From Big to small…
The Catholic Church: The once undivided Catholic Church of the first Christian millennium is comprised of those ecclesiastical (i.e., Church) communions who have maintained the same Scriptures (i.e., Bible), Sacraments (e.g., baptism & communion), Creeds (i.e., statements of faith) and Orders of Ministry (i.e., bishops, priests and deacons ordained in the apostolic succession) as that of the historic and undivided Catholic Church. Among the ecclesiastical communions who have maintained the essentials of “Catholic” Christendom are the Anglican Communion, the Eastern Orthodox Communion and the Roman Catholic Church (although the latter has added much to the Faith of the early Catholic Church). Although “reformed”, Anglicanism has never claimed its own Scriptures, Creeds (Faith), Sacraments or Orders of Ministry, but rather has claimed to maintain the Scriptures, Creeds (Faith), Sacraments and Orders of Ministry of the undivided Catholic Church of the first Christian millennium.
Anglicanism: Anglicanism is both reformed (i.e., “protestant” in the best sense of the word) and Catholic. The principal of the English Reformation was to return the Catholic Church in the realm of England (and subsequently those in communion with her) to the Faith and Order of the undivided Catholic Church under the authority and primacy of Holy Scripture. Thus, Anglicans are, “the Bible Catholics”. We hold to the Catholic Faith and Order of God’s holy Word. “We have returned to the Apostles and the old Catholic Fathers. We have planted no new religion, but only preserved the old that was undoubtedly founded and used by the Apostles of Christ and other holy Fathers of the Primitive Church”. — John Jewel, English Reformer, Apologia Ecclesiae Anglicanae, 1562.
The Anglican Communion: Unlike many of our brothers and sisters who belong to American Protestant Denominations, most Anglicans belong to a worldwide Communion, known as the Anglican Communion. The Communion is comprised of 37 Regional Provinces throughout the world who are in Communion with the Church of England. Each regional Province holds “autonomy in communion”. That is, it is free to exercise its autonomy, but not at the expense of the communion it shares with the greater worldwide family. Anglicans share the same Scriptures, Creeds (Faith), Sacraments and Orders of Ministry. This unity not only unites Anglicans throughout the world, but also unites Anglicans with the once undivided Catholic Church and the Church of every age.
Schism: Alas, some of the regional provinces of the Anglican Communion have chosen to exercise their autonomy at the expense of their communion with the global church and have also (to greater and lesser degrees) severed their ties with the historic Faith and Order of the Holy Scriptures and the undivided Church. Alas, this has resulted in “impaired” or outright “broken” communion within the global body of Anglicans. The majority of the Anglican Communion has remained faithful to the Holy Scriptures and the Catholic Faith and Order of the undivided Church. About 20% to 30% have not (again, to greater and lesser degrees). For example, the Episcopal Church in the United States, while officially in Communion with the Church of England, is in a state of impaired or broken communion with the great majority of the world’s Anglicans. Within any covenantal relationship, if autonomy is exercised at the expense of the unity, the covenant cannot stand.
Healing & the ACNA: The Province of the Anglican Church in North America, commonly known as “the ACNA” (to which we belong), is comprised of several smaller Anglican bodies, most of whom separated themselves from the Episcopal Church in the United States or the Anglican Church in Canada due to the abandonment of the Biblical and historic Faith and Order by these two regional provinces (or perhaps more correctly, recognized that these two bodies left them). Thus, the ACNA is an attempt to bring together a number of orthodox believing Anglicans in North America. It is an attempt, we believe under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to preserve a biblical and faithful Anglican presence in North America. Most Anglicans in the world recognize the ACNA as the legitimate Anglican body in North America. Some smaller orthodox Anglican bodies, who have not yet joined the ACNA, are either in the process of exploring such unity or have opened up helpful and healthy points of communication.
ACNA Diocese: A Diocese in the ACNA can be either geographical or by affinity (and may overlap). However, we are one body and are united in the Biblical Faith and Catholic Order of the undivided Catholic Church.
From Small to Big…
Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Marlborough, MA is a parish of the Diocese of the Anglican Network in Canada (& New England) under the authority of Bishop Donald Harvey. The Diocese of the Anglican Network in Canada (& New England) is a Diocese of the Province of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). The Province of the Anglican Church in North America is in communion with most of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Anglicanism is a fellowship of the historic and once undivided Catholic Church of the first Christian millennium.
The North East (including New England): The ACNA has several overlapping Diocese in the north east including, the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC…to which we belong); the Reformed Episcopal Church (REC); the Anglican Diocese in New England (ADNE); the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), as well as others.