Anglican Communion

The Anglican Communion is the third largest Christian communion after the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches.[2][3][4] Founded in 1867 in London, the communion has more than 85 million members[5][6][7] within the Church of England and other autocephalous national and regional churches in full communion.[8] The traditional origins of Anglican doctrine 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. Most, but not all, member churches of the communion are the historic national or regional Anglican churches.

Anglican Communion
ClassificationProtestant (with various theological and doctrinal identities, including Anglo-Catholic, Liberal, Evangelical)
Primate of All EnglandArchbishop of Canterbury
Secretary General, ACCJosiah Idowu-Fearon
Deputy Secretary General, ACCvacant
HeadquartersLondon, England
FounderCharles Longley
Lambeth Conference, London, England
SeparationsContinuing Anglican movement (1977) Anglican Network in Canada

The Anglican Communion was officially and formally organised and recognised as such at the Lambeth Conference in 1867 in London 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. As in the Church of England itself, the Anglican Communion includes the broad spectrum of beliefs and liturgical practises found in the Evangelical, Central and Anglo-Catholic traditions of Anglicanism. Each national or regional church is fully independent, retaining its 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 a guiding figure such as Luther, Knox, Calvin, Zwingli or Wesley,[9] or, for yet others, a combination of the two.

Most of its members live in the Anglosphere of former British territories. Full participation in the sacramental life of each church is available to all communicant members. Because of 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 and the Scottish and American Episcopal churches, have official names that do not include "Anglican".

Additionally, some churches that do use the name "Anglican" are not part of the communion. These have generally disaffiliated over disagreement with direction of the communion.

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