The relationship between the church in England and the church in Rome has rarely run smooth. Struggles with the balance between local practice and centralized power have been at the heart of disagreements from the Synod of Witby in 664 to the eventual break with Rome in the 1530's. For the next 70 years the Church in England sought to become the Church of England. Unlike many of its Protestant cousins the Church of England sought to create a Via Media, a middle way that would retain the beneficial traditions of the past while embracing the emerging wisdom of the reformers. The first Book of Common Prayer (1549) sought to open up worship to the people. Written in English, this book of prayers and worship, enabled everyone to participate in a new way in the worship of the church, which still retained much of the structure of the Latin mass. The Church of England retained the structure of Bishop, Priest and Deacon, replacing the Pope with the King as the nominal head of the Church. Yet central tenets of the church, as stated in the 39 Articles (see historical documents BCP Pg. ) take their inspiration from the passionate and reasoned understanding of scripture of the Protestant reformers. The Anglican tradition sought to balance Scripture, Tradition, Reason and by extension Experience. These continue to be part of the Anglican and Episcopal character today.
Thursday, November 8, 2012