Anglican Communion

The Anglican Communion is the third largest Christian communion. Founded in 1867 in London, England, the communion currently has 85 million members[1][2] within the Church of England and other national and regional churches in full communion.[3] The traditional origins of Anglican doctrines are summarised in the Thirty-nine Articles (1571). The Archbishop of Canterbury (currently Justin Welby) in England acts as a focus of unity, recognised as primus inter pares ("first among equals"), but does not exercise authority in Anglican provinces outside of the Church of England.

The Anglican Communion was founded at the Lambeth Conference in 1867 in London, England, under the leadership of Charles Longley, Archbishop of Canterbury. The churches of the Anglican Communion consider themselves to be part of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church, and to be both catholic and reformed. Although aligned with the Church of England, the communion has a multitude of beliefs, liturgies, and practices, including evangelical, liberal and Anglo-Catholic. Each retain their own legislative process and episcopal polity under the leadership of local primates. For some adherents, Anglicanism represents a non-papal Catholicism, for others a form of Protestantism though without guiding figure such as Luther, Knox, Calvin, Zwingli or Wesley,[4] or for yet others a combination of the two.

Most of its 85 million members live in the Anglosphere of former British territories. Full participation in the sacramental life of each church is available to all communicant members. Due to their historical link to England (Ecclesia Anglicana means "English Church"), some of the member churches are known as "Anglican", such as the Anglican Church of Canada. Others, for example the Church of Ireland, the Scottish and American Episcopal churches have official names which do not include "Anglican".

Anglican Communion
of All England
Archbishop of Canterbury
Justin Welby
General SecretaryJosiah Idowu-Fearon
HeadquartersCanterbury Cathedral, Canterbury, England
FounderCharles Longley
Lambeth Conference, London, England
SeparationsContinuing Anglican movement (1977)
Anglican realignment (2002)
Members85 million

Ecclesiology, polity and 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 in a supporting and organisational role. The communion is held together by a shared history, expressed in its ecclesiology, polity and ethos 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 maintained through the apostolic succession of bishops and synodical government; second, the principle of belief expressed in worship, investing importance in approved prayer books and their rubrics; and third, the historical documents and the writings of early Anglican divines 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, 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. Unlike other traditions, Anglicanism has never been governed by a magisterium nor by appeal to one founding theologian, nor by an extra-credal summary of doctrine (such as the Westminster Confession of the Presbyterian churches). Instead, Anglicans have typically appealed to the Book of Common Prayer (1662) and its offshoots as a guide to Anglican theology and practise. This had the effect of inculcating the principle of lex orandi, lex credendi (Latin loosely translated as "the law of praying [is] the law of believing") as the foundation of Anglican identity and confession.

Protracted conflict through the 17th century with radical Protestants on the one hand and Catholics who recognised the primacy of the Pope 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 rubrics of the successive prayer books, as well as the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion (1563). These articles have historically shaped and continue to direct the ethos of the communion, an ethos reinforced by their interpretation and expansion by such influential early theologians such as Richard Hooker, Lancelot Andrewes and John Cosin.

With the expansion of the British Empire, 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 in 1867 by Charles Longley, the Archbishop of Canterbury. From the beginning, 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."[5]

Chicago Lambeth Quadrilateral

One of the enduringly influential early resolutions of the conference was the so-called Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral 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:
(a) 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.
(b) The Apostles' Creed, as the Baptismal Symbol; and the Nicene Creed, as the sufficient statement of the Christian faith.
(c) The two Sacraments ordained by Christ Himself - Baptism and the Supper of the Lord - ministered with unfailing use of Christ's Words of Institution, and of the elements ordained by Him.
(d) 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.[6]

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:

The Chair of St Augustine (the episcopal throne in Canterbury Cathedral, Kent), seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury in his role as head of the Anglican Communion[a]
  1. The Archbishop of Canterbury functions as the spiritual head of the communion.[7] The archbishop is the focus of unity, since no church claims membership in the Communion without being in communion with him. The present archbishop is Justin Welby.
  2. The Lambeth Conference[8] (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 10 years and invitation is by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
  3. The Anglican Consultative Council[8] (first met in 1971) was created by a 1968 Lambeth Conference resolution, and meets usually at three-yearly intervals. The council consists of representative bishops, other clergy and laity chosen by the 38 provinces. The body has a permanent secretariat, the Anglican Communion Office, of which the Archbishop of Canterbury is president.
  4. The Primates' Meeting[8] (first met in 1979) is the most recent manifestation of international consultation and deliberation, having been first convened by Archbishop Donald Coggan as a forum for "leisurely thought, prayer and deep consultation".

