Anglican Communion

Anglican Communion

Overview
The Anglican Communion is an international association of national and regional Anglican
Anglicanism
Anglicanism is a tradition within Christianity comprising churches with historical connections to the Church of England or similar beliefs, worship and church structures. The word Anglican originates in ecclesia anglicana, a medieval Latin phrase dating to at least 1246 that means the English...

 churches in full communion
Full communion
In Christian ecclesiology, full communion is a relationship between church organizations or groups that mutually recognize their sharing the essential doctrines....

 with the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

  (which is regarded as the mother church
Mother Church
In Christianity, the term mother church or Mother Church may have one of the following meanings:# The first mission church in an area, or a pioneer cathedral# A basilica or cathedral# The main chapel of a province of a religious order...

 of the worldwide communion) and specifically with its principal primate
Primate (religion)
Primate is a title or rank bestowed on some bishops in certain Christian churches. Depending on the particular tradition, it can denote either jurisdictional authority or ceremonial precedence ....

, the Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop of Canterbury
The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. In his role as head of the Anglican Communion, the archbishop leads the third largest group...

. There is no single "Anglican Church" with universal juridical authority as each national or regional church has full autonomy.

The status of full communion means, ideally, that there is mutual agreement on essential doctrines, and that full participation in the sacramental life of each national church is available to all communicant Anglicans.

With a membership currently estimated at 80 million members worldwide, the Anglican Communion is the third largest Christian communion in the world, after the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 and the Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

es.
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Encyclopedia
The Anglican Communion is an international association of national and regional Anglican
Anglicanism
Anglicanism is a tradition within Christianity comprising churches with historical connections to the Church of England or similar beliefs, worship and church structures. The word Anglican originates in ecclesia anglicana, a medieval Latin phrase dating to at least 1246 that means the English...

 churches in full communion
Full communion
In Christian ecclesiology, full communion is a relationship between church organizations or groups that mutually recognize their sharing the essential doctrines....

 with the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

  (which is regarded as the mother church
Mother Church
In Christianity, the term mother church or Mother Church may have one of the following meanings:# The first mission church in an area, or a pioneer cathedral# A basilica or cathedral# The main chapel of a province of a religious order...

 of the worldwide communion) and specifically with its principal primate
Primate (religion)
Primate is a title or rank bestowed on some bishops in certain Christian churches. Depending on the particular tradition, it can denote either jurisdictional authority or ceremonial precedence ....

, the Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop of Canterbury
The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. In his role as head of the Anglican Communion, the archbishop leads the third largest group...

. There is no single "Anglican Church" with universal juridical authority as each national or regional church has full autonomy.

The status of full communion means, ideally, that there is mutual agreement on essential doctrines, and that full participation in the sacramental life of each national church is available to all communicant Anglicans.

With a membership currently estimated at 80 million members worldwide, the Anglican Communion is the third largest Christian communion in the world, after the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 and the Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

es. Some of these churches are known as Anglican, such as the Anglican Church of Canada
Anglican Church of Canada
The Anglican Church of Canada is the Province of the Anglican Communion in Canada. The official French name is l'Église Anglicane du Canada. The ACC is the third largest church in Canada after the Roman Catholic Church and the United Church of Canada, consisting of 800,000 registered members...

, due to their historical link to England (Ecclesia Anglicana means "Church of England"). Some, for example the Church of Ireland
Church of Ireland
The Church of Ireland is an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion. The church operates in all parts of Ireland and is the second largest religious body on the island after the Roman Catholic Church...

, the Scottish
Scottish Episcopal Church
The Scottish Episcopal Church is a Christian church in Scotland, consisting of seven dioceses. Since the 17th century, it has had an identity distinct from the presbyterian Church of Scotland....

 and American
Episcopal Church (United States)
The Episcopal Church is a mainline Anglican Christian church found mainly in the United States , but also in Honduras, Taiwan, Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, the British Virgin Islands and parts of Europe...

 Episcopal churches, and some other associated churches have a separate name. Each church has its own doctrine
Anglican doctrine
Anglican doctrine is the body of Christian teachings used to guide the religious and moral practices of Anglicans.-Approach to doctrine:...

 and liturgy
Liturgy
Liturgy is either the customary public worship done by a specific religious group, according to its particular traditions or a more precise term that distinguishes between those religious groups who believe their ritual requires the "people" to do the "work" of responding to the priest, and those...

, based in most cases on that of the Church of England; and each church has its own legislative process and overall episcopal polity
Episcopal polity
Episcopal polity is a form of church governance that is hierarchical in structure with the chief authority over a local Christian church resting in a bishop...

, under the leadership of a local primate.

The Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop of Canterbury
The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. In his role as head of the Anglican Communion, the archbishop leads the third largest group...

, religious head of the Church of England, has no formal authority outside that jurisdiction, but is recognised as symbolic head of the worldwide communion. Among the other primates, he is considered as primus inter pares
Primus inter pares
Primus inter pares is Latin phrase describing the most senior person of a group sharing the same rank or office.When not used in reference to a specific title, it may indicate that the person so described is formally equal, but looked upon as an authority of special importance by their peers...

.

The Anglican Communion considers itself to be part of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church and to be both Catholic
Catholicism
Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole....

 and Reformed. For some adherents it represents a non-papal Catholicism, for others a form of Protestantism
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 though without a dominant guiding figure such as Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

, Knox
John Knox
John Knox was a Scottish clergyman and a leader of the Protestant Reformation who brought reformation to the church in Scotland. He was educated at the University of St Andrews or possibly the University of Glasgow and was ordained to the Catholic priesthood in 1536...

, Calvin
John Calvin
John Calvin was an influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation. He was a principal figure in the development of the system of Christian theology later called Calvinism. Originally trained as a humanist lawyer, he broke from the Roman Catholic Church around 1530...

