ACIS - Anglican Communion Information Service

Anglican Communion Literature

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The Anglican Communion

The Anglican Communion comprises 38 self-governing Member Churches or Provinces that share several things in common including doctrine, ways of worshipping, mission, and a focus of unity in the Archbishop of Canterbury. Formal mechanisms for meeting include the Lambeth Conference, the Anglican Consultative Council, and the Primates’ Meeting, together known as the Instruments of Communion.

Most Communion life, however, is found in the relationships between Anglicans at all levels of church life and work around the globe; dioceses linked with dioceses, parishes with parishes, people with people, all working to further God’s mission. There are around 85 million people on six continents who call themselves Anglican (or Episcopalian), in more than 165 countries. These Christian brothers and sisters share prayer, resources, support and knowledge across geographical and cultural boundaries.

As with any family, the Anglican Communion’s members have a range of differing opinions. This means that the Anglican Christian tradition has always valued its diversity, and has never been afraid to publicly tackle the hard questions of life and faith.


In continuity with the ancient Celtic and Saxon churches of the British Isles, and Britain’s place within Catholic Europe, Anglicanism found its distinctive identity in the 16th and 17th centuries. At the Reformation national churches emerged in England, Ireland and Scotland. With the American Revolution, an autonomous Episcopal Church was founded in the United States and later Anglican or Episcopal churches were founded across the globe as a result of the missionary movements of the 18th and 19th centuries.

It was in 1867 that Lambeth Palace hosted the first conference for Anglican bishops from around the world. Today, the Archbishop of Canterbury calls a Lambeth Conference every ten years. The last, in 2008, saw more than 800 bishops from around the world invited to Canterbury. Bishops attending the 1968 Lambeth Conference called for a body representative of all sections of the churches—laity, clergy and bishops—to co-ordinate aspects of international Anglican ecumenical and mission work. The resulting body was the Anglican Consultative Council that meets approximately every three years. 

Since 1979 the Archbishop of Canterbury has also regularly invited the chief bishops of the Provinces (known as Primates) to join him in a meeting for consultation, prayer and reflection on theological, social and international matters. These Primates’ Meetings take place approximately every two years.

These Instruments of Communion are served by a secretariat based at the Anglican Communion Office in London, as well as in New York, Geneva and from 2012 in Nairobi.
(See below for more information on the Anglican Communion Office)


There can be many differences between individual Anglican churches, but all Anglicans hold these in common:

  • The Holy Bible, comprising the Old and New Testament, as a basis of our faith;
  • The Nicene and Apostles' Creeds as the basic statements of Christian belief;
  • Recognition of the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion; and
  • The Historic Episcopate—ours is a Christian tradition with bishops.

This quadrilateral was first drawn up in the 19th century as a basis for seeking 'reunion' between churches, and has since also been recognised as a statement of Anglican unity and identity. Another is a style of worship which has its roots in the Book of Common Prayer and the Services of Ordination (the Ordinal). Anglicans also celebrate the Eucharist (also known as the Holy Communion, the Lord’s Supper or the Mass), the Sacrament of Baptism and other rites including Confirmation, Reconciliation, Marriage, Anointing of the Sick, and Ordination.

Anglicanism rests on the three pillars of Scripture, Tradition and Reason as it seeks to chart ‘a middle way’ among the other Christian traditions.


Following the teachings of Jesus Christ, Anglicans are committed to proclaiming the good news of the Gospel to all creation as expressed in the Marks of Mission:

  • To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom;
  • To teach, baptise and nurture new believers;
  • To respond to human need by loving service;
  • To seek to transform unjust structures of society;
  • To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.

This is expressed in all areas of a Christian’s life: their words and their actions. Therefore, members of the Anglican Communion around the world are involved with a range of life-changing activities that include evangelism and church growth; providing food, shelter and clothing to those in need; speaking out with and for the oppressed; and setting up schools, hospitals, clinics and universities.

There are also international Anglican networks and Anglican Communion Commissions, Committees and Working Groups that work to achieve these Marks and more. Current projects include a campaign to end violence against women and children, a project to understand how Anglicans read and understand the Bible, and an alliance co-ordinating global Anglican relief, development and advocacy efforts.


The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia

The Anglican Church of Australia

The Church of Bangladesh

Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil

The Anglican Church of Burundi

The Anglican Church of Canada

The Church of the Province of Central Africa

Iglesia Anglicana de la Region Central de America

Province de L'Eglise Anglicane Du Congo

The Church of England

Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui

The Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean

The Church of Ireland

The Nippon Sei Ko Kai (The Anglican Communion in Japan)

The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & The Middle East

The Anglican Church of Kenya

The Anglican Church of Korea

The Church of the Province of Melanesia

La Iglesia Anglicana de Mexico

The Church of the Province of Myanmar (Burma)

The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)

The Church of North India (United)

The Church of Pakistan (United)

The Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea

The Episcopal Church in the Philippines

L'Eglise Episcopal au Rwanda

The Scottish Episcopal Church

Church of the Province of South East Asia

The Church of South India (United)

Anglican Church of Southern Africa

Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur de America

The Episcopal Church of the Sudan

The Anglican Church of Tanzania

The Church of the Province of Uganda

The Episcopal Church Includes overseas dioceses in Taiwan, Haiti, Columbia, Honduras, Dominican Republic and Ecuador

The Church in Wales

The Church of the Province of West Africa

The Church in the Province of the West Indies

Extra-Provincial Churches and other dioceses

The Church of Ceylon (E-P to the Archbishop of Canterbury)

Iglesia Episcopal de Cuba

Bermuda (Extra-Provincial to Canterbury)

The Lusitanian Church (E-P to the Archbishop of Canterbury)

The Reformed Episcopal Church of Spain (E-P to the Archbishop of Canterbury)

Falkland Islands (Extra-Provincial to Canterbury)

Churches in Communion

The Mar Thoma Syrian Church
The Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht
The Philippine Independent Church

Anglicans/Episcopalians in certain parts of the Communion are in full communion with some Lutheran Churches.

The Anglican Communion Office

Office of the Secretary General

Secretary General Anglican Communion - Vacant

Executive Officer - Mrs Christine Codner

Facilitator of the Continuing Indaba - The Revd Canon Phil Groves

Finance & Administration

Director for Finance and Administration - Mr Tim Trimble

Accounts Assistant - Mrs Dee Marriott

Accounts Assistant - Mrs Clara Giraldo

Information and Knowledge Manager - Mrs Stephanie Taylor

Anglican Communion Secretariat Services

Travel Manager - Ms Lynne Butt

Warden, Saint Andrew's House - Ms Ann Quirke

Mission Department

Director for Mission - The Revd John Kafwanka

Unity, Faith and Order

Director for Unity, Faith and Order - Canon Dr Alyson Barnett-Cowan

Administrator - Mr Neil Vigers

Women in Church and Society

Director for Women in Church and Society - The Revd Terrie Robinson

Anglican Alliance

Director for the Anglican Alliance, Development, Relief and Advocacy - The Revd Rachel Carnegie

Director for the Anglican Alliance, Development, Relief and Advocacy - The Revd Andy Bowerman

Learning and Communications Manager - Mrs Christina Manning

Relief and Programmes Manager - Mrs Janice Proud

Programme Officer - Ms Isobel Owen

Anglican Communion Office at the United Nations (ACOUN)

Anglican Communion Representative to the United Nations institutions in Geneva - The Revd Canon Flora Winfield

Program Director for the Environment and Sustainable Development - The Revd Canon Jeff Golliher, Ph.D

UN Office Manager - Rachel Elizabeth Chardon

Communications Department

Director for Communications - Mr Jan Butter

IT. Website Management and Design - Mr Michael Ade

Address: St Andrew’s House, 16 Tavistock Crescent, London, W11 1AP
Phone: +44 (0)207 313 3900 Fax: +44 (0)207 313 3999

The permanent secretariat serves the Anglican Communion and is responsible for facilitating all meetings of the conciliar Instruments of Communion as well as the Commissions and Networks of the Communion. Anglican Communion Office staff, from countries including Japan, Wales, Canada, Zambia and Colombia, also maintain the Anglican Communion website where visitors can find the official prayer cycle (daily prayer intentions for the dioceses of the Communion); vast amounts of official information and documentation about the Anglican Communion’s Instruments and its ministries; plus the very latest news from around the Anglican world via the Anglican Communion News Service.

Funding for the work of the office comes from the Inter-Anglican budget supported by all Member Churches according to their means.


Useful Documents


Communications Department Documents

Photo Archives

Photo Album: Primates Meeting 2005
Image: From left to right, the Primate of the West Indies, the Most Revd Drexel Gomez, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd
Rowan Williams, the Primate of Australia, the Most Revd Peter Carnley, the Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Revd Henry Orombi, and the Archbishop of Armagh, the Most Revd Robin Eames at the podium, at the press briefing on the final day of the Primates Meeting in Northern Ireland
Photo Album: Primates Meeting 2005
Image: Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria and Archbishop Drexel Gomez of the West Indies at the St Patrick's Cathedral Evensong in Armagh on Tuesday 22 February Photo Album: Primates Meeting 2005
Image: The Primates of Central Africa (middle) and the Southern Cone (right) with the Revd Canon Kenneth Kearon (left) at the plenary session on theological education during the Primates Meeting in Northern Ireland
Photo Album: Primates Meeting 2005
Image: The Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Revd Henry Orombi, greets members of the music group from the Church of St Mary and St Patrick, Newry, Northern Ireland, who provided music for one of the daily services in the Chapel of St Theresa at the Dromantine Centre 
Photo Album: Primates Meeting 2005
Image: Archbishop James Ayong of Papua New Guinea and the President Bishop of the Middle East, the Most Revd Clive Handford, discuss matters during a break at the Ireland meeting