Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Samuel Seabury - First American Bishop - Nov. 17

On March 251783, a meeting of ten Episcopal clergy in Woodbury, Connecticut, elected Seabury bishop. There were no Anglican bishops in the Americas to consecrate him, so he sailed to London on July 7. In England, however, his consecration was rationalized as impossible because, as an American citizen, he could no longer take the oath of allegiance to the English King. Seabury then turned to the Scottish Church, whose bishops at that time refused to recognize the authority of King George III. He was consecrated in Aberdeen on November 141784, with the one condition that in the matter of the Holy Communion he study the Scottish Rite, taken largely unchanged from the 1549 Prayer Book and work for its adoption rather than the English rite of 1662. To the present day the American liturgy adheres to the main features of this Rite in its Holy Eucharist Liturgies, widely regarded as one of the greatest treasures of the Church in this country.

We give thee thanks, O Lord our God, for thy goodness in bestowing upon this Church the gift of the episcopate, which we celebrate in this remembrance of the consecration of Samuel Seabury; and we pray that, joined together in unity with our bishops, and nourished by thy holy Sacraments, we may proclaim the Gospel of redemption with apostolic zeal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

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