What are Anglicans?
Anglicanism is the catholic (meaning ‘universal’) faith as expressed through the Church of England. The word ‘Anglican’ derives from the word ‘Anglo’ as in ‘Anglo-Saxon’ and means ‘English.’ The Anglican Church originally was the Church of England and indeed the Anglican Church began in England. ‘Anglicanism’ refers to the beliefs and practices of the Anglican Communion.*
Who are the Anglicans in Dresden?
Church of All Saints, 1875 (wikipedia.org)
The Anglicans in Dresden do not represent an Anglican parish in our own right but rather we are a small community of people who feel connected to the Anglican tradition.
In a very small way, we are picking up the threads of the historical Anglican parishes in Dresden, the English Church of All Saints Church and the American Episcopal Church of St. John, which were closed around the time of the First World War and suffered the same fate as the rest of Dresden during the Second.
Church of St. John, c. 1910 (Deutsche Fotothek)
Today, we are a part of the larger community of Anglicans in Germany, belonging to the Church of England‘s (CofE) Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe. The CofE parishes in Germany work together with our sister parishes from the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe (a diocese of The Episcopal Church (TEC) in the United States of America) to form the Council of Anglican and Episcopal Churches in Germany (CAECG). Finally, both the CofE and TEC are provinces of the worldwide Anglican Communion, which has around 85 million members in over 165 countries. Comprised of 44 independent Churches worldwide, the Anglican Communion is the third largest Christian denomination, after Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox.*
The worldwide Anglican Communion (wikipedia.org)
Here in Dresden, what brings us together and makes us a community is our shared worship and the joy we find when we pray with one another. Even when we are far apart, we can still pray together.
Under the link “Join us for Daily Prayer,” you will find links to orders of service for daily prayers for the morning, evening and night, provided by the Church of England. Each one includes daily readings from the Bible according to the lectionary, a cycle of readings that carries us through the whole Bible and helps us to frame each day with contemplation of God’s Word.
You will also find a link to the Daily Watchwords of the Moravian Church, known in German as the Tageslosungen. These daily bite-sided biblical meditations have been cherished by countless Christians for over 250 years and are particularly close to the hearts of our members from the Evangelische Kirche.
What do we mean by “the Anglican tradition”?
What do Anglicans believe?*
Although considered Protestant by many, the Anglican Communion identifies itself with the catholic faiths. In fact, many refer to the Anglican faith as being reformed Catholicism, while others call it Biblican Catholicism. But, whatever the definition, Anglicanism is a hybrid between the Catholic and Protestant faiths.
In the summer of 2006 the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams identified three things that, when held together, make Anglicanism distinct from other Christian denominations and contribute to the essential character of our church. Other denominations share one or two of these qualities. What makes Anglicanism unique is the balanced presence of all three.
A reformed commitment to the priority of the Bible for deciding doctrine.
A catholic loyalty to the sacraments and the threefold ministry of bishops, priests and deacons.
A habit of cultural sensitivity and intellectual flexibility that does not seek to close down unexpected questions too quickly.
In conjunction with this definition is the principle set down by one of the church’s theologians, explaining that Anglicanism is a “three-legged stool.” One leg is Scripture; the second is Tradition; the third is Reason. Scripture has priority, trumping the other two when stating dogma. But, the Traditions of the unified Church, when Scripture is silent, is also very important. Finally, Reason must be applied to discern what is meant by Scripture and Tradition and to apply these two to new or different situations. Clearly Archbishop Williams’s explanation and the image of the three-legged stool link our reformed heritage, our catholic heritage, and our intellectual heritage nicely, capturing the core strength of the Anglican way of living out our Christian Faith.
*taken from www.stgeorges.de