What is an Anglican?

    Video by the Rev. Chris Klukas, former Rector of Good Samaritan 2017-2022

“Anglicanism isn’t the only way to follow Christ, but it is a reliable way of being a Christian” ~The Most Rev. Robert Duncan.

A Global Family of Churches

The Global Anglican Communion is the third largest Christian denomination in the world (after the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches). There are Anglicans on every continent tied together through their love of Christ, a common history and theology, and mutual bonds of affection. This worldwide communion is organized into Provinces, each led by an Archbishop. Provinces are made up of Dioceses, each led by a Bishop. Dioceses are made up of congregations, each led by a Rector who is usually an Anglican Priest. At Good Samaritan, our Priest-in-charge is the Rev. Brian Garrison, we are a part of the Gulf Atlantic Diocese with the Rt. Rev. Alex Farmer as our Bishop, and our diocese is a part of the Anglican Church in North America which is led by the Most. Rev. Dr. Foley Beach. This connection to other churches and leaders provides us with accountability, fellowship, and support.

Three Great Streams

“The Anglican Communion,” Archbishop Geoffrey Fisher wrote, “has no peculiar thought, practice, creed or confession of its own. It has only the Catholic Faith of the ancient Catholic Church, as preserved in the Catholic Creeds and maintained in the Catholic and Apostolic constitution of Christ’s Church from the beginning.” It may licitly teach as necessary for salvation nothing but what is read in the Holy Scriptures as God’s Word written or may be proved thereby. It therefore embraces and affirms such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the Scriptures, and thus to be counted apostolic. The Church has no authority to innovate: it is obliged continually, and particularly in times of renewal or reformation, to return to “the faith once delivered to the saints.”

To be an Anglican, then, is not to embrace a distinct version of Christianity, but a distinct way of being a “Mere Christian,” at the same time evangelical, catholic, Spirit-filled (charismatic).

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The evangelical stream emphasizes the authority of the Scriptures as the Word of God written, and the great Reformation of salvation by grace alone through faith alone. This stream has a high view of the atoning work of Chris on the cross and it stresses the need for personal conversion.


The catholic stream emphasizes liturgical worship and holds a high view of sacramental ministry, especially the ministry of communion. Another feature of this stream is continuity with the early church, ancient roots bearing fruit for today.


The Charismatic stream emphasizes the importance of the Holy Spirit in the life and work of the Church today. Charismatics recognize that it is the Holy Spirit who guides and empowers us for ministry. Charismatic ministry often involves healing prayer and exercising the gifts of the Spirit.


Anglicanism has its roots in the pre-Reformation Roman Catholic Church in England. At the time of the Reformation, the English protestant leaders recognized the need for reform within the Church in conversation with other Reformation leaders such as Martin Luther and John Calvin. However, when the Church of England was formed, the decided to maintain many of the old traditions of the church (especially in the areas of worship and leadership) as long as they didn’t go against the plain meaning of the scriptures. Thus Anglicanism is a balance of both protestant and catholic, or as some like to call it, Reformed Catholicism. During the colonial era, Anglicanism spread throughout the British empire to every continent around the globe. As these colonies gained their independence, the Church of England moved from being a national church to a global family of churches.

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