, Zwingli
Huldrych Zwingli
Ulrich Zwingli was a leader of the Reformation in Switzerland. Born during a time of emerging Swiss patriotism and increasing criticism of the Swiss mercenary system, he attended the University of Vienna and the University of Basel, a scholarly centre of humanism...

 or Wesley
John Wesley
John Wesley was a Church of England cleric and Christian theologian. Wesley is largely credited, along with his brother Charles Wesley, as founding the Methodist movement which began when he took to open-air preaching in a similar manner to George Whitefield...

. For others, their self-identity represents some combination of the two. The communion encompasses a wide spectrum of belief and practice including evangelical
Evangelicalism
Evangelicalism is a Protestant Christian movement which began in Great Britain in the 1730s and gained popularity in the United States during the series of Great Awakenings of the 18th and 19th century.Its key commitments are:...

, liberal
Liberal Christianity
Liberal Christianity, sometimes called liberal theology, is an umbrella term covering diverse, philosophically and biblically informed religious movements and ideas within Christianity from the late 18th century and onward...

, and Catholic
Anglo-Catholicism
The terms Anglo-Catholic and Anglo-Catholicism describe people, beliefs and practices within Anglicanism that affirm the Catholic, rather than Protestant, heritage and identity of the Anglican churches....

.

The Anglican Communion Office is headed by its Secretary General, the Reverend Canon Kenneth Kearon.

Ecclesiology, polity, ethos


The Anglican Communion has no official legal existence nor any governing structure which might exercise authority over the member churches. There is an Anglican Communion Office in London, under the aegis of the Archbishop of Canterbury, but it only serves a supporting and organisational role. The Communion is held together by a shared history, expressed in its ecclesiology
Ecclesiology
Today, ecclesiology usually refers to the theological study of the Christian church. However when the word was coined in the late 1830s, it was defined as the science of the building and decoration of churches and it is still, though rarely, used in this sense.In its theological sense, ecclesiology...

, polity
Polity
Polity is a form of government Aristotle developed in his search for a government that could be most easily incorporated and used by the largest amount of people groups, or states...

 and ethos
Ethos
Ethos is a Greek word meaning "character" that is used to describe the guiding beliefs or ideals that characterize a community, nation, or ideology. The Greeks also used this word to refer to the power of music to influence its hearer's emotions, behaviors, and even morals. Early Greek stories of...

 and also by participation in international consultative bodies.

Three elements have been important in holding the Communion together: First, the shared ecclesial structure of the component churches, manifested in an episcopal polity
Episcopal polity
Episcopal polity is a form of church governance that is hierarchical in structure with the chief authority over a local Christian church resting in a bishop...

 maintained through the apostolic succession
Apostolic Succession
Apostolic succession is a doctrine, held by some Christian denominations, which asserts that the chosen successors of the Twelve Apostles, from the first century to the present day, have inherited the spiritual, ecclesiastical and sacramental authority, power, and responsibility that were...

 of bishops and synod
Synod
A synod historically is a council of a church, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. In modern usage, the word often refers to the governing body of a particular church, whether its members are meeting or not...

ical government; second, the principle of belief expressed in worship, investing importance in approved prayer books and their rubrics; and third, the historical documents and standard divines
Divinity (academic discipline)
Divinity is the study of Christian and other theology and ministry at a school, divinity school, university, or seminary. The term is sometimes a synonym for theology as an academic, speculative pursuit, and sometimes is used for the study of applied theology and ministry to make a distinction...

 that have influenced the ethos of the Communion.

Originally, the Church of England was self-contained and relied for its unity and identity on its own history, its traditional legal and episcopal structure and its status as an established church of the state. As such Anglicanism was, from the outset, a movement with an explicitly episcopal polity
Episcopal polity
Episcopal polity is a form of church governance that is hierarchical in structure with the chief authority over a local Christian church resting in a bishop...

, a characteristic which has been vital in maintaining the unity of the Communion by conveying the episcopate's role in manifesting visible catholicity and ecumenism.

Early in its development, Anglicanism developed a vernacular prayer book, called the Book of Common Prayer
Book of Common Prayer
The Book of Common Prayer is the short title of a number of related prayer books used in the Anglican Communion, as well as by the Continuing Anglican, "Anglican realignment" and other Anglican churches. The original book, published in 1549 , in the reign of Edward VI, was a product of the English...

. Unlike other traditions, Anglicanism has never been governed by a magisterium
Magisterium
In the Catholic Church the Magisterium is the teaching authority of the Church. This authority is understood to be embodied in the episcopacy, which is the aggregation of the current bishops of the Church in union with the Pope, led by the Bishop of Rome , who has authority over the bishops,...

 nor by appeal to one founding theologian
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

, nor by an extra-credal summary of doctrine (such as the Westminster Confession of the Presbyterian Church). Instead, Anglicans have typically appealed to the Book of Common Prayer and its offshoots as a guide to Anglican theology and practice. This had the effect of inculcating the principle of lex orandi, lex credendi
Lex orandi, lex credendi
Lex orandi, lex credendi refers to the relationship between worship and belief, and is an ancient Christian principle which provided a measure for developing the ancient Christian creeds, the canon of scripture and other doctrinal matters based on the prayer texts of the Church, that is, the...

("the law of prayer is the law of belief") as the foundation of Anglican identity and confession.

