The Colonial Bishoprics’ Fund and the contest over colonial Church reform
in An Anglican British World
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Bishops were essential for the effective running of a distinct colonial Church. As the nineteenth century wore on bishops began to play a much more important role in the administration of the Church; the figure of the ‘missionary bishop’ also became a key symbol of Anglican renewal and expansion after the mid-1830s. The formation of the Colonial Bishoprics’ Fund (CBF) in 1841 has usually be taken as a key moment in the formation of a colonial Church that was episcopal in outlook and capable of funding and administering itself. This chapter argues that existing work has under-examined two important dimensions of the CBF’s work. Historians have not asked why its fund-raising activities were so successful. The chapter also shows how the expansion of the episcopate was far more contested than existing accounts have given credit. Various Anglican and non-Anglican communities in the colonies resisted the imposition of a more high church, episcopal and English colonial Anglicanism. By showing how individual bishops sought to conciliate these dissentient groups, the chapter sheds light on the kind of postures bishops had to adopt if they were to succeed in creating a popular and genuinely national Church in the colonies.

An Anglican British World

The Church of England and the Expansion of the Settler Empire, c. 1790–1860


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