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Ordered Administration

Ordered Administration

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Published by TheLivingChurchdocs
By Cheryl White
The diocese has been the organizational framework for the life of the Church throughout the ages.
By Cheryl White
The diocese has been the organizational framework for the life of the Church throughout the ages.

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Published by: TheLivingChurchdocs on Jul 03, 2012
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07/03/2012

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By Cheryl White
 A
s theEpiscopal Church seeks to administeritself today while simultaneously engaging andidentifying with the broader Anglican Communion,there are potentially multiple points of conflict dueto inexact corresponding structures within otherglobal provinces.Perhaps the most obvious exampleof this is thatsome Communion provinces are struc-tured to have true archbishops. The EpiscopalChurch instead developed the office of “PresidingBishop” as a reflection of a tempered democraticunderstanding of authority which framed our earlynational republic. There is a shared common struc-ture in the concept of the
diocese
, however; indeed,it is a strong and legitimate link which joins the Epis-copal Church with all of Catholic Christianity.The diocese has been the organizational frame-work for the life of the Church throughout the ages.Therefore, it is useful to review the diocese’shistoryas an administrative structure in order to frame amore complete understanding of its place within polityand governance today. However, there is much moreto the concept of the diocese than mere matters of human administration.It is also an expression of God’sgreat work in the world and the practical frameworkfor carrying out the Great Commission of Christ.The diocesan structure is at least 18 centuries old,with its roots in the secular governance of imperialRome. The concept quickly took on an added dimen-sion as Christianity spread throughout the empire bythe end of the fourth century. Because its place inearly Christian history corresponds directly with thedevelopment of episcopal authority, the diocese canbe identified as the basic foundation for the gover-nance of the whole Church.Indeed, it is the most prominent and consistent structure of the orderedhistoric faith.With the advance of time and addition of terri-tory, the administration of the Roman Empirereflected a policy of increasing subdivision of author-
Ordered Administration
The Diocese in History
ORDERLY COUNSELEssays in Advance of General Convention 2012
(Continued on next page)
July 15, 2012 • THE LIVING CHURCH
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