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What Is An Angelican Church

What Is An Anglican

What is the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA)?

C.S. Lewis, N.T. Wright, J.I. Packer, John Stott, Jane Austen, T.S. Elliot, George Washington, William Shakespeare, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Desmond Tutu, Richard Hooker, Charles and John Wesley. What do these people have in common? They’re all Anglicans!

Amazing Grace, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, Rock of Ages, and Hark! The Herald Angels Sing are all classic hymns we grew up with. Guess what? Each one of them are Anglican hymns!

Anglicanism traces its heritage back to the Church of the British Isles . Simply, an Anglican is a Christian who worships God within the long tradition of English and Celtic Christianity that stretches back to early years after Christ’s death and resurrection. Today, this “Anglican” tradition of Christianity has grown and expanded to become an international communion of about 85 million members in more than 165 countries. Anglicanism is the third largest Christian communion in the world after the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches.

The Anglican Communion is united by our common profession of Jesus Christ, our common faith in scripture, our common confession in the creeds and councils of the early church, and our common worship. Please continue reading to learn what it means to hold to the Anglican tradition.

What Does Welby Want To Change

The Anglican communion is bitterly divided, particularly over issues of sexuality and women, and Welby is set to propose that it is no longer effective, and has not been so for 20-odd years.

He has summoned all of the 38 primates to a meeting in Canterbury next January to propose that the communion be reorganised as a group of churches that are all linked to Canterbury, but no longer necessarily to each other.

Welbys predecessors, Rowan Williams and George Carey, worked hard to use the Anglican communion to facilitate liberal and conservative church movements working together, but on issues of sexuality in particular there has been little common ground to work with.

A Lambeth Palace source described the change to the Guardian as not like a divorce but more like sleeping in separate bedrooms.

Church Of England History

The Church of Englands earliest origins date back to the Roman Catholic Churchs influence in Europe during the 2nd century.

However, the churchs official formation and identity are typically thought to have started during the Reformation in England of the 16th century. King Henry VIII is considered the founder of the Church of England.

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So What Do Anglicans Believe

In one sense, Anglicans have no distinct beliefs of their own. Anglicans simply believe what Christians have espoused since the times of the historic creeds and councils. These essentials are what C. S. Lewis had in mind when he wrote Mere Christianity in order to explain and defend the belief that has been common to nearly all Christians at all times .

Since the earliest of times, Christians have believed the teachings of the Bible and recited the creeds during times of prayer and worship to remind them of the faith they professed, the faith handed down to the apostles and guarded by the church to the present day.

However, in another important sense, Anglicans do have a unique set of beliefs that embraces the best of the ancient Christian faith and the Protestant Reformation. In an article titled Is There an Anglican Understanding of the New Testament? Professor Wesley Hill said the following about Anglican beliefs:

In Closing Anglicans Believe Doctrine And Devotion Belong Together

St. James

While doctrine can seem stuffy, boring, and useless, when grasped personally it becomes surprisingly devotional. Doctrine helps us know more about a living God. A study of God can profoundly deepen our faith and strengthen our relationship with Him. The more we know about Him, the more we love and worship Himand vice-versa. Think about it: we cannot worship what we do not know.

There is an old Latin phrase lex orandi, lex credendi, which is roughly translated as the law of praying is the law of believing. This reminds us that prayer shapes our beliefs, and our beliefs ultimately shape our prayer. To know what Anglicans believe you must come and worship with us. In the words of Archbishop Michael Ramsey, Yes, here are our articles, but here is our Prayer Book as wellcome and pray with us, come and worship with us, and that is how you will understand what we stand for .

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What Will Happen Now

The Church of England will remain linked to all of the provinces in the Anglican communion, but they will not have formal ties to each other. All churches will still be able to call themselves Anglican.

Welby will hope that relationships and cooperation between national churches will continue on issues less toxic but still of vital importance, such as climate change and the persecution of Christians by extremists in the Middle East, Africa and south-east Asia.

If everything goes to plan, Welby hopes to hold a meeting of those bishops from Anglican churches that remain committed to working together in 2020.

Queen Elizabeth & The Church Of England

It was during Elizabeths reign that the Articles of Religion were reduced and combined into what is now called the 39 Articles, and the Anglican theologian Richard Hooker wrote his seminal magnum opus, The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, which defended the normative principle of worship and other tenets of the Church of England from Puritan criticisms. The normative principle says that it may be used as long as a practice does not contradict Scripture but is consistent with scriptural worship. It opposes the regulative principle, which says that the public worship of God should include only those elements which are explicitly instituted or appointed by command in the Bible.

After Elizabeth I came James I. Under his reign, Anglican scholars and clergymen translated the Authorized Version of the Bible. In an ironic twist of history, the King James Version of the Bible has become a hallmark of Fundamentalist Baptists, even though it is the product of the established Church of England . James I was succeeded by his son, King Charles I. He came into open conflict with the Puritans and Parliament, resulting in the English Civil War.

