- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
First in a new global series: Canterbury Studies in Anglicanism will meet the growing demand for resources that address the breadth and complexity of contemporary Anglicanism for the 75+ million members of the Anglican Communion.
Proclaiming the good news: evangelism Transforming society: social injustice Other churches and God’s mission Safeguarding creation: The environment Engaging with a multi-faith world Equal in God’s sight: gender violence Living under scripture Human sexuality The Covenant and the Windsor Process
Proclaiming the good news: evangelism
Transforming society: social injustice
Other churches and God’s mission
Safeguarding creation: The environment
Engaging with a multi-faith world
Equal in God’s sight: gender violence
Living under scripture
The Covenant and the Windsor Process
Signposts for Episcopal Character
Introduction: Anglican identity
The recent statement The Anglican Way: Signposts on a Common Journey begins with a short depiction of Anglican identity:
The Anglican Way is a particular expression of the Christian Way of being the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ. It is formed by and rooted in Scripture, shaped by its worship of the living God, ordered for communion, and directed in faithfulness to God's mission in the world. In diverse global situations Anglican life and ministry witnesses to the incarnate, crucified and risen Lord, and is empowered by the Holy Spirit. Together with all Christians, Anglicans hope, pray and work for the coming of the reign of God.
There are four key elements in the above statement: formed by Scripture; shaped by worship; ordered for communion; and directed to God's mission in the world. How might a bishop in the Anglican tradition serve such a vision of the Church? How important for the office and work of a bishop are the four elements? them to the promises made by a bishop at consecration. In doing so I hope to show that the four elements identified as belonging to the Anglican Way also belong to the marks of the episcopate and that as a result Episcopal character and Anglican identity are closely related to each other like two sides of the same coin. As such Scripture, worship, communion and mission lie at the heart of the Episcopal calling and are embedded in the promises made by a bishop at consecration.
Signposts for Episcopal character
Some important links between Anglican identity and Episcopal character can be found in The Anglican Way: The Significance of the Episcopal Office for the Communion of the Church. The ten theses articulated in this document do not pretend to offer an exhaustive account of the theology of the episcopate. However, they do offer an important theological reflection on the nature and calling of a bishop in the Anglican tradition. The document argues that fundamental to a bishop's life is the role of drawing together the body of Christ and pointing it to the risen Christ. As a witness to the resurrection the bishop leads the community of faith deeper into the gospel. The bishop is thus called to connect people together following the lead and example of Jesus. An appeal is made to the African word, ubuntu, which means connectivity. A bishop's connecting role stretches between creation and salvation; people are reconnected to each other, to the earth and to God. In this way a bishop as community connection person is tied up with the salvation of all things. This of course is a big claim. Yet even secular historians note that the office of bishop was a truly novel development in early Christianity; it did not have any substantial antecedents (Fox: 1991, ch. 10). The advent of the gospel brought about a new state of affairs and the office and work of a bishop emerged as a way of pointing to this new way of living together under God.
At the end of the document a question is posed as to whether it might be possible to develop the notion of an Episcopal character following on from the idea of a baptismal character. The present chapter is concerned to understand how the office of bishop can be a signpost to the resurrection for the community. Perhaps the way a bishop does this and embodies this for the community and wider society constitutes the Epis copal calling and character. I pursue this line of inquiry by relating the four elements of the Anglican Way identified above to the office of a bishop and Episcopal vows.
Formed by Scripture
At the consecration of a bishop, prior to the making of promises, there appears an exhortation (or 'examination'; 'declaration') outlining the responsibilities and challenges relating to the office of bishop. An unmistakable common thread appearing in the many Ordinals of the Communion concerns the priority of witness to Christ's resurrection and the faithful 'proclamation', 'exposition', 'protection' and 'interpretation' of the gospel. This vital link between bishop and gospel gives force to the proposal many years ago by the former Archbishop of Canterbury and scholar, Michael Ramsey. For Ramsey the episcopate, belonging as it did to the catholic structure of the Church, was 'an utterance of the gospel' and no less (Ramsey: 1936, pp. 54, 208). The episcopate – and for that matter the other orders – were not separate from the reality of the Church but rather organically related to it. The Episcopal office as an utterance of the gospel corresponded, in Ramsey's theology, with 'the utterance of God's redemptive love' (Ramsey: 1936, p. 67).
Familiarity with the promises made by a bishop at consecration will show how important the sacred Scriptures are for the office of a bishop in the Anglican Church. Promises made in relation to the Holy Scriptures are the first promises made by bishops. The Scriptures are the first 'port of call' for a bishop for the very good reason that they 'contain' and 'reveal' everything necessary for eternal salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Thus in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church, even prior to the Examination, the bishopelect solemnly declares 'the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be the Word of God, and to contain all things necessary to salvation' (EC 513). Anglican Ordinals are clear and uncompromising: a bishop's life is marked by the reading, diligent study and teaching of Scripture, and the interpretation of the gospel. Such engagement is to equip, en lighten, stir up and encourage the people of God. In the process faith is deepened, and a bishop is made fit 'to bear witness to the truth of the gospel' (CoE 62). A corollary of this calling is the expectation that the bishop will defend and guard the faith; 're futing error' (CoE 62). The bishop is thus called to 'correct and set aside teaching contrary to the mind of Christ' (AustPB 803). A Scriptureformed Episcopal office calls people 'to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ ...' to 'the truth as it is in Jesus' (Eph. 4.13b, 21).