Protracted conflict through the seventeenth century with more radical Protestants on the one hand and Roman Catholics who still recognised the primacy of the Pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

 on the other, resulted in an association of churches that were both deliberately vague about doctrinal principles, yet bold in developing parameters of acceptable deviation. These parameters were most clearly articulated in the various rubric
Rubric
A rubric is a word or section of text which is traditionally written or printed in red ink to highlight it. The word derives from the , meaning red ochre or red chalk, and originates in Medieval illuminated manuscripts from the 13th century or earlier...

s of the successive prayer books, as well as the Thirty-Nine Articles
Thirty-Nine Articles
The Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion are the historically defining statements of doctrines of the Anglican church with respect to the controversies of the English Reformation. First established in 1563, the articles served to define the doctrine of the nascent Church of England as it related to...

 of Religion. These Articles (though no longer binding) have had an influence on the ethos of the Communion, an ethos reinforced by their interpretation and expansion by such influential early theologians as Richard Hooker, Lancelot Andrewes
Lancelot Andrewes
Lancelot Andrewes was an English bishop and scholar, who held high positions in the Church of England during the reigns of Queen Elizabeth I and King James I. During the latter's reign, Andrewes served successively as Bishop of Chichester, Ely and Winchester and oversaw the translation of the...

, John Cosin
John Cosin
John Cosin was an English churchman.-Life:He was born at Norwich, and was educated at Norwich grammar school and at Caius College, Cambridge, where he was scholar and afterwards fellow. On taking orders he was appointed secretary to Bishop Overall of Lichfield, and then domestic chaplain to...

, and others.

With the expansion of the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

, and hence the growth of Anglicanism outside Great Britain and Ireland, the Communion sought to establish new vehicles of unity. The first major expression of this were the Lambeth Conferences of the communion's bishops, first convened by Archbishop of Canterbury Charles Longley in 1867. From the outset, these were not intended to displace the autonomy of the emerging provinces of the Communion, but to "discuss matters of practical interest, and pronounce what we deem expedient in resolutions which may serve as safe guides to future action."

Chicago Lambeth Quadrilateral



One of the enduringly influential early resolutions of the conference was the so-called Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral
Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral
The Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral, frequently referred to as the Lambeth Quadrilateral or the Lambeth-Chicago Quadrilateral, is a four-point articulation of Anglican identity, often cited as encapsulating the fundamentals of the Communion's doctrine and as a reference-point for ecumenical...

 of 1888. Its intent was to provide the basis for discussions of reunion with the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches, but it had the ancillary effect of establishing parameters of Anglican identity. It establishes four principles with these words:
That, in the opinion of this Conference, the following Articles supply a basis on which approach may be by God's blessing made towards Home Reunion:

The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as "containing all things necessary to salvation," and as being the rule and ultimate standard of faith. The Apostles' Creed, as the Baptismal Symbol; and the Nicene Creed, as the sufficient statement of the Christian faith. The two Sacraments ordained by Christ Himself - Baptism and the Supper of the Lord - ministered with unfailing use of Christ's Words of Institution
Words of Institution
The Words of Institution are words echoing those of Jesus himself at his Last Supper that, when consecrating bread and wine, Christian Eucharistic liturgies include in a narrative of that event...

, and of the elements ordained by Him. The Historic Episcopate, locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying needs of the nations and peoples called of God into the Unity of His Church.

Instruments of communion



As mentioned above, the Anglican Communion has no international juridical organisation. The Archbishop of Canterbury's role is strictly symbolic and unifying and the Communion's three international bodies are consultative and collaborative, their resolutions having no legal effect on the autonomous provinces of the Communion. Taken together, however, the four do function as "instruments of communion", since all churches of the communion participate in them. In order of antiquity, they are:
  1. The Archbishop of Canterbury
    Archbishop of Canterbury
    The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. In his role as head of the Anglican Communion, the archbishop leads the third largest group...

     (ab origine) functions as the spiritual head of the Communion. He is the focus of unity, since no church claims membership in the Communion without being in communion with him. The present incumbent is Dr Rowan Williams
    Rowan Williams
    Rowan Douglas Williams FRSL, FBA, FLSW is an Anglican bishop, poet and theologian. He is the 104th and current Archbishop of Canterbury, Metropolitan of the Province of Canterbury and Primate of All England, offices he has held since early 2003.Williams was previously Bishop of Monmouth and...

    .
  2. The Lambeth Conference (first held in 1867) is the oldest international consultation. It is a forum for bishops of the Communion to reinforce unity and collegiality through manifesting the episcopate, to discuss matters of mutual concern, and to pass resolutions intended to act as guideposts. It is held roughly every ten years and invitation is by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
  3. The Anglican Consultative Council
    Anglican Consultative Council
    The Anglican Consultative Council or ACC is one of the four "Instruments of Communion" of the Anglican Communion. It was created by a resolution of the 1968 Lambeth Conference...

     (first met in 1971) was created by a 1968 Lambeth Conference resolution, and meets usually at three year intervals. The council consists of representative bishops, clergy, and laity chosen by the thirty-eight provinces. The body has a permanent secretariat, the Anglican Communion Office, of which the Archbishop of Canterbury is president.
  4. The Primates' Meeting
    Anglican Communion Primates' Meeting
    The Anglican Communion Primates' Meetings are regular meetings of the Anglican Primates, i.e. the chief archbishops or bishops of each ecclesiastical province of the Anglican Communion. There are currently 38 Primates of the Anglican Communion. The Primates come together from the geographic...

     (first met in 1979) is the most recent manifestation of international consultation and deliberation, having been first convened by Archbishop Donald Coggan
    Donald Coggan
    Frederick Donald Coggan, Baron Coggan, PC was the 101st Archbishop of Canterbury from 1974 to 1980, during which time he visited Rome and met the Pontiff, in company with Bishop Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, future Cardinal of England and Wales.-Background:Coggan was born in Highgate, London, England...

     as a forum for "leisurely thought, prayer and deep consultation".