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Brief Anglican Church History

The first phase of the Anglican Reformation began over a personal dispute when King Henry VIII of England was denied papal support for the annulling of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. In response, both the king and the English parliament rejected papal primacy and asserted the supremacy of the crown over the church. Thus, King Henry VIII of England was established head over the Church of England. Little if any change in doctrine or practice was initially introduced.

During the reign of King Edward VI , he attempted to place the Church of England more firmly in the Protestant camp, both in theology and practice. However, his half-sister Mary, who was the next monarch on the throne, set about bringing the Church back under papal rule. She failed, but her tactics left the church with widespread mistrust for Roman Catholicism that has endured in branches of Anglicanism for centuries.

What Could Go Wrong

What Do Anglicans Believe?

The African churches, known as Gafcon, many of whom have made no secret of their distaste for the more liberal concessions by the English church in recent years, may decide to withdraw from any link to Canterbury.

That would not in itself be too disastrous, apart from the fact that Welby has prided himself on his ability to work effectively with conservative churches in Africa since his time before becoming a bishop working on missions of reconciliation in countries such as Nigeria.

More damaging would be if Gafcon convinced swaths of evangelical churches in England to withdraw from any affiliation to the Church of England. Some have already left.

In the US, where relations have been deteriorating since the mid-90s, Anglican churches from Nigeria, Rwanda and Kenya have set up their own congregations.

Welby may also have offended the liberal American Anglican church body by inviting a breakaway conservative US church, the Anglican Church in North America , which is not officially part of the Anglican communion. Acna was formed following a rift in 2003 when the original US Anglican body decided to ordain Gene Robinson, an openly gay bishop.

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Anglican Mission And Pearusa

The Anglican Mission in the Americas was a founding member of the Anglican Church in North America and, at the same time, maintained its status as a mission of the Church of the Province of Rwanda. This “dual citizenship” was defined by protocol among the Province of Rwanda, the Anglican Mission, and the ACNA.

However, in a May 18, 2010, communiqué, the Anglican Mission announced its decision to transition from full ACNA membership to “ministry partner” status, a designation provided for in the governing structure of the ACNA, and remain a part of the Rwandan province. Reasons cited for the change were that the “dual citizenship” model had caused “significant confusion within the Anglican Mission and the ACNA regarding membership in two provinces, and more importantly, is inconsistent with the Constitution and Canons of the Province of the Anglican Church in Rwanda”.

On August 14, 2014, it was announced the reopening of conversations between ACNA and AMiA “to discuss broken relationships, and to find ways that produce a faithful witness to Christ that has been undermined in the past”. The meeting in which these conversations were started was attended by representatives of both ACNA and AMiA, including Archbishop Foley Beach and Bishop Philip Jones, who replaced Chuck Murphy in December 2013.

What Does ‘anglican’ Mean

The word Anglican originates in ecclesia anglicana, a medieval Latin phrase that means the English Church, but in the past two centuries the tradition has been adopted around the world. Now 85 million members are part of national or regional Churches that call themselves Anglican which collectively are known as the AnglicanCommunion. The Diocese in Europe is part of the Church of England, the originator and mother church of the Communion, whose spiritual head is the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Anglicans and Episcopalians share aspects of their history, tradition and ways of worshipping. But no two churches are exactly alike even within a diocese, let alone a province or between countries. A service in an Anglican church can be as catholic as a tridentine mass, as evangelical as a Billy Graham rally, pentecostally charismatic, quakerly silent, learned preaching, contemplative meditation led by monks and nuns, and much else besides, with all these expressions being seen as ways of opening heart, mind and soul to God, and of participating in the mutual conversation of love of the Trinity. This unity in diversity is one of the things that makes the Anglican Communion so special and such rich ground from which to change to world.

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The Gafcon Movement Defines Anglicanism Theologically

The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans was formed in 2008 when the Global Anglican Future Conference was held in Jerusalem as a conservative alternative to the 2008 Lambeth Conference. The Jerusalem Statement and Declaration, a product of GAFCON 2008, called for the creation of a GAFCON Primates Council and a Province in North America. The Anglican Church in North America was founded in 2009.

Notice the theological definition of Anglicanism thats proposed in the 2008 Jerusalem Statement and Declaration.

Our fellowship is not breaking away from the Anglican Communion. We, together with many other faithful Anglicans throughout the world, believe the doctrinal foundation of Anglicanism, which defines our core identity as Anglicans, is expressed in these words: The doctrine of the Church is grounded in the Holy Scriptures and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures. In particular, such doctrine is to be found in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordinal. We intend to remain faithful to this standard, and we call on others in the Communion to reaffirm and return to it. While acknowledging the nature of Canterbury as an historic see, we do not accept that Anglican identity is determined necessarily through recognition by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Working Conditions And Christian Socialism

U.S. Episcopalians Suspended From Fellowship in Anglican Communion Over ...

