What is Anglicanism?

There are around 85 million people on six continents who call themselves Anglican (or Episcopalian), in more than 165 countries. It is the third largest Christian Denomination in the world. These Christian brothers and sisters share prayer, resources, support and knowledge across geographical and cultural boundaries. 

The Anglican Communion comprises about 39 self-governing Provinces that share several things in common including doctrine, ways of worshipping, mission, and a focus of unity in the Archbishop of Canterbury. We are an “Ancient-Future Faith” that draws in fresh ways from the deep resources of 21 Centuries of Christian wisdom and practice with the ancient undivided church. The Anglican Church in North America is a recognized member of Global Anglican Fellowship Conference (GAFCON) and the Anglican Global South, representing over 75% of worldwide Anglicans.

While the name “Anglican” may sound unusual or new to some, you have likely heard of a few of these Anglicans:

  • C.S. Lewis
  • T.S. Eliot
  • N.T. Wright
  • J.I. Packer
  • John Wesley
  • Queen Elizabeth II
  • 11 United States Presidents (i.e. George Washington, FDR)
  • John Steinbeck

Anglicanism has a wide-ranging influence on our culture.  The foundations of Oxford and Cambridge universities are Anglican.  It developed the first English language services, the King James Bible, the majestic English choral tradition as well as innovative praise. 

Anglicanism is a global faith.  Within the last 50 years the majority of Anglicans now live in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Anglicanism is a multi-national, multi-ethnic church of both poor and rich.  Our services are held under a shade tree in a savannah, beneath a tin roof in an urban slum, within a Gothic cathedral or a suburban living room.  

What does it mean to be Anglo-Catholic?

Within the beauty of Anglicanism, you may have wondered what the term Anglo-Catholic means within the three streams of Anglicanism (i.e. Evangelical, Charismatic and Catholic)? Fr. Steven Peay, the Dean of Nashotah House Theological Seminary wrote a wonderful description of Anglo-Catholicism for those wondering what that term meant:

  • First, holiness. "The primacy of God: the call to love and adore Him in the perfection of His own being and in response to His love for us." 
  • Second, "Catholic life is sacramental. The world is God's creation, and within its beauty and wonder we see intimations of the beauty and mystery of God Himself." 
  • Third, Anglo-Catholic belief is incarnational. "Our Lord becomes at one with us in the flesh, and his work of redemption includes the whole range of our social and political relations in life. . . ." Set free from the bondage of sin by the Redeemer, we are called to love and serve Him in the needs of the poor and challenge the forces and structures which oppress people and demean the human spirit."

It is a movement that continues to remind us that we are to worship God in "the beauty of holiness. ~ The Rev. Dr. Steven Peay, Dean for Nashotah House Theological Seminary

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