What is the Anglican Church?
Anglican means the church can trace its roots to the Church of England (which used to be Angle-Land). As the church grew beyond England, it began to be called Anglican or sometimes Episcopal. The Anglican Church has a membership of roughly 75 million across the globe.
How are you different from the Catholic Church?
The Anglican Church is often described as the ‘middle ground’ between Protestant Churches and the Catholic Church. Anglicans and Catholics are both liturgical and share many similar practices. There are also many differences in belief and practice between the two that make Anglicans distinctly Protestant.
Perhaps the biggest difference is that Anglicans hold Scripture as the supreme authority in the church, while Roman Catholics believe the Pope to be the supreme authority.
The exact Anglican Statement of faith is the 39 Articles, which go into the specifics of what Anglicans believe.
What does it mean to have a liturgical service?
By this we mean that the Sunday service (and other forms of worship, like using the prayer book) follows a specific pattern. Our Christian journey follows certain rhythms and natures and the liturgy is there to guide Christians through these rhythms and center us on Christ.
Liturgical worship has been the practice of the New Testament Church for thousands of years and was the practice of the Old Testament Church before that. By following the liturgy, Anglicans share a connection not only with God’s people across the globe, but into history.
What is the Prayer Book?
A specific set of liturgies the Anglican Church follows is found in the Prayer Book (or the Book of Common Prayer), which was developed during the reformation uniquely by Anglicans. The book contains prayers for morning, evening, and night in addition to all sorts of other prayers (for baptism, sickness, Psalms).
Just as Christians find weekly rest in the prayer and worship of the Sunday service, Anglicans find daily rest and a sense of community by following the Prayer Book.
All this talk of prayer books and liturgies sounds like Salvation by works…
Anglicans believe in salvation through faith in Christ alone. So while we think Christians can benefit from worshiping liturgically and praying through the Prayer Book, we believe neither is necessary for salvation.
Didn’t the Anglican Church only start because Henry VIII wanted a divorce?
It is true the Anglican Church originally broke off from Rome in 1534 under Henry VIII. However, during that break the beliefs of the church remained for all practical purposes, Roman Catholic. It was not until the reign of Henry’s son Edward VI that the church truly broke from what was at the time a very corrupt Roman church and became an active participant in the Protestant Reformation. From here it became what we know today as the Anglican Church.