What is an Anglican Church?
That is a good question. Globally, the Anglican Church, or more commonly known as the Anglican Communion, is the third largest Christian denomination in the world (after the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches). There are Anglicans on every continent tied together through their love of Christ, a common history and theology, and mutual bonds of affection. This worldwide communion is organized into Provinces, each led by an Archbishop. Provinces are made up of Dioceses, each led by a Bishop. Dioceses are made up of congregations, each led by a Rector or Vicar, who is usually an Anglican Priest. At Christ Church, our Vicar is the Rev. Payton Wieland. We are a part of the 142 year old Diocese of Quincy, with the Rt. Rev. Alberto Morales, OSB as our Bishop, and our diocese is a part of the Anglican Church in North America which is led by the Most. Rev. Dr. Foley Beach. This connection to other churches and leaders provides us with accountability, fellowship, and support.
Anglicanism has its roots in the pre-Reformation Roman Catholic Church in England. At the time of the Reformation, the English protestant leaders recognized the need for reform within the Church in conversation with other Reformation leaders such as Martin Luther and John Calvin. However, when the Church of England was formed, the decided to maintain many of the old traditions of the church (especially in the areas of worship and leadership) as long as they didn’t go against the plain meaning of the scriptures. Thus Anglicanism is a balance of both protestant and catholic, or as some like to call it, Reformed Catholicism. During the colonial era, Anglicanism spread throughout the British empire to every continent around the globe. As these colonies gained their independence, the Church of England moved from being a national church to a global family of churches.