Frequently Asked Questions

The Anglican Communion is a worldwide communion of 38 Anglican provinces with approximately 77 million baptized members. 
Members of the Anglican Communion (38 provinces) are united by a common faith, doctrine, tradition and order. Broken, or impaired, communion indicates that one or more of the constituent members has breached the bonds of communion. Of the 38 provinces in the Anglican Communion, 22 have declared that they are in a state of broken, or impaired, communion with all or part of The Episcopal Church due to its actions.
The Episcopal Church (and a few other parts of the Anglican Communion, including the Anglican Church in Canada) faces an extreme crisis of belief centered on the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as Savior and the authority of Scripture. This crisis has resulted in conflicts over specific behavior and practices that are informed by Scripture, including issues concerning human sexuality and marriage, though these issues are in reality symptoms of the deeper issues. 
CAPA, or Council for Anglican Provinces of Africa, is an organization of 12 African provinces and the Diocese of Egypt—representing over 40 million Anglicans.  CAPA is the largest and fastest growing segment of the Anglican Communion. 
In the Anglican Communion, “Global South” is the term used to refer to those provinces and dioceses near or south of the equator, particularly those in Africa, southern Asia, and Latin America. These Anglicans, representing approximately 70% of the Anglican Communion, meet together regularly; a majority of Global South leaders are deeply evangelical and are outspoken critics of the theological crisis in The Episcopal Church. 

The four instruments of unity in the Anglican Communion, and each of their roles, are the:

  • Archbishop of Canterbury (unique focus of unity; calls the Lambeth Conference; chairs the Primates’ meetings; President of the ACC)
  • Lambeth Conference (gathering of the bishops of the Communion; meets once every 10 years)
  • Primates (Archbishops of each province; meet regularly)
  • Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) (includes one to three persons from every province; an advisory council which seeks to develop common policies with respect to the world mission of the Church)

The Anglican Communion understands itself to be a family formed by mutual responsibility and interdependence chiefly enabled through these four instruments.  The four instruments are modeled on the early Church’s “conciliar structure” – a model upheld by both Scripture and tradition in which the Church met in councils to consider and resolve theological and doctrinal issues. Today, they are also responsible for articulating and upholding the mind of the Church on matters of doctrine and theology. 

In the canons of The Episcopal Church, an “inhibition” refers to written, authoritative instructions from a bishop that a priest or deacon is to cease from exercising functions of ordained ministry. A “deposition” goes further than an inhibition, referring to the removal of the privileges of ordained ministry; also known as “defrocking.” In some cases, a deposition may be issued six months after an inhibition. Both depositions and inhibitions have been abused by Episcopal bishops in an apparent attempt to “control” orthodox clergy who are speaking out or seeking to affiliate with the AAC and/or Anglican Communion Network. 
Traditionally, the term via media has been used to describe the middle way between the Reformed/Protestant expression of faith and Roman Catholicism. With the rise of revisionism, via media has been re-interpreted as the middle of extremes between conservative and liberal theology—it is described as the “moderate position,” even though its proponents are actually departing from the most basic tenets of historic and biblical Christianity, thereby rendering it a new tool of revisionism. Groups such as Via Media USA have formed to promote this redefined via media concept. 

Some key decisions made by the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church are recorded:

In many cases, however, bishops vote by voice, and therefore no record of their vote exists. (An example of an unrecorded voice vote in the House of Bishops is the 2003 vote on Resolution C051 on Blessings of Same-Sex Unions.) Additionally, the election of the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church is conducted by secret ballot, so votes of individual bishops are not recorded. In these cases, the only indication of how a particular bishop voted is his/her own word if he/she chooses to reveal that information.

Issues of sexuality are not justice or civil rights issues; rather sexuality is a theological and doctrinal issue addressed and settled by plain reading of Scripture. Homosexuality is condemned in Scripture as sinful regardless of the context. (There is no provision for “committed partnerships” or same-sex unions.) The Church is called to lovingly lead sinners toward repentance and transformation (if they are willing) rather than embrace sinful behavior. In addition, the Anglican Communion has stated clearly that the questions surrounding the ordination of women are not considered “essentials of faith,” and, therefore, differing views on the issue of women’s ordination are accepted within the Communion. In other words, the Communion has “agreed to disagree” on women’s ordination. The Anglican Communion has expressed its mind on issues of sexuality, however, and upholds Scripture and historic teaching on sexuality.

The Lambeth Commission was established in October 2003 by the Archbishop of Canterbury to examine the life of the Communion. The Windsor Report 2004 was developed by the Lambeth Commission; the report outlines the state of the Anglican Communion and how to address issues threatening to divide the worldwide Church.