This may seem simple enough though clearly it doesn't just happen. A Scripture-formed Episcopal ministry requires an in vestment of time, energy and disciplined prayer (as the Ordinals repeatedly make clear). In the busy life of a modern bishop the care of the Church can be so consuming that the study and meditation upon Scripture is shortchanged. The Anglican emphasis on Morning and Evening Prayer with the use of the Lectionary is a timehonoured way by which Anglicans might continually 'hear, read, learn, mark and inwardly digest' the Holy Scriptures. This allusion to a wellknown prayer used by Anglicans since the Reformation gives credence to the old adage that 'we become what we eat'. A bishop's food for the Episcopal pilgrimage is first of all the Scriptures. This also requires familiarity with the rich inheritance of Scripture interpretation in the ecumenical creeds of the early Church, The Book of Common Prayer, and Anglican formularies such as the Articles of Religion, Catechisms and the Lambeth Quadrilateral.
It is also the case that our engagement with Scripture does not occur in a vacuum. We read the Bible in one hand and the news paper in the other. But of course the matter goes deeper than that. Our different cultures and contexts shape the way we hear and interpret the Holy Scriptures. The Apostle Paul was forever connecting Scripture with new contexts in his missionary travels and in this he was simply following in the footsteps of Jesus who constantly wrestled with Scripture in his teaching and preaching ministry. New situations required new responses and fresh interpretations. A Scriptureformed bishop is a person called to wrestle like Jacob with the Angel (Gen. 32.24–31) to discern the truth of God and bear witness to it. Scripture in this sense is more than a 'tool kit' of truth. It is more truly the living voice of God that has to be listened for and prayed with. Promises to continue to study and deepen faith give weight to the teaching office of the episcopate and the bishop's calling as a pastor theologian of the Church. Liturgically this is signified by the giving of a Bible and the wearing of an Episcopal ring with a stone of amethyst; a symbol of one who seeks wisdom.
Shaped by worship
A bishop is regularly identified as the Church's 'chief pastor' or 'shepherd' charged with the responsibility of gathering God's people (CoE 55). As 'principal ministers of word and sacrament' (CoE 61) or 'chief celebrant' (EC 522) it is the responsibility of bishops to 'preside at the Lord's table' (CoE 61), 'feed and tend the flock' (AustPB 805) and in this way 'serve the royal priest hood' (CoE 55). This points to a sacramental understanding of the Episcopal office; an understanding which has been confirmed in multiple bilateral conversations between Anglican and other churches.
The link between Episcopal office and worship, particularly focused in the eucharistic celebration, is highly significant for Anglicans because it points to the deep connection between worship, ecclesial identity and the role of the bishop in that weave. Worship of the Holy God has primary place in the life of the body of Christ. In an age that is obsessed with production, consumption, and progress through technology and science the activity and orientation of life towards the holiness of God strikes many as odd if not wasteful of energy. Yet a haunting question lies over so much human activity and ways in the world: wherein lies its well-being? The answer given by millennia of Christian witness locates the 'fullest intensity of well-being' in relation to the holiness of God who is creator, redeemer and sustainer of all things (Hardy: 2001, p. 8). Worship concentrates and exemplifies this deepest, richest and most intense holiness of God. Thus we might say that 'Facing the holiness of God, and performing it within social life, is the special provenance of worship' (Hardy: 2001, p. 19). This suggests that worship is not primarily about ascending to God but rather the manner in which human beings 'are held, and moved forward, by the very holiness of God' (Hardy: 2001, p. 20). We are profoundly formed and freed by the 'energizing attraction of the holiness of God' (Hardy: 2001, p. 20). There is much more that needs to be said here but enough has been said to show why worship is so fundamental to our way of being in the world and how significant is the responsibility of those charged to gather, teach, lead, and preside in the divine liturgy. The mode of worship concentrates what is ordinarily spread out; the maximal openness to God in worship exemplifies and enacts what makes for human well-being in extended time and space.
On this account worship is central to questions of identity, purpose and action in the world. That is reason enough for the heavy investment by Anglicans in liturgical life, cultivation of ways sacramental and prayer life, listening to Scripture using lectionary and preaching. Worship might be understood as the whole of life in a little: an intensity of God's gift of truth and holiness to complement the extensity of the same in the world (Hardy: 2001, p. 111). In worship 'the spreadoutness of life in situ is returned in thanks and the compassionate gift of truth and holiness is most fully realized' (Hardy: 2001, p. 112).
Within the Anglican polity and high view of worship sketched above it is the bishop who presides at the local celebration of word and sacrament; who symbolically embodies the Church's offering to God in worship. It is a representative ministry, a relational office in so far as the whole people of God are gathered with the bishop and participate in worship. And in the complexities of ecclesial life this representative ministry is also simultaneously a shared ministry.
