History of the Anglican/Episcopal Denomination

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Founded in 1534 by King Henry's Act of Supremacy, the roots of Anglicanism go back to one of the main branches of Protestantism that came about after the 16th century Reformation. Today, the Anglican Church Communion consists of nearly 77 million members worldwide in 164 countries. For a sneak peek of Anglican history, visit Overview of the Anglican/Episcopal Church.

The Anglican Church Around the World

In the United States the denomination is called Episcopal, and in most of the rest of the world, it is called Anglican.

There are 38 churches in the Anglican Communion, including the Episcopal Church in the United States, the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Church in Wales, and the Church of Ireland. Anglican churches are primarily located in the United Kingdom, Europe, the United States, Canada, Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

Anglican Church Governing Body

The Church of England is headed by the king or queen of England and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Outside of England, Anglican churches are led on the national level by a primate, then by archbishops, bishops, priests and deacons. The organization is "episcopal" in nature with bishops and dioceses, and similar to the Catholic Church in structure. Prominent Anglican Church founders were Thomas Cranmer and Queen Elizabeth I. Other notable Anglicans are Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, the Right Reverend Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, and the Most Reverend Justin Welby, the current Archbishop of Canterbury.

Anglican Church Beliefs and Practices

Anglicanism is characterized by a middle ground between Catholicism and Protestantism. Due to significant freedom and diversity allowed by the Anglican churches in the areas of Scripture, reason, and tradition, there are many differences in doctrine and practice among the churches within the Anglican Communion.

 Its most sacred and distinguishing texts are The Bible and The Book of Common Prayer.

More About the Anglican Denomination

Sources: ReligiousTolerance.org, ReligionFacts.com, and the Religious Movements Web site of the University of Virginia