Since there is no binding authority in the Anglican Communion, these international bodies are a vehicle for consultation and persuasion. In recent times, 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 acceptance of LGBTQ+ individuals in the North American churches (e.g., by blessing same-sex unions and ordaining and consecrating same-sex relationships) and to the process by which changes were undertaken. (See Anglican realignment)

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 answered that the actions had been undertaken after lengthy scriptural and theological reflection, legally in accordance with their own canons and constitutions 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 jurisdictions. In line with the suggestion of the Windsor Report, Rowan Williams (the then Archbishop of Canterbury) established a working group to examine the feasibility of an Anglican covenant which would articulate the conditions for communion in some fashion.[9]



A world map showing the provinces of the Anglican Communion:
  Autonomous churches
  Episcopal Church of the United States
  Church in the Province of the West Indies
  Anglican Church in Central America
  Anglican Church of the Southern Cone of America
  Anglican Church of Southern Africa
  Church of the Province of Central Africa
  Church of the Province of West Africa
  Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East
  Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean
  Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia
  Church of the Province of Melanesia
  Diocese in Europe of the Church of England
  Extra-provincial to the Archbishop of Canterbury
  Church of the Province of South East Asia
  No organised Anglican presence
Note that the Church of Ireland serves both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and the Anglican Church of Korea serves South Korea and, theoretically, North Korea. Indian Anglicanism is divided into a Church of North India and a Church of South India. The Diocese in Europe (formally the Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe), in the Province of Canterbury, is also present in Portugal and Spain. The Episcopal Church, USA affiliated Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe has affiliates in France, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and Kazakhstan.

The Anglican communion consists of forty autonomous provinces each with its own primate and governing structure. These provinces may take the form of national churches (such as in Canada, Uganda, or Japan) or a collection of nations (such as the West Indies, Central Africa, or Southeast Asia).

Provinces Territorial Jurisdiction Membership (in thousands of people)
Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia Aotearoa New Zealand, Cook Islands, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga 469[10]
Anglican Church of Australia Australia 3,100[11]
Church of Bangladesh Bangladesh 16[12]
Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil Brazil 120[13]
Province of the Anglican Church of Burundi Burundi 800[14]
Anglican Church of Canada Canada 1,600[15]
Church of the Province of Central Africa Botswana, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe 900[16]
Anglican Church in Central America Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama 35
Anglican Church of Chile Chile NA
Province of the Anglican Church of the Congo Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of Congo 500[17]
Church of England England, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey, Europe 26,000[18]
Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Hong Kong, Macau 29[19]
Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles 505
Church of Ireland Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland 410[19]
Nippon Sei Ko Kai Japan 57[20]
Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East Algeria, Bahrain, Cyprus, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen 40[21]
Anglican Church of Kenya Kenya 5,000[22]
Anglican Church of Korea South Korea, North Korea 65[23]
Anglican Church of Melanesia New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu 200[24]
Anglican Church of Mexico Mexico 100[25]
Church of the Province of Myanmar Myanmar 62[26]
Church of Nigeria Nigeria 18,000[27]
Church of North India Bhutan, India 1,500[28]
Church of Pakistan Pakistan 500[29]
Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea 167
Episcopal Church in the Philippines Philippines 125[30]
Province of the Anglican Church of Rwanda Rwanda 1,000[31]
Scottish Episcopal Church Scotland 31[32]
Anglican Church of South America Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay 23[33]
Church of the Province of South East Asia Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam 98
Church of South India India, Sri Lanka 3,800[34]
Province of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan South Sudan 3,500
Anglican Church of Southern Africa Angola, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Saint Helena, South Africa, Swaziland 3,000 - 4,000[35]
Province of the Episcopal Church of Sudan Sudan 1,100
Anglican Church of Tanzania Tanzania 2,000[36]
Church of the Province of Uganda Uganda 8,000[18]
The Episcopal Church British Virgin Islands, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Europe, Guam, Haiti, Honduras, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, United States, United States Virgin Islands, Venezuela 1,900[37]
Church in Wales Wales 84[19]
Church of the Province of West Africa Cameroon, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Senegal, Sierra Leone 300[38]
Church in the Province of the West Indies Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saba, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sint Eustatius, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands 770[39]

Extraprovincial churches

In addition to the forty provinces, there are five extraprovincial churches under the metropolitical authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Extra-Provincial Church Territorial Jurisdiction
Anglican Church of Bermuda Bermuda
Church of Ceylon Sri Lanka
Parish of the Falkland Islands Falkland Islands
Lusitanian Catholic Apostolic Evangelical Church Portugal
Spanish Reformed Episcopal Church Spain

Former provinces

Province Territorial Jurisdiction Year Established Year Dissolved
Chung Hua Sheng Kung Hui China 1912 1949
Church of Hawaii Hawaii 1862 1902
Church of India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka 1930 1970
Protestant Episcopal Church in the Confederate States of America Confederate States of America 1861 1865
United Church of England and Ireland England, Wales, Ireland 1800 1871

Churches in full communion

In addition to other member churches, the churches of the Anglican Communion are in full communion with the Old Catholic churches of the Union of Utrecht and the Scandinavian Lutheran churches of the Porvoo Communion in Europe, the India-based Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian and Malabar Independent Syrian churches and the Philippine Independent Church, also known as the Aglipayan Church.


