ANGLICAN + EPISCOPAL BELIEFS
Anglicanism is a synthesis of Catholic and Reformed elements in teaching, worship, and government. The Archbishop of Canterbury, who Anglicans refer to as our “Primus Inter Pares” or First Among Equals is our Spiritual Leader. Anglicanism forms one of the branches of Western Christianity, having declared its independence from the Bishop of Rome, the pope. Anglican Church divines (or leaders) have presented our Church as a Church that comprises a distinct Christian tradition, with theologies, structures, and forms of worship representing the “Church of the Middle Way”, or via media, between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism; a Church that is both “Catholic and Reformed”. The faith of Anglicans is founded in the Holy Scriptures, the four canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the Traditions of the Apostolic Church of the First Century, and Reason.
Anglicans profess the Catholic and Apostolic faith as revealed in Holy Scripture and the Catholic creeds and interpret these in light of the Christian tradition of the historic church, scholarship, reason and experience. The Book of Common Prayer is the key expression of Anglican doctrine and is appealed to as a guide to the parameters of belief and practice; lex orandi, lex credenda, (the law of prayer is the law of belief”).
Anglicans celebrate the traditional 7 Sacraments, with special emphasis given to the Holy Eucharist, also called Holy Communion, the Lord’s Supper or the Mass. The Holy Eucharist is central to worship for Anglicans in which the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are proclaimed through prayer, reading of Scripture, singing hymns, and reception of the consecrated elements of bread and wine, the Real Presence of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ as instituted at the Last Supper.
The Worldwide Anglican Communion, is the third largest Christian Communion in the world and was described by the church-wide Lambeth Conference of 1930 as a “fellowship, within the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, of those duly constituted dioceses, provinces or regional church in communion with the See of Canterbury.”
Christianity, including Anglicanism, the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church and others, is the world’s largest religion, with upwards of 2.5 billion followers on every continent. It is based on the teachings of Jesus who lived in the Holy Land 2,000 years ago.
Anglicanism is one of the traditions, or expressions, of the Christian faith. The word Anglican originates in ecclesia anglicana, a medieval Latin phrase dating to at least 1246 that means the English Church and its traditions adopted around the world in the past two and a half centuries. There are tens of millions of people around the world who are part of national or regional Churches which call themselves Anglican (or Episcopal in some countries. These Churches are collectively known as the Anglican Communion.
Anglicans generally hold the view of the Real Presence as expressed in the doctrine of transubstantiation, seeing the Eucharist as a liturgical representation of Christ’s atoning sacrifice, the consecrated elements of bread and wine transformed in the Body and Blood of Christ.