Beliefs & Practices
What we believe
The Scriptures and the Gospels, the Apostolic Church and the early Church Fathers, are the foundation of Anglican faith and worship in the 44 self-governing churches that make up the Anglican Communion.
The Anglican Church of Canada is part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. It worships the one true God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
It professes the faith that is uniquely revealed in the Bible and set forth in the Catholic Creeds (the statements of faith developed in the Early Church that are still used in the Church's worship today). The Church is called to proclaim that faith afresh in each generation.
Quebec Anglicans are a diverse community. We worship in small chapels and large churches. Some of us worship with guitars and drums, while others prefer organs and choirs. We speak many languages.
All Anglican worship is grounded in common prayer. Our traditional text is the Book of Common Prayer, but our churches also use the Book of Alternative Services.
As a partner in the worldwide Anglican Communion and in the universal Church, we proclaim and celebrate the gospel of Jesus Christ in worship and action.
We value our heritage of biblical faith, reason, liturgy, tradition, bishops and synods, and the rich variety of our life in community.
We acknowledge that God is calling us to greater diversity of membership, wider participation in ministry and leadership, better stewardship in God’s creation and a stronger resolve in challenging attitudes and structures that cause injustice. Guided by the Holy Spirit, we commit ourselves to respond to this call in love and service and so more fully live the life of Christ.
A brief history of the Anglican Church in Canada
The Anglican Church of Canada has its roots in the Church of England, which separated from the Roman Catholic Church in the 16th century. Influenced by the Protestant Reformation, the new English church simplified rituals and introduced the Book of Common Prayer (1549), which enabled services in English instead of Latin. At the same time, the church preserved certain traditions, including the early church creeds and the succession of bishops from the line of the apostles. Because of this history, Anglicanism is sometimes referred to as “Reformed Catholicism.”
Anglicanism travelled abroad with British colonial expansion. In 1578, near present-day Iqaluit, NU, a chaplain celebrated the Eucharist as a member of Martin Frobisher’s Arctic expedition. This was the first Anglican Eucharist in what is now Canada, but it wasn’t until the 18th and 19th centuries that Anglicanism truly took hold, as military chaplains, Loyalists, and British immigrants fanned out and settled across the growing colony. Missionaries arrived as well, endeavouring to meet the spiritual needs of settlers and to evangelize Indigenous Peoples.
Gradually the Canadian church carved out its own identity. In 1787, Charles Inglis of Nova Scotia became the first bishop in British North America. More dioceses cohered as the population grew, and in 1893, the dioceses created the national body of General Synod. In 1955, the church changed its name from “the Church of England in the Dominion of Canada” to “the Anglican Church of Canada.”
Today the Anglican Church of Canada is an independent, self-governing church in communion with the other 44 churches of the worldwide Anglican Communion. It includes more than 500,000 members in 1,700 parishes, and like Canada, the church has become culturally diverse. On any given Sunday the tradition of common prayer is expressed across Canada in many languages, including Inuktitut, French, Spanish, and Cree.
The Anglican Communion
The Anglican Communion comprises 38 self-governing Member Churches or Provinces that share several things in common including doctrine, ways of worshipping, mission, and a focus of unity in the Archbishop of Canterbury. Formal mechanisms for meeting include the Lambeth Conference, the Anglican Consultative Council, and the Primates’ Meeting, together known as the Instruments of Communion.
Most Communion life, however, is found in the relationships between Anglicans at all levels of church life and work around the globe; dioceses linked with dioceses, parishes with parishes, people with people, all working to further God’s mission. There are around 85 million people on six continents who call themselves Anglican (or Episcopalian), in more than 165 countries. These Christian brothers and sisters share prayer, resources, support and knowledge across geographical and cultural boundaries.
As with any family, the Anglican Communion’s members have a range of differing opinions. This means that the Anglican Christian tradition has always valued its diversity, and has never been afraid to publicly tackle the hard questions of life and faith.
In continuity with the ancient Celtic and Saxon churches of the British Isles, and Britain’s place within Catholic Europe, Anglicanism found its distinctive identity in the 16th and 17th centuries. At the Reformation national churches emerged in England, Ireland and Scotland. With the American Revolution, an autonomous Episcopal Church was founded in the United States and later Anglican or Episcopal churches were founded across the globe as a result of the missionary movements of the 18th and 19th centuries.
It was in 1867 that Lambeth Palace hosted the first conference for Anglican bishops from around the world. Today, the Archbishop of Canterbury calls a Lambeth Conference every ten years. The last, in 2008, saw more than 800 bishops from around the world invited to Canterbury. Bishops attending the 1968 Lambeth Conference called for a body representative of all sections of the churches—laity, clergy and bishops—to co-ordinate aspects of international Anglican ecumenical and mission work. The resulting body was the Anglican Consultative Council that meets approximately every three years.
Since 1979 the Archbishop of Canterbury has also regularly invited the chief bishops of the Provinces (known as Primates) to join him in a meeting for consultation, prayer and reflection on theological, social and international matters. These Primates’ Meetings take place approximately every two years.
These Instruments of Communion are served by a secretariat based at the Anglican Communion Office in London, as well as in New York, Geneva and from 2012 in Nairobi.