“The 1930 Lambeth Conference described the Anglican Communion as a ‘fellowship, within the one holy catholic and apostolic church, of those duly constituted dioceses, provinces or regional churches in communion with the see of Canterbury.'” – Colin Buchanan, Historical Dictionary of Anglicanism
What is Anglicanism?
Christianity is recognized as the world’s largest religion, with upwards of 2 billion followers on every continent. The Christian Religion bases its teachings on Jesus Christ who lived 2,000 years ago.
Anglicanism is a tradition, or expressions, of the Christian faith. Other Christian traditions include Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Protestant Churches, which include Baptist, Lutheran, and Pentecostal Churches. Thus, today, 85 million church parishioners in 165 countries call themselves Anglican (or Episcopal in some areas). Collectively, all of the members became known as the Anglican Communion.
Anglicans and Episcopalians the world-over share aspects of their history, tradition, and ways of worshiping. However, no two churches are exactly alike even within a diocese, let alone a province or between countries. This unity in diversity is one of the things that make the Anglican Communion so special. Diversity encompasses rich ground from which worship and the practice of religion become formulated.
The heritage of the Anglican Church goes back to the reign of King Henry VIII. He ruled from 1509 to 1547. The King’s rule and events that led to the formation of the Church of England are based on faith, politics, and social reasons of the time.
The Church of England
The beliefs of the Church of England is a remarkable mixture of Catholicism and Reformation theology. Furthermore, the Nicene Creed is an authoritative declaration of belief for the Anglican Church and typically recited in worship services. Interestingly, the church does not require individuals to agree with or accept all the statements of the Nicene Creed. However, it encourages its members to learn the meaning and intent of the Creed.
As in the Catholic Church, the celebration of the Eucharist maintains a prominent position to the worship service. In addition, the communal offering of prayer and praise — through the recitation of the liturgy — sustains a prominent position in the service.
The Anglican Communion today
Today the Anglican Communion comprises 39 autonomous national and regional Churches plus six Extra-Provincial Churches and dioceses; all of whom join in a reciprocal relationship — with the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is the Communion’s spiritual head.
There is no Anglican central authority such as a pope. Each Church makes its own decisions in its own ways. Hence, the paths taken are guided by recommendations from clergy and laypeople attending conferences, counsels, meetings, and input from the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Because Anglicans and Episcopalians have always worked and worshiped together, they reach across national borders to support each other’s lives and ministry. Therefore, the insight, experience, and wisdom contributed to joint endeavors by Anglican Communion members from all provinces means that the Communion commands respect and impacts at national and international levels. Examples of such collaboration can be found in the Communion’s Networks, in projects such as Anglican Witness, the Anglican Alliance, in its International Commission on Unity, Faith and Order and on the Anglican Communion News Service.
In conclusion, it has always been a strength of the Anglican Communion that such cooperation continues and flourishes despite alternate views on certain issues. Other Christian traditions look to the Anglican Communion to learn from its ability to have disagreements; yet to overcome conflicts and in many cases agree to disagree. Projects such as Continuing Indaba and Living Reconciliation testify to how reconciliation exists at the heart of the Communion.
IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR AN ANGLICAN CHURCH, PLEASE VISIT or call the Church of the Apostles AND PERSONALLY MEET FATHER TIM. We are family oriented and are eager to meet you and your family.