Since there is no binding authority in the Communion, these international bodies are a vehicle for consultation and persuasion. In recent years, persuasion has tipped over into debates over conformity in certain areas of doctrine, discipline, worship, and ethics. The most notable example has been the objection of many provinces of the Communion (particularly in Africa and Asia) to the changing role of homosexuals in the North American churches (e.g., by blessing same-sex unions and ordaining and consecrating gays and lesbians in same-sex relationships), and to the process by which changes were undertaken. Those who objected condemned these actions as unscriptural, unilateral, and without the agreement of the Communion prior to these steps being taken. In response, the American Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada
Anglican Church of Canada
The Anglican Church of Canada is the Province of the Anglican Communion in Canada. The official French name is l'Église Anglicane du Canada. The ACC is the third largest church in Canada after the Roman Catholic Church and the United Church of Canada, consisting of 800,000 registered members...

 answered that the actions had been undertaken after lengthy scriptural and theological reflection, legally in accordance with their own canons and constitutions
Canon law
Canon law is the body of laws & regulations made or adopted by ecclesiastical authority, for the government of the Christian organization and its members. It is the internal ecclesiastical law governing the Catholic Church , the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches, and the Anglican Communion of...

 and after extensive consultation with the provinces of the Communion.

The Primates' Meeting voted to request the two churches to withdraw their delegates from the 2005 meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council. Canada and the United States decided to attend the meeting but without exercising their right to vote. They have not been expelled or suspended, since there is no mechanism in this voluntary association to suspend or expel an independent province of the Communion. Since membership is based on a province's communion with Canterbury, expulsion would require the Archbishop of Canterbury's refusal to be in communion with the affected jurisdiction(s). In line with the suggestion of the Windsor Report
Windsor Report
In 2003, the Lambeth Commission on Communion was appointed by the Anglican Communion to study problems stemming from the consecration of Gene Robinson, the first openly gay, noncelibate priest to be ordained as an Anglican bishop, in the Episcopal Church in the United States and the blessing of...

, Williams has recently established a working group to examine the feasibility of an Anglican covenant which would articulate the conditions for communion in some fashion.

Provinces


All 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion are autonomous, each with its own primate
Primate (religion)
Primate is a title or rank bestowed on some bishops in certain Christian churches. Depending on the particular tradition, it can denote either jurisdictional authority or ceremonial precedence ....

 and governing structure. These provinces may take the form of national churches (such as in Canada, Uganda
Uganda
Uganda , officially the Republic of Uganda, is a landlocked country in East Africa. Uganda is also known as the "Pearl of Africa". It is bordered on the east by Kenya, on the north by South Sudan, on the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the southwest by Rwanda, and on the south by...

, or Japan) or a collection of nations (such as the West Indies, Central Africa
Central Africa
Central Africa is a core region of the African continent which includes Burundi, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda....

, or Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

). They are, in alphabetical order:

  • The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia
    Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia
    The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia is a church of the Anglican Communion serving New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, and the Cook Islands...

  • The Anglican Church of Australia
    Anglican Church of Australia
    The Anglican Church of Australia is a member church of the Anglican Communion. It was previously officially known as the Church of England in Australia and Tasmania...

  • The Church of Bangladesh
    Church of Bangladesh
    The Church of Bangladesh is a church of the Anglican Communion in Bangladesh. It is a united church formed by the union of various Christian churches in the region.The Church of Bangladesh came into being as the outcome of the separation from Pakistan...

  • The Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil
    Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil
    The Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil is an ecclesiastical province of the Anglican Communion that covers Brazil.-Dioceses:The province consists of nine dioceses, each headed by a bishop, one of whom is elected as Bispo Primaz , currently Revmº...

     (Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil)
  • The Anglican Church of Burundi
    Anglican Church of Burundi
    The Anglican Church of Burundi is a member Church in the Anglican Communion, located in East Africa between Tanzania, Rwanda, Kenya, and the Congo...

  • The Anglican Church of Canada
    Anglican Church of Canada
    The Anglican Church of Canada is the Province of the Anglican Communion in Canada. The official French name is l'Église Anglicane du Canada. The ACC is the third largest church in Canada after the Roman Catholic Church and the United Church of Canada, consisting of 800,000 registered members...

  • The Church of the Province of Central Africa
    Church of the Province of Central Africa
    The Church of the Province of Central Africa is part of the Anglican Communion, and includes 15 dioceses in Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Primate of the Church is the Archbishop of Central Africa; Albert Chama is the current Archbishop, being installed on 20 March 2011, succeeding...

  • The Iglesia Anglicana de la Region Central America
    Iglesia Anglicana de la Region Central America
    The Anglican Church in Central America is a province of the Anglican Communion, covering 5 sees in Central America. The Bishop of Guatemala, the Rt. Rev...

    (Anglican Church in the Central Region of America)
  • The Province de L'Eglise Anglicane Du Congo
    Province de L'Eglise Anglicane Du Congo
    The Province de L'Eglise Anglicane Du Congo is a province of the Anglican Communion, stretching over the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It includes eight dioceses . The Most Revd Dr Dirokpa Balufuga Fidele is the current primate and archbishop of the Anglican Province of...

     (Province of the Anglican Church of Congo)
  • The Church of England
    Church of England
    The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

  • Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui (Hong Kong Anglican Church (Episcopal))
  • The Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean
    Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean
    The Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean is a province of the Anglican Communion. It covers the islands of Madagascar, Mauritius and the Seychelles...

  • The Church of Ireland
    Church of Ireland
    The Church of Ireland is an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion. The church operates in all parts of Ireland and is the second largest religious body on the island after the Roman Catholic Church...

  • The Nippon Sei Ko Kai
    Nippon Sei Ko Kai
    The Nippon Sei Ko Kai , abbreviated as NSKK, or the Anglican Church in Japan, is the religious body in the Province of Japan of the Anglican Communion....

    (Japan)
  • The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East
    Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East
    The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East is a province of the Anglican Communion stretching from Iran in the east to Algeria in the west, and Cyprus in the north to Somalia in the south. It is the largest and the most diverse Anglican province. The church is headed by a President...

