The Saints and Martyrs of the Anglican Communion

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The Saints and Martyrs
of the
Anglican Communion
Archbishop Justin Welby addresses the Council of the Wise,
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

The exciting thing about the Anglican Communion has been its emergence out of the national Church of England into a world-wide fellowship involving people of widely different origins and cultures. Anglicanism reached America in the 17th century with the colonists. Today it is known there as the Episcopalian Church. The vigorous missionary thrust of the evangelical societies of the church in the late 18th and early 19th centuries planted elements of the Anglican way in many parts of the world. British commercial and colonial expansion in the 19th century accelerated this and led to the formal establishment of numerous Anglican Churches. In the 400 or so years in which the modern Anglican tradition has existed, God has changed the Church beyond recognition. In the process of growth and development, the Anglican Communion has produced its own heroes, who have borne witness to Christ, sometimes at the cost of their lives.

Many of these "saints" including those from Aotearoa/New Zealand are incorporated into our current Lectionary Calendar. There are many others who played important roles in the growth of the church and the spread of the gospel. Then there are some who patiently and faithfully served Christ in their day, some suffered for their commitment. All these are commemorated today for their part in the life and witness of the Anglican Communion. Today there are reportedly 80 million Anglicans worldwide.

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