Welcome to the Anglican Church!
Anglicanism is the third largest Christian tradition in the world. Each Sunday, 77 million Anglicans gather across the globe to worship God as He is revealed in our risen Lord, Jesus Christ. Anglicanism is often referred to as the via media, the “middle way,” between Protestantism and Catholicism. Like Protestants, we understand Scripture as the final authority for our teaching and preaching. Like Catholics, we embrace the traditions of worship from the ancient Church. We invite you to come experience the good work that God’s Spirit is doing in the Anglican branch of His Body, the Church!
What Is an Anglican Church?
An Anglican Church is one that traces its theological and historical roots back to the Church of England. Through the efforts of Celtic missionaries, the Christian Church was already well established on the British Isles by the beginning of the 4th century, but in AD 597, Pope Gregory the Great sent one of his assistants, a young missionary and librarian named Augustine, to formally evangelize the people of England, then called the “Angles.” In the minds of many, this marked the formal beginning of the Church of England, and it linked the English Church with the great tradition of Western Christianity that went back all the way to the 1st century and to the ministry of the apostles. Today, all churches that can trace their lineage back to these early efforts of Augustine, and his companions, are part of the Anglican family of churches known as the “Anglican Communion,” the third largest body of Christians in the world.
Why Are We Liturgical?
To many Americans, the Anglican style of worship can seem rather formal compared to what is experienced in most Protestant churches. Our service is liturgical, which is a word derived from two Greek terms meaning “work of the people,” and it is a reminder to us that worship is a corporate as well as an individual act. Our service is derived from The Book of Common Prayer and has many set or prescribed prayers and responses that may at first seem strange to first-time visitors. However, many of these prayers go back centuries and have been used by Christians throughout history. They are not only beautiful expressions of faith and devotion but also a tangible link to the “faith of our fathers.”
History of a Global Church
The Christian faith was established in Britain in the middle of the 1st century AD. Sixteen hundred years later, during the Reformation, the Church of England was formed. While retaining its Catholic heritage in the ancient creeds, sacraments, and the threefold ministry of deacons, priests, and bishops, the Anglican Church embraced the elements of the Reformation that focus on biblical authority. Anglicans have a firm commitment to the doctrine of justification by faith and a missionary zeal to draw others into this great life in Christ. As the British Empire expanded throughout the world, this expression of Christian worship took root in a wide variety of places, from the United States to Uganda to Australia. As the Empire retracted, the Anglican Church remained and thrived as it continued to worship the Lord in a common voice across the globe. Biblically sound Anglican worship is firmly based on the witness of God’s inspired Word. Indeed, over the course of three years, almost the entire Bible is read aloud and preached upon!
Anglicans are ...
Worshipping God in the beauty of holiness is the defining practice of the Anglican Church. The worship styles of Anglicanism vary between parishes – from guitars leading worship in a school auditorium to English church music and vested choirs in Gothic buildings – but our focus is always the same – to give praise to our redeeming God!
Unified in Praise
No matter where worship takes place, Anglican churches worldwide practice a unified way of honoring God taken from The Book of Common Prayer. Through this book (which is 80 percent pure Scripture, simply organized for worship), we form a worldwide chorus of praise, glorifying God with one voice!
“Liturgy” means “the work of the people,” which is just a fancy way of saying that Anglican worship is an act of the entire congregation (not just the clergy or the choir) offering God praise, thanksgiving, and adoration. Thus, our worship is not designed to entertain the congregation but rather to honor the true “audience” of Anglican worship, the Lord Himself.
Scholarly Yet Faithful
Scholarship and biblical faithfulness go hand in hand in the life of the Anglican Church. We believe we are to love God with heart, soul, body, and mind. Many noted evangelical scholars come from the Anglican tradition, including C.S. Lewis, John Stott, J.I. Packer, and N.T. Wright.
Sacramental in Focus
Every Sunday, Anglicans come to the table of our Lord, to experience His real presence in the act of Holy Eucharist (also known as Communion or the Lord’s Supper). This is the high point of our worship as we strive to follow Christ’s command to do this in remembrance of God’s great love for creation.