This article aims to identify the significance of George Augustus Selwyn, the first Bishop of New Zealand, for the development of the Anglican Communion. It is based on evidence derived from secondary sources, most obviously the two-volume life of Selwyn written shortly after his death by his former chaplain, and on recent studies of the development of the Anglican Communion, especially the development of provincial synodical government in Australasia, and on the constitution of the Episcopal Church in the United States.
The article concludes that Selwyn had ideal qualities and experiences to enable him to achieve a constitution for a new Anglican province independent of the state, and with self-government, including elected representatives of laity and clergy, as well as bishops meeting together. His commitment to creating a constitutional framework for the dioceses and provinces of the Anglican Communion, including the Episcopal Church, enabled a second Lambeth Conference to happen.
(Online publication September 14 2010)
1. An earlier version of this article was given at ‘Visions of the Anglican Communion, Past Present and Future: A Symposium in Honour of G.A. Selwyn’, on Friday 17 April 2009, at the Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge. I am grateful for insights gained from other papers and the discussion during the Symposium.
2. W.M. Jacob is Archdeacon of Charing Cross, London, previously Warden of Lincoln Theological College.