The Anglican Communion traces much of its growth to the older mission organisations of the Church of England such as the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (founded 1698), the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (founded 1701) and the Church Missionary Society (founded 1799).[40][b][c] The Church of England (which until the 20th century included the Church in Wales) initially separated from the Roman Catholic Church in 1538 in the reign of King Henry VIII, reunited in 1555 under Queen Mary I and then separated again in 1570 under Queen Elizabeth I (the Roman Catholic Church excommunicated Elizabeth I in 1570 in response to the Act of Supremacy 1559).

The Church of England 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 was formed as a separate church from the Roman Catholic Church as a result of the Scottish Reformation in 1560 and the later formation of the Scottish Episcopal Church began in 1582 in the reign of James VI of Scotland over disagreements about the role of bishops.

The oldest-surviving Anglican church building outside the British Isles (Britain and Ireland) is St Peter's Church in St. George's, Bermuda, 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. It remained part of the Church of England until 1978 when the Anglican Church of Bermuda 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 (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 sympathies).

Global spread of Anglicanism

The enormous expansion in the 18th and 19th centuries of the British Empire brought Anglicanism along with it. At first all these colonial churches were under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of London. After the American Revolution, 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. 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 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 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.

The Lambeth Conference of 1998 included what has been seen by Philip Jenkins and others as a "watershed in global Christianity". The 1998 Lambeth Conference considered the issue of the theology of same-sex attraction in relation to human sexuality. At this 1998 conference for the first time in centuries the Christians of developing regions, especially, Africa, Asia, and Latin America, prevailed over the bishops of more prosperous countries (many from the US, Canada, and the UK) who supported a redefinition of Anglican doctrine. Seen in this light 1998 is a date that marked the shift from a West-dominated Christianity to one wherein the growing churches of the two-thirds world are predominant,[43] but the gay bishop controversy in subsequent years led to the reassertion of Western dominance, this time of the liberal variety.

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.[44] The Roman Catholic Church, however, does not recognise Anglican orders (see Apostolicae curae).[45] Some Eastern Orthodox churches have issued statements to the effect that Anglican orders could be accepted, yet have still reordained former Anglican clergy; other Eastern 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.[46]


One effect of the communion's dispersed authority has been that conflict and controversy can arise over the effect divergent practices and doctrines in one part of the Communion have on others.[47] 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.[48]


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.[49] This controversy produced the Free Church of England and, in the United States and Canada, the Reformed Episcopal Church.

Social changes

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 practices of contraception and abortion. In the late 1970s, the Continuing Anglican movement produced a number of new church bodies in opposition to women's ordination, prayer book changes, and the new understandings concerning marriage.

Same-sex unions and LGBT clergy

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 Communion.[50] Some churches were founded outside the Anglican Communion in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, largely in opposition to the ordination of openly homosexual bishops and other clergy and are usually referred to as belonging to the Anglican realignment movement, or else as "orthodox" Anglicans.[50] These disagreements were especially noted when the Episcopal Church (US) consecrated an openly gay bishop in a same-sex relationship, Gene Robinson, in 2003, which led some Episcopalians to defect and found the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA); then, the debate re-ignited when the Church of England agreed to allow clergy to enter into same-sex civil partnerships in 2005.[51] The Church of Nigeria opposed the Episcopal Church's decision as well as the Church of England's approval for civil partnerships.[52]

"The more liberal provinces that are open to changing Church doctrine on marriage in order to allow for same-sex unions include Brazil, Canada, New Zealand, Scotland, South India, South Africa, the US and Wales".[53] The Church of England does not allow same-gender marriages or blessing rites, but does permit special prayer services for same-sex couples following a civil marriage or partnership.[54] The Church of England also permits clergy to enter into same-sex civil partnerships.[55] The Church of Ireland has no official position on civil unions, and one senior cleric has entered into a same-sex civil partnership.[56] The Church of Ireland recognised that it will "treat civil partners the same as spouses."[57] The Anglican Church of Australia does not have an official position on homosexuality.[58]

The conservative Anglican churches, encouraging the realignment movement, are more concentrated in the Global South. For example, the Anglican Church of Kenya, the Church of Nigeria, and the Church of Uganda have opposed homosexuality.[59] GAFCON, or a fellowship of conservative Anglican churches, has appointed 'missionary bishops' in response to the disagreements with the perceived liberalisation in the Anglican churches in North America and Europe.[60]

