
1978. First Australian Prayer Book. AAPB
1995. Second Australian Prayer Book. APBA

"How we got our Prayer Book", Drury.


Psalm 107


Christ The King


Te Deum Laudamus

From the Morning Office of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer

WE praise thee, O God; we acknowledge thee to be the Lord.
All the earth doth worship thee, the Father everlasting.
To thee all Angels cry aloud; the Heavens, and all the Powers therein;
To thee Cherubim and Seraphim continually do cry,
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth;
Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty of thy glory.
The glorious company of the Apostles praise thee.
The goodly fellowship of the Prophets praise thee.
The noble army of Martyrs praise thee.
The holy Church throughout all the world doth acknowledge thee;
The Father of an infinite Majesty;
Thine adorable, true and only Son;
Also the Holy Ghost the Comforter.

THOU art the King of Glory, O Christ.
Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.
When thou tookest upon thee to deliver man, thou didst humble thyself to be born of a Virgin.
When thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death, thou didst open the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers.
Thou sittest at the right hand of God, in the glory of the Father.
We believe that thou shalt come to be our Judge.
We therefore pray thee, help thy servants, whom thou hast redeemed with thy precious blood.
Make them to be numbered with thy Saints, in glory everlasting.

O LORD, save thy people, and bless thine heritage.
Govern them and lift them up for ever.
Day by day we magnify thee;
And we worship thy Name ever, world without end.
Vouchsafe, O Lord, to keep us this day without sin.
O Lord, have mercy upon us, have mercy upon us.
O Lord, let thy mercy be upon us, as our trust is in thee.
O Lord, in thee have I trusted; let me never be confounded.


All Creatures of our God and King: Choir of St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh


Taverner: Westron Wind


Tallis: Spem In Alium


"Orthodox Christianity for Anglicans"

An update on this.

I decided to do a bit of Googling tonight to see if there was anything else online regarding this event, which was held tonight at Holy Ascension Orthodox Church (OCA) in Charleston, SC.   What I found was this editorial, a pitch to conservative Anglicans from Holy Ascension's priest Fr. John Parker.  Please take a few minutes to read the editorial before you read the rest of this entry.

As you can see, Fr. Parker is a convert to Orthodoxy from Episcopalianism, and like so many converts to Orthodoxy, he is full of zeal for his newfound faith.  I have written at some length about such zeal in my posts here about Orthodoxy and converts thereto.  I myself was once a zealous convert to Orthodox Christianity.  (Said conversion didn't "take", for reasons I have set forth in a number of blog entries.)

There is nothing wrong with zeal, per se, unless it gets in the way of critical thought.  It did in my case, and I would say it has in Fr. Parker's case as well.  In fact, this loss of criticality seems to plague converts to Orthodoxy generally speaking.  Much has been written about it, even by Orthodox authorities.  So, let's have a look about how it comes to bear in Fr. Parker's editorial.

He begins with a narrative about the disintegration of TEC, beginning the narrative and punctuating several cases in point with the saying of Christ, "A house divided against itself cannot stand", the point being that not only TEC but Anglicanism in general is just such a house:

The trouble is, these divisions are only outward signs of an inward, untenable view that Christians are held together by a (redefinable) minimum standard. So, Anglicanism has been disintegrating - visibly or invisibly - for nearly 500 years because 'a house divided against itself cannot stand.' As a result, every effort mentioned above, however faithfully intended and executed, will not resolve; rather it is simply the setting back of an Anglican clock, destined to repeat itself in time.

Fr. Parker devotes special attention in the editorial to the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina and its traditionalist bishop, Mark Lawrence, in a seeming attempt to draw that conservative diocese's attention to what he believes is the only real cure for the Anglican disease:  Eastern Orthodoxy.

Orthodox Christianity, by contrast, traditions (sic) the faith once for all delivered to the saints. In the early centuries of Christianity, Orthodox Christians canonized the Bible. Defined the Trinity. Propounded the Nicene Creed. Fought heresy. Dogmatized personhood. As a result, there is no debate about Salvation, the Cross, the Resurrection. For 20 centuries, the Orthodox Church has been dispensing divinely-issued spiritual medicine to heal every human soul. 

