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Saturday, March 31st, 2007

Time Event
Thunder is rattling around outside. I've got to go hiking with the Boy Scouts in four hours, so I hope the weather wears itself out by then. Sassy got up to come into my study and snooze at my feet (thunder frets her).
I'm making my way slowly through The Oxford History of Christian Worship. In the chapter on how Christianity was transplanted to (and affected by) North America, there is an interesting examination of the successors of Anglicanism after the American Revolution.

Methodists were cut off from the sacraments and Wesley finally, as a matter of necessity, ordained some ministers himself for North America. He sent along a book of liturgy, entitled Sunday Service of the Methodists in North America (1784). This was mainly an abridgement of the Book of Common Prayer (1662).

Meanwhile, Samuel Seabury, one of the few remaining Anglican clergy in the new republic, was negotiating on behalf of his fellow Anglicans to get a bishop consecrated for the Church in the USA. That same year, Seabury finally got some non-juring bishops in Scotland to make him a bishop. By this, he avoided having to take an oath of allegiance to the Crown. He promised in return to follow the Scottish communion liturgy. So when the Protestant Episcopal Church finally got itself organized in 1789, their Book of Common Prayer followed much of Seabury's 1786 liturgical pamphlet in use in Connecticut.

The irony of all this, in the OHCW's words . . .
Thus in a strange twist the communion liturgy used by Methodists in North America (and into the twenty-first century in some African American Methodist denominations) remained closer to that of the Church of England than the one approved by the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States.

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