What is Anglicanism?
Anglicans are all those who are communicants of churches which are part of the Anglican Communion. The central tenants of Anglicanism are summarized in the Lambeth Quadrilateral document
. Anglicanism combines a Protestant emphasis on the importance of Scripture with a Catholic concern for worship and tradition. Some describe Anglican beliefs as a three-legged stool; Scripture, tradition, and reason, with Scripture being the longest leg and tradition and reason being the tools which we use to interpret Scripture. Scripture contains all things necessary for salvation and should be taught at home and at church.
One of the beliefs of Anglicans is the concept of Apostolic Succession. The Anglican Church in America is a branch of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church instituted by Jesus Christ. The word 'Anglican' refers to our spiritual heritage and roots in the Church of England. Traders, merchants and soldiers seem to have brought the Christian Faith to Britain shortly after it became part of the Roman Empire in the middle of the First Century AD. Sixteen hundred years later, during what we call the Reformation, the Church of England emerged as a unique institution. It retained its 'Catholic' heritage enshrined in the Creeds, the decisions of the General Councils, its liturgy and sacraments, and in the threefold ministry of bishops, priests and deacons in Apostolic Succession. It 'reformed' itself by eliminating some nonessential accretions of the later medieval Church, by restoring much of the practice of the earliest Christians, and by insisting upon the authority of Holy Scripture as the rule and guide of Faith.
Members of the Church of England came to America in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In many of the original colonies, the Church of England was the established or official Church. After the Revolution, American Anglicans established an autonomous branch of the Church, which became known as the Episcopal Church.
Recently, during the last twenty-five or so years, that body abandoned most of the tradition of historic Anglican Faith and Practice. It is this tradition that many former Episcopalians and other faithful Anglicans are seeking to preserve and proclaim.