Orthodox Christianity maintains the firm teachings of Jesus Christ, dealing pastorally with us whose former ways were/are killing ourselves emotionally, spiritually, physically. Orthodoxy is a dogmatically, doctrinally, theologically and spiritually united house.

Let us examine - critically - the assertions made in the above two paragraphs.

Orthodox Christianity, by contrast, traditions (sic) the faith once for all delivered to the saints.  A claim made not only by the Orthodox, but by Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans, Calvinists, Anabaptists, and any number of Protestant free churches, not to mention the Monophysite and Nestorian churches.  Who's right?  The Orthodox?  Simply because they say so?  In support, seemingly, of this question-begging assertion, Fr. Parker sets forth the following:

In the early centuries of Christianity, Orthodox Christians canonized the Bible. Defined the Trinity. Propounded the Nicene Creed. Fought heresy. Dogmatized personhood.

I'm always amused by this bit of historical and semantic legerdemain whenever it is employed (which is quite often in my experience).  Orthodox apologists who employ it insinuate that the "Orthodox Church" as such existed in the centuries when the great triadological and christological heresies were debated and defeated, eventuating in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, the definition of Chalcedon, and the later ecumenical definitions that built on Chalcedon's christology.   But there were no "Orthodox Christians" of the variety represented by the modern church of which Parker is a member and priest.  There was simply the "Catholic" church, which had both Latin and Greek wings.  The "Orthodox Church" to which Parker belongs came into being much later, as the two wings grew alienated from one another and ultimately separated after a series of events that began in 1054 with the so-called "Great Schism".   The Greek or Eastern wing, over time, underwent further theological development as it came under the spell of certain mystical theologians such as Gregory Palamas, Symeon the "New Theologian", and various and sundry Russian "sophiologists."   And all of that mysticism, I would argue, bears little resemblance to the "faith once delivered to the saints" spoken of in the New Testament.

Also not for Fr. Parker, apparently, is the fact that a number of "Orthodox" churches nowadays styled "Oriental" were, at the time, on board with the Catholic church dogmatically throughout the Arian controversy.  Known also as the Monophysites, they later broke with the Catholic church over the christology affirmed at Chalcedon.   Originally adjudged heretics, these Christians -- Coptic; Ethiopian; Armenian -- are increasingly looked upon by modern Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox theologians as unfortunate victims of theological misunderstanding and Byzantine politics.  It is widely thought that the Oriental Orthodox might one day soon be brought into either the Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox fold -- or both, whenever the "Great Schism" is healed.   But my point here is, once again, that there was no "Orthodox Church" as such in the early centuries of the church.  There are now, in the broader "Catholic" (i.e., non-Protestant) world, three schisms: Roman, Orthodox, and Monophysite.  Can such a divided house stand?  Well, it seems it has, in its own fractious sort of way.  So how, pray tell, can Fr. Parker be so assured about Anglicanism's future?

Parker continues, based on his historical and semantic slight-of-hand:

As a result, there is no debate about Salvation, the Cross, the Resurrection. For 20 centuries, the Orthodox Church has been dispensing divinely-issued spiritual medicine to heal every human soul.

Well, there's no debate over these things now in the Orthodox Church, a millennium after the "Great Schism."  But there certainly was a debate over salvation and the cross in the first millennium, when the church was one but existing in Latin and Greek wings, and we might also say, "phronemas."  Modern Orthodox apologetes go on at length these days about the stark theological differences between the Greek East and the Latin West, and how those differences came to bear on the respective views of salvation and the cross.  So who was right about those debates?  The modern Eastern Orthodox?  Again, simply because they say so?  *I* say the Orthodox Church has gotten it largely wrong on salvation and the cross, and that classical Anglicanism has gotten it right.  And I'd be game to debate that issue with Fr. Parker if he is.

Fr. Parker tries to drive home this question-begging, self-serving argument with an even more question-begging and self-serving assertion:

Orthodox Christianity maintains the firm teachings of Jesus Christ, dealing pastorally with us whose former ways were/are killing ourselves emotionally, spiritually, physically. Orthodoxy is a dogmatically, doctrinally, theologically and spiritually united house.

