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100 Years Ago:The Anglican Communion

18 June 2008

June 19th, 1908.
IN OUR special supplement, in which we give a bird’s-eye view of the area over which the Church of England has extended its influence by throwing out off-shoots of Christian missionary enterprise, our readers will be able, we trust, to find much that will help them to realise that a great force has made its appearance in the Christian world. In saying this, we make no claim on behalf of this wide communion to an independent, self-contained jurisdiction under a Papa alterius orbis. We regard the Pan-Anglican Communion as an association of locally independent provinces united by the tie of Catholic, not of Anglican nor Pan-Anglican, unity. It is the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church that is the mother of us all, and it is to this unity that we cling in spite of the fact that it is outwardly broken. Our continual recitation of the Creed, however, pledges us to the ideal of Catholic unity, and we are, therefore, bound to walk warily, lest we should allow it to be thought that our aim is to organize the English-speaking Churches in a rivalry with the other Churches of the Roman or the Eastern obedience. It would, on the contrary, seem likely rather to be, in the Providence of God, the function of Pan-Anglicanism to form a meeting-ground for East and West, where to agree to the reparation of the Church’s broken unity. This is, indeed, a great and worthy part to play in the fulfilment of the Master’s prayer that we may all be one.

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