The Anglican Church

The Anglican Church welcomes you, particularly through the parish church nearest you. For further information contact the rector. Anglicans welcome you, too. Make yourself known when you attend a church service.

What is the Anglican Church?

The Anglican Church is a member church of the Anglican Communion, “a fellowship, within the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, of those duly constituted Dioceses, Provinces, or Regional Churches in communion with the See of Canterbury ,” England, which “uphold and propagate the Catholic and Apostolic faith and order as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer, … bound together not by a central … authority, but by mutual loyalty sustained by the common counsel of the Bishops in conference” (Lambeth Conference Report 1930, Resolution 49).

The Anglican Church owes its foundation to Jesus Christ. It is organically related to the Church of England, which was founded by missionaries in the second century and affiliated with Rome beginning in the sixth century with St. Augustine. In the 16th century when the English state forcibly severed our communion with Rome, we received strong influences from the Protestant Reformation and from the Eastern Church.

Thus the Anglican Church’s faith and order are those of the earliest undivided Christian Church. Her tradition is a blending of evangelical (in the finest sense of the word) and catholic (Eastern and Western) Christianity in which Christians of both traditions may find a home in which each tradition enriches and fulfills the other.

What is the faith of the Church?

The faith taught by Anglicans is none other than the Christian faith. No more and no less. Nothing taught by Anglicans is peculiar to Anglicanism. All teachings are those of the ancient and undivided Church.

Christian doctrine, as taught by Anglicans, must conform to three criteria: Scripture, Tradition, and Reason. No doctrine can be taught which is not at the same time scriptural, traditional, and reasonable. Anglicans must therefore know the Bible and the traditions and history of the Church. Especially important to Anglicans is the Holy Bible. No Anglican priest may teach unbiblical doctrine, and no Anglican is required to believe anything except what is contained in Holy Scripture.

The Christian faith is summarized in the two ancient and ecumenical creeds, the Nicene and Apostles’, which are the traditional standards of faith, second only to scripture, in the Church.

We believe in one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We believe in God our Father, who created all things and chose a people, Israel, to be a means of blessing and salvation for the whole world. We believe that, at the right time, to save us from our sins, of his great love for us he gave us his only Son, Jesus Christ, who was born of the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit and became man. We believe that Jesus died for our sins on the cross and destroyed the power of death by his resurrection. He now offers to us the new life in him of joy and peace and love through the Holy Spirit, who is the source of power in our lives as Christians. Moreover, we believe that through the Spirit of Christ God enables us, his church, to continue the same ministry of teaching, healing, shepherding, and of spreading the Good News everywhere of all the wonderful things that God has done and continues to do with the power of the Spirit through Jesus Christ. Finally, we believe that some day God will send Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit to judge all people, living and dead, to complete his work through us, to establish his reign over the entire universe. We believe that finally we, who have been created to glorify him and to enjoy him forever, will behold him face to face-all to the praise of his holy name. This faith is no more and no less than the teaching of scripture as set forth in the Nicene and Apostles’ Creeds.

Ministry and order

Anglicans hold to the ministry and order of the church developed by the second century under the guidance of the Holy Spirit: the essential and basic priestly ministry of the laity (1 Peter 2:9), and the ordained ministries of bishops, priests, and deacons. All orders of ministry have full voice in the government of the Anglican Church at every level, as members one of another in the Body of Christ. The basic marching order of the ministry, both lay and ordained, is the Great Commission. See Matthew 28:18-20.

Word and sacraments

The church’s ministry is a ministry of the Word of God. We are called upon to “preach the word in season and out of season” (J Timothy 4:2), for “woe unto us if we preach not the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:16), which “is the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith” (Romans 1:16). Preaching is very important in the Anglican Church, and it is usually biblically based. In fact, just for this purpose the Anglican Church provides the ordered ecumenical three-year scheme of Bible readings so that balanced preaching may take place on all aspects of the faith.

The church’s ministry is also a ministry of the sacraments. Besides the two Gospel sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist, which all Christians celebrate, there are also five other traditional sacramental rites: Confirmation, the sacrament of the Holy Spirit in the Christian life; Marriage; Ordination (Holy Orders); Reconciliation of a Penitent (Confession); and the Unction of the Sick, the sacrament of healing.
Second only in importance to the basic sacrament of our union with Christ, namely, Holy Baptism, is the Lord’s Supper or Holy Eucharist, the sacrament of our continual re-union with Christ. This is the principal act of worship in the church and, in the Anglican Church, is celebrated every Sunday.

Worship

The Book of Common Prayer is the official liturgy of the Anglican Church by which we pray our faith and through which we meet God and he meets us. Worship in the Anglican Church ranges from the very plain to the very full. It ranges from the splendor and dignity of a ceremonial carried out in some places almost as it used to exist in the Roman Catholic Church to a simplicity in other places almost as in a Protestant denomination. Worship in most Anglican Churches lies somewhere in between.

Anglicans worship the Lord in common and with devotion. The laity actively participate in worship by bodily gestures, reciting prayers together, responding to liturgical greetings, and answering every prayer with “Amen!” We stand for praise, stand or kneel for prayer, and sit for instruction. We also stand for the Creed and, at the Eucharist, for the reading of the Gospel.

How do I join the Anglican Church?

If you have already been baptized with water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, you are a member of the Christian Church and may be registered as such on the rolls of any Anglican congregation. As a baptized Christian you may receive Holy Communion in an Episcopal church. If you have not been baptized: Anglicans practice both infant baptism (to affirm the primacy of God’s action) and baptism of believers (to affirm the necessity of Christian faith and commitment). Baptism is usually by pouring, though baptism by immersion is available on request. After your baptism you are expected to be confirmed by the Bishop. You will be prepared for baptism or confirmation by your local priest, usually through an inquirers class.

What is expected of me when I join the Anglican Church?

You are expected to confess and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, to follow and obey him as your Lord, to worship God every Sunday in his Church, and to work, pray, and give for the spread of his Kingdom.

As a Christian you will want to grow more deeply in your faith, in your understanding of the Lord, and in your living as a Christian. No Christians, and no Anglicans, will claim they know everything there is to know about Christianity or that their personal spirituality is perfect or that their Christian life is all they would like it to be. Therefore all Christians need to set aside some regular time for prayers, for the study of scriptures, and perhaps for reading good Christian books and participation in some form of corporate Christian nurture in addition to Sunday worship.

What is the Anglican Church’s relation to other churches?

Since the beginnings of the movement for Christian Unity, The Anglican Church has come into communion with the Old Catholic Churches, with the Church of Finland (Lutheran, The Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Malabar, the United Church of North India, the United Church of Pakistan, the Church of South India, the Philippine Independent Church, and the Church of Sweden (Lutheran).

The Anglican Church is a member of the National and World Council of Churches and enjoys friendly relations with the Eastern Orthodox and Protestant Churches and increasingly close relations with the Lutheran and Roman Catholic Churches. The Anglican Church is also in communion with thirty other churches of the seventy-million-member worldwide Anglican Communion.

The Anglican Church welcomes you.

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