Anglican Catholic Church

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    Anglican and Catholic

    The Anglican Catholic Church is worldwide body of Christians with churches in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, Africa, India, and South America. We are Anglican because our tradition of prayer and worship is rooted in the Church of England and its Book of Common Prayer. We are Catholic because we believe and practice the universal or catholic faith of the church.

    The word "Catholic" is often understood in opposition to the word "Protestant." However, this is both a recent and uniquely western perspective. In the ancient church, catholicism was understood to be the opposite of heresy, or false belief, and even today there are millions of Christians in Greece, Russia, and other parts of the world who consider themselves neither "Catholic" nor "Protestant," but "Orthodox."

    During the sixteenth century, the Church of England sought to modify certain beliefs and practices that had developed over the centuries and appeared extraneous, unwise, or divergant from apostolic faith and practice. In doing so, the church did not abandon its catholicism; rather it engaged in a process of reform. As Bishop John Bramhall wrote in the seventeenth century, "our religion is the same it was, our Church the same it was...differing only from what they were formerly, as a garden weeded from a garden unweeded." The Right Reverend Albert Chambers
    First Bishop of the ACC

    Anglicanism, then, is best understood as a reformed catholic faith. Likewise, we believe that the church is in need of continual renewal and reformation. It must oppose the errors of every age in order to "contend earnestly for the faith which was once delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3). A Faithful Tradition

    In recent years, a number of Anglican jurisdictions have moved away from this historic and apostolic faith. This is why in 1977 an international congress of nearly 2,000 Anglican bishops, clergy and lay people met in St. Louis, Missouri, to take the actions necessary to establish an orthodox jurisdiction in which traditional Anglicanism would be maintained.

    Acting according to the principles determined by the seven great Ecumenical Councils of the ancient Church and adopting initially the name "Anglican Church of North America," they placed themselves under the jurisdiction of the retired Episcopal bishop of Springfield, Illinois, the Right Reverend Albert Chambers. Bishop Chambers expanded that jurisdiction and devolved it upon others, by taking order for the consecration of four more bishops, and the Anglican Catholic Church was born.

    In this section you will find more about our history and our beliefs. For further information, visit the Resources section of our website, or contact the parish near you.It seems that this church is very " High Church," in that it focuses on the sacramental and Liturgical aspects of Anglican life. Here's an article about the High and Low Church emphases.

    Question: "What is meant by High Church and Low Church?"

    Any study of denominationalism or church history is sure to lead, sooner or later, to the terms High Church and Low Church. Originally, these terms defined movements within the Anglican Church, but the meanings have broadened to apply to non-Anglican churches, as well.

    The terms have to do with worship procedures, specifically, the use of ritual, liturgy, and accoutrements in worship. Leaders of a High Church congregation place a “high” emphasis on ceremony, vestments, and sacraments. Leaders of a Low Church congregation place a “low” emphasis on such things and follow a freer worship style.

    Anglican, Episcopal, Catholic, Orthodox, most Methodist and Lutheran, and some Presbyterian churches are considered High Church. Their worship services are characterized by liturgical readings and rituals, their clergy wear special clothing, and they follow a calendar of annual religious observances.

    Baptist, Independent, Pentecostal, Quaker, Amish, some Methodist and Lutheran, and many Presbyterian churches are considered Low Church. Their worship services are characterized by congregational involvement, a relatively unstructured program, and an evangelical approach.

    The distinction between High Church and Low Church did not appear until after the Reformation, of course. Then, the question arose: as the Protestant Church rejected Roman Catholic doctrine, how much Catholicprocedure should be retained? Martin Luther and Ulrich Zwingli took opposing views. Luther considered that, as long as a rite was not specifically forbidden in the Bible, it was permissible for the church to practice. Zwingli’s view was that, if a rite was not specifically commanded in the New Testament, then it should not be practiced in the church.

    Luther’s position led to what is now known as High Church practice. Zwingli’s view, which led to the Low Church movement, is expressed in the Westminster Confession: “The acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation or any other way not prescribed in the holy Scripture” (21.1). In other words, unless a practice is explicitly prescribed in Scripture, then the church should avoid it.

    John Wesley, an Anglican, was sometimes accused of being Low Church because of his open-air evangelism and his training of clergy outside of standard church channels. Wesley himself denied such charges, always emphasizing his commitment to the rituals of his church. To this day, the Wesleyan and Methodist traditions are an interesting mixture of High Church liturgy and Low Church evangelicalism.

    Low Church members often accuse the High Church of being “too Catholic.” High Church members sometimes look down their noses at the Low Church for being “unsophisticated.” Both sides should guard against spiritual pride (James 4:6). In truth, neither being High Church nor Low Church guarantees the proper worship of God. “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).

    Recommended Resource: The Master's Plan for the Church by John Macarthur What is meant by High Church and Low Church?
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