Such debates about social theology and ethics, have occurred at the same time as debates on prayer book revision and the acceptable grounds for achieving full communion with non-Anglican churches.[61]

See also


  1. ^ The Chair of St Augustine is the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury in his role as head of the Anglican Communion. Archbishops of Canterbury are enthroned twice: firstly as diocesan ordinary (and Metropolitan and Primate of the Church of England) in the archbishop's throne, by the Archdeacon of Canterbury; and secondly as leader of the worldwide church in the Chair of St Augustine by the senior (by length of service) Archbishop of the Anglican Communion. The stone chair is therefore of symbolic significance throughout Anglicanism.
  2. ^ Efforts to grow and develop the church in lands outside the British Isles began with the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (1698) and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (1701) but received a significant boost from the Church Mission Society (1799).[41]
  3. ^ The Church Missionary Society, originally called the Society for Missions to Africa and the East, was founded in 1799... Though later in date than the S.P.C.K. and the S.P.G. it became the first effective organ of the C. of E. for missions to the heathen... Its theology has been consistently Evangelical.[42]



  1. ^ The Anglican Communion official website - "Provincial Registry"
  2. ^ Worsley 2015.
  3. ^ "St Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church History". 20 July 2012.
  4. ^ Avis 1998, pp. 417–419.
  5. ^ Davidson, R. T. (Ed.). (1889). The Lambeth Conferences of 1867, 1878, and 1888: With the Official Reports and Resolutions Together with the Sermons Preached at the Conferences. Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.
  6. ^ The Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church, Seabury Press, 1979, p. 877
  7. ^ "Anglican Communion". Retrieved 4 October 2015.
  8. ^ a b c "Anglican international bodies". Retrieved 4 October 2015.
  9. ^ "Archbishop of Canterbury: address to General Synod on the Anglican Communion". ACNS. 7 July 2006. Archived from the original on 2006-07-14.
  10. ^ Polynesia, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and. "About / Home - Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia". Retrieved 2019-01-06.
  11. ^ "Number of Australian Anglicans falls by 580,000 in five years: Census 2016". 28 June 2017. Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  12. ^ "Church of Bangladesh — World Council of Churches". Retrieved 2016-06-14.
  13. ^ "Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil — World Council of Churches". Retrieved 2016-05-03.
  14. ^ "Anglican Church of Burundi — World Council of Churches". Retrieved 2016-06-14.
  15. ^ "Number of Canadian Anglicans, Parishes and Congregations - Anglican Church of Canada". Anglican Church of Canada. Retrieved 2016-05-03.
  16. ^ "Church of the Province of Central Africa — World Council of Churches". Retrieved 2016-06-14.
  17. ^ "Church of Christ in Congo - Anglican Community of Congo — World Council of Churches". Retrieved 2016-06-14.
  18. ^ a b "A History of Global Anglicanism - Cambridge University Press". Retrieved 2016-05-03.
  19. ^ a b c "Church Society - Issues - Anglican Communion - How Big?". Retrieved 2016-05-03.
  20. ^ "Anglican Church in Japan — World Council of Churches". Retrieved 2016-06-14.
  21. ^ "Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East — World Council of Churches". Retrieved 2016-06-14.
  22. ^ "Anglican Church of Kenya — World Council of Churches". Retrieved 2016-05-03.
  23. ^ "Anglican Church of Korea — World Council of Churches". Retrieved 2016-05-03.
  24. ^ "Church of Melanesia — World Council of Churches". Retrieved 2016-06-14.
  25. ^ "Anglicanos mexicanos rechazan unirse a la Iglesia católica". Retrieved 2016-05-03.
  26. ^ "Church of the Province of Myanmar — World Council of Churches". Retrieved 2016-06-14.
  27. ^ "Anglican Heritage With Emphasis on The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)". Church of Nigeria. August 15, 2013. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  28. ^ "Church of North India — World Council of Churches". Retrieved 2016-05-03.
  29. ^ "Church of Pakistan — World Council of Churches". Retrieved 2016-06-14.
  30. ^ "Episcopal Church in the Philippines". Retrieved 2016-06-14.
  31. ^ "Province of the Anglican Church in Rwanda — World Council of Churches". Retrieved 2016-06-14.
  32. ^ "35th Annual Report and Accounts SEC" (PDF). The Scottish Episcopal Church. Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  33. ^ "Anglican Church of South America — World Council of Churches". Retrieved 2016-06-14.
  34. ^ "CSI Christ Church - Location Map". Retrieved 2018-01-06.
  35. ^ "Anglican Church of Southern Africa (ACSA)". Retrieved 2016-05-03.
  36. ^ "Anglican Church of Tanzania — World Council of Churches". Retrieved 2016-05-03.
  37. ^ "Table of Statistics of the Episcopal Church" (PDF). Retrieved 2019-01-06.
  38. ^ "Church of the Province of West Africa — World Council of Churches". Retrieved 2016-06-14.
  39. ^ "Church in the Province of the West Indies — World Council of Churches". Retrieved 2016-06-14.
  40. ^ "A brief history of CMS". Church Mission Society. 1999. Retrieved 2 December 2012. Much of what we call the Anglican Communion today traces its origins to CMS work.
  41. ^ Melton 2005, p. 28.
  42. ^ Cross 1957, p. 305.
  43. ^ Jenkins 2002, pp. 202–203; Miller 2014, p. 68.
  44. ^ Whipple et al. 1896.
  45. ^ O'Riordan 1907.
  46. ^ "Excerpts from the Orthodox Church by Bishop Kallistos Ware". Retrieved 20 July 2012.
  47. ^ McKinnon, Trzebiatowska & Brittain 2011, pp. 355-37.
  48. ^ Chapman 2006.
  49. ^ Pickering 2008.
  50. ^ a b Brittain & McKinnon 2011.
  51. ^ "BBC NEWS | UK | England | Beds/Bucks/Herts | Gay cleric's 'wedding' to partner". August 2006. Retrieved 2017-06-21.
  52. ^ "Revd Akinola's Response to Church of England Civil Partnerships Stance | Christian News on Christian Today". Retrieved 2017-06-21.
  53. ^ "Church split over homosexuality would be a failure - Welby". BBC News. BBC. 2016-01-11. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  54. ^ Bingham, John (2014-02-15). "Church offers prayers after same-sex weddings - but bans gay priests from marrying". Retrieved 2016-06-14.
  55. ^ Bates, Stephen (2010-02-11). "Church of England General Synod extends pension rights for gay partners". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-06-16.
  56. ^ "Minister Rev Tom Gordon civil partnership 'welcomed' - BBC News". 2011-09-05. Retrieved 2016-06-16.
  57. ^ "Listening process vital to bring gay, lesbian clergy in from margins". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2017-06-21.
  58. ^ "BBC NEWS | Special Reports | Anglican Church around the world". 2008-07-15. Retrieved 2017-06-21.
  59. ^ Sherwood, Harriet (2016-01-14). "Anglican church avoids split over gay rights – but liberals pay price". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-06-16.
  60. ^ "GAFCON considers a missionary bishop for UK". Retrieved 2017-06-21.
  61. ^ Ward 2006.


