Frequently asked questions

The Scriptures and the Gospels, the Apostolic Church and the early Church Fathers, are the foundation of Anglican faith and worship in the 38 self-governing churches that make up the Anglican Communion. The basic tenets of being an Anglican are:

+ We view the Old and New Testaments ‘as containing all things necessary for salvation’ and as being the rule and ultimate standard of faith.

+ We understand the Apostles’ creed as the baptismal symbol, and the Nicene creed as the sufficient statement of the Christian faith.

+ The two sacraments ordained by Christ himself – Baptism and the Holy Eucharist – are administered with unfailing use of Christ’s words of institution, and with the elements ordained by him.

As a worldwide family of churches, the Anglican Communion has more than 70 million adherents in 38 Provinces spreading across 161 countries. Located on every continent, Anglicans speak many languages and come from different races and cultures. Although the churches are autonomous, they are also uniquely unified through their history, their theology, their worship and their relationship to the ancient See of Canterbury.

Anglicans uphold the Catholic and Apostolic faith. Following the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Churches are committed to the proclamation of the good news of the Gospel to the whole creation. In practice this is based on the revelation contained in Holy Scripture and the Catholic creeds, and is interpreted in light of Christian tradition, scholarship, reason and experience.

By baptism in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, a person is made one with Christ and received into the fellowship of the Church. This sacrament of initiation is open to children as well as to adults.

Central to worship for Anglicans is the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, also called the Holy Communion, the Lord’s Supper or the Mass. In this offering of prayer and praise, the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are recalled through the proclamation of the word and the celebration of the sacrament. Other important rites, commonly called sacraments, include confirmation, holy orders, reconciliation, marriage and anointing of the sick.

The Christian understanding of Stewardship is derived from our understanding of the nature of the generosity of God.

God the Creator

Because God is the Creator and has given men and women a special place in his purposes on earth and dominion over all other living creatures, men and women are called:

+ To worship God and to give thanks for his goodness

+ To use the natural world and other living creatures in the service of God and all people and not for self-interest and exploitation

At the Eucharistic Service we are reminded that, “All things come from you, O Lord, and of your own do we give you.” All that we have comes from God. God calls us to be good stewards of all we have been given. God is concerned not simply with what we give but how we approach all we have. According to Genesis 1 and 2, our stewardship extends to caring for the whole world.

The Anglican Church encourages its members to think through issues themselves in light of their Christian faith and in dialogue with the Christian community. The church holds the position that since all human life, including life developing in the womb, is created by God in his own image and is, therefore, to be nurtured, supported and protected, it remains in strong opposition to abortion on demand or as a means of family planning. However, as is the case in the Church of England, many Anglicans recognize that there can be – “Strictly limited – conditions under which it may be morally preferable to any available alternative”. For example, where the continuance of a pregnancy threatens the life of the mother a termination of pregnancy may be justified and that there must be adequate and safe provision in our society for such situations.

The current teaching of the Anglican Communion on sexuality is expressed in the 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution I.10. This states that the Conference, “in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union, and believes that abstinence is right for those who are not called to marriage” and describes homosexual practice as “incompatible with scripture”. The full text of the resolution is set out below.

This Conference:

  1. commends to the Church the subsection report on human sexuality;
  2. in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union, and believes that abstinence is right for those who are not called to marriage;
  3. recognises that there are among us persons who experience themselves as having a homosexual orientation. Many of these are members of the Church and are seeking the pastoral care, moral direction of the Church, and God’s transforming power for the living of their lives and the ordering of relationships. We commit ourselves to listen to the experience of homosexual persons and we wish to assure them that they are loved by God and that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ;
  4. while rejecting homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture, calls on all our people to minister pastorally and sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation and to condemn irrational fear of homosexuals, violence within marriage and any rivialisation and commercialisation of sex;
  5. cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions;
  6. requests the Primates and the ACC to establish a means of monitoring the work done on the subject of human sexuality in the Communion and to share statements and resources among us;
  7. notes the significance of the Kuala Lumpur Statement on Human Sexuality and the concerns expressed in resolutions IV.26, V.1, V.10, V.23 and V.35 on the authority of Scripture in matters of marriage and sexuality and asks the Primates and the ACC to include them in their monitoring process.