There are three basic sources of Anglican Church belief:
Basic Anglican Beliefs
Anglicans accept the Bible as embracing all that we need to know to be saved from sin, death and evil, and to live Christian lives.
The Holy Trinity
God is Three persons in One. We experience God as the One who Creates (God the Father); as the One who Redeems (God the Son); and as the One who Sanctifies (God the Holy Spirit)
… is the end of our separation from God gained for us by the sacrifice of Christ. Every Christian is called to witness to this and express this living truth to the world.
… summarize the Christian faith and clearly express our faith in the Holy Trinity. The Apostle’s Creed was the creed of the early church dating from the second century. The Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed were formulated in the fourth century.
The Church is the people of God. It is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic; that means, one body under one head, Christ; a place that is holy, wherein the Spirit dwells; all inclusive holding the faith for all time, everywhere, for everybody; and continuing in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship.
… is the joyous response to God’s love. It is an expression of hope for Salvation, an opportunity to praise God and receive strength and forgiveness, and a way to share faith with other believers.
Bishops are spiritual overseers of their dioceses which elected them to office. The Apostolic succession is the line of bishops which may be traced back to the early church commissioned by Jesus. Bishops ordain priests and deacons, administer the sacrament of confirmation, consecrate other bishops and are final counsellors in church matters.
Priests are parish and mission leaders. The full scope of their duties covers every pastoral, spiritual and educational activity. Priests celebrate the Eucharist, baptize, pronounce absolution and perform many other duties.
Deacons are those who serve, assisting priests in their ministry, baptizing and, in the absence of a priest, solemnizing marriages.
The Sacraments are “outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace.”
Baptism and Holy Communion are the sacraments instituted and ordained by Jesus.
The water poured on the person during baptism symbolizes the washing away of sins. The Holy Trinity is called upon to strengthen the new church member and baptism becomes a pledge of repentance and obedience to God. It is a sign that a person has been reborn into a new family – the Church.
The Eucharist (Holy Communion, or Mass) is the remembrance of, and praise and thanksgiving for Christ’s death and resurrection. In the Eucharist, ordinary bread and wine become the means for Jesus Christ’s presence with us.
The five lesser sacraments, not directly commanded by Christ, are: penance, ordination, confirmation, holy matrimony and the ministry of healing.
The Anglican Communion
An Anglican is a Christian who belongs to the Anglican Church, which in turn is a member of the Anglican Communion. The Anglican Communion is present in over 160 countries on all continents, and is a fellowship – within the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church – of churches in communion with each other and with the See of Canterbury. The Archbishop of Canterbury, honoured as “first among equals”, is a symbol of unity among 70 million Anglicans, and frequently acts as a spokesman of the Church in international affairs.
The Anglican Church of Canada consists of four ecclesiastical provinces containing 30 dioceses, each governed by a bishop. The primate, first among equals in the Canadian Church, is the Archbishop Fred Hiltz, formerly Bishop of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
The Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) have been in full communion since 2001. This means that while each church maintains its own autonomy, it also fully recognizes the catholicity and apostolicity of the other. In practical terms, this means that Anglicans and Lutherans in Canada can share the Eucharist together, use each other’s liturgies, and participate in each other’s ordinations. Anglican and Lutheran clergy may also serve interchangeably in either church.