Cambridge Encyclopedia » Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 5

Anglican Communion - Provinces of the Anglican Communion, History, Controversies, Ecumenical relations

churches church lambeth episcopal

A fellowship of some 26 independent provincial or national Churches, several extra-provincial dioceses, and Churches resulting from unions of Anglicans with other Churches, spread throughout the world, but sharing a close ecclesiastical and doctrinal relationship with the Church of England. Most of these Churches are found in the British Commonwealth, and owe their origins to missionary activities of the Church of England in the 19th-c; a major exception is the Episcopal Church in the USA, which was fostered by the Scottish Episcopal Church. Churches from non-Commonwealth countries, such as Brazil, China, and Japan, are also part of the Anglican Communion. The Communion is based on co-operation, since there is no worldwide uniform authority, but every 10 years the Archbishop of Canterbury invites bishops throughout the Anglican Communion to take part in the Lambeth Conference, a consultative body that considers issues of common concern even though it has no decisive policy-making authority. The 1968 Lambeth Conference also set up an Anglican Consultative Council to act during the 10-year intervals. There were over 80 million Anglicans in 2004.

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