The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. Psalm 16:6
Eternal God, you blessed your servant Samuel Seabury with the gift of perseverance to renew the Anglican inheritance in North America: Grant that, joined together in unity with our bishops and nourished by your holy Sacraments, we proclaim the Gospel of redemption with apostolic zeal; through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Who is Samuel Seabury?
Samuel Seabury (1729-1796), our parish's namesake, was born in North Groton (now Ledyard). After the revolutionary war, leadership was needed in the church of Connecticut and Seabury was elected as the first Anglican Bishop for North America. He sailed to England to seek consecration, but was refused largely because his American citizenship disqualified him from taking the oath to the King. Scotland had its own, independent history with the Church of England and so consecrated him in Aberdeen in 1784.
Seabury served the church in Connecticut in a time when it was stronger in number and spirit than in any other part of the country, but needed the leadership of Bishops for its continuance. In an age already tainted by Deism and denials of the divinity of Christ, he is remembered for shepherding souls "to the means of reconciliation with God, through Christ." His was an early voice leading protestantism toward the weekly celebration of the Lord's supper: "let me beseech you to make good use of the opportunities you have; and let nothing but real necessity keep you from the heavenly banquet when you have it in your power to partake of it."
Why is our church named for Samuel Seabury? Because his purposes are our purposes-- not just in rough outlines, but in specific details. Consider these words of his second charge to the clergy in Derby, Connecticut, September 1786:
Deism, with its necessary consequence--no religion at all, or rather adverseness to all religion, if I am rightly informed, has within a few years, made great advances in the United States. . . . People of sober reason and common sense may hence be tempted to think, that Reason and Religion can never be reconciled. . . . The next step is to become proselytes to the opinion that all religions are equal, and no religion as good as any.
Error often becomes popular and contagious, and then no one can tell how far it will spread, nor where it ends. We must in such cases, recur to first principles, and there take our stand. The Bible must be the ground of our faith. And the doctrines, practices and old Liturgies of the primitive Church will be of great use to lead us to the true meaning of the Holy Books.
Samuel Seabury the First American Bishop http://anglicanhistory.org/usa/seabury/hughson.html
Memoir of Bishop Seabury http://anglicanhistory.org/usa/seabury/bio1908/
The Sermon Preached at the Consecration of Samuel Seabury http://anglicanhistory.org/scotland/seabury_consecration.html
Bishop Seabury's Charge to the Clergy of Connecticut http://anglicanhistory.org/usa/seabury/charge1786.html
An Earnest Persuasive to Frequent Communion by Samuel Seabury http://anglicanhistory.org/usa/seabury/s/persuasive.html
Bishop Seabury's Communion Office http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/Seabury.htm