What Is Anglicanism?

“Ours is not the only way to be Christian,

but it’s a reliable way,

because it’s connected to Christians

everywhere…and always.”

– Archbishop Robert Duncan

First things first: It’s “ANGLican,” not “ANGELican.” We don’t worship angels!

Sometimes the best way to understand what “Anglican” means is just to hear it from someone else who is walking the path. Check out:

Why Am I Anglican? by Bishop John Guernsey

What Is Anglicanism? by Rev’d Dr. John W. Yates II

However, the basic contours of Anglicanism can be summarized as such:

In simplest terms, the Anglican Church began as the simply the church in England, with a history stretching back to the earliest days of Christianity, possibly to the end of the first century.

During the 16th century the church took on the theology of the Reformation, reclaiming the ancient truths of the Bible and salvation by grace alone through faith alone.

As England colonized the world, she took her church with her.  Upon decolonization, the state church was no longer present, but the theology and the heritage of the church remained.  This brought about the creation of the Anglican Communion, which now is represented in 164 countries, with a total of about 85 million members worldwide, organized into 34 largely autonomous Provinces.

Although there is a global crisis in the Anglican Communion because some Provinces (like the Episcopal Church USA) have left the Biblical moorings that served to form the foundation of our church, traditionally the Provinces have held four things in common:

  1. The Bible as the basis of our faith
  2. The Nicene and Apostles’ Creeds as basic statements of Christian belief
  3. A recognition of the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion
  4. The historic episcopate locally adapted.  In other words, the belief that the Christian church has historically been organized with a polity system that includes bishops as overseers.

The theological commitments and foundations of our movement are discussed in further detail on our Theology page.

Much more information can be found on the Anglican Church in North America website as well as the website of the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic.