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Anglicanism is a Protestant tradition within Christianity founded in England and present in many other countries. It comprises a loose coalition of several denominations, including the Church of England and the American Episcopal Church. Anglicanism's central figurehead is the Archbishop of Canterbury. Anglicanism's influence is broad because of its spread during the colonial expansion of the British Empire.

A commonly used book in the Anglican church is the Book of Common Prayer. There is currently tensions between various Anglican denominations over women priests and acceptance of homosexuality, to the point that a schism is a possibility. [1]

Within the movement, a member of the clergy is known as a minister. [2] Marriage of clergy members is widely practiced. Women priests are allowed by most Anglican churches.

Church of England[edit]

Major denominational groups and heresies within Christianity

The Church of England first gained its independence in 1534, arising from a dispute between King Henry VIII and the Catholic pope over Henry's divorce from Catherine of Aragon. The Church of England was later reunited with the Catholic Church in 1555. The Church of England again schismed in 1558 under Elizabeth I. The church attempts to steer a middle way between other Protestant denominations and Catholicism. In the UK, the Anglican and Catholic denominations have roughly the same number of believers but participation in mainstream Christian denominations has been gradual decline for the past few decades.

The supreme governor of the church is the Queen of England. Since the Queen is also the head of state, state and religion is not technically separated in the UK. Resistance to change of this state of affairs is called antidisestablishmentarianism, which is incidentally one of the longest words in the English language.

The Church of England is also know for its diversity and tolerance, making it one of the least demanding denominations in Christianity. The comedian Eddie Izzard satirised this position (or rather the judgmentalism of the other denominations) in his "Cake or Death?" routine. [3]

There is a minority of atheist clergy in the church: about 2% of ministers think that God is a human construct. [4]

See also[edit]


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