we might consider that saints are God's holy people, not those who are invested with "St." before their name on the basis of dubious claims of miracles. Graham Kings makes a very good point at the start of an excellent reflection on John Henry Newman,
"If Thomas Aquinas was granted sainthood on account of his writings, why could not this method have been followed with Cardinal Newman? It seems to me that it would have been much more dignified than trying to dredge up a miracle or two. It is the writings which are miraculous in depth, wisdom and literary sparkle, even if some are mercurial and misguided."
Indeed, why not? If someone is worthy of being St. Someone then it is on the grounds of their extraordinary contribution to the saints on earth as one of the saints. Newman has as good a case as anyone on account of his writings, example (in some eyes), and, perhaps most of all, his theological influence (e.g. said to be writ large over Vatican 2).
Anyway do not worry about my thoughts, Graham Kings' thoughts are worth a read, right to the very end when he comes to an unexpected conclusion!
Sorry if this is a bit off topic, but do Anglicans truly believe that all believers are saints? I imagnine there is a variety of opinion on this, as with all issues in the Anglican Church. I would have thought given we don't have a canonisation process, that means our formal position is that all believers are saints?
Why then do we dedicate our churches to particular saints? Is this practice consistent with what we believe about saints as all God's people? Is it a tradition we can't get out of because it would upset too many people, or is there solid theological reasoning behind it?
My own experience of this was being part of a merger of 3 parishes over 10 years ago - for ministry reasons, rather than financial reasons I hasten to add. We had a parish vote on a new name, and the clear winner was Anglican Church. The bishop made it very clear to us that this was unacceptable, and we should choose a more traditional name!
"Why then do we dedicate our churches to particular saints? Is this practice consistent with what we believe about saints as all God's people?"
There is a Bishop Hannington Church in Brighton UK, named for a stalwart Evangelical missionary-martyr-bishop (how's that for a trifecta!). Personally I'd love to see a Church (nay, Cathedral) of C. S. Lewis complete with Pevensey Chapel and Caspian Baptistry, but I suspect Dreamworks would demand a cut of the Sunday collection.
Of course a great advantage of naming churches after saints is conciseness of names! So even evangelicals, I suggest, are not averse to the tradition. "St John's" or "St. Nick's" is less of a mouthful than "Timbuktu Community Anglican Church" or "Bishop Hannington Church".
I was intrigued by a tendency, though not a universal one, in my previous low/evangelical diocese to name churches for events in the life of Jesus rather than individual saints: Church of the Nativity, Church of the Epiphany ... Resurrection ... Ascension ... Good Shepherd; plus "Holy Trinity", "All Saints". Then, where churches were named after saints, nearly all were named after the apostles or the seven deacon-evangelists of Acts. Sts Cuthbert, Christopher, and Michael being the only exceptions that spring to memory.
given we don't have a canonisation process
Well... maybe... but we do have a very lengthy process for adding celebrations to our calendar which is a (binding) formulary of our church. Adding Mary MacKillop, for example, hopefully will conclude May 2011.
If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck,... I'm not sure we could go as far as saying, "we don't have a canonisation process".
As to naming "churches for events in the life of Jesus" - all you've listed off are different calendar celebrations. I don't see anything in your list such as The Church of the Wedding at Cana, or the Church of the feeding of the 5000...
I also don't think "All Souls" for example, is a particularly "low/evangelical" celebration ;-)
"I don't see anything in your list such as The Church of the Wedding at Cana, or the Church of the feeding of the 5000...
I also don't think "All Souls" for example, is a particularly "low/evangelical" celebration ;-)"
The Catholics do. I don't recall the precise name of the church in Cana but it had some such name, while the church in Tabgha was something like 'The Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes'. Galilee has The Church of the Beatitudes, on the traditional site of the Sermon on the Mount. All
Souls in London was a Waterloo church, built c. 1821 by Parliament as an act of national thanksgiving for the defeat of Napoleon; I don't know when it became decisively Evangelical. Anglican practice has of course been to stick chiefly with pre-Reformation-style titles.
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