What is a "High Church" Anglican?

I’ve seen a few folks here that refer to themselves as “High Church” Anglicans. What is that? It seems to imply a “Low Church.”
Is it similar to the “High” Latin mass in the catholic church, as opposed to the “Low Mass?”

I believe it refers to a more liturgical, traditional and dare I say Catholic form of Anglicanism.

It means they gravitate towards the catholic wing of the church, and their liturgy will be executed with great ceremonial, incense, sanctus bells, a marian anthem at mass and benediction. Their churches are often embelished with tasteful statues. If you want to see an example google St Mary Bourne st in London.

Low church Angkicans will not have so much veremonial and place more emphasis on the sermon though the service will still follow the classic western shape.
It’s a sad fact that even many middle of the road anglican parishes now seem more trsditional in liturgical terms than a standad ordinary form catholic mass.

Interesting. So it’s like a an old school traditional catholic Latin mass?

And so kind of the equivalent of the ordinary catholic mass then.

Thank you for the info.

Thank you as well mike.

No problem. It’s difficult to compare because the Anglican tradition has its very own distinctive style. There are some “Anglo-papal” churches where you really would think you had stepped back to 1962 (see the attached link saintsilas.org.uk/section/180 ) and many of these have a weekly Latin low mass.

But these are more typical examples:


liurgyluver has linked to some good examples of High Church Anglicanism.

Not all High Church Anglicans follow the Tridentine style. We also have the Old English or Pre-Reformation English stye, usually influenced by the Sarum (Salisbury) tradition. This is often seen in English cathedrals.

Some good pics of the Old English style:


My new church (dual Episcopal/Lutheran affiliation) describes itself as “emerging” Anglo-Catholic with Benedictine influence. We are “High Church” Anglican in liturgical style. We have our own music, which is “ancient/future” and “world fusion”, and it manages to sound both very traditional and very modern at the same time. No Latin, though I think that’d be pretty cool.

One needs to make a distinction between Anglo-Catholics and High-Church Anglicans. Anglo-Catholics are a subset of High-Church Anglicans, who not only retain aspects of Catholic ritual (incense, bells, chant, etc.) but also regard themselves as doctrinally similar to Catholics.

The low-church party, in it’s original meaning of following a mostly Protestant worship style, is pretty rare these days. Pre-1979 Prayer Book, is was quite common for Episcopal Churches to have Morning Prayer, rather than Communion, at 2 or 3 of the principal Sunday Services in the course of a month. (There was always some Communion Service on Sunday, but typically a smaller service at 8 am, with no choir.) That really represents Low-Church practice.

What most Episcopal churches practice now is called ‘Broad-Church’, which is a style that is primarily Eucharisticly based, but does not incorporate a high level of ritual.

JL: They are so similar to Catholic it’s difficult to tell them apart. The first time I went to England I walked into a church with a statue of the Sacred Heart and Mary. I thought It was Catholic. I stayed for Mass which had some minor differences, which I attributed to a different country. Yet there was something that struck me although I can’t remember what is was. At communion I asked the usher if it was a Catholic Church. He replied Anglican Catholic. I went the other direction out of the church.

Yes, I understand the distinction. But in the case of my church, I’m not sure the the description on our website as “Anglo-Catholic” is completely accurate. I don’t think it was intentionally misleading. More likely the person who wrote it didn’t fully understand the difference between “High-Church” and “Anglo-Catholic”.

I can’t even remember the last time I saw a birreta, and never on a CofE cleric.

If you visit the south coast of England, you will find CofE clergy dripping in lace and birretas. In fact, it’s called “The birreta belt”! Parts of north London are similar.

I go to a High Church Anglican though I think we managed to step down a rung manner of speaking.

I understand it to what words people use, ie Mass as to Holy Communion.
I undersand it to that at Mass we have Altar Servers, Incense and candles and bells
I understand it to what words are used in the Mass of which we have been using the Missal for a few years but we now use the Anglican revisied… (what I mean by stepping down a rung).
We have confession available to us though in our church its by appointment, eg we ring the priest and organise it. Most people I think don’t bother with it and it don’t matter. We don’t have to go to confession before a Mass to receive communion.
Previous priests have worn all black and are against women preists. Our current priest is neither for or against women priests and will wear a light grey shirt at times too not just black. He been the only one in the last 25 years I’ve known to wear a different colour shirt.
Some of us are higher than others. Many will do sign of the cross. I only do so when serving. I only say the hail mary when serving to be honest too. We have just managed to get the Lords Prayer said all at the same time.
We have Stations of the Cross. A Roman Catholic (new) might walk into our church and apart from not having a confessional box you guys have may think it to be Roman Catholic based on the service. That is high Anglican from what I understand from the church I go to

I have read a book named MERRRILY ON HIGH, by the late Collin Stevenson who ran the Anglican shrine of Walsingham. As a boy he attended St Batholamew (sp) in Brighton, can’t get further south than that, or higher church.

He said in the book that he had lost his biretta.

Funnily I just finished reading that a few weeks ago. It was very witty and amusing.

If I lost my Beretta, I’d be upset. But maybe we’re not talking about the same thing. :wink:

A bIretta with an I is a black hat with sort of “fins” and a pom-pom on top. They used to be worn by Catholic and high Anglican priests. Ulta-conservative Catholic clergy still wear them at times. But I have only seen them in pictures and old movies. I think Bing Crosby wore won in THE BELLS OF SAINT MARYS.

The definition of High Church has been a moving target over the past few decades. At one time, at the Church of the Advent in Boston, there was a lively correspondence between the bishop and the rector over the rector’s use of a surplice when preaching. It was considered too Catholic. The bishop thought he should wear an academic gown, something essentially never seen in the Episcopal Church these days. Now, nearly every Anglican church uses Eucharistic vestments. So things have gotten higher and higher.

High Church Anglicanism has several connotations:

  1. Liturgical practice that resembles that of the Roman church. This can mean the celebration of Holy Communion every Sunday as the principal service, it can mean the use of Eucharistic vestments, it can mean the use of certain atmospherics like incense and bells (“smells and bells”).

Nowadays, most Anglican churches celebrate Holy Communion as the principal service each Sunday. It is quite rare to find Morning Prayer. Indeed, with the exception of incense and bells, most churches have become fairly “high” by the standards of 100 years ago.

  1. Beliefs that mirror to a greater or lesser extend those of the Roman church. For example, a belief in seven, not two, sacraments, a belief in the sacramental effect of absolution, a belief in the Real Presence and Transubstantiation. Also a veneration of the saints and especially Mary. In really high churches there are prayers for the Pope, and in the UK, use of the Novus Ordo (truly amazing to this left-coast yank).

There are some peculiar little things that tend to identify Anglo Catholics, especially the clergy. Most Anglo Catholics (High Church Anglicans) do not support female clergy. Most tend to wear cassocks that have buttons down the front, in contrast with the Anglican cassock, which is double breasted and buttons on the side. Anglo Catholic clergy tend to like a bit of lace on their albs and surplices, and they often, though not always like the “fiddleback” chasuble. Also they like to wear the biretta whenever they can.

Remember when there was a GM (I think Chevy) named for the Beretta?

Can you imagine anything more sacrilegious?

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