Being an Anglican
last updated on: 2nd Dec 2010
The Church of England is a network of tens of thousands of Christian communities, meeting in over 16,000 church buildings (and many more homes, halls, cafes, pubs and nightclubs). Founded on God's revelation of Himself supremely shown to us in the person and teaching of Jesus Christ, the Church of England can trace its roots back to the earliest Christian church, and draws on the rich heritage of 2,000 years of people whose lives have been transformed by the living God. It particularly has sought to hold together Catholic and Protestant influences, the former stressing the importance of the church, orders of ministry and sacraments, and the latter the Bible and individual faith.
The beliefs at the heart of both the Church of England and the wider Anglican Church, of which it is a part, are common to the vast majority of the two billion Christians around the world. We believe all human hearts are restless until they come to know the wholeness, love and salvation freely offered through the Lord Jesus Christ. Anglicanism recognises that God has uniquely spoken to humans in the Bible, and also offers us His Holy Spirit to help us know more of Him in our everyday lives, to better understand the Bible, to know His healing, renewal, love, peace and joy. Being an Anglican means to be joined in fellowship with others who believe these things. Being part of the Church of England (as the national church of England) helps us to play a part in sharing God’s love and salvation through the structures of our country, as well as relationally with individuals.
A key distinguishing feature of Anglicanism is its interdependency; Christians holding common beliefs are linked across villages, towns, cities, nations and continents. At the local level, the Church of England is arranged as communities of faith based around neighbourhoods and called parishes (every blade of grass in the country falls into a parish somewhere!). These parishes are then arranged into slightly larger groupings (called Deaneries) where parishes can work together to build up God's Kingdom. These deaneries are then gathered into larger groupings still, of a similar size to English counties (called Dioceses, which are led by a bishop). These dioceses in turn make up the Church of England. Similarly, the Church of England is one of thirty-eight national churches which share a common belief in the truthes of Christianity, together making up the worldwide Anglican Communion. The combination of local, national and international means we can work together at the most appropriate and effective level depending on what is being focused on, learn good practise from one another and encourage each other in God's greatness and goodness.