  • The Anglican Church of Kenya
    Anglican Church of Kenya
    The Anglican Church of Kenya is part of the Anglican Communion, and includes 30 dioceses. The Primate of the Church is the Archbishop of Kenya.-Official name:...

  • The Anglican Church of Korea
    Anglican Church of Korea
    The Anglican Church of Korea is the province of the Anglican Communion in North and South Korea. Founded in 1889, it has over 120 parish and mission churches with a total membership of roughly 65,000 people.-Birth of the Anglican Church of Korea:...

  • The Church of the Province of Melanesia
    Church of the Province of Melanesia
    The Church of the Province of Melanesia is part of the Anglican Communion, and includes 8 dioceses. The Primate of the Church is the Archbishop of Melanesia The Most Rev'd David Vunagi.- Official name :...


  • The Anglican Church of Mexico
    Anglican Church of Mexico
    The Anglican Church of Mexico is the Anglican province in Mexico, and includes 5 dioceses. The primate is the Presiding Bishop and Bishop of Mexico, The Most Revd...

  • The Church of the Province of Myanmar
    Church of the Province of Myanmar
    The Church of the Province of Myanmar in Asia is a member church of the Anglican Communion. The province is bordered by China on the north, Laos on the east, Thailand on the southeast, Bangladesh on the west and India on the northwest, with the Andaman Sea to the south and the Bay of Bengal to the...

  • The Church of Nigeria
    Church of Nigeria
    The Church of Nigeria is the Anglican church in Nigeria. It is the second-largest province in the Anglican Communion, as measured by baptized membership, after the Church of England. It gives its current membership as "over 18 million", out of a total Nigerian population of 140 million.Since 2002...

  • The Church of North India
    Church of North India
    The Church of North India , the dominant Protestant denomination in northern India, is a united church established on 29 November 1970 by bringing together the main Protestant churches working in northern India...

  • The Church of Pakistan
    Church of Pakistan
    The Church of Pakistan is a united church in Pakistan, which is part of the Anglican Communion and a member church of the World Methodist Council. It was established in 1970 with a union of Anglicans, Scottish Presbyterians , Methodists, and Lutherans. It is the only United Church in the South...

  • The Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea
    Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea
    The Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea became a discrete province of the Anglican Communion when the Anglican Province of Papua New Guinea was separated from the Anglican ecclesiastical Province of Queensland, Australia, in 1976 following Papua New Guinea's independence from Australia in 1975. Its...

  • The Episcopal Church in the Philippines
    Episcopal Church in the Philippines
    The Episcopal Church in the Philippines is a province of the Anglican Communion first established by the Episcopal Church. It was founded in 1901 by American missionaries led by Charles Henry Brent, who served as the first resident bishop. It became an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion...

  • The Church of the Province of Rwanda
    Church of the Province of Rwanda
    The Church of the Province of Rwanda is a province of the Anglican Communion, covering 9 sees in East Africa. The current primate of the province is Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje, consecrated Dec. 12, 2010.-Official names:...

  • The Scottish Episcopal Church
    Scottish Episcopal Church
    The Scottish Episcopal Church is a Christian church in Scotland, consisting of seven dioceses. Since the 17th century, it has had an identity distinct from the presbyterian Church of Scotland....

  • The Church of the Province of South East Asia
    Church of the Province of South East Asia
    The Church of the Province of South East Asia, a member church of the Anglican Communion, was created in 1996, comprising the four dioceses of Kuching, Sabah, Singapore and West Malaysia...

  • The Church of South India
    Church of South India
    The Church of South India is the successor of the Church of England in India. It came into being in 1947 as a union of Anglican and Protestant churches in South India. With a membership of over 3.8 million, it is India's second largest Christian church after the Roman Catholic Church in India...

  • The Anglican Church of Southern Africa
  • The Anglican Church of the Southern Cone of America
  • The Episcopal Church of the Sudan
    Episcopal Church of the Sudan
    The Episcopal Church of the Sudan is an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion in Sudan and South Sudan. The province consists of twenty-four dioceses, each headed by a bishop. One of the diocesan bishops is elected to serve as Archbishop of the Sudan, and represent the province to the rest...

  • The Anglican Church of Tanzania
    Anglican Church of Tanzania
    The Anglican Church of Tanzania is a member of the Anglican Communion based in Dodoma. It consists of 26 dioceses headed by their respective bishops. It seceded from the Province of East Africa in 1970, which it shared with Kenya...

  • The Church of Uganda
    Church of Uganda
    The Church of the Province of Uganda is a member church of the Anglican Communion. Currently there are 34 dioceses which make up the Church of Uganda, each headed by a bishop....

  • The Episcopal Church of the United States of America
    Episcopal Church (United States)
    The Episcopal Church is a mainline Anglican Christian church found mainly in the United States , but also in Honduras, Taiwan, Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, the British Virgin Islands and parts of Europe...

  • The Church in Wales
    Church in Wales
    The Church in Wales is the Anglican church in Wales, composed of six dioceses.As with the primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Archbishop of Wales serves concurrently as one of the six diocesan bishops. The current archbishop is Barry Morgan, the Bishop of Llandaff.In contrast to the...

  • The Church of the Province of West Africa
    Church of the Province of West Africa
    The Church of the Province of West Africa is a province of the Anglican Communion, covering 15 sees in West Africa, specifically in Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone. The current primate of the province is Archbishop Justice Akrofi.-History:...

  • The Church in the Province of the West Indies
    Church in the Province of the West Indies
    The Church in the Province of the West Indies is a member province in the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church comprises eight dioceses spread out over much of the West Indies area. The present position of archbishop and primate of the West Indies is held by The Most Rev. John Holder. The Most...


