The 19th Century

Are we Anglican or Episcopalian? The Labels We Wear

What’s the difference between the terms  “Anglican” and “Episcopal?” Isn’t it a bit of “overshoes” versus “galoshes?”  Don’t they identify the same thing? History and current usage show that why and when we use these labels is complicated. The origins of the word “Anglican” are simple enough.  The word “Anglican” can be traced back to …

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The Defiant Biretta

It is black, usually made from worsted wool with a black lining.  Three prominent blades run across the crown of the hat like three weather veins, publicly symbolic of the Trinity, met at the centre with a black pom-pom. The biretta is the Anglo-Catholic priest’s working cap.  During worship a series of rituals were developed …

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“…one Holy CATHOLIC and …”

On any given Sunday we might have someone ask us about the phrase in the Creeds which says  we believe in  “one holy catholic and apostolic Church.” The word “catholic” in many minds means “Roman Catholic.”  Of course we could  give the questioner a lesson in the etymology of the word.  “Catholic” from the Greek, …

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Frances Ridley Havergal – the Hymn that Began as a Prayer

We know her best known hymn, as one of the most loved in our Anglican hymnals.  Its composer was Anglican hymnist, Frances Ridley Havergal ( 1836-1879).  She lived a life of unfeigned saintliness.  One biographer called her, “a bright but short-lived candle in English hymnody.”  Her brief life was sold out to God.  Well educated, …

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“Saint Monday” and Monday Weddings

It was Monday, August 6, 1838.  John Harrison stopped in at work at 7 a.m.  then continued down the road two miles to a friend’s wedding.  After the wedding, Harrison had a pint of ale, went to a meeting of the Birmingham Political Union and went back to work.  To his astonishment,  his employer had …

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The Boxes of “Boxing Day”

December 26th is St Stephen’s Day, the patron saint of casket makers, deacons, bricklayers and stone masons – due to his execution by stoning (see Acts 7). At some unrecorded point in Church History, December 26th  also took on another name   – “Boxing Day.” While  the term “Boxing Day” suggests post-Christmas sales in big-box stores, …

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The Rev’d Neale – The Axe-Wielding Vicar

John Mason Neale (1818-1866) influenced the worship environments most of us enjoy each Christmas.  He was a hymn writer, whose works included “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and “Good King Wenceslas.” To his contemporaries he was better known as a leading member of the  Cambridge University-based , Ecclesiological Society,  a group of visionary Anglicans committed …

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The Ecclesiological Society

The next time you step into an old church, you might just be seeing the architectural influence of a 19th century arts society whose notion of “traditional” Anglicanism still holds sway –  The Ecclesiological Society.   Begun by clergy graduates from Cambridge University, its  consuming passion was the study of church design and ornaments, especially …

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