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Anglican Identity

At the start of this year, I was delighted to be a keynote speaker at a clergy Summer School in Queensland (Australia) – I gave three addresses on Desert Spirituality. While there, there was quite a bit of buzz about a forthcoming Anglican Identity course. This was launched in February. The Anglican Identity course was created by the FormEdFaith team at St Francis College, Milton [Brisbane]. St Francis College is the diocesan seminary, offering a variety of courses, including a Theology degree. I was thrilled to be given a solid tour of this wonderful facility.

The common term used in the diocese is “comprehensive Anglicanism” – a 21st Century understanding of via-media Anglicanism as holding diversity together for the good of all. This Anglican Identity course is grounded in such principles.

As I visited a variety of Anglican communities in Australia, I noticed [with the exception of Sydney Diocese and those communities orientated that way] that Australian Anglicanism had a solid spine and frame: the Prayer Book and Hymn Book. As just one example: one would struggle to find a community not using 3 readings and a psalm of the Revised Common Lectionary on Sunday (cf. NZ Anglicanism where one would struggle to find a community using 3 readings and a psalm on Sunday). Clergy and other groups getting together would pray together the Daily Office either from the physical Prayer Book and/or the Prayer Book app on their phones. In a future post, I want to reflect further on the comparison with NZ Anglicanism – suffice to foreshadow by noting: a highly-regarded international liturgical scholar recently contacted me after researching NZ rites (yes – placing one’s services online has an unintended consequence for international study) and decided the best word for NZ Anglicanism’s worship they could come up with, at least from this overview, was “anarchy”. (Another reputable scholar looking at our NZ Anglican worship life from afar said, in contrast, “it works”.)

This post is to recommend the use of the Anglican Identity course – including well beyond Australia; especially, I am obviously keen that it is picked up in Aotearoa New Zealand.

And here then is the rub: might there be Kiwis, or a Kiwi institution, that would work in partnership with FormEdFaith team of St Francis College to produce an Aotearoa New Zealand version. That could be in the form of a supplement (our history, our Three-Tikanga approach, our Te Ao and Te Reo Māori dimensions, and so forth) to the course as presented; or, a much bigger work, using the Anglican Identity course as inspiration for creating our own.

Anglican Identity is aimed at being a resource for a parish series, or study in an Anglican School (staff and/or students), some Anglican workplaces (hospitals, etc), or even an interested member of the public. There are eight episodes: words; history; ethos; making it work; what we do; schools; Anglicare; the future. There is a workbook and a transcript of the text.

I highly recommend this series.

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