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A map showing the provinces of the Anglican Communion (blue). Also shown are the churches in full communion with the Anglicans: The churches of the Porvoo Communion (green) and the Union of Utrecht (red)

Anglicanism most commonly refers to the beliefs and practices of the Anglican Communion, a worldwide affiliation of Christian churches. There is no single "Anglican Church" with universal juridical authority, since each national or regional church has full autonomy. As the name suggests, the communion is an association of churches in full communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury. With an estimated 80 million members, the Anglican Communion is the third largest communion in the world, after the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches.

Anglicanism, in its structures, theology and forms of worship, is understood as a distinct Christian tradition representing a middle ground between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism and, as such, is often referred to as being a via media ("middle way") between these traditions. Anglicans uphold the Catholic and Apostolic faith and follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. In practice Anglicans believe this is revealed in Holy Scripture and the creeds and interpret these in light of Christian tradition, scholarship, reason and experience.

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Print of the Priestley Riots
The Priestley Riots took place from 14 to 17 July 1791 in Birmingham, England; their main targets were religious Dissenters, most notably the religious and political controversialist, Joseph Priestley. Driven by anger over the Dissenters' attempts to gain full civil rights and their support of the French revolution, the rioters attacked or burned four Dissenting chapels, twenty-seven houses and several businesses. While the riots were not initiated by William Pitt's administration, the national government was slow to respond to the Dissenters' pleas for help and overjoyed at their plight. Local Birmingham officials seem to have been involved in the planning of the riots and were reluctant to prosecute any ringleaders after they ended.

The riots revealed that the Anglican gentlemen of the town were not averse to using violence against Dissenters who they viewed as potential revolutionaries. They had no qualms, either, about raising a potentially uncontrollable mob. Many of those attacked left Birmingham; as a result, the town became noticeably more conservative after the riots. The remaining supporters of the French revolution decided not to hold a dinner celebrating Bastille Day the following year.

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National Cathedral Sanctuary Panorama.jpg

The Washington National Cathedral is an Episcopal cathedral in Washington, D.C. It is a listed monument on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Bishop Robinson in 2006, during the 75th General Convention of The Episcopal Church
V. Gene Robinson (born (1947-05-29)May 29, 1947) is the ninth bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire in the Episcopal Church in the United States of America. Robinson was elected bishop in 2003 and entered office on March 7, 2004. Before becoming bishop, he served as assistant to the retiring New Hampshire bishop. Robinson is widely known for being the first openly gay, noncelibate priest to be ordained to the historical episcopate. Robinson's appointment prompted a group of 19 bishops, led by Bishop Robert Duncan of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, to make a statement warning the church of a possible schism between The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, stated that "[it] will inevitably have a significant impact on the Anglican Communion throughout the world and it is too early to say what the result of that will be." He added: "[I]t is my hope that the church in America and the rest of the Anglican Communion will have the opportunity to consider this development before significant and irrevocable decisions are made in response." Since Robinson's election, theologically conservative parishes have aligned themselves with bishops outside The Episcopal Church, a movement called the Anglican realignment. His story has appeared in print and film.

Did you know...

Print of the Priestley Riots

  • ...that when the Priestley Riots took place in 1791 in Birmingham, England, their main targets were religious Dissenters?
  • ...that Emma Crawford became the mother superior of the Society of the Sacred Advent and developed a school for troubled girls in Brisbane?
  • ...that by the end of the nineteenth century, roughly three of every four Australian overseas missionaries were women who Eliza Marsden Hassall had helped recruit and train?

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