New High Church Letters

Why the name?

The idea of the title New High Church Letters is:


  • Adapted for contemporary concerns of pastoral theology, liturgy, missiology, etc.

  • Not Old {High Church}.

High Church

In the 17th century, high church was used to describe those clergy and laity who placed a high emphasis on complete adherence to the Established Church position, including some emphasis on ritual or liturgical practices inherited from the Early Church or the Undivided Church. (Wikipedia)
The High Churchmen exalt ecclesiastical tradition as the voice of church authority, regard the Holy Eucharist as in some sense a sacrifice and the sacraments as efficacious channels of grace, and they insist on rites and ceremonies as the appropriate expression of external worship. (Catholic Encyclopedia)

Anglo-Catholic, like Anglican, has as many definitions as there are adherents, so working with a sensibility that isn’t strictly tribal seems worth emphasising: “Tractarian,” "just Anglican," "Catholic Anglican," "Anglo-Catholic," “Western Rite,” and occasionally “Lutheran” all work amicably alongside the term High Church—with respect to the liturgies of the church and her sacraments. This is suitably adaptable, as well as not expressly representing the single Anglican camp of “Old High Church.


Most people outside of the churched do not know what “tracts” are, and the evangelicals who do have very negative associations with the term. Letters is a suitable synonym and is more casual, less propaganda-ish, less polemic. I’m thinking of works such as Letters to Malcolm, Letters to a Young Calvinist, and such as public-facing correspondence: in other words, bringing back the blog.

High Church Letters, then, roughly translates to Tractarian, but without hardline affiliating with them versus the Anglo-Catholic, Old High Church, Broad Church, etc. or other parties, as much as leaning into Catholic qualities, Caroline Divines, and other “High” estimations of the services and sacraments of the church as we have received them since the Reformation.

Of the Oxford Movement’s Tracts for the Times:

"The new Tracts," says Dean Church, "were received with surprise, dismay, ridicule, and indignation. But they also at once called forth a response of eager sympathy from numbers."

May these New High Church Letters have at least a few in sympathetic numbers.

For more on theological presuppositions: Common Principles.

There are three sub-categories of this site. A paid subscription supports this newsletter, and the work related to it [note: payments are paused until further notice]. Teaser articles will be avoided, and there is no intention to annoy with mailing too much.

1. Church Letters

This is the main site, which is longer-form writing & resources, commentary, or other materials relating to the identity described above. Authors may vary. Posting may be infrequent and vary in project.

Here is a sample essay:

2. Anglican.Center

Anglican.Center projects fitting with the vision “to bring the theological and pastoral spirit of traditional Anglicanism into a modern, pan-jurisdictional context.

Here is a sample resource:

3. Sunday Letters

Sunday Letters consists of George MacDonald quotes, where possible with commentary by Fr Jonah.

Here is the first one:

Subscribe to New High Church

There are three sections to this project: 1) Church Letters: writing on "High Church" catholic spirituality, essays, commentary, occasional homilies. 2) Anglican.Center Resources. 3) Sunday Letters: Devotions, chiefly George MacDonald-related.


Jonah ☩ | Anglican Cleric; Country Parson. Interests: literature, Romanticism, Victorian spirituality, Orthodox theology, post-secularism. Amateur Coffee Roaster.
Retired diocesan bishop, Book: "The Earth is the Lord's" Background: RR CEO, healthcare administrator, asst to cabinet minister, HR, campus pastor. newspaper columnist, city councilman Academics: M.Div, M.A. (history), grad study U of Lund, Sweden