Our Wounded Anglican History: The King of England Beheaded

July 28, 2008

This is the final installment of a 15 part series examining the historical antecedents of the Anglican Communion.

“Behold, this stone shall be a witness against us; for it has heard all the words of the LORD which he spoke to us; therefore it shall be a witness against you, lest you deal falsely with your God.” 

Joshua  24 : 27

King Charles I of England was born in Scotland.  His father was King James VI of Scotland who became King James I of England when Queen Elizabeth died.  James had been a strong believer in the divine right of kings.   James had written a book on the duties of a king for his son, Henry.  (Henry was the older brother of Charles who died before he could inherit the throne).  A good king, James wrote, “Acknowledgeth himself ordained for his people, having received from God a burden of government, whereof he must be countable. The idea of the divine right to rule has appeared in many cultures Eastern and Western spanning all the way back to the first God king Gilgamesh.”  Under the theory of the divine right of kings, a king was appointed by God and not by any temporal authority.  A king was accountable to God for his actions, but could never be accountable to other men.  To betray a king was to betray God. 

King James had wished to create an alliance with Spain and entered into prolonged negotiations with that country’s king, Philip II, for a marriage between Charles and Maria Anna, Philip’s daughter.  The proposed marriage between an English prince and a Spanish princess was unpopular in England, where recent wars with Spain were yet fresh in memories.  King James was thought by many, especially the Puritans, to be overly sympathetic to Catholicism.  The prospect of a marriage of the heir apparent to a Catholic princess was regarded with great alarm.  Negotiations dragged along, until 1623 when Charles, accompanied by the duke of Buckingham, traveled secretly to Spain to attempt to close the deal in person.  The Spanish demanded that Charles become a Catholic and that he remain in Spain for at least a year after the marriage to show England’s good faith.  These were unacceptable terms and Charles returned to England still a bachelor.   

Charles was eventually wed to Princess Henrietta Maria, sister of King Louis XIII of France.  The marriage took place a few months after he took the throne in March, 1625.  Several members of his first Parliament had expressed opposition to his marriage to the Catholic princess, fearful that Charles would relax restrictions on Catholic practices and that he would not punish recusants.  “Recusant,” was the term applied to those who failed to conform to the Church of England.  A law enacted in 1593 under Elizabeth I defined “Popish Recusants” as individuals who were,  convicted for not repairing to some Church, Chapel, or usual place of Common Prayer to hear Divine Service there, but forbearing the same contrary to the tenor of the laws and statutes heretofore made and provided in that behalf. “ Charles promised Parliament that he would not relax enforcement of laws against recusants, but his secret marriage treaty with Louis XIII promised that he would.

The suspicion that Charles was leading England down the path back to Catholicism was also fueled by his attitudes toward Puritans and the more radical reformists.  Charles appointed William Laud as Archbishop of Canterbury, someone known to be hostile to Calvinism and who looked favorably upon the existing BCP liturgy.  Laud’s views were apparently congruent with those of Charles, and Laud was able to use the infamous Court of Star Chamber and other government apparatus to punish those who opposed him.  Charles also attempted to impose Church of England structure and practices on the Scottish church.  Armed conflict, known as the Bishops Wars, ensued.  They ended in humiliating defeat for Charles, and made him more dependent than ever on the assistance of Parliament.  But worse things awaited Charles.          

In 1642, Charles entered the halls of Parliament with an armed force, intending to arrest its leaders.  Most of them escaped.  His opponents armed themselves.  By the fall, England was embroiled in civil war.  The royalists lost this war.  A victorious Parliament demanded that Charles agree to creation of a constitutional monarchy form of government.  Charles refused to agree, and escaped to Scotland where he attempted to enlist the aid of Scottish nobles in his cause.  A second civil war erupted, and Charles was captured, put on trial, and convicted of high treason.  On January 30, 1649, he was beheaded.  Disputes over theology and the encroachment of Catholicism in England had resulted in a devastating civil war and the overthrow of the government.  England no longer had a king.      