Avis, Paul (1998). "What is 'Anglicanism'?". In Booty, John E.; Sykes, Stephen; Knight, Jonathan. The Study of Anglicanism (rev. ed.). London: SPCK (published 2004). pp. 417–419. ISBN 978-1-4514-1118-8.
Brittain, Christopher Craig; McKinnon, Andrew (2011). "Homosexuality and the Construction of "Anglican Orthodoxy": The Symbolic Politics of the Anglican Communion". Sociology of Religion. 72 (3): 351–373. doi:10.1093/socrel/srq088. hdl:2164/3055. ISSN 1069-4404.
Chapman, Mark (2006). Anglicanism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-157819-9.
Cross, F. L., ed. (1957). The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. London: Oxford University Press.
Jenkins, Philip (2002). The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-803341-7.
McKinnon, Andrew M.; Trzebiatowska, Marta; Brittain, Christopher Craig (2011). "Bourdieu, Capital, and Conflict in a Religious Field: The Case of the 'Homosexuality' Conflict in the Anglican Communion". Journal of Contemporary Religion. 26 (3): 355–370. doi:10.1080/13537903.2011.616033. hdl:2164/4260. ISSN 1353-7903.
Melton, J. Gordon, ed. (2005). "Anglican Communion/Anglican Consultative Council". Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Encyclopedias of World Religions. New York: Facts on File. pp. 27–29. ISBN 978-0-8160-6983-5. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
Miller, Duane Alexander (2014). "The Bricolage of Global Anglicanism". Anglican and Episcopal History. 83 (1): 67–73. ISSN 0896-8039. JSTOR 43049823. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
O'Riordan, Michael (1907). "Apostolicae Curae" . In Herbermann, Charles. Catholic Encyclopedia. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company. pp. 644–645.
Pickering, W. S. F. (2008). Anglo-Catholicism: A Study in Religious Ambiguity (rev. ed.). Cambridge, England: James Clarke & Co. ISBN 978-0-227-67988-3.
Ward, Kevin (2006). A History of Global Anglicanism. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-00866-2.
Whipple, H. B.; Gilbert, M. N.; Nichols, Harry P.; Wright, John; Faude, John J.; Ten Broeck, Wm. P. (1896). Unity and the Lambeth Declaration: Lectures Under the Auspices of the Minnesota Church Club, 1896. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: The Young Churchman. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
Worsley, Howard (2015). "Anglican Church Christian Education". In Kurian, George Thomas; Lamport, Mark A. Encyclopedia of Christian Education. 1. London: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 50. ISBN 978-0-8108-8493-9.