It is also entirely appropriate that at an Episcopal consecration a bishop promises to follow the way of worship embodied in The Book of Common Prayer (1662) and/or its authorized derivatives. This reflects a longheld though not uncontested view that Anglican identity is deeply formed by its liturgical provisions. As one commentator said some years ago: for Anglicans, 'the liturgy of the Church creates the power base for the Christian community as a whole' (Sykes: 1978, p. 96). A corollary of this is that a bishop is a 'guardian of the faith and sacraments' (CoE 67).
Anglican polity is designed with theological intent, i.e., in order to facilitate the whole people of God 'learning wisdom' (Hardy: 2001, p. 112). The office of the bishop embodies that wisdom tradition in representative ways; perhaps none more so than in being chief pastor and celebrant at those acts of worship which concentrate the community's thanks and praise.
Ordered for communion
It is tempting to move directly from worship to mission as its natural complement. This also makes sense when we think of worship in terms of the intensive engagement compared to Christian life in its extensive or spreadout form. They are really two sides of the same coin. However, the way we order our worship and the way in which we exercise our discipleship in the world are deeply related and thoroughly ecclesial in character. Anglicans are a people knit together through worship and wit ness. The former doesn't happen in a haphazard manner and nor does our witness in the world occur entirely on an ad hoc basis. The holiness and truth of God moves us forward in worship and in mission in the world. To be ordered according to God's holy way of truth is the intent underlying Anglican liturgical life and mission. For this reason Anglicans give particular attention to the fact that our life in both intensive and extensive modes is ordered in a way that recognizes God's holiness and truth as the deepest reality of the world. Thus Anglicans can rightly speak of being a people ordered for communion: with God, one another and the world for which Christ died and rose.
If the bishop is the chief pastor and celebrant in our ordered worship – following the charismata of the Spirit – then we would anticipate that a bishop, within an Anglican polity, would have chief responsibility for ordered witness and mission. How then might a bishop contribute to the communion of the Church? What then makes for communion or koinonia?
Earlier we noted The Anglican Way: The Significance of the Episcopal Office for the Communion of the Church. This document articulated ten theses identifying how the office of the episcopate contributed to the koinonia of the Church. We noted that the bishop was a community connection person, which included a reference to God, others and the world. This is signalled at consecration. For example an important promise made at consecration relates to discipline (EC 518; AustPB 803), correction, maintenance and promotion of 'quietness, peace and love', reconciliation (CoE 62); building the body of Christ in unity, truth and love (Aust PB 803–4); and the aim to 'strive for the visible unity of Christ's Church' (CoE 62). According to the terms of the various declarations a bishop is likewise a person under the discipline and authority of the Church (CoE 63; EC 513; AustPB 800–1).
The consecration promises also include a common reference to the bishop sharing the 'government of the Church' (EC 518) with presbyters; being the one to 'guide and strengthen deacons'; and working 'with your fellow servants in the gospel' (CoE 62), 'encouraging those committed to [the bishop's] care to fulfill their ministry' (AustPB 804) as they build up the life of the Church. Episcopal identity in terms of communion revolves around the affirmation, coordination and development of the diverse callings of the whole people of God. However, it is clear from the Ordinal that a bishop serves the communion of the Church as he/she is asked to fashion their own life and that of their house hold in the way of Christ (CoE 62); through attention to his/her own life of prayer and hospitality (CoE 62); being a 'wholesome example for the entire flock of Christ' (EC 517); 'living modestly, in justice and godliness' (AustPB 63).
Excerpted from Christ and Culture Copyright © 2010 by The Contributors. Excerpted by permission of Morehouse Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Foreword to the series by the Archbishop of Canterbury vii
About the Contributors xiii
Foreword by Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schor xv
Editors' Preface xvii
Introduction Mark Chapman 1
1 The Bishop and Anglican Identity: Signposts for Episcopal Character Stephen Pickard 28
2 Celebrating Common Ground: The Bishop and Anglican Identity Clive Handford 42
3 Proclaiming the Good News James Tengatenga 55
4 Transforming Society: The Bishop and Social Justice Johannes T. Seoka 69
5 The Bishop, Other Churches, and God's Mission 1 Geoffrey Rowell 83
6 The Bishop, Other Churches, and God's Mission 2 John William Hind 95
7 The Bishop, Other Churches, and God's Mission 3 C. Christopher Epting 101
8 Engaging with a Multi-Faith World 1 Suheil S. Dawani 109
9 Engaging with a Multi-Faith World 2 Michael Jackson 119
10 Engaging with a Multi-Faith World 3 Saw John Wilme 133
11 The Bishop and Living Under Scripture N. Thomas Wright 144
12 Equipping for God's Mission: The Missiological Vision of the 2008 Lambeth Conference of Anglican Bishops Ian T. Douglas 167
13 After Lambeth-Where Next? An Afterword Martyn Percy 183
Study Guide 194