The Huguenots and Anglican Worship in Ireland: Lessons for Today?

Ruth Whelan, in ‘Sanctified by the Word: The Huguenots and Anglican Liturgy’, part of the edited volume Propagating the Word of Irish Dissent 1650–1800 (Four Courts Press Ltd, 1998), 74–94, gives us a look at the Huguenot refugee community in Ireland which complicates the picture often painted of French Protestants readily conforming to the established Anglican worship of the English-speaking countries in which they resettled. Though the French Protestants recognized the Church of Ireland and the Church of England as fellow Reformed churches, with whom they basically agreed in doctrine, differences in practice shaped differences in piety between them and Anglicans who conformed to the Book of Common Prayer. Practices that strictly were adiaphora (in themselves indifferent) were nevertheless, for much of the Huguenot refugee community, part of the Huguenots’ ethnoreligious identity.

The article also shows us some history that could be useful for dealing with the problem of Phyletism – which Wikipedia calls ‘the idea that a local autocephalous Church should be based not on a local [ecclesial] criterion, but on an ethnophyletist, national or linguistic one’ – as well as with the practical mess of the Byzantine communion’s overlapping ethnic-associated jurisdictions in America.

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One response to “The Huguenots and Anglican Worship in Ireland: Lessons for Today?

  1. I think episcopal government can help forge a stronger communion while maintaining the differences. Of course, in the case of 17th century CoE, ecclesial government was intentionally sluggish and incapable of properly adjudicating things of this sort. It’s sort of similar, for totally different reasons, to the Byzantine case. Because of the money the immigrant communities send back home, many Eastern churches don’t want to solve the problem.

    I suppose “ethnic differences”, whether of practice or language, can be a smokescreen.

    Liked by 1 person

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