Anglicanism in Overseas - Challenges of the Anglican Church in Canada in the past and in the future

Term Paper, 2004

16 Pages, Grade: 2,3 (B)



I. Introductionp

II. 1. A new land – the first Canadian settlers
2. Expansion of the Anglican Church and the Canadian West

III. Challenges of the Canadian educational system in the past and in the future
1. Influence of the Anglican Church on Canadian education
2. Role of the Anglican Church in the Universities

IV. Conclusion

V. Bibliography

I. Introduction

“As the Anglican Communion enters the third millennium of Christian history, it is a good time to reflect upon the first 450 years of history ( . . . ) as a national church, and subsequently, as an Anglican Communion.”[1] This work will consider the history of Canada partly, whereas the main points will be ‘the first Canadian settlers” their problems and what brought them to the ‘New Land’. It will furthermore be discussed how the English and the French got along in what today is Canada. The main part of this essay will be the spread of the Anglican Church in the Canadian West which was very important in the history of Canadian Anglicanism. By the 1840s the Anglican Church expanded their Bishoprics in nearly all over the world and of course in Canada. They established new Bishoprics, especially in the Canadian West, and tried to convert the Native population, but leaving them their own language at that time.

In the second part of this work I will take a look at the influence of the Anglican Church in the Canadian educational system. It will be discussed how the Church established big Universities in Canada, first open only to Anglicans. The secularization divided the church and the State in terms of education, because former Church Colleges became public and open to people even though they where not Anglican or even Christian faith at all. The Church reacted on the secularization by the opening of new universities which sadly never reached the quality of their predecessors. This was caused by the limited financial resources that the Church had in the late 19th century. It got even worse in the first part of the 20th century when former Anglican Churches disavowed from their Christian origin for claiming to be scientific. Theses and several other problems that the Anglican Church had to cope with in case of education will be discussed in the second part of this work.

II. 1 A new Land – the first Canadian settlers

The very first Canadians were Indian and Eskimo tribes. After them came the Northmen from Iceland and Greenland who reached the coastline which they called “Vinland” by the year 1000. The so called “Vinland” was probably situated on the North Shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence or the more northerly part of Newfoundland near the Straits of Belle Isle. “Vinland” or “wine land” as the Northmen called their colony got its name probably because there grew a lot of berries which could be used for wine production.

It was at a very early time when English fishermen came to Iceland for fishing in the middle ages.

“( . . . ) Those who sailed so far could sail farther. It is highly probable that fishermen from the western coasts of Britain, and from the coast of France, and as far south as Portugal, found their way across the Atlantic Ocean, and fished during the summer off the great banks of Newfoundland; and when Cabot sailed out of Bristol in 1497 he must have had a very good idea where he was going.”[2]

What one can see here is that the discovery of Canada was no coincidence, but the only logical consequence of fishing far beyond the coasts of Britain.

At this time the Church of England wasn’t reformed yet and hasn’t broken with the Catholic Church in Rome. This is important for a time when religious belief was a main part of daily life. Because of the “Pre-Reformation time” everyone who fished in Newfoundland could take the same religious service; e.g. Normans, Bretons, Jersiais, Basques and Portuguese.

The first important exploration was the journey of the sailor Jacques Cartier, who was under the commission of Francis I. of France, who entered the Gulf of St. Laurence by the straits of Belle Isle. As he landed finally on the mainland in Gaspé Harbour he took possession of the land for the King of France on July, 24th in 1534. In the following years Cartier began to contact Indian tribes at the Saguenay River, Tadoussac; at Stadacona, Quebec; and at Hochelaga, Montreal. Within the time of some years Tadoussac developed as a trading post and Europeans came to Canada for business reasons like trading furs with the Indians, fishing, whaling or sealing. Another important objective which motivated Europeans to go for the long journey to Canada was that they expected mineral resources there. Jacques Cartier called one place “Cap Diamante”, the place where today the Citadel of Quebec is situated.

By the middle of the 16th century the French had taken possession of the eastern gateway of today’s Canada whereas the English stayed in Newfoundland and northward along the great barren land-mass of Labrador. As the reasons why the Europeans came to Canada seem to be quite clear the question that rises is how did they get there? There had been three main ways to get into Canada in the early history: First from the eastern way from St. Lawrence River, second the northern way from Hudson Bay and third the western way from the Pacific Ocean. These ways were chosen by the English and the French but they settled and landed on different parts of the “new continent” as explained before.

By early autumn of 1559 Canadian Anglicanism was recorded for the first time at a celebration of the Holy Communion. The aim of the “New World Christians” was to make the bible understandable for everyone. So, they transformed the bible into one volume and translated it into English. The book became known as ‘The book of Common Prayer, and administration of Sacraments, and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church according to the Use of the Church of England.’ 400 years later in 1959 the Anglican Church in Canada adopted its present version of the same prayer book.

In 1583 the settlement of the English moved foreward and Sir Humphrey Gilbert was sent to St. John’s Newfoundland to take possession of the country and to establish the Church of England as the only present Church. At the same time the French expanded their settlements as well. In 1603 Samuel Champlain founded a small settlement in ‘Acadie’[3] at a place he called Port Royal[4] where he laid down the foundation stone of ‘New France’ called Canada. As the French expanded their frontier along St. Lawrence River they came close to the British frontier of ‘New England’ which was situated south of Canada. For the first Canadian settlers whether English or French the Natives played an important role, not only as traders but as people who could be converted to Christian religion. The tribes in the English settlements mostly became members of the Anglican Church and tribes under French rule became Roman Catholic. These religious diversities of the colonized and of the colonizers would play decisive roles in the history of Canada in the next centuries.


[1] Bryant 206

[2] Carrington17-18

[3] Now: Nova Scotia

[4] Now: Annapolis Royal

Excerpt out of 16 pages


Anglicanism in Overseas - Challenges of the Anglican Church in Canada in the past and in the future
University of Potsdam  (Anglistics/ American Studies)
PS: Religions in Multicultural Britain
2,3 (B)
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
File size
431 KB
Anglicanism, Overseas, Anglican, Canada, Religions, Multicultural, Britain
Quote paper
Andrej Wackerow (Author), 2004, Anglicanism in Overseas - Challenges of the Anglican Church in Canada in the past and in the future, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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