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Hallo again to all.

The moving hand having writLast week, we asked What's in a name?

This week the same kind of question is on our minds. What's to be done about adjectives?

The word Anglican is an adjective as well as a proper noun. From time to time, we receive e-mails asking whether it is really appropriate for us to refer to Americans or Scots or Rwandans as Anglicans, because their local national churches are known internally as Episcopalian. We have decided that it does make sense for us to do so, because American, Scottish and Rwandan Episcopalians as individuals belong to parishes and dioceses that are members of the Anglican Communion throughout the world. Their local churches are cared for by bishops — hence the name episcopalian — and have varying degrees of historical or cultural connection to England. Whilst we often hear Episcopalians who describe themselves as Anglicans, it is rather uncommon to hear members of the Church of England or the Church of Ireland describe themselves as Episcopalians.

AO began and continues as a ministry by, for and about Anglicans of all stripes. That means those of us who call ourselves Episcopalians and Anglicans, and it includes those of us who would sometimes eschew either term in favour of Catholics or Christians. For our part, we have not added an adjective to Anglicans precisely in order to better serve the whole communion and community. Aside from being encumbered with unwieldy concepts and URLS,,,, and simply don't describe what we hope we do through and with the site. (Although it could be wonderful to see online communities of Anglicans who describe themselves in each of those ways.)*

We provide a directory of all Anglican websites we know, arranging and describing them in order to make them useful for people who use the world wide web. We do this in order to help make available substantial and free resources to anyone who wants to know more about Anglicanism or about worshipping in an Anglican church.

Flavours and emphases in Anglican life and work — known to most of us as types of churchmanship — continue to have usefulness in describing the ways groups of Anglicans have understood and practised their religion in different places and times. But we wonder if the continued proliferation of adjectives tacked on to the beginning or end of ourselves is not a distraction more than a help. There are times when it seems like a hindrance to unity that lurks under the surface of our desire to call ourselves, as some early Christians did, after Paul, or Cephas, or Apollos.

We are Anglicans all, called so because of a common doctrinal inheritance and method, a shared history, and a collective mission throughout the world. But we are Anglicans—no qualifying adjectives, please—most of all because of a common life and a common Lord.

See you next week.

All of us here at Anglicans Online

Last updated: 16 October 2005

* Another significant Christian internet community is, which hosts parish sites and information for a wide variety of church bodies—Missouri Synod, Wisconsin Synod and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, among others—without qualifying its own name or URL. The ease of use in a simple URL strikes us as just right.

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This web site is independent. It is not official in any way. Our editorial staff is private and unaffiliated. Please contact about information on this page. ©2005 Society of Archbishop Justus