Anglican Communion


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Anglican Communion,

the body of churches in all parts of the world that are in communion with the Church of England (see England, Church ofEngland, Church of,
the established church of England and the mother church of the Anglican Communion. Organization and Doctrine

The clergy of the church are of three ancient orders: deacons, priests, and bishops.
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). The communion is composed of regional churches, provinces, and separate dioceses bound together by mutual loyalty as expressed in the Lambeth ConferenceLambeth Conference,
convocation at Lambeth Palace, London, that brings together all the bishops in the Anglican Communion. It meets about every 10 years at the invitation of the archbishop of Canterbury and is the principal instrument of international Anglican life, although it
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 of 1930. There are 44 churches in the Anglican Communion, including the Episcopal ChurchEpiscopal Church,
Anglican church of the United States. Its separate existence as an American ecclesiastical body with its own episcopate began in 1789. Doctrine and Organization

The Episcopal Church maintains that the Holy Scriptures are the ultimate rule of faith.
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 in the United States, the Anglican Church of Canada, the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Church in Wales, the Church of Ireland (see Ireland, Church ofIreland, Church of,
Anglican church of both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. As a separate body the church goes back to the Reformation when the Irish church was officially reformed along the same lines as the church in England (see England, Church of).
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), and the Nippon Sei Ko Kwai (Japan). There are 85 million members worldwide; since the late 20th cent. the communion has experienced tremendous growth in Africa. Worship is liturgical and is regulated by the Book of Common PrayerBook of Common Prayer,
title given to the service book used in the Church of England and in other churches of the Anglican Communion. The first complete English Book of Common Prayer was produced, mainly by Thomas Cranmer, in 1549 under Edward VI.
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 and its revised alternates; about half of the churches ordain women as well as men as priests.

The consecration in 2003 of an openly homosexual priest as a bishop by the Episcopal Church and the blessing of gay unions by the U.S. and Canadian churches led to tensions within the communion, especially with more conservative African churches, some of which broke their ties the Episcopal Church; the 1998 Lambeth Conference had rejected homosexual practice as incompatible with the Bible and refused to advise blessing same-sex unions and ordaining individuals involved in such unions. In 2005 the two North American churches were asked to withdraw from the Anglican Consultative Council, which they did voluntarily, attending as observers in June, 2005. In September, however, the Anglican Church of Nigeria removed explicit references to being in communion with the Church of England from its constitution, again raising the possibility of a schism in the Anglican Communion.

Following the Episcopal Church's call in 2006 for a moratorium on the consecration of openly homosexual bishops, a move that many Anglican conservatives regarded as inadequate, the archbishop of Canterbury proposed that Anglicans adopt a formal covenant concerning their shared beliefs, a suggestion that seemed likely to exclude the Episcopalians from full membership in the Anglican Communion or split the American church. Homosexuality, however, is not the only issue dividing the communion; the ordination of women as priests and bishops is also a subject on which the churches are split. A 2007 proposal by the Anglican primates to establish a separate vicar for conservative American parishes was strongly opposed by Episcopal bishops, who regarded it as foreign interference in their provincial affairs and contrary to the principles of the Episcopal Church and the nature of the Anglican Communion.

Nigerian primate Peter AkinolaAkinola, Peter Jasper,
1944–, Nigerian Anglican prelate. He was ordained a deacon in 1978 and a priest in 1979. From 1978 on he built the Anglican church in Abuja, Nigeria, from practically nothing into a flourishing institution.
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 subsequently installed a Virginia bishop as leader of a conservative North American Anglican group, despite a request not to do so from the archbishop of Canterbury. In 2008 conservative Anglicans met in Jerusalem and formed their own organization, but did not break completely with the Anglican Communion. Many conservatives, however, did not attend the subsequent Lambeth Conference (July, 2008). The Episcopal Church ended its moratorium on consecrating openly homosexual bishops in 2009, and after a lesbian was elected (2010) as an assistant bishop of Los Angeles, Episcopalians were suspended from serving as official members on ecumencial commissions involving the Anglican Communion. In 2012, the bishops of the Church of England approved the election of homosexual priests as bishops as long as they were celibate. In 2016 the Communion again limited the Episcopal Church's participation in Anglican affairs after it adopted (2015) a marriage rite for same-sex couples. After the Scottish Episcopal Church also allowed (2017) same-sex marriage, it was similarly sanctioned by the Communion.

Bibliography

See S. Neill, Anglicanism (4th ed. 1977); G. J. Cumings, A History of Anglican Liturgy (2d ed. 1980).

References in periodicals archive ?
Strange said he recognized that the decision made at the last Primates' Meeting "to exclude our brothers and sisters in The Episcopal Church from debate on doctrine and from chairing Anglican Communion committees, is a decision that now also pertains to us.
The Design Group was ably assisted by staff from the Anglican Communion office and Lambeth Palace (the office and residence of the archbishop of Canterbury in London) and was later augmented by two additional bishops, from England and Polynesia.
Given this history of conflict and compromise, it will be truly sad if the Anglican Communion finally falls apart over the ordination of Gene Robinson and his likely successors.
In a published statement the primates said "We believe the report correctly points out that the Episcopal Church USA and the [Canadian] Diocese of New Westminster have pushed the Anglican communion to the breaking point.
Caption: Archbishop Josiah Atkins Idowu-Fearon, secretary general, Anglican Communion
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, with the endorsement of the standing committee of the Anglican Consultative Council, appointed the two priests from a list of nominees submitted by provinces of the Anglican Communion, a family of churches in more than 165 countries.
Only three of the 38 provinces within the Anglican Communion have ordained female bishops, though it is possible in about 11 others.
The same poll shows that most ordained ministers consider Williams--who in 1989 gave a landmark speech on sexuality called "The Body's Grace"--to be a healing rather than a divisive force in the Anglican Communion.
Within the international Anglican communion, the retiring Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, has intimated that he is "saddened" by the B.
But this anecdote--and others like it that speak to the urgency of the situation facing the local church in so many places--raise for Zink and for this reader questions about the role of the almost entirely male (as Zink points out) leadership of the Anglican Communion, which at times appears to be fiddling while the Romes of today's world (South Sudan, Syria and other crisis points) burn.
3 million-member Episcopal church in the United States and the theologically conservative majority in the 77 million-member worldwide Anglican Communion.
I knew that while the Episcopal Church (to which I belong) is one of America's most liberal denominations, the Anglican Communion (to which it belongs) is overwhelmingly conservative.

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