The Anglican Free Communion – The Episcopal Free Church (Old name: Free Protestant Episcopal Church) is a large group of Anglicans of all varieties of churchmanship from Anglo-Catholic (High Church), Evangelical (Low Church), Latitudinarian (Broad Church), Charismatic and Liberal. All of the Provinces of the Communion are autonomous, comprising self-governing churches and families of churches around the world
This Communion was established in England on 02 November 1897 by a union of several small British episcopates established in the 1870s, independent of the Church of England:
The Ancient British Church, founded in 1866, by The Most Rev’d Charles Isaac Stevens;
The Nazarene Episcopal Ecclesia, founded in 1873, by The Most Rev’d James Martin;
The Free Protestant Church of England, founded in 1889, by The Most Rev’d Leon Checkemian
The Most Rev’d Leon Checkemian (1848 – 1920), an Armenian Uniate bishop had moved to Britain and became an Anglican and served as the first primate of the new Church.
The mission of the Anglican Free Communion was to act as a reunion church among the various Protestant bodies, possessing valid Catholic sacraments and thus avoiding the objections raised by the Holy See to the Holy Orders of the Church of England. The 1662 Book of Common Prayer was the normative liturgy, while the 1878 Constitution and Canons of the Reformed Episcopal Church in Great Britain were adopted. Checkemian was elected the first Primus as Mar Leon, and the Pro-Cathedral of the church was St Stephen’s Church, East Ham. In 1900, Checkemian retired from the Primacy in favour of Stevens, also passing to him the headship of the United Armenian Catholic Church of the British Isles, a body for Armenian expatriates that he had founded in 1889. In 1917 the Anglican Free Communion was legally recognized by the English courts when one of its clergymen was declared exempt from military service by virtue of his ordination
Currently The Anglican Free Communion is a communion of free anglican churches around the world, living an anglican reconciliation and unity
The following Mission statement was approved, in General Synod 2012, in Bolivia, with an initial theme statement
“No matter who you are or where you are on your spiritual journey you are welcome to our table. The Gifts of God are free!”
The spirituality of our ecclesiastical communion is inclusive, equitable and ecumenical. We are Christians on pilgrimage to and in Jesus Christ. We believe that the Word of God in the Old and New Testaments contains all necessary for Salvation. We live the Apostolic and Sacramental Traditions expressed in the first four councils of the church. We accept as symbols of the faith the Apostolic, Nicene and Athanasius Creeds. We rejoice in our freedom in Christ. We respect all primates and leaders of the Christian world but we live and minister without being subject to any primate beyond our jurisdiction and/or any primates elected by other persons or in secret. We are not subject to any European monarch.
Episcopal manifesto of Nov.3, 2012
As a Communion we declare ourselves to be in solidarity for a just society.
We reject all forms of Imperialism and violence whether physical, economic, psychological or other. We promote actions in favour of the Universal Human Rights Declaration with the purpose of making the Kingdom of God present here and now.
Apostolic Succession This Church holds valid Apostolic Succession derived from the Armenian Catholic Church, the Syrian Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Church of England (through the Reformed Episcopal Church of the United States of America). These lines were in the jurisdictions that united in 1897 to found the Free Protestant Episcopal Church.