Really?  Well, we trad Anglicans wouldn't say so.  I have argued in this blog that the Orthodox Church has strayed from biblical Christianity in several significant ways.  So who's right?  And as for this vaunted "spiritual unity" Fr. Parker speaks of, what shall we say of the perennial tendencies toward the "heresy" of phyletism in canonical Orthodoxy, or of the "Orthodox Miscellany" composed of several schismatic (but certainly apostolic) Orthodox bodies that have separated from "canonical" Orthodoxy over the calendar, "modernism", ecumenism, etc?  A house divided against itself cannot stand, Fr. John.

It's all just so much typical Orthodox triumphalism.  And uncritical triumphalism at that.  Conservative Anglicans should realize this, and not be tempted by Eastern Orthodoxy's triumphalistic siren song.  The grass is not greener over there, for reasons set forth in this blog entry and others I've set forth in previous entries.   I know.   I was there.  Continuing on:

'What do you fight about?' I once asked my Episcopal-priest-from-my-childhood-church-turned-Orthodox-priest. 'Money, whether priests should have beards and wear their cassocks (long robes) in public.' After a decade in the Orthodox Church, I certify his observation.

Indeed.  The Orthodox do fight each other over such frivolities, but at least it's a family feud.  No, the Orthodox spend their time fighting the real fight with "the West", with the entire non-Orthodox world. In fact, they fight "the West" with such (triumphalistic) fervor, that one fair-minded Orthodox theologian, having a gut full of it, complained:

Outside of Orthodoxy, have you noticed how the healthiest Christian communities around today are the ones who preach Christ, not their own denomination? They speak of Jesus, not their "Baptist," "Methodist" or "Pentecostal" identities. Yet, all we seem to hear from our pulpits is "Orthodoxy, Orthodoxy, Orthodoxy!" We are obsessed with self-definition through negation. It is a sick religious addiction. We often shore up our identity as Orthodox by constantly contrasting ourselves with Evangelicals or Catholics. I wish we would talk more about Christian faith, and less about "Orthodoxy."

But then Fr. Parker gets to perhaps the central issue:

To that, I would add one: how to deal with sinners. Note: not 'what is sin,' but rather, the pastoral ways of dealing with the reality - we are all sinners.

Of course, we Anglicans and the rest of the benighted folk over here in "the West" would know nothing about the "pastoral ways of dealing with sin."  ;>)

And finally:

I grew up in the house divided against itself. I have found the united house. I'd like to share the story with you, and bring healing to the home. . . .  I welcome every Anglican and Episcopalian who reads this (friends too) to come hear the history and, as Paul Harvey always said, 'the rest of the story'.

But what will Fr. Parker do with the increasing number of us who have sought refuge in that "united house", only to find that it did not provide for us the "healing" that Fr. Parker has found, and have accordingly reverted to the Evangelical or Roman Catholic communions of our youths, or in many cases, to the communions of Continuing Anglicanism?   Will Fr. Parker agree with St. Theophan the Recluse, who said, "I will tell you one thing, however: should you, being Orthodox and possessing the Truth in its fullness, betray Orthodoxy, and enter a different faith, you will lose your soul forever."?  Or will he simply say that we're sadly in error?  Well, if so, he'll need to do better than the threadworn "come and see" argument.  I came to Anglicanism in large part because I "came and saw" Orthodox Christianity, and did not like what I saw.

(The "Eastern Orthodoxy" archive at The Old Jamestown Church)


A Reader Sends This


This Is The Stuff, Right Here

Renewing the Anglican Tradition from St. Matthew's Church on Vimeo.

In a comment below, ABH writes:

For what it's worth, I have been attending St. Matthew's in Newport Beach (a flagship parish of the ACC) for a few months now, and it doesn't particularly strike me as Anglo-Catholic. There are some liturgical choices made which I suppose are Anglo-Catholic (e.g. the placement of the Gloria), and the Eucharistic real presence plays a central role in the congregation's piety, but the whole tenor of the parish doesn't *feel* Anglo-Catholic. Not that I am an authority on such matters, but I thought I'd throw it out there. And both Calvin and Luther are sold in the bookstore. That says something, I suppose.

By the way, it is a REMARKABLE parish. I hesitate to use the word "anointed," because it's loaded, but seriously, the Holy Ghost's presence is (almost?) palpable. There is a weightiness about the worship — a weightiness that goes beyond the "well, liturgical worship is by nature weighty." The congregation prays with earnest intensity.

