Where are the Anglicans from?
The 16th century? Henry VIII? Nope!
The Anglican Church traces her history back to the arrival of the first Christians on what is today England. At that time, it was Britannia because the English (Anglo-Saxons) were not there yet.
Here is our history in short:
1. Year 46: Arrival of the first Christians on Britannia, due to the presence of the Roman legions.
2. The Celtic (or Britannic) Church is forming. This is where we begin as a church. Soon, its pastors (bishops) will connect this church to the churches of the continent.
3. Around 489: the Roman legions are leaving the island.
4. Invasions by several pagan Germanic peoples: the Angles (English), the Saxons, the Jutes, the Danes, etc.
5. Partial dechristianisation, but the Celtic church is still there.
6. Year 596, the Bishop of Rome sends a group of church planters (missionaries) under the direction of Augustine (not to be mistaken with St. Augustine of Hippo).
7. Year 597. In the kingdom of Essex, in Canterbury, the Saxon king Ethelbert becomes a Christian. A church is planted and Augustine becomes its leader. He is the first Archbishop of Canterbury. The present leader, Justin Welby, is the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury.
8. Year 664. A Synod (gathering of Christian leaders) takes place in Whitby, Northumbria. The original Celtic Church merges with the church started by the missionary Augustine of Canterbury. The two are now the “Ecclesia Anglicana” (the Church of the Angles), the Anglican Church as we know it.
9. 16th century. The Archbishop of Canterbury, with other bishops, takes advantage of the fact that Henry VIII, has cut ties with the Church of Rome (1534) for his own political reasons, and they start reforming the church (the king did not want a reformation). This reformation was about restoring the place of the Bible in the teaching and practice of the church, removing the medieval superstitions, and restoring marriage for the clergy (after 500 years of formal ban initiated by the Church of Rome).
10. For a few years, until her death, queen Mary Tudor brought the Anglican Church back under the authority of the Church of Rome. The bishops who had led the Reformation were burned alive at the stake, paying with their lives for their testimony.
11. Under Queen Elisabeth I, the Anglican Church regains her autonomy.
12. In the following centuries, the church will expand, first through the British colonies, and more recently through mission and evangelization.
13. Leaders of Provinces of the Global South of the worldwide Anglican Communion met in Jerusalem in 2008 and decide to respond to the crisis in the American Episcopal Church by initiating the creation of the Anglican Church in North America, the body to which we belong.