In addition, there are six extraprovincial churches, five of which are under the metropolitical
Metropolitan bishop
In Christian churches with episcopal polity, the rank of metropolitan bishop, or simply metropolitan, pertains to the diocesan bishop or archbishop of a metropolis; that is, the chief city of a historical Roman province, ecclesiastical province, or regional capital.Before the establishment of...

 authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
  • The Anglican Church of Bermuda
    Anglican Church of Bermuda
    The Anglican Church of Bermuda consists of twelve parishes and is a part of the Anglican Communion, though part of no ecclesiastical province. Currently, the Rt Rev Patrick White oversees the Island's ministry....

     (extraprovincial to the Archbishop of Canterbury)
  • Iglesia Episcopal de Cuba
    Iglesia Episcopal de Cuba
    The Episcopal Church of Cuba traces its origins to the foundation of an Anglican presence on the island of Cuba in 1901. It consists of forty-six parishes, and about 10,000 members. It is a part of the Anglican Communion though part of no ecclesiastical province, having the status of an...

     (Episcopal Church of Cuba) (under a metropolitan council)
  • The Parish of the Falkland Islands
    Parish of the Falkland Islands
    thumb|right|250 px|Christ Church Cathedral, [[Port Stanley]], [[Falkland Islands]]The Parish of the Falkland Islands - formerly a diocese of the Church of England Diocese of the Falkland Islands - is an extra-provincial church in the Anglican Communion headed by the Bishop of the Falkland Islands...

     (extraprovincial to the Archbishop of Canterbury)
  • The Lusitanian Catholic Apostolic Evangelical Church
    Lusitanian Catholic Apostolic Evangelical Church
    The Lusitanian Catholic Apostolic Evangelical Church is the Anglican church in Portugal. Like all Anglican Communion churches, it recognises the primacy of the Archbishop of Canterbury...

     (extraprovincial to the Archbishop of Canterbury)
  • The Spanish Reformed Episcopal Church
    Spanish Reformed Episcopal Church
    The Spanish Reformed Episcopal Church considers itself to be part of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church established by Christ and his apostles; it maintains apostolic succession via the Church of England and the threefold ministry of bishops, priests and deacons; it keeps the three creeds...

     (extraprovincial to the Archbishop of Canterbury)
  • The Church of Ceylon
    Church of Ceylon
    The Church of Ceylon, which is the Anglican Church in Sri Lanka, was established with the appointment of its first Bishop, Rt Rev James Chapman in 1845 as the Bishop of Colombo.-The Dioceses of Colombo and Kurunegala:...

     (extraprovincial to the Archbishop of Canterbury)


In addition to other member churches, the churches of the Anglican Communion are in full communion
Full communion
In Christian ecclesiology, full communion is a relationship between church organizations or groups that mutually recognize their sharing the essential doctrines....

 with the Old Catholic churches of the Union of Utrecht in Europe, the India-based Mar Thoma
Mar Thoma Church
The Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church also known as the Mar Thoma Church is a Christian denomination based in the state of Kerala in southwestern India. It has an entirely different identity when compared with other Churches in India. Most Christian churches around the world are divided into...

 and Malabar Independent Syrian
Malabar Independent Syrian Church
The Malabar Independent Syrian Church, also known as the Thozhiyur Sabah , is a Christian church centred in Kerala, India. It is one of the churches of the Saint Thomas Christian community, which traces its origins to the evangelical activity of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century.Considered part...

 churches and the Philippine Independent Church
Philippine Independent Church
The Philippine Independent Church, The Philippine Independent Church, The Philippine Independent Church, (officially the or the IFI, also known as the Philippine Independent Catholic Church or in Ilocano: Siwawayawaya nga Simbaan ti Filipinas (in in Kinaray-a/Hiligaynon: Simbahan Hilway nga...

, also known as the Aglipayan Church.

History


The Anglican Communion is a relatively recent concept. The Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

 (which until the 20th century included the Church in Wales
Church in Wales
The Church in Wales is the Anglican church in Wales, composed of six dioceses.As with the primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Archbishop of Wales serves concurrently as one of the six diocesan bishops. The current archbishop is Barry Morgan, the Bishop of Llandaff.In contrast to the...

) initially separated from the Roman Catholic Church in 1538 in the reign of King Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

, reunited in 1555 under Queen Mary I
Mary I of England
Mary I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from July 1553 until her death.She was the only surviving child born of the ill-fated marriage of Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon. Her younger half-brother, Edward VI, succeeded Henry in 1547...

 and then separated again in 1570 under Queen Elizabeth I
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

 (the Roman Catholic Church excommunicated Elizabeth I in 1570 in response to the Act of Supremacy 1559
Act of Supremacy 1559
The Act of Supremacy 1558 was an Act of the Parliament of England, passed under the auspices of Queen Elizabeth I of England. It replaced the original Act of Supremacy 1534 issued by Elizabeth's father, Henry VIII, which arrogated ecclesiastical authority to the monarchy, and which had been...

). The Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

 has always thought of itself not as a new foundation but rather as a reformed continuation of the ancient "English Church" (Ecclesia Anglicana) and a reassertion of that church's rights. As such it was a distinctly national phenomenon. The Church of Scotland
Church of Scotland
The Church of Scotland, known informally by its Scots language name, the Kirk, is a Presbyterian church, decisively shaped by the Scottish Reformation....

 separated from the Roman Catholic Church with the Scottish Reformation
Scottish Reformation
The Scottish Reformation was Scotland's formal break with the Papacy in 1560, and the events surrounding this. It was part of the wider European Protestant Reformation; and in Scotland's case culminated ecclesiastically in the re-establishment of the church along Reformed lines, and politically in...

 in 1560, and the split from it of the Scottish Episcopal Church
Scottish Episcopal Church
The Scottish Episcopal Church is a Christian church in Scotland, consisting of seven dioceses. Since the 17th century, it has had an identity distinct from the presbyterian Church of Scotland....

 began in 1582, in the reign of James VI of Scotland
James I of England
James VI and I was King of Scots as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the English and Scottish crowns on 24 March 1603...

