Modernity and the Dilemma of North American Anglican Identities, 1880-1950

Modernity and the Dilemma of North American Anglican Identities, 1880-1950

Copyright Date: 2001
Pages: 320
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    Modernity and the Dilemma of North American Anglican Identities, 1880-1950
    Book Description:

    He describes the life and work of five leaders in the Anglican Church in Canada and the Episcopal Church in the United States who came of age in the late nineteenth century and served their religious communities until the mid-twentieth century. As clergy and educators they hoped to root the faith of modern Anglicans/Episcopalians in past traditions to provide a compelling spiritual purpose and identity for the present and the future. Their attempts to articulate a historical basis for Anglican unity and Christian ecumenism often had contradictory and even sectarian results. Modernity and the Dilemma of North American Anglican Identities, 1880-1950 offers historians and scholars of religion and culture in North America a comparative perspective and a new way to understand how a previous generation looked to the past to address the dilemmas of an uncertain present and future.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6903-4
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-2)
  4. 1 Introduction: An Antique or an Anchor?
    (pp. 3-19)

    At the turn of the second millennium ad, religion and culture in North America are in flux. William Butler Yeats said it well in 1921 in a much-quoted line: “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.” Though not uniquely so, perhaps, ours is an age of fragmentation for Christian churches and other faith communities and perhaps one of reconfiguration.¹ The ubiquity of so-called “postmodern” rhetoric and culture in the 1990s, even if overused and imprecise, suggests that North America and much of the rest of the world are going through a difficult and often painful time of transition, not only...

  5. 2 Anglicanism in North America to the Mid–Nineteenth Century
    (pp. 20-36)

    Whether they bless or curse the fact of it, English Canadians have often regarded the Anglican Church as a traditional cornerstone of their society. From school texts images of Bishop John Strachan come to mind — of the prelate working doggedly and imperiously to establish the church and proper society in the “howling wilderness” of colonial Upper Canada. Ironically, Anglicanism’s history is older in the United States. The Church of England did not have a vital presence in what became Canada until about 1750, when British settlers arrived in Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland became a resident colony.¹ Even then, colonial Anglicans...

  6. 3 Dyson Hague: Modernity, Tradition, and the Piety of the Past
    (pp. 37-63)

    In September 1929 Dyson Hague of the Church of the Epiphany in Toronto looked back on his generation of evangelical Anglicans. It was passing on, “leaving gaps and places” that seemed “impossible to fill,” and he prayed that young men would carry on the cause of “Evangelical Churchmanship,” as had generations of faithful Anglicans in the past. Evangelicals should be ardently protestant, loyal to their principles without hesitation or compromise, but unfailingly charitable towards people with whom they disagreed.²

    Hague had taken to reflecting on the future of the evangelical movement in Canadian Anglicanism more and more near the end...

  7. 4 North American Anglicanism at the Turn of the Century
    (pp. 64-78)

    At first glance, Anglicans in Canada and the United States seemed to be heading in opposite directions during the 1870s. In December 1873 Bishop George David Cummins of Kentucky led a small group of radical evangelicals out of the Protestant Episcopal Church. Frustrated by the apparent control of the pecusa by ritualists, Bishop Cummins and his supporters intended the incipient denomination to reinvigorate what they considered true Episcopalianism. Over the next decade or so, numerous evangelical Episcopalians joined the new Reformed Episcopal Church – as individuals, rump groups from divided PECUSA parishes, and whole parishes. The REC never grew beyond ten...

  8. 5 W.H. Griffith Thomas: Anglicanism, Fundamentalism, and Modernity
    (pp. 79-106)

    In 1910 W.H. Griffith Thomas sailed from England, leaving behind a successful career as an Anglican minister, Keswick speaker, and college principal, to go to Canada to teach at Wycliffe College in Toronto. He did so with regrets but was “mindful of the larger sphere to be found in connection with a reputedly Evangelical stronghold in the young and growing Dominion.”² In Toronto, Thomas taught at Wycliffe, edited theCanadian Churchman, and helped put the stamp of a growing evangelical party on the Canadian church. Equally important, his position at the college afforded him numerous opportunities to work with evangelicals...

  9. 6 William T. Manning: Apostolic Order and Evangelical Truth
    (pp. 107-134)

    Despite a distinct evangelical impulse in his faith, William Manning’s religious identity was profoundly high church. The paradox runs deep. Manning was a lifelong advocate of personal conversion; he was the man Billy Sunday said he most admired in the Episcopal Church. Nevertheless, to protect the integrity of the episcopacy and ensure the historical continuity of apostolic succession, Manning worked in the 1930s and 1940s to derail negotiations for organic union between the Episcopal and Presbyterian Churches.²

    This high-church identity and strict rejection of essential protestant dogma was also evident in Manning’s view of the Bible. He repudiated the Reformation...

  10. 7 Anglicanism in North America, 1920–1950
    (pp. 135-151)

    In the conclusion ofMen and Movements in the American Episcopal Church(1946), E. Clowes Chorley argued that evangelicalism in the PECUSA was “born again” during the 1920s and 1930s. Evangelicals had existed “in the shadows, divided and discredited” for sixty years, out of touch with “contemporary life and thought” and lacking “vigorous corporate expression.” But after having long been overshadowed by liberals and anglo-catholics, they were making themselves heard again.¹ As a broad-church liberal, Chorley praised the revival of evangelical Anglicanism that he had observed over the past two decades in the PECUSA.²

    The resurgent evangelicals, Chorley explained, were...

  11. 8 Carl Eckhardt Grammer: Things That Remain in Liberal Anglicanism
    (pp. 152-180)

    For Carl Eckhardt Grammer the past was a foreign country, one marked by differences from his own time. Of his evangelical Episcopalian upbringing – as a child and young man in parishes ministered to by his clergyman father during the 1860s and 1870s and as a student at the Virginia Theological Seminary during the 1880s – he had warm memories. But they were memories, reminiscences, marked by sentiment, nostalgia, and a patronising, progressive-minded sense of distance. The title of his major autobiographical and theological statement, Things That Remain, reflected this distance. The book did not lament the certainties of a by-gone time...

  12. 9 Henry John Cody: Modernity and Mediating Anglicanism
    (pp. 181-209)

    In his preaching Henry John Cody addressed the needs of modern people with compelling spiritual sensitivity, encouraging men and women who had grown weary with the day-to-day burdens of modern life. “In Christ is something that exactly meets the needs of the burdened, the broken and bankrupt,” he declared. “The test of any religion that claims to be universal is … how it meets the world’s needs. That is, what message have they for the weary. A message addressed to the weary is a message addressed to everyone.” Insight into the anomie of modern life marked his best sermons.¹ Cody...

  13. 10 Conclusion: The Modern Project, Fragmentation, and Anglican Identity
    (pp. 210-224)

    “Common sense” wisdom has much to say about the past. George Orwell’s famous line – “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past” – asserts that history is a product of power. George Santayana also proclaimed the necessity and utility of the past, saying: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” This book suggests something different. In confronting the modern dilemmas of identity, North American Anglicans appealed to the past, specifically to comprehensive, anglo-catholic, evangelical, and liberal traditions, but they could not control historical accounts of the Church of England. Comprehensiveness ideology,...

  14. Appendix: Church Membership
    (pp. 225-226)
  15. Notes
    (pp. 227-276)
  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 277-302)
  17. Index
    (pp. 303-306)