This essay, originally published in 1870, was the basis for the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral. William Reed Huntington became a national advocate for church unity with the publication of this essay, providing four essential points of doctrine that he proposed be used in unifying the church, replacing the Thirty-Nine Articles.
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William Reed Huntington (1838–1909) was an Episcopal priest. Born in Lowell, Massachusetts, he was educated at Harvard and taught chemistry there from 1859 to 1860. He was ordained in 1862, and served as the parish priest of All Saints Church in Worcester, Massachusetts and then of Grace Church in New York from 1883 to 1909. A major voice for the revision of the Book of Common Prayer and deeply involved in seeking Church unity, Huntington was secretary of the Prayer-Book Revisions Committee and coeditor of the Standard Prayer-Book of 1892. His The Church Idea, an Essay toward Unity formed the basis for the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral.