What Does It Mean When a U.S. Church Calls Itself 'Anglican'?

Because there is one in metro Detroit where I live. In a suburb of Detroit called Livonia, there is a protestant church that has ‘Anglican’ in its name. I only caught a glimpse of it. So short of doing a Google search (and I do invite you to do so, if you want :slight_smile: ), I would have to go by it again. And I probably won’t be in the area for at least a couple of days, if that.

In case you don’t know, most churches of the Anglican communion in the United States call themselves Episcopal. Anglican implies that they recognize the British Sovereign as their head. Does this church do that? Because I am confused.


The phrase “Anglican Communion” is used for churches worldwide that consider themselves associated with the Church of England (without accepting the authority of the Sovereign, which only applies in England), so maybe that’s what they’re referring to. In their website, they say they are part of the Anglican Church in North America

A bit of digging which looks to have been founded in 2009, and not to allow female bishops.

The various “Anglican” churches in the USA are churches that used to be a part of the Episcopal Church but broke away due to having more conservative views on social issues or the liturgy. The Episcopal Church is also an Anglican church but it doesn’t use that word in its name.

My understanding is that they are a breakaway from the Anglican Communion (of which the US Episcopal Church is a part) - essentially, a conservative, proto-Catholic Anglican Church which objects to the liberal direction of the core Anglican Communion. So, closely aligned with Catholicism, against women priests etc.

You have to remember that the Anglican Communion is a ‘Broad Church’, with many competing factions ranging from Low Church (liberal protestant) to High Church (Catholic in many of its practices). As you can imagine, there has been much bun fighting between those factions over the years, with some picking up their balls and leaving. Looks like this Church is the latter.

Yes, I noticed that on their website the clergy are referred to as “Father”. indicating High Church/Anglo-Catholic, and some emphasis on the Book of Common Prayer (=liturgical traditionalists).

Maybe the congregation consists large of Canadians now living in Detroit. ThreChurch of England calls itself Anglican in Canada, and Episcopal in the USA. (If memory serves me correctly.)

The Church of England is the Anglican Church in England only, the Anglican Church of Canada is in communion with the CofE, but it’s not a division of it.

The Anglican Church in the USA isn’t in the Anglican Communion at all.

Lifelong Episcopalian here, and for the record, I have never seen any buns fighting, either inside or outside any church.

Interesting range of usages there. Over here a bun-fight is a humorous way of referring to any sort of refreshment spread, especially if it’s got actual cakes and buns. And the CofE (come to think of it, probably all the churches) does a lot of that sort of thing,

Lifelong Jew here, but I took some courses in Christianity in college, because before I got my school to accept an independent minor in Deaf Studies, and I went to Gallaudet for most of my Deaf studies courses, I planned a minor in Religious studies. Anyway, I believe that Anglican churches outside of the UK all trace the lineage of their bishops through a guy named Samuel Seabury. Prior to Seabury (possibly not the church in Canada, or other churches the are or were part of the British commonwealth), there were no bishops from any Anglican church in the Americas. Any time a deacon wanted to be ordained priest, the person had to travel to England to find a bishop for the ordination.

Anglicans/Church of England/Episcopal church/et al. believe in something called the Apostolic Succession, which means that every single ordained bishop can trace the laying of hands to the apostle Peter.

The US, as soon as it was the US really wanted its own bishop, and the need became more acute once it became the US, because the Church of England required, as part of the ordination, a loyalty oath to England. However, the Church of Scotland did not.

So the new citizen of the US, and priest of the US Protestant Episcopal church, Samuel Seabury, went to Scotland for ordination as a bishop, and returned to the US with the ability to create more bishops within the US.

Later, as the Episcopal church set up missions in other countries, and other churches with other names popped up, they still traced their apostolic succession through Seabury.

A bun fight has a nice, and appropriate, double meaning - a refreshment spread and a heated argument. Two things the Anglican Communion has considerable experience in, generally at the same time.

Apart from the logistic difficulties and the difficulties on the American side, creating a new ‘Bishop of America’ was a difficult international political question.

England had fought a civil war in America, the outcome of which hinged on the agreement by the British that the colonies would be permitted to be free of political interference. Creation of new English bishops in America was seen by the English Church as infringing the political settlement. The English church did not see a way clear through Parliament, the King, and the civil government.

The Church of England held the common theological position that the state (instituted by God) had a controlling interest in the temporal affairs of the church. (And held that position in opposition to the church of Rome, when the church of Rome was under the influence of Spain). The proper country to create bishropics and approve bishops was the USA, not the UK.

For comparison: The 1929 Lateran Treaty, (between Italy and the Vatican) , contained text like this for Italian Bishops: “[Before God and his Holy Gospels I swear and promise on becoming a Bishop fidelity to the Italian State. I swear and promise to respect and make respected by my clergy the King and the Government established according to the constitutional laws of the State. I swear and promise moreover that I shall not participate in any agreement or any counsel that can damage the Italian State and the public order and I shall not allow to my clergy such participation. I shall concern myself with the well-being and interests of the Italian State and endeavour to avert any danger that can possibly menace it]”. The treaty also required the church to submit names for political approval.

Not even the hot, cross buns?

And a third meaning, since, as ever, success tends to be measured by “bums on pews”.

Wait, so when my church has donuts in the hall after mass, that would be called a “bun fight”? The bun part is clear enough, but why “fight”?

Two notes: First, the Apostolic Succession is something also recognized by the Catholic Church, as well as a few other Protestant churches. Catholics even recognize ordinations from other such churches as valid, so (for instance) an Anglican priest who convert to Catholicism doesn’t need to be re-ordained (though other churches now recognizing female bishops throws a monkey wrench in this).

And second, the Apostolic Succession can trace back to any of the Twelve, not just Peter specifically: James or John or Thomas or any of the other less-remembered ones would be just as valid. And the other eleven aren’t considered to have been ordained by Peter: They were all ordained by Jesus.

The Church of Scotland, which is Presbyterian and has no bishops, is completely irrelevant here. The people you want are the Scottish Episcopal Church.

I thought Peter was the first Bishop of Rome (supposedly), ie, Pope, and that while the other apostles ha a laying of hands by Jesus, and were ordained as apostles, Peter was the only one who was a bishop, and therefore the only one who could ordain more bishops?

It’s meant comedically, precisely because it wouldn’t be a literal fight (normally).

You’ve never witnessed feeding time at a buffet?