1. Religion & Spirituality

Anglican/Episcopal Church Beliefs and Practices

Defining the Diverse Structure of Anglican Beliefs

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The roots of Anglicanism go back to one of the main branches of Protestantism that emerged from the Reformation. By the late 1600's the Church of England had settled into the Anglican structure that still characterizes it today. However, because Anglicans in general allow for significant freedom and diversity within the areas of Scripture, reason, and tradition, a great many variations in doctrine and practice exist within Anglican churches of different regions.

  • Authority of the Church - This diversity in practice and doctrine has put a serious strain on issues of authority in the Anglican denomination. An example would be the recent ordination of a practicing homosexual bishop in North America. Most other Anglican churches do not agree with this commission.

  • Book of Common Prayer - Anglican practices and rituals are primarily found in the Book of Common Prayer, a compilation of liturgy developed by Thomas Cranmer in the 16th century. As with other areas in Anglican practice, much diversity in worship has recently developed around the world, and many different Prayer Books have been issued.

  • Doctrine - Some put more emphasize on Protestant doctrines while others lean more toward Catholic teachings.

  • Ordination of Women - Some Anglican churches accept the ordination of women to the priesthood while others do not.

  • Worship - In summary, Anglican worship tends to be Protestant in doctrine and Catholic in appearance and flavor, with rituals and readings, bishops and priests, vestments and ornately decorated churches.

For more information about the Anglican or Episcopal Church visit AnglicanCommunion.org or The Episcopal Church Welcome Center.

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

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