Anglican Communion

views updated May 18 2018


As defined by the lambeth conference of 1930, the Anglican Communion is "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." They "uphold and propagate the Catholic and Apostolic faith and order as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer," and are "bound together not by central legislative and executive authority, but by mutual loyalty sustained through the common counsel of the Bishops in conference." The latter is a reference to the decennial Lambeth Conference of all the bishops of the Communion. As at the beginning of the 21st century, the Anglican communion comprised 37 autonomous provinces in more than 160 countries, with some 70 million Anglicans.

Churches of the Anglican Communion also sub-scribe to the lambeth quadrilateral of 1888, which affirms as the essential elements of faith and order in the quest for Christian unity:

  1. The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament as the revealed Word of God
  2. The Nicene Creed as the sufficient statement of the Christian Faith
  3. The two Sacraments instituted by Christ: Baptism and the Eucharist
  4. The historic Episcopate

Other elements which unite the Anglican Communion include the celebration of Holy Eucharist, and the book of common prayer in its various recensions throughout the Communion.

The 37 provinces of the Anglican Communion are:


The Church of England
The Church of Ireland
The Scottish Episcopal Church
The Church in Wales


The Church of Bangladesh
The Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean
The Holy Catholic Church in Japan (Nippon Seikokai)
The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East
The Anglican Church of Korea
The Church of the Province of Myanmar (Burma)
The Church of Pakistan The Philippine Episcopal Church
The Church of the Province of South East Asia


The Church of the Province of Burundi
The Church of the Province of Central Africa
The Province of the Anglican Church of the Congo
The Anglican Church of Kenya
The Church of the Province of Nigeria
The Province of the Episcopal Church of Rwanda
The Church of the Province of Southern Africa
The Episcopal Church of the Sudan
The Church of the Province of Tanzania The Church of the Province of Uganda
The Church of the Province of West Africa


The Anglican Church of Canada The Episcopal Church in the United States of America


The Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil (Episcopal Church of Brazil)
The Anglican Church of the Central American Region
The Anglican Church of Mexico
The Anglican Church of the Southern Cone of America The Church in the Province of the West Indies


The Lusitanian Church of Portugal
The Spanish Reformed Episcopal Church


The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia
The Anglican Church of Australia
The Church of the Province of Melanesia The Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea

In addition to the foregoing, the Anglican Communion also comprises the Extra Provincial Dioceses of Bermuda, Cuba, Hong Kong and Macau, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela, and the Church of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) Extra Provincial.

The following are churches which are in full communion with the See of Canterbury, as defined by the 1958 Lambeth Conference, but which are not denominationally Anglican:

Die Alt-Katholiken in Deutschland (Old Catholic Church of Germany)
Old Catholic Church of the Netherlands
Church of North India
Church of South India
Mar Thoma Syrian Church of India
The Philippine Independent Church

A move to give Anglicanism greater cohesion without providing it with a central governing head was proposed by the Lambeth Conference of 1968 and subsequently adopted by unanimous approval of the member churches. This is the Anglican Consultative Council, a representative advisory body of bishops, clergy, and laity. The objective of the Anglican Consultative Council council is to supply a continuity of consultation and guidance on policy. Like the Lambeth Conference, the council has only advisory power, with no coercive authority.

Bibliography: The Episcopal Church Annual (New York). c. e. simcox, The Historical Road of Anglicanism (Chicago 1968). f. l. cross, ed., The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Ox-ford, New York 1957). j. s. higgins, One Faith and Fellowship (New York 1958).

[e. mcdermott/

c. e. simcox/eds.]

Anglican Communion

views updated May 21 2018

Anglican Communion Fellowship of 37 independent national or provincial worldwide churches, many of which are in Commonwealth nations and originated from missionary work by the Church of England. An exception is the Episcopal Church in the USA, founded by the Scottish Episcopal Church. There is no single governing authority, but all recognize the leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Worship is liturgical, based on the Book of Common Prayer. Once a decade, the bishops of the Communion meet at the Lambeth Conference. The 1968 Conference established a Consultative Council to discuss issues that arise between conferences. In 1982 diplomatic ties with the Roman Catholic Church were restored. In 1988 the Conference passed a resolution in support of the ordination of women as preists. Today, there are c.70 million Anglicans organized into c.30,000 parishes.

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