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Difference between Anglican and Episcopal

Difference between Anglican and Episcopal

Gothic cathedrals dot the English landscape, and each one is unique. While they share some common features, no two are exactly alike. This is also true of the Anglican and Episcopal Churches. Though they are both parts of the same family of churches, there are some key differences between them. In this post, we will take a closer look at these two denominations and explore what makes them different.

Who is Anglican?

Anglicanism is a Christian denomination that is in communion with the Bishop of Canterbury. Anglicans trace their origins back to the Church of England, which was established in the 16th century by King Henry VIII. Anglicanism is a middle way between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, and it retains elements of both traditions. Anglicans believe in the authority of scripture, but they also uphold the importance of tradition and reason.

As a result, Anglicanism has been characterized as a via media, or middle way. Anglicanism is the third-largest Christian denomination in the world, after Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. It has approximately 85 million members worldwide, making it one of the largest Christian denominations.

Who is Episcopal?

Episcopalians are Christians who follow the Episcopal Church, which is a branch of the Anglican Communion. Episcopalians believe in the authority of Scripture and the sacraments, and they uphold traditional teachings on salvation and redemption. Episcopalians are often active in social justice issues, and they have a strong commitment to ecumenism.

Episcopalians worship in churches that are led by bishops, and they often use ceremonial vestments and incense during services. Episcopalians typically practice infant baptism, and they welcome all people into the church, regardless of background or beliefs.

Difference between Anglican and Episcopal

  • Anglican and Episcopal are both Christian denominations that have a rich history dating back to the English Reformation. Anglicanism derives its name from the Anglican Church, which was the established state church in England. The Episcopal Church, on the other hand, is the American branch of Anglicanism and was established following the American Revolution.
  • While Anglicanism is a worldwide faith with members in more than 160 countries, the Episcopal Church is primarily located in the United States. Both churches share a common liturgy and heritage, but there are some key differences between them. For instance, Anglicans typically allow for women to be ordained as priests, while the Episcopal Church only ordains men.
  • Additionally, the Anglican arrangement of church leaders is more hierarchical, while the Episcopal Church has a more decentralized structure. Ultimately, both Anglican and Episcopal churches offer a unique opportunity for worship and community building.


The Anglican and Episcopal faiths are quite similar, but there are a few key differences that set them apart. If you’re interested in learning more about either of these denominations, we suggest reaching out to a local church or contacting the national governing body for each faith. Thanks for reading!

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