Anglican Ethos

Presenters: Archbishop Ron Cutler, Retired Bishop of the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island

Bishop Sue Moxley, Retired Bishop of the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island


Anglican Ethos

A good starting point for a discussion of Anglican Ethos is a document created by the Anglican Community called “Signposts on a Common Journey. The Anglican Way.” The document can be found on the Anglican Communion website –

We are fond of saying that Anglicanism is based on three things: scripture, reason and tradition. The signposts document adds a fourth signpost – mission.

The Signposts document presents a statement on the Anglican Way: The Anglican Way is a particular expression of the Christian Way of being the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ. It is formed by and rooted in Scripture shaped by it’s worship of the living God, ordered for communion, and directed in faithfulness to God’s mission in the world. In diverse global situations Anglican life and ministry witnesses to the incarnate, crucified and risen Lord, and is empowered by the Holy Spirit. Together with all Christians, Anglicans hope, pray, and work for the coming reign of God.

Scripture - We say when we read scripture we are listening for God’s voice. It is not about what is written on the page, it’s about what God is trying to say to us. This puts us in a conversation with the word itself. We are formed by the scripture. This formation is carried on in how we gather for worship.

Worship - Scripture runs all the way through our worship. We have always held scripture in a high place of honor. It shapes our worship. Around the world Anglican worship maintains the same structure. We gather together, we do something together, usually sing, we tell God we are sorry for the mistakes we made and then give thanks for all the good things in our life. The structure of our worship is one thing people appreciate and the fact that we do things together.

Communion - We are ordered for communion and it is the way in which we relate to one another in our own Parish, Dioceses and the worldwide communion. The 75 million Anglicans around the world are linked by our structures and communion.

Mission - In 2007, the five Marks of Mission were put on paper and can be found on the Anglican Communion website. They are:

To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom

To teach, baptize, and nurture new believers

To respond to human need by loving service

To seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind to pursue peace and reconciliation

To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth

We need to remember it is not our mission, it is God’s mission. Mission must be done with respect for the culture in which we are living and working. Mission is everywhere including right here. We need to remember that we are part of a much broader expression of faith called Christianity. As we become more multi-cultural, we become more multi-faith and we have a responsibility to engage in respectful dialogue.

To sum up Anglican Ethos is that we are:

Formed by Scripture

Shaped by Worship

Ordered for communion

Directed by God’s mission