Further reading

Buchanan, Colin. Historical Dictionary of Anglicanism (2nd ed. 2015) excerpt
D'Arcy, Charles Frederick; Jayne, Francis John; Paige Cox, W.L. (1923). Anglican Essays: A Collective Review of the Principles and Special Opportunities of the Anglican Communion as Catholic and Reformed : with Extracts from the Pastorals of the Late Bishop Jayne [Francis John Jayne]. Macmillan.
Fahlbusch, Erwin; Bromiley, Geoffrey William, eds. (1999). The Encyclopedia of Christianity. Vol. 1. Eerdmans. pp. 57–59. ISBN 978-90-04-11316-9.
Hebert, A. G. The Form of the Church. London: Faber and Faber, 1944.
Wild, John. What is the Anglican Communion?, in series, The Advent Papers. Cincinnati, Ohio: Forward Movement Publications, [196-]. Note.: Expresses the "Anglo-Catholic" viewpoint.

External links

Anglican Communion Primates' Meetings

The Anglican Communion Primates' Meetings are regular meetings of the primates in the Anglican Communion, i.e. the principal archbishops or bishops of each (often national) ecclesiastical province of the Anglican Communion. There are currently 38 primates of the Anglican Communion. The primates come together from the geographic provinces around the world. As primus inter pares of the communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury chairs the meetings, with the Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) serving as secretary.

The Primates' Meeting was established by Donald Coggan, Archbishop of Canterbury, in 1978 as an opportunity for “leisurely thought, prayer and deep consultation”. The first meeting was held in 1979.

Anglican Communion and ecumenism

Anglican interest in ecumenical dialogue can be traced back to the time of the Reformation and dialogues with both Orthodox and Lutheran churches in the sixteenth century. In the nineteenth century, with the rise of the Oxford Movement, there arose greater concern for reunion of the churches of "Catholic confession". This desire to work towards full communion with other denominations led to the development of the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral, approved by the Third Lambeth Conference of 1888. The four points (the sufficiency of scripture, as the "ultimate standard of faith", the historic creeds, the two dominical sacraments, and the historic episcopate) were stipulated as the basis for church unity, "a basis on which approach may be by God's blessing made towards Home Reunion":

Although they are not considered members, some non-Anglican bodies have entered into communion with the Communion as a whole or with its constituent member churches, despite having non-Anglican origins and traditions, such as the Old Catholic Church and Lutherans of the Porvoo Communion, Mar Thoma Syrian Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.

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. The council, which includes Anglican bishops, clergy and laity, meets every two or three years in different parts of the world.

The Anglican Consultative Council has a permanent secretariat (the Anglican Communion Office), based at Saint Andrew's House, London, which is responsible for organizing meetings of the "Instruments of Communion". The Archbishop of Canterbury is ex officio the President of the Council. The current chair of the ACC is Paul Kwong.

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 to the ministry of the church, either individually or in lower/assisting offices such as lector, acolyte, sub-deacon, Eucharistic minister, cantor, musicians, parish secretary or assistant, warden, vestry member, etc. Ultimately, all baptized members of the church are considered to partake in the ministry of the Body of Christ. "...[I]t might be useful if Anglicans dropped the word minister when referring to the clergy...In our tradition, ordained persons are either bishops, priests, or deacons, and should be referred to as such." Each of the provinces (usually corresponding to individual world nations) of the Anglican Communion has a high degree of independence from the other provinces, and each of them have slightly different structures for ministry, mission and governance. However, personal leadership is always vested in a member of the clergy (a bishop at provincial and diocesan levels, and a priest (often termed a rector or pastor at the parish level) and consensus derived by synodical government. At different levels of the church's structure, laity, clergy (priests/pastors and deacons) and bishops meet together with prayer to deliberate over church governance. These gatherings are variously called conferences, synods, general or church-wide conventions, convocations, councils, chapters and vestries.