, over disagreements about the role of bishops.

The oldest-surviving Anglican church outside of the British Isles (Britain and Ireland) is St Peter's Church
St. Peter's Church, St. George's
St. Peter's Church, in St. George's, Bermuda, is the oldest surviving Anglican church in continuous use outside the British Isles. It is also reportedly the oldest continuously used Protestant church in the New World. A UNESCO World Heritage Site , St...

 in St. George's
St. George's, Bermuda
St. George's , located on the island and within the parish of the same names, was the first permanent settlement on the islands of Bermuda, and is often described as the third successful English settlement in the Americas, after St. John's, Newfoundland, and Jamestown, Virginia. However, St...

, Bermuda
Bermuda
Bermuda is a British overseas territory in the North Atlantic Ocean. Located off the east coast of the United States, its nearest landmass is Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, about to the west-northwest. It is about south of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and northeast of Miami, Florida...

, established in 1612 (though the actual building had to be rebuilt several times over the following century). This is also the oldest surviving non-Roman Catholic church in the New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

. It remained part of the Church of England until 1978 when the Anglican Church of Bermuda
Anglican Church of Bermuda
The Anglican Church of Bermuda consists of twelve parishes and is a part of the Anglican Communion, though part of no ecclesiastical province. Currently, the Rt Rev Patrick White oversees the Island's ministry....

 separated. The Church of England was the established church not only in England, but in its trans-Oceanic colonies.

Thus the only member churches of the present Anglican Communion existing by the mid-18th century were the Church of England, its closely linked sister church, the Church of Ireland
Church of Ireland
The Church of Ireland is an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion. The church operates in all parts of Ireland and is the second largest religious body on the island after the Roman Catholic Church...

 (which also separated from Roman Catholicism under Henry VIII) and the Scottish Episcopal Church which for parts of the 17th and 18th centuries was partially underground (it was suspected of Jacobite
Jacobitism
Jacobitism was the political movement in Britain dedicated to the restoration of the Stuart kings to the thrones of England, Scotland, later the Kingdom of Great Britain, and the Kingdom of Ireland...

 sympathies).

However, the enormous expansion in the 18th and 19th centuries of the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 brought Anglicanism along with it. At first all these colonial churches were under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of London
Bishop of London
The Bishop of London is the ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of London in the Province of Canterbury.The diocese covers 458 km² of 17 boroughs of Greater London north of the River Thames and a small part of the County of Surrey...

. After the American Revolution
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

, the parishes in the newly independent country found it necessary to break formally from a church whose Supreme Governor was (and remains) the British monarch
Monarchy of the United Kingdom
The monarchy of the United Kingdom is the constitutional monarchy of the United Kingdom and its overseas territories. The present monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, has reigned since 6 February 1952. She and her immediate family undertake various official, ceremonial and representational duties...

. Thus they formed their own dioceses and national church, the Episcopal Church in the United States of America, in a mostly amicable separation.

At about the same time, in the colonies which remained linked to the crown, the Church of England began to appoint colonial bishops. In 1787 a bishop of Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...

 was appointed with a jurisdiction over all of British North America; in time several more colleagues were appointed to other cities in present-day Canada. In 1814 a bishop of Calcutta was made; in 1824 the first bishop was sent to the West Indies and in 1836 to Australia. By 1840 there were still only ten colonial bishops for the Church of England; but even this small beginning greatly facilitated the growth of Anglicanism around the world. In 1841 a "Colonial Bishoprics Council" was set up and soon many more dioceses were created.

In time, it became natural to group these into provinces and a metropolitan
Metropolitan bishop
In Christian churches with episcopal polity, the rank of metropolitan bishop, or simply metropolitan, pertains to the diocesan bishop or archbishop of a metropolis; that is, the chief city of a historical Roman province, ecclesiastical province, or regional capital.Before the establishment of...

 was appointed for each province. Although it had at first been somewhat established in many colonies, in 1861 it was ruled that, except where specifically established, the Church of England had just the same legal position as any other church. Thus a colonial bishop and colonial diocese was by nature quite a different thing from their counterparts back home. In time bishops came to be appointed locally rather than from England and eventually national synods began to pass ecclesiastical legislation independent of England.

A crucial step in the development of the modern communion was the idea of the Lambeth Conferences (discussed above). These conferences demonstrated that the bishops of disparate churches could manifest the unity of the church in their episcopal collegiality despite the absence of universal legal ties. Some bishops were initially reluctant to attend, fearing that the meeting would declare itself a council with power to legislate for the church; but it agreed to pass only advisory resolutions. These Lambeth Conferences have been held roughly every 10 years since 1878 (the second such conference) and remain the most visible coming-together of the whole Communion.

Ecumenical relations



Historic episcopate


The churches of the Anglican Communion have traditionally held that ordination in the historic episcopate is a core element in the validity of clerical ordinations. The Roman Catholic Church does not recognise most Anglican orders (see Apostolicae Curae
Apostolicae Curae
Apostolicae Curae is the title of a papal bull, issued in 1896 by Pope Leo XIII, declaring all Anglican ordinations to be "absolutely null and utterly void"...

.) Some Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

es have issued statements to the effect that Anglican orders could be accepted, yet have still reordained former Anglican clergy; other Orthodox churches have rejected Anglican orders altogether. Orthodox bishop Kallistos Ware explains this apparent discrepancy as follows:

Anglican clergy who join the Orthodox Church are reordained; but [some Orthodox Churches hold that] if Anglicanism and Orthodoxy were to reach full unity in the faith, perhaps such reordination might not be found necessary. It should be added, however, that a number of individual Orthodox theologians hold that under no circumstances would it be possible to recognise the validity of Anglican Orders.