Father, we have murdered.  We have assassinated.  We have refused to make peace with our brothers.  We have refused to be reconciled to one another.  We have allowed disagreements among Christians to become the reason for terrible wars.  We have rebelled against lawful government and we have rebelled against you.  

Forgive us, Father.  Forgive our ancestors.  Heal our broken Anglican Church.    

Have mercy, Father.  Use the blood shed by Jesus on the cross to cleanse the sins of our ancestors and our own sins.  Wipe clean this stain on our history.  Restore us.  Break the cycle of repeated sins.  Free us from bondage to this history.  Begin a new creation in which you are our God and we are your people. 

Through Jesus Christ our Lord and true King.


Lambeth Reflections Group

July 28, 2008

The members of the Lambeth Reflections Group are:
Andrew Proud: Bishop for the Horn of Africa (Jerusalem and Middle East)
Alan Abernethy Bishop of Connor (Ireland)
Howard Gregory Bishop of Montego Bay (West Indies)
Sue Moxley: Bishop of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island (Canada)
Daniel: Bishop of East Kerala (South India)
Patrick Mwachiko: Bishop of Masai (Tanzania)
James Ochiel: Bishop of Souther Nyanza (Kenya)
Johannes Seoka: Bishop of Pretoria (Southern Africa)
Ezekiel Kondo: Bishop of Khatoum (Sudan)
John Neil Alexander: Bishop of Atlanta (TEC)
Roger Chung Po Chue: Bishop of Antsiranana (Indian Ocean)
Gerry Wolf: Bishop of Rhode Island (TEC)
David Njova: Bishop of Lusaka (Central Africa)
Bill Godfrey: Bishop of Peru (Southern Cone)
Michael Perham: Bishop of Gloucester (England)
Louis Tsui: Bishop of Eastern Kowloon (Hong Kong)

What a rich harvest Your goodness provides! Wherever You go there is plenty.
Psalm 65:11

O God,
Go. Go to Andrew, Alan, Howard, Sue, Daniel, Patrick, James, Johannes, Ezekiel, Neil, Roger, Gerry, David, Bill, Michael, and Louis. We yearn for a rich harvest of Your goodness in the Anglican Communion. Go, we pray. We cry out for Your church. Amen.

Windsor Continuation Group

July 28, 2008

The WCG is scheduled to release their third report any moment. There have been many rumors about the report. May we lift up the members in prayer:

The Most Revd Clive Handford, former Primate of Jerusalem and the Middle East (chair)
The Most Revd John Chew, Primate of South East Asia
The Right Revd Gary Lillibridge, Bishop of West Texas
The Right Revd Victoria Matthews, former Bishop of Edmonton
The Very Revd John Moses, former dean of St Paul’s, London
The Most Revd Donald Mtetemela, Primate of Tanzania

They will be joined as a consultant by:

Dame Mary Tanner, Co-president of the World Council of Churches

and assisted by:

Canon Andrew Norman of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Staff and
Canon Gregory Cameron of the Anglican Communion Office

O God,
We pray that Clive, John, Gary, Victoria, John, Donald, Mary, Andrew, and Gregory will come to You in weakness and fear and in much trembling, for You have chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things that are mighty. We humbly ask that their work will not display seductive words of human wisdom but rather Your Spirit and power. May their work be informed by our crucified Lord and Him only. We ask all of this in the name of Christ, our wisdom, our righteousness, our sanctification, and our redemption. Amen.
1 Corinthians 1:27-2:5

Our Father in heaven,
Your Word deepens and broadens,chiseling, shaping, defining us. The Holy Spirit fills us.
We ask that the Windsor Continuation Group fully cooperate with the Holy Spirit and with Holy Scripture. May they submit to Your Word and give full access to the Spirit. Amen.
Reference: Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Rt. Rev. Anthony Burton

July 28, 2008

From the Bishop of Saskatchewan–

So do pray hard for us this week for the cleansing and freshening breeze of the Holy Spirit to do what only He can, that the spiritual movement we call Anglicanism may stop holding its breath and enjoy a fresh start in this new day.

