Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Why Do Traditionalists Put Up With the Church of England?

Christians of a conservative bent, particularly from the Western side of the pond, may wonder why Christians of a conservative bent in the U.K. put up with the Church of England in spite of its many enormities.

This post over at Anglican Wanderings illustrates one reason why – the ecclesiastical atmosphere is just different in Britain. We Americans tend to be church hoppers and even church splitters with little denominational loyalty. Some even dislike denominations and prefer independent churches (as I did for almost twenty years). Heck, many churches do their best to conceal their denominational affiliation.

Apparently, it is not so in England, at least not for the most part. Andrew Teather:

People are loyal to the Church of England, as I have seen in a couple of Parishes where the Priest has retired and the new Vicar has been a lady - parishes where people said most vehemently that they would 'not stand for it' and the rest of the verbiage and then stayed because it is their home, where that have always worshipped and where their friends and family have always worshipped. Nothing would stop them going (and who would want to, really). For this reason, I am firmly convinced that solutions which may seem natural and workable overseas would not work here. This is a small island dominated by two main Churches and I am certain that any move by orthodox Anglicans which, in peoples eyes, takes us away from either of those two bodies is doomed to failure.

Indeed, the Free Church of England, the English sister church to the Reformed Episcopal Church of long standing, is small and struggling even while the REC grows in the U. S. And that’s not for lack of leadership. One of their bishops is John Fenwick, an excellent, energetic churchman with whom I had the pleasure to enjoy lunch in Victoria at the REC General Council recently. But he freely admits the Free CofE is in difficult straits. Churches that flourish in the U. S. usually struggle in the U. K. if they are not Church of England or Roman Catholic. It’s a different climate in the U. K.

But my U. K. readers surely can speak more knowledgably to this than this Texan. Feel free to comment.

1 comment:

Andrew Teather said...

Thanks for the link.