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George Augustus Selwyn, First Bishop of New Zealand and the Origins of the Anglican Communion1

  • W.M. Jacob

Abstract

This article aims to identify the significance of George Augustus Selwyn, the first Bishop of New Zealand, for the development of the Anglican Communion. It is based on evidence derived from secondary sources, most obviously the two-volume life of Selwyn written shortly after his death by his former chaplain, and on recent studies of the development of the Anglican Communion, especially the development of provincial synodical government in Australasia, and on the constitution of the Episcopal Church in the United States.

The article concludes that Selwyn had ideal qualities and experiences to enable him to achieve a constitution for a new Anglican province independent of the state, and with self-government, including elected representatives of laity and clergy, as well as bishops meeting together. His commitment to creating a constitutional framework for the dioceses and provinces of the Anglican Communion, including the Episcopal Church, enabled a second Lambeth Conference to happen.

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1.

An earlier version of this article was given at ‘Visions of the Anglican Communion, Past Present and Future: A Symposium in Honour of G.A. Selwyn’, on Friday 17 April 2009, at the Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge. I am grateful for insights gained from other papers and the discussion during the Symposium.

2.

W.M. Jacob is Archdeacon of Charing Cross, London, previously Warden of Lincoln Theological College.

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3. Tucker, H.W., Memoir of the Life and Episcopate of George Augustus Selwyn, D.D., Bishop of New Zealand 1841–1869 and Bishop of Lichfield 1867–1878 (2 vols.; London: W.W. Gardner, 1879), I, p. 13.

4. Tucker, , Memoir, I, pp. 48–56. The post was taken by one of the Coleridge family, Derwent Coleridge, with whom Selwyn was close friends.

5. Jacob, W.M., The Making of the Anglican Church Worldwide (London: SPCK, 1997), p. 109.

6. Tucker, , Memoir, I, p. 71.

7. Tucker, , Memoir, I, p. 85.

8. See Jacob, , Making of the Anglican Church, pp. 75–79, 90–99.

9. For Selwyn and CMS see Yates, T.E., Venn and Victorian Bishops Abroad: The Missionary Policies of Henry Venn and their Repercussions upon the Anglican Episcopate of the Colonial Period, 1841–1872 (Uppsala, Sweden: Swedish Institute of Missionary Research, 1978), pp. 5162.

10. For accounts of Selwyn in New Zealand see Evans, John H., Churchman Militant: George Augustus Selwyn, Bishop of New Zealand and Lichfield (London: Allen and Unwin, 1964), and Limbrick, W.E. (ed.), Bishop Selwyn in New Zealand 1841–1868 (Palmerston North, NZ: Dunmore Press, 1983).

11. Tucker, , Memoir, I, pp. 119–21.

12. Tucker, , Memoir, I, p. 246.

13. Tucker, , Memoir, I, p. 158.

14. Tucker, Memoir, I, p. 217.

15. Tucker, , Memoir, I, pp. 235–47.

16. Tucker, Memoir, I, p. 350. Interestingly, nearly twenty years later, in 1868, Gladstone steered the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland through Parliament.

17. See Shaw, G.P., Patriarch and Prophet: William Grant Broughton 1788–1853: Colonist, Statesman and Ecclesiastic (Melbourne: University of Melbourne Press, 1978), pp. 205237.

18. Tucker, , Memoir, II, p. 90.

19. For an account of the attempts to secure legislation to permit synodical government in the colonies see Jacob, , Making of the Anglican Church, pp. 134–37.

20. See Podmore, Colin, ‘Two Streams Mingling: The American Church in the Anglican Communion’, Journal of Anglican Studies 9 (2011), pp. 1237, doi:10.1017/S1740355310000045.

21. Tucker, , Memoir, II, pp. 91–94.

22. Tucker, , Memoir, II, pp. 95–97.

23. For an account of the creation of the Episcopal Church in the United States see Jacob, The Making of the Anglican Church, pp. 62–70, and Podmore, Colin, ‘A Tale of Two Churches: The Ecclesiologies of the Episcopal Church and the Church of England Compared’, International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church 8 (2008), pp. 126130.

24. Tucker, , Memoir, II, pp. 97–102.

25. Tucker, , Memoir, II, p. 135.

26. For the Colenso affair see Hinchliff, Peter, John William Colenso (London: Nelson, 1964), and Draper, Jonathan A. (ed.), The Eye of the Storm: Bishop John William Colenso and the Crisis of Biblical Interpretation (Pietermaritzburg: Cluster Publications, 2003).

27. For an account of the 1867 Lambeth Conference and Selwyn’s part in it see Stephenson, Alan M.G., The First Lambeth Conference: 1867 (London: SPCK, 1967).

28. The English Churchman, 4 December 1867, quoted in Tucker, , Memoir, II, p. 140.

29. Creighton, Louise, G.A. Selwyn, DD, Bishop of New Zealand and Lichfield (London: Longman, Green & Co., 1923), p. 164.

30. Davidson, R.T.Benham, William, Life of Archibald Campbell Tait, Archbishop of Canterbury (3rd edn; 2 vols.; London, 1891), II, p. 362.

31. For this visit see Brown, Terry M., Bishop George Augustus Selwyn in North America: Missionary Hero and Ecclesiastical Diplomat (Project Canterbury, www.anglicanhistory.org accessed 27 May 2010), pp. 1–9.

32. Tucker, , Memoir, II, p. 307.

33. Tucker, , Memoir, II, p. 307.

34. Davidson, and Benham, , Life of Archibald Campbell Tait, II, p. 363.

35. Brown, , Bishop George Augustus Selwyn in North America, pp. 15–17.

1. An earlier version of this article was given at ‘Visions of the Anglican Communion, Past Present and Future: A Symposium in Honour of G.A. Selwyn’, on Friday 17 April 2009, at the Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge. I am grateful for insights gained from other papers and the discussion during the Symposium.

2. W.M. Jacob is Archdeacon of Charing Cross, London, previously Warden of Lincoln Theological College.

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Journal of Anglican Studies
  • ISSN: 1740-3553
  • EISSN: 1745-5278
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-anglican-studies
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