The Church was always an integral part of the history of every country. Most of the first centuries’ communities were based on believes and traditions provided in the Holy Texts. The religious formations were based on the faith in something supernatural. In the later times, the countries always had chosen associates according to common believes and similar religious views. The Anglican Church is one of the most interesting traditions that have closely intertwined with the country.
The history of the Anglican Church is considerately new as this religious movement started to develop in the six century. It started at the time when Pope Gregory sent St. Augustine to England for promoting in English believers restricted behavior and rules within the Church. The Anglican Church became one of the multiple examples of offshoot from the Christian Church. This split was finally declared by the official separation from the power of Rome by Henry VIII. It is a well-known fact that the ruler finally challenged the authority of Rome by allowing himself a divorce to his wife, Catharine of Aragon.
First formal structure of the Anglican Church appeared in 1562. It was not defined as a governing organization; the believers were bound by their traditions and belief that were written down in the Bible, Holy Texts, Articles of Religion, and a Book of Common Prayers. Book of Common Prayers was first published in 1549; it serves the historical background of the Anglican liturgy.
The Church as a Community rather than a Democracy
The Anglican Church in all is a wide spread community, with almost 40 Anglican local churches, thousand of parishes, and millions of Anglicans; the structure is somewhat different from other Christian Churches. Actually, the Anglican Church does not possess any concrete and joint administrative form; mainly there is no united administration at all. No Pope, districts, Patriarch, or even Congress are established in it. Not to get it in a wrong way, it must be explained that the Church of England does exist officially, but it is not governed by any supreme authority. All these churches are connected by common believes, even though, they are actually independent. This structure was conditioned by the fact that the Anglican Church was spread along with the expansion of English colonies. When the colonial era ended, the churches spread with the help of the religious missions. When the colonies received their independence, their churches also separated. After this time, no attempt to set up a centralized authority over them was made. All the churches that were situated in the colonies got their own bishops and freedom. The only centralization line that can be taken among the Anglican Churches is the doctrinal centralization, which is called the Anglican Communion (Moorman, 1986). If a community accepts the same set of beliefs and is ready to meet some requirements, it can become a part of the Anglican Communion.
This way, the Anglican Community can be considered one of the most open-minded Churches of the world. The decisions within the Anglican Community can be adopted only by one Church or extended to others that are ready to make this step. Considering the facts, the Church can be named more a community than democracy than any other Christian community. Actually, the only thing that unites its members is common faith. A community within a Church unites people of different nationalities, political views, and social fields. Mainly, it gives a good reason for extremely different people to live under one flag. If a Church were organized as a democracy, it would have some boundaries that could not be broken. In the Anglican Community, every district enjoys large freedom, in order to meet special needs of a parish; certain steps or policies could not be recognized in other parts of the country or world. This way the decision-making process in the Church is concentrated only on the needs of a special district; therefore, it can cope with the problems effectively and quickly.
The Liturgical Movement
The Liturgical movement started during the first wave of reformations in the Roman Catholic Church. It has developed during a century and a half, and many Christian communities contributed to it; among them were the Church of England and other Churches of the Anglican Communion. In the Anglican Communion, a narrow reform also has taken part, known as the Oxford Movement. This movement was the starting point of the future changes in liturgy and theological doctrine in England and the USA of the 19th century.
In the 19th century, this movement was a way to reconsider all the dogmas and worship practices of the Middle Centuries, which, by that time, was considered as an ideal way of worship. In addition, it contributed to the prosperity of the modern history of worship in Western Christian communities. Moreover, it brought to life the way of today’s form of worship, which is based on the concept of worshiping as a human activity and not only a fact of glorification as it used to be before.
The Oxford Movement caused a crisis in the Anglican Church, which it has not seen since the Reformation. The group of church members that gathered under the informal leadership of John Newman managed to spark the interest to the Holy Mess by the studies they took. During that time, the Anglican church has made major changes in the ceremonial note, and it adopted the Medieval Catholic practices. The followers of the Oxford Movement had strengthened the relationship between the Anglican and Catholic Churches. The Mess became more comprehensible, and the tradition of Sunday Mess became native to the believers. The bishops and clergy had adopted many ceremonies from the medieval tradition. Mainly, these reforms and movements had brought the Churches closer by declaring a lot of identities in believes and worships. Some of the participant of the Oxford Movement came close to the roots of their religion and became Catholics, consequently. Others strengthened in their conviction that the Anglican Church goes close with their hearts.
Problems and Progresses of the Christian Unification in the Modern Period
The religious tolerance was always a hard question to be raised. During every period of human history, all the nations believed in something supernatural. The beliefs were different among cultures; however, they were uniting various social groups. The unification has never been an easy road, especially when interests of different nations, religions, or government regimes come into question.
The modern period witnessed the development of the Christian Ecumenical movement, which is mainly an attempt to set a dialogue between all of the streams of the Christian Church. One of these attempts is the “Taize” community meetings; the community gathers all the Christians in a common worship and prayer. This gathering was established for maintaining some progress in the unification of the young generation of the believers. In addition, the World Youth Day gathers young people in the most beautiful way of worshiping God. Such meetings of people of different nations and beliefs are really a huge progress in the dialogue of the world and the next step in generating a natural environment of religious tolerance. Overall, the authorities of all Churches try to reach a compromise and live in concord with the faithful ones.
Still, numerous problems concerning religious issues arise today in the world, even among Christian communities that, despite the united roots, had separated during the centuries. Today, the Protestants and Catholics try to live up with each other. Unfortunately, the variations of treatment to and understanding of the Sacred Scriptures arise many misunderstandings. Some faithful people consider that the role of the priests can be performed by women. This question is not tolerated by the Catholic Church; however, it is a common phenomenon in Anglicanism. In addition, some of the Churches have problems with the monastery life and monkhood; others do not understand the role ad significance of a sermon for them; others find it good that the Church takes part in the development of emancipation of men and women.
The Christian Church has reformed during the centuries of its existence for many times; it is quite probable that modern matters of argument will cause development of new movements or separation of new branches of Christianity. On the other hand, they can also die out as a form of provocation to develop something new in the form of worship.
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