Episcopalian checking in here.
Yep, the Revolution caused a crisis alright. The church in America could hardly have as it’s head a foreign monarch. What to do?
All the Anglican bishops were back in England, and they would not consecrate an American as bishop. There’s a little something called “episcopal succession” in the church. A bishop has to be consecrated by other bishops, going to the “way back” beginning of the faith.
The Anglicans wouldn’t ordain Samuel Seabury as bishop, so as a previous poster mentioned, he got it done in Scotland, making an end run around the English church. Not all that long after a couple more were consecrated, and once the American church had it’s own bishops, they could continue the life of the church in this country.
The worldwide “Anglican Communion” is made up of over 30 national churches, with, in some cases, slightly differing practices. No one church, even the English church, with it’s Archbishop of Canterbury, has authority over another, but the AoC is kind of a spiritual head, or call it a mentor or arbiter.
The American church, called the Episcopal Church in the United States of America(ECUSA) is currently getting a LOT of flak from other members of the Anglican Communion, some of which may want to toss us out of the club.
See, we ordain women. So do some of the other national churches, although many do not allow it. But we go a little further. Not only will we ordain woman as priests, but we allow them to be bishops as well. Only two other members, New Zealand and, uh, Canada I think, have female bishops, although some supposedly allow the possibility.
Heh, heh. The ECUSA has gone even further than that though. Just this past Sunday a new Presiding Bishop was elected. The PB is the head of the ECUSA(we don’t use the term archbishop). The new PB is Katherine Schiori, and she will be the only female head of a member of the Anglican Communion. In particular some of the African churches object.
Then there’s the little matter of homosexuality. Gays can be ordained in the ECUSA. And Gene Robinson, who was elected bishop of the diocese of New Hampshire, is openly gay. Didn’t that set the cat amongst the pigeons.
A member of an English conservative church group has stated that “The Americans are going to do whatever they want to, no matter how the rest of us feel.” Darned old stick up the…ummm…posterior, yeah, that’s the word.
I really ought to point **swampbear ** towards this thread. He’s much more witty and articulate than I am, and he’s Episcopalian.