1870-present: The Ecumenical Movement and Religious Communities

1870 First Vatican Council. Roman Catholics who disagree with "Papal Infallibility" become Old Catholics. (The Polish National Catholic Church is Old Catholic.)
1870 Society of St. John the Evangelist of Cowley founded in Boston.
1881 Order of the Holy Cross founded.
1888 Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral on church unity. William Reed Huntington, priest and author of "The Church Idea", is author. During the following years, Anglicans (especially in the mission fields) occasionally co-celebrate the eucharist with clergy who lack apostolic ordination. These episodes are typically described as "doubtless very pleasing to Almighty God, but not to be repeated."
1896 Leo XIII, bishop of Rome, declares Anglican orders "absolutely null and void". He says Matthew Parker's ordination was somehow invalid.
1910 First World Missionary Conference, held in Edinburgh.
1913 Kikuyu Conference in Kenya. Anglical evangelicals celebrate a joint eucharist with Scottish Presbyterians, who of course lack apostolic ordination. Frank Weston, bishop of Zanzibar, accuses two involved bishops of heresy. This and similar episodes are described as "doubtless very pleasing to Almighty God, but not to be repeated."
1913 Franciscan movement revived in the Anglican communion. The first friars are tramps. (Some Anglican friars appeared in the US during the last century, but fell victim to the Roman fever. These are today's ecumenically-minded Graymoor friars.)
1914 World War I begins. Especially in Europe, Christianity is much less influential after the war than before.
1920 American Council on Organic Union in Philadelphia. Episcopalians attend, but the "Philadelphia Plan" fizzles during the following years.
1920 Lambeth conference issues "Appeal to All Christian People." Full intercommunion with the Church of Sweden results.
1921 Cardinal Mercer joins Anglicans for the "Malines Conversations", which continue to his death in l926.
1927 First World Conference on Faith and Order. Charles Henry Brent, bishop of Western New York, has been working to make this possible for seventeen years. (Brent is the author of "arms of love" collect.) Good attendance, no conclusions.
1930 Lambeth Resolutions on the Unity of the Church. Three Orthodox patriarchs now recognize the validity of Anglican orders.

Agreement of Bonn. Anglicans enter into full communion with dissident Old Catholics on the continent. Mixing of episcopal lines begins.

  1. Each Communion recognizes the catholicity and independence of the other, and maintains its own.
  2. Each Communion agrees to permit members of the other Communion to participate in the Sacraments.
  3. Inter-communion does not require from either Communion the acceptance of all doctrinal opinion, sacramental devotion, or liturgical practice, characteristic of the other, but implies that each believes the other to hold all the essentials of the Christian faith.
1937 Talks begin in the USA about reunion with the Presbyterians. These fizzle because the Episcopalians insist on the historic episcopate.
1947 Church of South India formed as a result of union of Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist, and Congregationalist churches. Church of North India follows in 1970.
1948 World Council of Churches convenes in Amsterdam as a "fellowship of churches which confess Jesus Christ as God and Savior." Archbishop Geoffrey Fisher of Canterbury presides. Few members of third-world nations attend, and Roman Catholics do not participate.
1948 Philippine Independent Church acquires historic episcopate from American Episcopal Church.
1950 The Federal Council of Churches becomes the National Council of Churches in US.
1952 Second assembly of the World Council of Churches, in Evanston, Ill. Communion is held according to the rite of the Church of South India.
1960 Eugene Carson Blake, Presbyterian leader, proposes a union of Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Methodists, African Methodists, and the United Church of Christ, in a speech at San Francisco's Grace Cathedral.
1960 Archbishop Fisher of Canterbury meets with the bishop of Rome.
1961 Third assembly of the World Council of Churches in New Delhi. Many Slavic Orthodox join.
1962 Congress on Church Union (COCU) results from Blake's efforts; meetings continue to this day.
1962 The bishop of Rome convenes the Second Vatican Council. Several Anglican bishops come as guests of the bishop of Rome. The Roman Catholic Church begins translating its prayer books into the vernacular and institutes other reforms.
1966 Archbishop Ramsey of Canterbury exchanges the kiss of peace with the bishop of Rome in the Sistine Chapel.
1968 Fourth assembly of the World Council of Churches in Uppsala. "Liberal" resolutions, especially on race. A fiasco involving the "Special Fund to Combat Racism" follows.
1975 Fifth assembly of the World Council of Churches. For the first time, the archbishop of Canterbury does not preside. A few Roman Catholics appear.
1976 Moscow Conference (Anglican-Orthodox).
1980 The archbishop of Canterbury joins the bishop of Rome in touring Africa.
1985 Communion outside one's own denomination is a fact of life in virtually all U.S. denominations.

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