Lord Shaftesbury, a devout evangelical, campaigned to improve the conditions in factories, in mines, for chimney sweeps, and for the education of the very poor. For years, he was chairman of the Ragged School Board.Frederick Denison Maurice was a leading figure advocating reform, founding so-called “producer’s co-operatives” and the Working Men’s College. His work was instrumental in the establishment of the Christian socialist movement, although he himself was not in any real sense a socialist but “a Tory paternalist with the unusual desire to theories his acceptance of the traditional obligation to help the poor”, influenced Anglo-Catholics such as Charles Gore, who wrote that “the principle of the incarnation is denied unless the Christian spirit can be allowed to concern itself with everything that interests and touches human life.” Anglican focus on labour issues culminated in the work of William Temple in the 1930s and 1940s.”

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What Is The Anglican Communion

The Anglican communion is an association of independent Anglican churches from 38 provinces. With 80 million members, it is the third largest Christian body in the world, after the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches.

Each of the 38 provinces has a chief bishop or archbishop, known as a primate. Confusingly, the provinces can be individual countries such as Brazil, Bangladesh, Scotland or Wales or a group of countries. For example, the Church of the Province of Central Africa encompasses Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Or a country can have more than one province. India has two: the Church of North India and the Church of South India.

These churches are all Anglican, but they are culturally extremely different, leading to bitter disputes between some of the more conservative and liberal members.

The archbishop of Canterbury is the head of the Anglican communion by precedent, but his role is that of primus inter pares , and he has no direct authority to tell the different churches what to do.

All the Anglican bishops from around the world usually meet every 10 years in Canterbury at a Lambeth conference, though that has been indefinitely suspended by Welby.

Women And Lgbtq In The Church Of England

In 1992, the Church of England voted to ordain women as priests. This decision sparked debate within the clerical community but also opened the door for further empowerment of women within the church hierarchy.

Over the next few years, several attempts to allow women to become bishops were put in place, but many of them were squashed by the opposition.

Finally, in 2014, the Church passed a bill to consecrate women as bishops. The archbishops of Canterbury and of Yorkthe churchs most elite officialsapproved the bill later that year. The first female bishop of the Church of England, Rev. Libby Lane, was consecrated in January 2015.

Since 2005, the Church of England has allowed for the ordination of gay priests, under the condition that they remain celibate. LGBTQ individuals in celibate civil unions were permitted to become bishops in 2013.

Also, in 2013, the House of Commons passed legislation to legalize same-sex marriages but didnt allow the Church of England to perform them.

Many consider the Church of Englands elevation of women and LGBTQ people in the clergy as groundbreaking and long-awaited progress. Others in the church view it as sacrilegious and blasphemous.

While the debate continues, experts agree that the Church of England has paved the way for conversations about expanding gender and sexual-orientation roles within Christianity.

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Church Of England In America

Many of the early American colonists were Anglican Puritans. During the Colonial era, the Anglican Church set up establishments in Virginia, New York, , North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.

After the American Revolution, the Anglican Church became an independent organization in the United States and called itself the Protestant Episcopal Church.

The Episcopal Church, USA, is the official organization of the Anglican Communion in the United States. Its been a self-governing body since 1785 and has about 1.9 million members.

What Do Anglicans Believe Scripture And The Creeds

What is Anglicanism & the Anglican Church?

Anglican Christianity is unified by its center, not by its boundaries. In particular, the three creeds of the church constitute the core of Anglican belief. But what exactly is a creed? A creed is a brief statement of faith used to summarize Biblical teaching, clarify doctrinal points, and distinguish truth from error. The word creed comes from the Latin word credo, meaning, I believe. The Bible contains a number of creed-like passages .

The historic creeds offer us a concise summary of authentic Christian beliefs. They contain essential Christian doctrines common to the majority of Christians. It is through our common faith in these essentials that Anglicans can seek unity with other Christians. Our creeds guard the faith, but they do not limit the leading of the Holy Spirit. The common ground of faith established by the creeds allows us to move forward together into the world to fulfill the mission of God. Because of their importance, the creeds fill the pages of the Book of Common Prayer and shape its prayers, liturgies, ceremonies, and catechism. In many ways, the creeds act as an anchor that provides a doctrinal foundation for Anglicans everywhere.

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Anglican Church In America


We are not standing still. We have a vision to reintroduce a whole new generation to Christ through the beauty and mystery of the Anglican tradition.


Our worship is grounded in the 1928 Prayer Book as a faithful expression of the Anglican Faith which is truly

reformed and catholic.


It is not just about the doctrines that we believe, but the way we live them out. It is not simply about the documents, it is about the ethos, or life, of our people.

Sometimes the most
progressive direction is back.

The Anglican Church in America, in communion with our sister churches in the Anglican Continuum, would like to invite you to explore our faith, our churches and our community.


Looking for a church near you? Follow the link below to a map marking the locations of an ACA or Continuing church parish near you.


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