William Reed Huntington 27 July 1909
[Of interest chiefly to Anglican (or Episcopalian) readers]
W. R. Huntington, although never a bishop, had more influence on the Episcopal Church than most bishops. He was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1838, the son of a physician, studied at Harvard, and was ordained a priest in 1862. In each of the thirteen General Conventions (held every three years, in years that have a remainder of 2 when divided by 3) of the Episcopal Church that met between 1870 and his death, he was a member, and indeed the most prominent member, of the House of Deputies. In 1871 he moved for the restoration of the ancient Order of Deaconesses (see References, right), which was finally officially authorized in 1889. His parish became a center for the training of deaconesses. Huntington's was the chief voice calling for a revision of the Book of Common Prayer (completed in 1892), and his the greatest single influence on the process of revision. The prayers he wrote for it include the following, used during Holy Week and on Fridays.
In his book The Church Idea (1870), Huntington undertook to discuss the basis of Christian unity, and he formulated the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral, a statement adopted first by the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church in 1886 and then, with slight modifications, by the Bishops of the world-wide Anglican Communion assembled at Lambeth in 1888. The statement set forth four principles which Anglicans regard as essential, and offer as a basis for discussion of union with other Christian bodies.
I append the preface as adopted by the House of Bishops in Chicago in 1886, followed by the Four Points in the slightly different wording adopted by the Lambeth Conference of 1888.
[Here I switch to the Lambeth wording.]
A personal observation: The reader will notice that the four points of the Lambeth Quadrilateral: Scriptures, Creeds, Sacraments, and Ministry, correspond roughly to the points listed in Acts 2:41f, where Luke speaks of those who received the Gospel as it was preached on Pentecost.
These early Christians were in the apostles' doctrine. That is, they believed what the apostles taught about the Resurrection of Jesus, and about His victory on our behalf over the power of sin and death. That is to say, they believed the doctrine summarized in the Creeds.
They were in the apostles' fellowship. That is, they did not seek to serve God as unattached individuals, nor did they form groups of persons of like minds with their own in whose company they might worship. They joined themselves to the existing band of believers, whose nucleus was the apostles. That is, they were united by participation in the ministry of the apostles and those whom the apostles deputized to carry on their work.
They participated in the breaking of bread. That is, they were regular participants in the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. (That they had received the Sacrament of Holy Baptism has already been specified.)
They participated in the prayers. As far back as our records go, Christian services of worship have consisted principally of two things: (1) the reading of the Holy Scriptures and preaching based on them, accompanied by prayer, and (2) the celebration of the Lord's Supper. The pattern was set by Our risen Lord at Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35), when He first opened the Scriptures to His companions, and then "was known to them in the breaking of bread." The former part, the prayers and readings and sermons, would often be referred to simply as "the prayers."
End of personal observation.
Despite his involvement in the national affairs of the Church, Huntington was foremost a parish priest, for 21 years (1862-1883) as All Saints' Church in Worcester, Massachusetts, and for 26 years (1883-1909) at Grace Church, New York City. He died 26 July 1909.
O Lord our God, we thank you for instilling in the heart of your servant William Reed Huntington a fervent love for your Church and its mission in the world; and we pray that, with unflagging faith in your promises, we may make known to all peoples your blessed gift of eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
written by James Kiefer
|Notes for this article:
The Church Idea
Lambeth in 1998