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An Introduction to World Anglicanism


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 (ISBN-13: 9780521618663)

An Introduction to World Anglicanism
Cambridge University Press
9780521853453 - An Introduction to World Anglicanism - By Bruce Kaye

An Introduction to World Anglicanism

What is the nature of world Anglicanism in a postcolonial, global age? With talk of fragmentation constantly in the media, what does it mean to be ‘Anglican’? This book presents Anglicanism as a conversation over time amongst a community of people held together by sets of practices and beliefs.

The first part describes the emergence of Anglicanism and its foundations in older Christian traditions. The second looks at Anglican practices within the framework of changing understandings of mission, and focuses on liturgy, patterns of engagement with others, organisation and power in the church, and ministerial offices. There are two separate chapters on the ordination of women and homosexuality in the public life of the church. The third part, on beliefs, addresses the central question of knowledge and authority in Anglicanism, as well as ecclesiology, the nature of the church itself. A final chapter looks to the future.

Bruce Kaye was General Secretary of the Anglican Church of Australia from 1994 to 2004. He is a cosmopolitan scholar and priest who, after studying in Sydney and taking his doctorate in Basel, held a post in the Theology Department at the University of Durham in the UK for twelve years before returning to the University of New South Wales in Australia. His visiting fellowships include periods in Freiburg-im-Breisgau, Cambridge and Seattle, and he is a regular visitor to North America. He is the author of eight books, editor of ten further volumes, and has written some sixty journal articles as well as contributing to newspapers, radio and TV. He is also the foundation editor of The Journal of Anglican Studies.

An Introduction to World Anglicanism

Bruce Kaye

Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, São Paulo, Delhi

Cambridge University Press
The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge CB2 8RU, UK

Published in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press, New York
Information on this title:

© Cambridge University Press 2008

This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part may take place without the written permission of Cambridge University Press.

First published 2008

Printed in the United Kingdom at the University Press, Cambridge

A catalogue record for this publication is available from the British Library

ISBN 978-0-521-85345-3 hardback

ISBN 978-0-521-61866-3 paperback

Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external or third-party internet websites referred to in this book, and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.


List of abbreviations and sources
Part I    Foundations
1         The nature of the story as a tradition
2         Forming an Anglican nation in England
3         Forming Anglican churches around the world
Part II   The practices of mission
4         Changing outlooks
5         Liturgical formation
6         Patterns of engagement – political
7         Patterns of engagement – relating to other traditions
8         Influence, organisation and power in the church
9         Ministerial offices – ordination
10        Ministerial offices – ordination of women
11        Ministerial offices – homosexuality and the public life of the church
Part III  Beliefs
12        Knowledge and authority in the conversation
13        Ecclesiology
14        Other themes in the contemporary agenda
15        Quo vadis?


Writing a book of this kind presents enormous challenges. The material is so vast, the scope so indeterminate and the interested parties amongst potential readers almost infinitely varied. Having been general secretary of the Anglican Church of Australia for ten years and a member of a number of Anglican Communion bodies is a partial preparation. Having been a lifelong theologian with an interest in history, and editing the international Journal of Anglican Studies, was also a help. But the sheer magnitude of the material encompassed by world Anglicanism renders it completely impossible to be aware of, let alone cover, everything. More than that, the material demands an interpretative standpoint. Simple definitions are bound to be inadequate. I have taken the view that it is best understood as an ongoing story of a tradition of Christian faith. Some may find such a category of explanation too vague, and others may think it antiquarian. But it seems to me to best fit what is a very distinctive form of Christianity that has survived a number of significant crises. As a good historian I have tried to view my subject with an eye of compassion, and as a theologian with what Michael Ramsey once referred to as one foot on the ground and one foot in the kingdom of heaven. How far these ambitions have been achieved is for others to judge.

Whatever an author proposes as an interpretation of something in which most of his readers will be directly involved will never commend itself to all. Therefore I invite my readers to be co-workers in understanding the life of the scattered, curious and extraordinary community of worldwide Anglicans. Here I acknowledge those co-workers. A friend told me that to undertake such a task at this point in time was a sure-fire way of pleasing no one and probably losing your friends. But I think this is overdramatic. One of the consolations of working on the book has been to confirm many friendships around the world and to make new ones. Despite the fractious tribalism that is currently on such dispiriting display in world Anglicanism, I have found face-to-face encounters with fellow Anglicans from all corners of the globe to be not just civil, but encouraging and in the totality inspiring. It has been one of the privileges of my life to have placed my foot on every continent on earth, and furthermore to have friends and colleagues on all of those continents. It is this far-flung community of Anglican believers, and the nearer and more intimately connected community of my own parish church, that I wish to acknowledge as the foundation of this book. It has been written for them and their communities. The nearest, most immediate and important of these people is my wife Louise, who has borne the brunt of this project while maintaining her own ministry in medicine and community service, and to whom I express my profound gratitude. Our children, who are grown-up and wise, initially thought the project to be a bit of Dad’s hubris, but I hope that in the event they will see it for what it has been – a midlife education for their father.

Special thanks are due to the librarians and archivists, too numerous to mention, who have been sources of generous goodwill and assistance, and to various friends who have had meals overgarnished by conversation about some obscure aspect of world Anglicanism, or read things on subjects which at first they did not think would be interesting. For my part I have found the journey endlessly fascinating. Anglican Christianity never ceases to amaze me by its capacity to get so many things wrong while still being able to confront us with the face of the crucified Christ. It is truly crooked timber being broken into the shape of a cross, no matter what silly things we might have done or might do in the future.

Abbreviations and sources


Anglican Consultative Council


Anglican Communion Office


Anglican–Roman Catholic International Commission

Bede EH

Bede, A History of the English Church and People (London: Penguin, 1968). References are given by book and chapter followed by the page in this edition.


Council of the Churches of East Asia


Church Missionary Society


Church of South India


Anglican Consultative Council, Women in the Anglican Episcopate: Theology, Guidelines and Practice: The Eames Commission and the Monitoring Group Reports (Toronto: Anglican Book Centre, 1998)


Episcopal Church of the United States of America. Its name changed in 2006 to the Episcopal Church (TEC).


Evangelical Lutheran Church of America


Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Mission and Evangelism


Inter-Anglican Theological and Doctrinal Commission


Lambeth Conference


Mission Issues and Strategy Advisory Group


Anglican Communion Standing Commission on Mission


Network for Inter-Faith Concerns


Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge


Society for the Propagation of the Gospel


World Council of Churches

Lambeth Conference and Anglican Consultative Council resolutions are indicated according to the year and the resolution number, e.g. Resolution 16 of the Lambeth Conference of 1988 is LC.1988,16. In general the text of these resolutions is taken from the electronic version provided on the official website of the Lambeth Conference. Reports such as the Eames Commission Report are given by the short title and the paragraph number.

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