Prayer needed today for Rowan Williams

July 28, 2008

This mornings PrayLambeth bulletin suggests praying for Abp. of Canterbury Rowan Williams who will be delivering a major address to the conference. [Update: I believe that will be tomorrow, July 29]. I have now read several places that many expect today to be the pivotal day of the Lambeth conference. Please devote extra time today to pray if at all possible!

Today, we ask you, once again, to focus prayer on Archbishop Rowan.

Monday looks as though it could be a pivotal day in the Conference. Rowan will have heavy responsibility in delivering another Presidential address to the bishops.

Pray that he will be endued with wisdom and courage – and the right words to express his message to the Conference.

Perhaps you could bear in mind the principle of upholding leaders at critical times, as illustrated in Exodus 17:8-13 ‘Moses said: Tomorrow I will take my stand on top of the hill holding God’s staff.’ Joshua did what Moses ordered in order to fight Amalek. And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went to the top of the hill.

It turned out that whenever Moses raised his hands, Israel was winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, Amalek was winning. But Moses’ hands got tired. So they got a stone and set it under him. He sat on it and Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on each side. So his hands remained steady until the sun went down. Joshua defeated Amalek and its army in battle.

Thanks for your fellowship in this intercessory teamwork.

Today’s full prayer bulletin from Pray Lambeth is here.


O God, the strength of all those who put their trust in you, mercifully accept our prayers and, because through the weakness of our mortal nature we can do no good thing without you, grant Archbishop Rowan the help of your grace, that in the keeping of your commandments he may please you both in will and deed;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Update: I confess I’m now confused about the reference in the Pray Lambeth prayer bulletin for today to a “major presidential address” to be given by Abp. Rowan Williams. The planned schedule is as follows:

6:30 Morning Prayer
7:15 Eucharist: The Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean
8:15 Breakfast
9:15 Bible Study John 10:1-10 ‘I tell you the truth; I am the gate for the sheep.’
10:30 Tea
11:00 Indaba groups: The bishop, Christian witness and other faiths
1:00 Lunch
2:00 Hearings on Conference Reflections
3:30 Tea
5:45 Evening Worship: The Anglican Church of Southern Africa
7:00 Dinner

8:15 Plenary Session: Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth on Covenant: relationship between the people and God

9:45 Evening Prayer

Note however, that a schedule change for 2 p.m. has been announced. Stand Firm has the details.

I am thinking the Presidential address by ++Rowan may be tomorrow, as there is a morning Plenary gathering scheduled for Tuesday.

Joshua 24:14-16

July 28, 2008

“Now therefore, fear the LORD, serve him in sincerity and in truth, (Joshua 24:14a)
      Holy Spirit, please help us serve God in sincerity and truth.

and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD! (Joshua 24:14b)
      Jesus, help us repent of all our idolatries and the way we have served the gods of our surrounding culture.

And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, (Joshua 24:15a)
      Father, please open the eyes and hearts of those who see serving you and obeying your word as evil.

choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, (Joshua 24:15b)
      Holy Spirit, help the Episcopal Church make a conscious, explicit choice about whom it will serve. Protect and guide those who make the choice to serve the LORD.

whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. (Joshua 24:15c)
      Father, help the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion recognize the real choice that is before them.

But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15d)
      Jesus, I make the choice to serve you and obey your words of truth.

So the people answered and said: “Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD to serve other gods;” (Joshua 24:16)
      Have mercy on us, LORD, for the Episcopal Church has forsaken you and is now proclaiming another gospel. Bring the leaders and teachers and people of the Episcopal Church to repentance and new life in you.

Monday: 64, 65; Joshua 24:16-33; Romans 16:1-16; Matthew 27:24-31
Tuesday: 68:1-20(21-23)24-36; Judges 2:1-5,11-23; Romans 16:17-27; Matthew 27:32-44

Albany Intercessor


July 28, 2008

Philippians 4:8-9
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Father, we pray that the journalists attending Lambeth Conference will indeed witness that which is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, and worthy of praise. May they receive You into their hearts and discover the precious treasure of Your peace. Amen.

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