The Lord has blessed St. Matthew's. I'm not sure what it is — I've been trying to figure that out. But the Lord's hand is upon it. I hope and pray that St. Matthew's can be a model to the rest of the ACC, and to the rest of Continuing Anglicanism.

THIS is what "reformed Catholicism" really is.  What St. Matt's seeks to renew is **classical** Anglicanism, which is an Anglicanism that knows there was a Reformation, and embraces it.  


Worshipping God


More on the ACC's New Website

In a comment to the entry below, Rev. du Barry notes, "The ACC website refuses the name of Protestant."  It might seem so.  But I noted in that entry that I very well could be missing something.   I canvassed three well-known non-Anglo-Catholic bloggers yesterday about their thoughts on the new web site, and two of them noted that the statement there on the Elizabethan Settlement pleased them immensely.  I had indeed missed that, so I think it's important that I note it.  The article on the Elizabethan Settlement and other articles relating to the English Reformation can be read here.

One of the aforementioned two bloggers was happy to see what he thinks might be a willingness on the part of the ACC to distance itself from the Athens Statement and possibly to repudiate Canon 2.1 of the ACC's Constitution and Canons, which is capable of a construction that says developments in the English Reformation after 1543 are not be to recognized.

The jury is still out on all this, however.  The actual direction a church takes is determined by what its bishops decide, not necessarily what its official website says.  And, as the third blogger reported, the direction represented in the new site's articles was still "too Anglo-Catholic" for him, though he added that he intends to re-read the site's articles carefully and keep abreast of any additions, as it appears to be a work in progress. 

Whatever the case, the statements at  the new web site are certainly more nuanced than were the ones on the old website a few years ago, which contained a statement on the "About Us" page that read as follows:


The Church of England arose as a separate catholic body out of the English version of the Reformation in the sixteenth century, but never intended the type of dramatic separation advocated by Protestants on the Continent. It took great care to preserve the Apostolic Succession, and with it the sacramental life of the Church, but at the same time participated fully in the rediscovery of Holy Scripture and the ministry of the Word so dear to Protestants. Are we catholic or protestant? In truth, the answer has to be "both"! 

Stay tuned for further developments . . . .


The Feminisation of the Church of England Rolls On Apace

From Virtue Online, on how liberals have turned the CofE into a Womanchurch.  A note to Anglican Ritualists, however:  clergy and acolytes in lace aren't likely to draw the men back.  Beware too of prissy Anglo-Catholic aestheticism:

By Roland W. Morant
Special to Virtueonline
October 8, 2012

In the current drawn out discussion on women priests and women bishops, one issue that has been largely overlooked has been the effect on men. If this issue is approached from a strict politically correct perspective, it can be argued that as the roles of leadership in churches pass from men to women, because such roles are accepted as equal and identical there ought to be no difference in the effect on men in the pews. But if in practice as others maintain, the engendered roles of leadership do not conform to a common outcome pattern, differences may well emerge in the way men respond to women exercising ordained leadership.

Before we can address this problem directly, it behoves us to remember some well established facts. These are facts which, it must be admitted, apply to nearly all the mainline churches of the West (taken here as Anglican, Methodist, Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Reformed etc., but not Orthodox).

Men and women worshippers: In mainline churches the numbers of worshippers of both genders have been steadily falling, with some of the greatest falls occurring in recent years. In whatever way the figures are interpreted, almost all the churches have experienced similar falls. If we take figures from the Church of England's own statistical department, we find that during the last eleven years from 2000 there has been a steady drop in average attendance on Sundays from 1,058,000 to 924,000. Thus in this period 134,000 adults, young people and children ceased to attend church, i.e. a fall of 12.7% or, very roughly, 1% per year.

Is it possible to break down the above figures by gender? Not it seems by the C. of E statisticians. Nevertheless several pieces of research have been done in Great Britain, the U.S.A. and continental Europe, all of which confirm a general finding which is that year by year the loss of men from churches of every mainline denomination is not only greater than that of women, but that this loss is getting worse year after year.

