The bestowal of the American Episcopate

On this date in 1784, Samuel Seabury was consecrated bishop in Aberdeen, Scotland “by the Bishop and the Bishop Coadjutor of Aberdeen and the Bishop of Ross and Caithness. He thus became part of the unbroken chain of bishops that links the Church today with the Church of the Apostles. … The Episcopal Church of Scotland … had no recognition by the government, and for some time operated under serious legal disablities. However, since it had no connection with the government, it was free to consecrate Seabury without government permission, and it did. This is why you see a Cross of St. Andrew on the Episcopal Church flag.” (James Kiefer, source)

The Church of England had provided no bishops for the colonies prior to the Revolution and it was not prepared to do so afterwards. The consecration of Seabury was a key to the formation of the Episcopal Church. Its relationship to the Anglican Communion was figured out later. The Anglican Communion, it seems, is familiar with conflict.

Today’s Speaking to the Soul quotes Seabury on the practice of weekly communion. Seabury’s private communion office, closely based on the Scottish rite, is here at justus. As bishop of Connecticut, Seabury was stern with certain of the clergy in the diocese “who neglect that Holy Office.” He signed An Ernest Persuasion “By the Right Reverend Father in GOD, SAMUEL, their Diocesan Bishop.”

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