Controversies


One effect of the Communion's dispersed authority has been that conflict and controversy regularly arise over the effect divergent practices and doctrines in one part of the Communion have on others. Disputes that had been confined to the Church of England could be dealt with legislatively in that realm, but as the Communion spread out into new nations and disparate cultures, such controversies multiplied and intensified. These controversies have generally been of two types: liturgical and social.

The first such controversy of note concerned that of the growing influence of the Catholic Revival manifested in the tractarian and so-called ritualism controversies of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries . This controversy produced the Free Church of England
Free Church of England
The Free Church of England is an Anglican church which separated from the established Church of England in the course of the 19th century. The church was founded by evangelical clergy and congregations in response to the rise of Anglo-Catholicism. The first congregations were formed in 1844...

 and, in the USA and Canada, the Reformed Episcopal Church
Reformed Episcopal Church
The Reformed Episcopal Church is an Anglican church in the United States and Canada and a founding member of the Anglican Church in North America...

.

Later, rapid social change and the dissipation of British cultural hegemony over its former colonies contributed to disputes over the role of women, the parameters of marriage and divorce, and the practice of contraception
Contraception
Contraception is the prevention of the fusion of gametes during or after sexual activity. The term contraception is a contraction of contra, which means against, and the word conception, meaning fertilization...

 and abortion
Abortion
Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced...

. In the late 1970s, the Continuing Anglican movement
Continuing Anglican Movement
The term Continuing Anglican movement refers to a number of churches in various countries that have been formed outside of the Anglican Communion. These churches generally believe that "traditional" forms of Anglican faith and worship have been unacceptably revised or abandoned within some...

 produced a number of new church bodies in opposition to women's ordination, prayer book changes, and the new understandings concerning marriage.

More recently, disagreements over homosexuality have strained the unity of the Communion as well as its relationships with other Christian denominations, leading to another round of withdrawals from the Anglican Commmunion. The churches founded at the beginning of the twenty-first century in opposition to the ordination of openly homosexual bishops are usually referred to as part of the Anglican realignment
Anglican realignment
The term Anglican realignment refers to a movement among some Anglicans to align themselves under new or alternative oversight within or outside the Anglican Communion. This movement is primarily active in parts of the Episcopal Church in the United States and the Anglican Church of Canada...

 movement, or else as 'Orthodox' Anglicans. In some ways, they represent a stronger opposition because they have the backing of many member provinces of the Anglican Communion and, in some cases, are or have been missionary jurisdictions of such provinces of the Communion as the Churches of Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, and the Southern Cone of America. Simultaneous with debates about social theology and ethics, the Communion has debated prayer book revision and the acceptable grounds for achieving full communion with non-Anglican churches .

See also

  • Affirming Catholicism
    Affirming Catholicism
    Affirming Catholicism is a movement operating in several provinces of the Anglican Communion, most notably in the UK, Ireland, the United States and Canada...

  • Anglican Communion Network
    Anglican Communion Network
    The Anglican Communion Network is a theologically conservative network of dioceses and parishes working toward Anglican realignment.-Goals and structure:...

  • Anglican ministry
    Anglican ministry
    The Anglican ministry is both the leadership and agency of Christian service in the Anglican Communion. "Ministry" commonly refers to the office of ordained clergy: the threefold order of bishops, priests and deacons. More accurately, Anglican ministry includes many laypeople who devote themselves...

  • Anglican sacraments
    Anglican sacraments
    In keeping with its prevailing self-identity as a via media or "middle path" of Western Christianity, Anglican sacramental theology expresses elements in keeping with its status as a church in the Catholic tradition and a church of the Reformation...

  • Anglicans online
    Anglicans online
    Anglicans Online is an unofficial weekly news magazine of the Anglican Communion. Its editorial staff is private and unaffiliated. A project of the Society of Archbishop Justus founded in 1994, AO includes more than 30,000 links and has more than 250,000 readers. calls it 'a kind voice in what...

  • Anglo-Catholicism
    Anglo-Catholicism
    The terms Anglo-Catholic and Anglo-Catholicism describe people, beliefs and practices within Anglicanism that affirm the Catholic, rather than Protestant, heritage and identity of the Anglican churches....

  • Church Mission Society
    Church Mission Society
    The Church Mission Society, also known as the Church Missionary Society, is a group of evangelistic societies working with the Anglican Communion and Protestant Christians around the world...

  • Church's Ministry Among Jewish People
    Church's Ministry Among Jewish People
    Church's Ministry Among Jewish People is an Anglican missionary society founded in 1809.-History:...

  • Continuing Anglican movement
    Continuing Anglican Movement
    The term Continuing Anglican movement refers to a number of churches in various countries that have been formed outside of the Anglican Communion. These churches generally believe that "traditional" forms of Anglican faith and worship have been unacceptably revised or abandoned within some...

  • Historical development of Church of England dioceses
    Historical development of Church of England dioceses
    This article traces the historical development of the dioceses and cathedrals of the Church of England. It is customary in England to name each diocese after the city where its cathedral is located. Occasionally, when the bishop's seat has been moved from one city to another, the diocese may retain...

  • Liberal Anglo-Catholicism
    Liberal Anglo-Catholicism
    The terms liberal Anglo-Catholicism and liberal Anglo-Catholic refer to people, beliefs and practices within Anglicanism that affirm liberal Christian perspectives while maintaining the traditions culturally associated with Anglo-Catholicism...

  • Reform (Anglican)
    Reform (Anglican)
    Reform is an Evangelical organisation within Anglicanism, active in the Church of England and the Church of Ireland. Reform in England describes itself as a "network of churches and individuals within the Church of England, committed to the reform of ourselves, our congregation and our world by the...


External links