To illustrate this, Peter Brierley found that attendance at church in 1980 was 57% for women and 43% for men. In the year 2000 the figures were 60% or women and 40% for men; while in 2010 attendance for women was 63% and 37% for men. Thus although there was a net loss of men and women from churches in the ten year period 2000 to 2010, the proportion of women still attending (albeit in an overall shrinking group) appeared to be steadily rising. This must have been because men were leaving churches at a much faster rate than the women.

The proportion of men worshippers relative to women worshippers has been in decline for a very long time, almost certainly from before the end of the medieval period. The Reformation, a male instigated and led activity, may have slowed down or even reversed temporarily in some of the new national churches a decline in men's attendance. Other factors since then which may have boosted men's presence at acts of worship were the Methodist revival in the eighteenth century, and several other revivals ( Tractarian, Evangelical) in the Nineteenth Century.

But when we come to recent times, i.e. the Twentieth Century and the present one, we can see quite clearly that the falling away of attendance at church, especially by men has become more pronounced and very visible, and deservedly should be called a haemorrhage of the lifeblood of the Church. That nearly all mainstream churches for a long time - and increasingly so in recent times - steadily and spectacularly have lost their men folk, ipso facto is turning Christianity into a female religion. And that is about as serious a criticism as can be made about the Christian religion today.

What effect has the ordination of women in the C. of E. (and soon to be, the consecration of women as bishops) had - or may have in the future - on this tendency? Obviously, as this general trend towards feminisation within churches has been going on for a long period, the recent advent and practice of ordained women's ministry cannot be held responsible for what has been happening in the more distant past.

In the C. of E. the first women were ordained as deacons in 1987 and the first women deacons as priests in 1994. Since then women have made rapid strides in entering the ministry. In 1994, 106 women and 273 were ordained. Sixteen years later (2010), more women (290) than men (273) were ordained. So the scales over this period have gradually but incessantly tipped towards the women.

To bring us up to date, in the latest figures which are available (compiled from official figures), in 2011 there were 1,763 full time women priests working in C. of E. parishes, a 50% increase from the year 2000. Approximately one in five paid priests (for such are all these full time women priests) now work in the Church.

It has therefore been argued that if this trend continues, it is inevitable that "women would comprise the majority of spiritual leaders in England". Moreover, David Martin, former Professor of Sociology, is on record as having said recently, "It's obvious that over time the priesthood will become increasingly a female profession. As far as the church has a future, it will include a predominant ministry of women and they will get to the top".

However, a degree of caution is needed before we can say without equivocation that the input of women priests into parish churches has led directly to many men abandoning going to church. What we can say is this: From before 1994 (halfway through the Decade of Evangelism in England) there has been a haemorrhage of people from attending church on Sundays, increasingly these being men. And since 1994 there has been a steady influx of ordained women into the churches, with no noticeable slowing down of the exit of men from the pews.

A cardinal rule in statistical analysis is not to base predictions on a single item of data. The following personal experience therefore should not be understood to infer what will happen in many churches through the placement of women into leadership roles in many churches. Some months ago I visited a church for a quite separate reason and purchased its parish magazine. It listed its incumbent, paid curate and non-stipendiary priest as women. Its two church wardens were women. In the list of services for the coming month giving details of lay people due to read portions of the scriptures and to lead the prayers, all but one person was a woman. It may well be an unpopular thing to say, but what religious incentive is there for any man to attend that church?

A lot of literature has been written and a substantial amount of research done on why men generally cease to attend church, a phenomenon not matched in the other great religions. One of the main reasons is that the type of religion presented via worship in church where women are normally in the great majority, is expressed in female-friendly terms (e.g. Jesus being often symbolised as the Lamb of God rather than as Lion of Judah).

The leadership of the Church of England has, quite clearly, in recent years encouraged women to explore and find their vocations as priests, and soon as bishops. Such encouragement may be well and good, and conform to the prevalent secular standards of equality. Yet from another standpoint it might invoke a law of unintended consequences in which the C. of E. fills its dioceses and parishes with women in leadership roles, but finds too late that it has no men in the pews (except a few feminised men). As David Murrow persuasively writes in his book, "Why Men Hate Going to Church", the "Church of England is quickly becoming a church of women, by women and for women".

Roland W. Morant is a cradle Anglican who has spent his professional life as a teacher, and latterly as a principal lecturer in education in a college of higher education, training students as teachers and running in-service degree courses


Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence - Bairstow