Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 52 year old Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 150 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Monday, January 16, 2017

King Charles and Archbishop Laud - Rector's Rambling for January 15, 2017

This Monday, and Monday two weeks from now, the Church celebrates two related saints, Archbishop William Laud and King Charles I.  They are related in that William Laud was Archbishop under King Charles, and both died in the same turbulent time England, and for the same religious truth – that the Church of England is the Catholic Church in England (neither Roman nor Calvinist).
The first century of the Reformation in England was turbulent for the Church.  Henry VIII made comparably few changes to the worship and theology of the Church compared to what was to come.  Most liturgy continued in Latin (the first English Book of Common Prayer would be published two years after Henry’s death).  The major change coming in that Church authority was transferred from Rome to the English throne.
With Henry’s death his nine-year-old son took the throne and his Regents included the more Protestant bishops who installed the Protestant reforms of English Liturgy, clerical marriage, and reformed theology.  Edward’s death at 15 saw his half-sister Mary restore the English Church to Roman Catholicism for her five-year reign.  Then her half-sister, Elizabeth, ascended to the throne, and during her nearly 45-year reign restored the Church of England’s independence from Rome and the use of the Book of Common Prayer, but confounded the more Protestant-minded by keeping the Catholic apostolic order for ministry and the sacraments.  The Elizabethan Settlement, trying to be both Protestant and Catholic, made for an uneasy peace through the subsequent reign of King James I (as in the Bible translation we use), which then erupted under Charles I.
Protestant pressures on the official English Church came to a head under Charles I.  Their disagreement over the King’s marriage to a Roman Catholic, combined with the King and Archbishop Laud’s insistence on the use of the ancient English Faith and Ritual, put them at odds with an increasingly Protestant (English Puritan and Scottish Presbyterian) Parliament, led by Oliver Cromwell.
Archbishop William Laud was beheaded by Parliament for treason in 1645, and Charles I in 1649.  It would take England 11 years to restore the monarchy to Charles II.  In doing, so it affirmed the true nature of the Church of God was not Calvinist or Presbyterian, but “One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic”.  The 1662 Book of Common Prayer, the fruit of that restoration, continues as England’s official Book of Common Prayer to this day.