The Anglican Communion – a celebration of diversity

We rejoice to be a part of the Anglican Communion, which is extraordinary! It is the world’s third largest Christian community, after the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches; a worldwide family of tens of millions of Christians, people from more than 165 countries stretching around
the globe from Canterbury to Christchurch; from Jerusalem to Johannesburg and Trinidad to Tokyo.

Within the Communion there is an enormous breadth of cultural diversity.
Hundreds of languages are spoken. Anglicans and Episcopalians live in modern cities and rural heartlands. And yet, in spite of this wealth of difference and diversity, the Communion shares many aspects of its life of faith in Jesus Christ.

There is no single worldwide ‘Anglican Church’, rather there is a self governing Anglican Church for each of the 40 provinces. A province may be a single country, but may also be a group of countries. For example, the Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil (Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil) covers only Brazil; the Anglican Church of Central Africa covers Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Each province is divided into dioceses. For example, there are 28 dioceses in the Anglican Church of Tanzania. There are even some dioceses that cover more than one country, for example, the Diocese in Europe, which is part of the Church of England, and the Diocese of Singapore. Each province is led by an archbishop or primate, and each diocese is led by a bishop.

Also within the Anglican Communion are the United Churches of North and
South India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, where different Christian denominations have come together to form a United Church. The Holy Catholic Church in China is part of a post-denominational Church. The Anglican Communion has close relationships, and is in communion with,
other churches, including, among others, the Iglesia Filipina Independiente.
The Anglican Communion is given focus and direction by what are called the four ‘Instruments of Communion’. These instruments are:

More than 1,500 bishops and spouses from across the Communion have been invited to gather in Canterbury for the Lambeth Conference in July and August 2020. The conference will embrace the diversity of the Communion – its theme is ‘God’s Church for God’s World: walking, listening and witnessing together’. It will seek God’s guidance and inspiration for the future direction of the Communion. The Bible study for the conference will
be 1 Peter.

The size and diversity of the Anglican Communion gives it a rare position on the world stage. It advocates for truth and justice in the corridors of power while at the same time tending the sick, bereaved and marginalised.
But that diversity brings challenges. In this study we hear from five areas where Anglicans are being challenged to work through their differences, to work together in the face of adversity, to work outside their comfort zones or in new ways, so that the Kingdom of God can come afresh. As you read their stories and consider the questions and Bible passages we hope you will be challenged, encouraged and inspired in your faith journey.