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:
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:
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 Christian’s generosity in giving reflects our consciousness of how much God has given and continues to give to us. The New Testament instruction is to give:
God is more concerned about how we give than about how much.
The Old Testament standard of giving was the tithe – one tenth of our income. Many Christians still give in this way. For some, giving a tenth will be something to work towards. For others it will be just a beginning.
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:
Scripture in matters of marriage and sexuality and asks the Primates and the ACC to include them in their monitoring process.