Anglicanism is a Western Christian tradition which has developed from the practices, liturgy and identity of the Church of England following the English Reformation.Adherents of Anglicanism are called "Anglicans". The majority of Anglicans are members of national or regional ecclesiastical provinces of the international Anglican Communion, which forms the third-largest Christian communion in the world, after the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. They are in full communion with the See of Canterbury, and thus the Archbishop of Canterbury, whom the communion refers to as its primus inter pares (Latin, "first among equals"). He calls the decennial Lambeth Conference, chairs the meeting of primates, and the Anglican Consultative Council. Some churches that are not part of the Anglican Communion or recognized by the Anglican Communion also call themselves Anglican, including those that are part of the Continuing Anglican movement and Anglican realignment.Anglicans base their Christian faith on the Bible, traditions of the apostolic Church, apostolic succession ("historic episcopate") and the writings of the Church Fathers. Anglicanism forms one of the branches of Western Christianity, having definitively declared its independence from the Holy See at the time of the Elizabethan Religious Settlement. Many of the new Anglican formularies of the mid-16th century corresponded closely to those of contemporary Protestantism. These reforms in the Church of England were understood by one of those most responsible for them, Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and others as navigating a middle way between two of the emerging Protestant traditions, namely Lutheranism and Calvinism.In the first half of the 17th century, the Church of England and its associated Church of Ireland were presented by some Anglican divines as comprising a distinct Christian tradition, with theologies, structures, and forms of worship representing a different kind of middle way, or via media, between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism – a perspective that came to be highly influential in later theories of Anglican identity and expressed in the description of Anglicanism as "Catholic and Reformed". The degree of distinction between Protestant and Catholic tendencies within the Anglican tradition is routinely a matter of debate both within specific Anglican churches and throughout the Anglican Communion. Unique to Anglicanism is the Book of Common Prayer, the collection of services in one Book used for centuries. The BCPS are acknowledged as a principal tie that binds the Anglican Communion together as a liturgical rather than a confessional tradition or one possessing a magisterium as in the Roman Catholic Church.

After the American Revolution, Anglican congregations in the United States and British North America (which would later form the basis for the modern country of Canada) were each reconstituted into autonomous churches with their own bishops and self-governing structures; these were known as the American Episcopal Church and the Church of England in the Dominion of Canada. Through the expansion of the British Empire and the activity of Christian missions, this model was adopted as the model for many newly formed churches, especially in Africa, Australasia, and Asia-Pacific. In the 19th century, the term Anglicanism was coined to describe the common religious tradition of these churches; as also that of the Scottish Episcopal Church, which, though originating earlier within the Church of Scotland, had come to be recognised as sharing this common identity.

Church of Ireland

The Church of Ireland (Irish: Eaglais na hÉireann; Ulster-Scots: Kirk o Airlann) is a Christian church in Ireland and an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion. It is organised on an all-Ireland basis and is the second-largest Christian church on the island after the Roman Catholic Church. Like other Anglican churches, it has retained elements of pre-Reformation practice, notably its episcopal polity, while rejecting the primacy of the Bishop of Rome. In theological and liturgical matters, it incorporates many principles of the Reformation, particularly those espoused during the English Reformation. The church self-identifies as being both Catholic and Reformed. Within the church, differences exist between those members who are more Catholic-leaning and those who are more Protestant-leaning (high church or evangelical). For historical and cultural reasons, the Church of Ireland is generally identified as a Protestant church.

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 (but not by attendance), after the Church of England. It gives its current membership as "over 18 million", out of a total Nigerian population of 190 million. Other statistics reveal that the Church of Nigeria has 2 million active attendees on a Sunday.Since 2002 the Church of Nigeria has been organised into 14 ecclesiastical provinces. It has rapidly increased the number of its dioceses and bishops from 91 in 2002 to 161 as at January 2013. The administrative headquarters are located in Abuja. Its primate is Archbishop Nicholas Okoh.

Dean (Christianity)

A dean, in a church context, is a cleric holding certain positions of authority within a religious hierarchy. The title is used mainly in the Anglican Communion, the Roman Catholic Church, and many Lutheran denominations. A dean's assistant is called a subdean.

Episcopal Church

Episcopal Church may refer to various churches in the Anglican, Methodist, and Open Episcopal traditions.

An episcopal church has bishops in its organisational structure (see episcopal polity). Episcopalian is a synonym for Anglican in the United States, Scotland, and several other locations.

Ordination of women in the Anglican Communion

The ordination of women in the Anglican Communion has been increasingly common in certain provinces since the 1970s. Several provinces, however, and certain dioceses within otherwise ordaining provinces, continue to ordain only men. Disputes over the ordination of women have contributed to the establishment and growth of conservative separatist tendencies, such the Anglican realignment and Continuing Anglican movements.

Some provinces within the Anglican Communion ordain women to the three traditional holy orders of bishop, priest and deacon. Other provinces ordain women as deacons and priests but not as bishops; others still as deacons only; and seven provinces do not approve the ordination of women to any order of ministry.

Within provinces which permit the ordination of women, approval of enabling legislation is largely a diocesan responsibility. There may, however, be individual dioceses which do not endorse the legislation, or do so only in a modified form, as in those dioceses which ordain women only to the diaconate (such as the Diocese of Sydney in the Anglican Church of Australia), regardless of the fact that the ordination of women to all three orders of ministry is canonically possible.

