Today’s Kalendar commemorates William Reed Huntington, Priest. Born in 1838 he died on July 27, 1909. He was for many years a leader in the House of Deputies at General Convention and was influential in the revision of the American Prayer Book that was adopted in 1892. Here is a beautiful collect that he composed; one that remains in our current Prayer Book:
Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into joy before he was crucified: mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
Huntington also was an advocate for reunion among the separated Christian communions. At the General Convention in Chicago in 1886 his proposal for a resolution on reunion was adopted, with the following preface: “Christian unity . . . can be restored only by the return of all Christian communions to the principles of the undivided Catholic Church during the first ages of its existence.” What followed were four foundational principles for reunion: the Bible, the Creeds, the Sacraments, and Episcopal Ministry. These principles, with the wording that follows, were adopted in 1888 at the Lambeth conference of all bishops in the Anglican Communion. The statement is now known as the “Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral:”
(a) The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as
"Containing all things necessary to salvation," and as being
the rule and ultimate standard of faith.
(b) The Apostles' Creed, as the Baptismal Symbol; and the
Nicene Creed, as the sufficient statement of the Christian
(c) The two Sacraments ordained by Christ Himself --
Baptism and the Supper of the Lord -- ministered with unfailing
use of Christ's words of Institution, and of the elements
ordained by Him.
(d) The Historic Episcopate, locally adapted in the
methods of its administration to the varying needs of the
nations and peoples called of God into the Unity of the Church.
Sadly, reunion has not yet taken place, nor is this likely to happen soon. But we can hope for it and act now in love and concern for our fellow Christians. Let us pray for growth toward unity in the words of this collect from the Prayer Book (BCP 255): Almighty Father, whose blessed Son before his passion prayed for his disciples that they might be one, as you and he are one: Grant that your Church, being bound together in love and obedience to you, may be united in one body by the one Spirit, that the world may believe in him whom you have sent, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Rev. Charles Hoffacker is a retired priest of the Diocese of Washington