Dr. Donald Coggan Enthroned as Archbishop of Canterbury

Diocesan Press Service. February 6, 1975 [75046]

CANTERBURY, England -- Dignitaries from all the main traditions of Christendom throned the ancient city of Canterbury on January 24 when the Most Reverend Frederick Donald Coggan was enthroned as the 101st Archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the 46.7 million members of the Anglican Communion, of which the Episcopal Church in the U.S.A. is a part.

It was the most ecumenical enthronement ever held. In attendance were three Roman Catholic cardinals, the first time the Vatican was represented at such an enthronement ceremony since the Reformation more than 400 years ago. The service also included participation by Orthodox patriarchs, leaders of the Methodists and other Free Churches, Quakers, denominational leaders from all over the world, and heads of Anglican churches in full communion with Canterbury, including the Rt. Rev. John M. Allin, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the U.S.A.

Present also was a host of representatives of the universities, civic leaders, and national political leaders, including the speaker of the House of Commons, Prime Minister Harold Wilson, and some of his cabinet colleagues.

Also included in the processions, which took half an hour to pass into the Cathedral, were readers, deaconesses, women workers and clergy of Dr. Coggan's new diocese, together with representatives of the Church Army, with which he has had a close link as president for many years.

Representing Queen Elizabeth II, who is the titular Supreme Governor of the Church of England, were the Lord Lieutenant of Kent ; Lord Astor of Hever; her son and heir, Prince Charles, who was with his aunt, Princess Margaret; and the Duchess of Kent.

The enthronement took place in the great chair of St. Augustine, made of Purbeck stone, which is placed at the top of the steps at the east end of the nave before the entrance to the quire. Dr. Coggan was placed in the historic chair by the Archdeacon of Canterbury, the Ven. Bernard Pawley, who by virtue of his office has the task of enthroning all bishops in the Anglican Southern Province.

In his enthronement sermon, Dr. Coggan said that the Church must face the "realism " that "it is in for a time of tribulation." He said that one of his secretaries may have been wiser than she knew when, by a typographical error, she referred to his "enthornment " instead of his "enthronement. "

But, he said, the Church, faced as it is with the realism of tribulation, can have confidence through the "hope based on the resurrection -victory of Jesus."

Speaking primarily to the Church of England and the Anglican Communion, he said, "One of the greatest needs of the Church at this moment is a steady increase in the number of those coming forward to ordination." He said that he was speaking about "the need for recruits to the ordained ministry . . because I believe in the ministry of the laity. "

He said he believes "the main work of Christ's Church will be done by the witness of the faithful laity, " but this "will demand an adequate supply of full-time, well-equipped, highly qualified clergy whose primary task will be to train" the laity for their indispensable work.

He also had a word "to all who name the name of Christ": "We must grow till our arms get right round the world."

"Such an embrace " of the world, he said, "will be costly." It will mean giving up "our divisions . . . our possessions . . our selfishness."

"The world desperately needs loving, and it will have to be done sacramentally by outward and visible signs of the inward grace of God's love," he concluded.

Attending the enthronement were Archbishop Coggan's wife, Jean, and his two daughters -- Dr. Ruth Coggan, a missionary doctor of the Church Missionary Society in Pakistan, and Ann Coggan, a teacher at the Pilgrims School, Winchester.

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