Primates in the Anglican Communion

Primates in the Anglican Communion are the most senior bishop or archbishop of one of the 39 churches of the Anglican Communion. The Church of England, however, has two primates, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York.

Province of Armagh (Church of Ireland)

The United Provinces of Armagh and Tuam, commonly called the Province of Armagh, and also known as the Northern Province, is one of the two ecclesiastical provinces that together form the Anglican Church of Ireland; the other is the Province of Dublin. The province has existed since 1833, when the ancient Province of Armagh was merged with the Province of Tuam. The Archbishop of Armagh is its metropolitan bishop.

Province of Canterbury

The Province of Canterbury, or less formally the Southern Province, is one of two ecclesiastical provinces which constitute the Church of England. The other is the Province of York (which consists of 12 dioceses). It consists of 30 dioceses, covering roughly two-thirds of England, parts of Wales, and the Channel Islands, with the remainder comprising continental Europe (under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe).

Between the years 787 and 803, a third province, (of) Lichfield, existed. In 1871, the Church of Ireland became autonomous. The Church in Wales was disestablished in 1920 and therefore was no longer the state church; it consists of six dioceses and is an ecclesiastical province of the Anglican Communion.

The province's metropolitan bishop is the Archbishop of Canterbury who also oversees the Falkland Islands, an extraprovincial parish. The Church of Ceylon - Anglican Church in Sri Lanka has two dioceses - the Diocese of Colombo and the Diocese of Kurunegala which are extraprovincial dioceses under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Province of Dublin (Church of Ireland)

The United Provinces of Dublin and Cashel, commonly called the Province of Dublin, and also known as the Southern Province, is one of the two ecclesiastical provinces that together form the Church of Ireland; the other is the Province of Armagh. The province has existed since 1833 when the ancient Province of Dublin was merged with the Province of Cashel. Its metropolitan bishop is the Archbishop of Dublin.

Province of York

The Province of York is one of two ecclesiastical provinces making up the Church of England and consists of 12 dioceses which cover the northern third of England and the Isle of Man. York was elevated to an archbishopric in AD 735: Ecgbert was the first archbishop. At one time the Archbishops of York also claimed metropolitan authority over Scotland but these claims were never realised and ceased when the Archdiocese of St Andrews was established.

The province's metropolitan bishop is the Archbishop of York (the junior of the Church of England's two archbishops). York Minster serves as the mother church of the Province of York.

The Most Reverend

The Most Reverend is a style applied to certain religious figures, primarily within the historic denominations of Christianity, but occasionally in some more modern traditions also. It is a variant of the more common style "The Reverend".

Traditional Anglican Communion

The Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) is an international communion of churches in the continuing Anglican movement independent of the Anglican Communion and the Archbishop of Canterbury. The TAC upholds the theological doctrines of the Affirmation of St. Louis. Each of the respective jurisdictions utilizes a traditional Book of Common Prayer deemed free of theological deviation. Most parishioners of these churches would be described as being traditional Prayer Book Anglicans in their theology and liturgical practice. Some Anglo-Catholic parishes use the Anglican Missal in their liturgies. The TAC is governed by a College of Bishops from across the Communion and headed by an elected Primate.The TAC was formed in 1991. Archbishop Louis Falk was its first primate. He was succeeded in 2002 by Archbishop John Hepworth of the Anglican Catholic Church in Australia. The current Primate is Archbishop Shane Janzen of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada.

The TAC churches have been formed outside of the Anglican Communion churches over a number of different issues. The principal issue has been the ordination of women. Other issues include liturgical revisions, the acceptance of homosexual activity and the importance of Apostolic tradition within the Church.

Vicar general

A vicar general (previously, archdeacon) is the principal deputy of the bishop of a diocese for the exercise of administrative authority and possesses the title of local ordinary. As vicar of the bishop, the vicar general exercises the bishop's ordinary executive power over the entire diocese and, thus, is the highest official in a diocese or other particular church after the diocesan bishop or his equivalent in canon law. The title normally occurs only in Western Christian churches, such as the Latin Church of the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion. Among the Eastern churches, the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Kerala uses this title and remains an exception. The title for the equivalent officer in the Eastern churches is syncellus and protosyncellus.

The term is used by many religious orders of men in a similar manner, designating the authority in the Order after its Superior General.

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 noncelibate self-identifying gay priest to be ordained as an Anglican bishop, in the Episcopal Church in the United States and the blessing of same-sex unions in the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster. The Commission, chaired by Archbishop Robin Eames, published its findings as the Windsor Report on 18 October 2004. The report recommended a covenant for the Anglican Communion, an idea that did not come to fruition.

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