Windsor Report  (PDF download)
Lambeth Commission Web site

Lambeth 1.10 was a “resolution on human sexuality” passed by the 1998 Lambeth Conference; it has since been upheld by each of the other three instruments of Anglican unity as the Communion’s mind on human sexuality. The resolution upholds, among other things:

  • marriage defined as “between a man and a woman in a lifelong union”
  • abstinence for those who are not called to marriage
  • homosexual practice as “incompatible with Scripture”
  • rejection of “legitimising or blessing of same sex unions” and of ordination of “those involved in same gender unions”
  • recognition of the need to “minister pastorally and sensitively” to all, including those who practice homosexuality

Lambeth 1.10 (Full Text)

Revisionism, also known as “Progressive Christianity,” seeks to change theological, doctrinal and moral essentials of orthodox Christianity. This version of Christianity offers a “new gospel.” Revisionists often reject the authority of Scripture and the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as the only means of salvation.. 
“Orthodoxy” refers to doctrine, teaching and practice consistent with Scripture and traditions of the Christian Church (based on the four Councils of Nicea, Constantinople, Ephesus and Chalcedon; the 39 Articles of Religion; the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral; and the 1888 Lambeth Conference). 
GAFCON, which stands for the Global Anglican Future Conference, was an initiative led by several Global South Primates that called for a conference of orthodox Anglicans in Jerusalem in June, 2008. While there, bishop, clergy, and lay representatives discussed the crisis of faith in the Anglican Communion and a possible way forward. On the conference’s final day, the delegation of 1,400 ratified the Jerusalem Declaration. This document outlined principals of orthodox Anglicanism and also called for a Primatial Council to be formed of those Primates that agreed with the Jerusalem Declaration. The document also called for a new province in North America to be formed from the Common Cause Partnership. 
The American Anglican Council is one of the founding members of the The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). The ACNA officially began December 3, 2008, at the culmination of a three-day meeting of the Common Cause Council, a leadership assembly that included three representatives from each of the nine Common Cause Partners Federation members. The council unanimously adopted a provisional constitution and nine initial canons that governed the church until a Provincial Assembly met June 22 – 25, 2009 in Bedford, Texas. That meeting amended and provided final ratification of the constitution and canons and installed the ACNA’s first Archbishop, Bob Duncan of the Pittsburgh diocese. The current Archbishop is the Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach. Several Anglican provinces have recognized the Anglican Church in North America and are in full communion with them. These include:

  • The Anglican Church of Nigeria
  • The Anglican Church of Kenya
  • The Church of Uganda
  • The Anglican Church of the Southern Cone of America
  • Province de L'Eglise Anglicane au Rwanda
  • The Anglican Church of Tanzania
  • The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East
  • Province de L'Eglise Anglicane Du Congo
  • The Church of the Province of South East Asia

The ACNA is currently seeking recognition of other provinces of the Anglican Communion. 

This number is difficult to pinpoint and depends on how the churches are counted; there is no official count or list at this time due to the inherent difficulty in obtaining an accurate and useful figure. Since 2000, an estimated 200 churches have left The Episcopal Church—at least 100 of those since General Convention 2003. These churches have either fully disassociated from TEC, or experienced a congregational split that resulted in a newly formed Anglican church and a (usually small) remnant of the original Episcopal church still loyal to TEC. In addition, hundreds of individual Episcopalians are leaving their Episcopal churches every week, many of them forming and/or joining churches affiliated with overseas Anglican dioceses or other Anglican-tradition organizations that adhere to historic, orthodox Anglicanism. 
TEC is the new name for what was formerly known as the Episcopal Church USA, or ECUSA; the name was officially changed by General Convention 2006. TEC is currently the U.S. province of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The other Anglican group in the U.S. is the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). 
The AAC’s affiliates include individuals as well as whole parishes, ministries, and dioceses. The AAC has approximately 300 affiliate parishes in 36 states, with about half affiliated with the Anglican Church in North America and half with The Episcopal Church; 38 affiliate ministries; and 18 dioceses. Through its individual and parish affiliations, the AAC represents an estimated 80,000 individuals. 
 The AAC is not part of The Episcopal Church and therefore cannot “leave” it.Although the AAC works with individual churches, priests and laity within parts of The Episcopal Church, the AAC is entirely separate from any ecclesial body – it has never been under the auspices or authority of The Episcopal Church. The AAC opposes the direction of the national Episcopal Church leadership, which we believe has rejected biblical Christianity and is following a path that does not conform to historic, orthodox Anglicanism.
No. The AAC is an organization centered primarily on advocacy, communications, counsel and advice (legal and otherwise), and education. We do not carry out ordinations or consecrations.
The AAC has individual members and affiliate congregations/ministries with differing views on women’s ordination, and we respect these differing opinions. This issue has been studied and debated within the Anglican Communion, and, based on Scriptural evidence, was deemed an issue upon which Christians might have legitimate differences within the bonds of the Anglican Communion. (This conclusion is unlike that made by the Communion on sexuality issues.) 
The AAC’s Covenant of Faith (“A Place to Stand”) states our position on the sanctity of life: “All human life is a sacred gift from God and is to be protected and defended from conception to natural death. We will uphold the sanctity of life and bring the grace and compassion of Christ to those who face the realities of previous abortion, unwanted pregnancy, and end-of-life illness.” 
Since the AAC is not a church, we do not advocate a particular Prayer Book. Some of our members use the 1928 Prayer Book, some the 1979, and some the missal.