The diversity of language and culture of the Anglican Communion

The Right Revd Jorge Pina Cabral is the Bishop of the Lusitanian Church (Portugal). He’s a member of the College of Anglican Bishops in Continental Europe (COABICE) and the Coordinator of the Anglican Communion Lusophone Network. He is also part of the Steering Group for Phase 3 of the Lambeth Conference. As part of our ‘Being Anglican’ series, Bishop Jorge shares his perspectives on the diversity of language and culture of the Anglican Communion.

The family of Churches of the Anglican Communion is rich and plural in the diversity of languages and cultures it encompasses. In continental Europe, Anglicanism is historically present through four jurisdictions that, covering different European countries, seek to witness an enculturated faith open to ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue and cooperation. These four jurisdictions (English Diocese in Europe, American-Episcopal Convocation in Europe, Lusitanian-Portugal Church and Spanish Reformed Episcopal Church) celebrate the faith in different languages and according to different liturgical traditions. They are Anglican Churches in communion with the See of Canterbury, which bring distinct contributions to the Mission in ecclesiology, spirituality, theology and liturgy.

With respect for the history of each Church and its own cultural context, the Anglican Churches seek to know each other better by seeking a greater sharing of spiritual, human and material gifts and resources. The experience and acceptance of diversity within their midst has also enabled the Anglican Churches to establish a growing ecumenical commitment with other Churches and full communion agreements both with the Churches of the Old Catholic Communion of Utrecht and more recently with the Lutheran Churches of the Communion of Porvoo. These are important ecumenical developments for the joint Mission of proclaiming the Good News of Our Lord Jesus Christ in an increasingly secularized Europe. The acceptance of unity in diversity increasingly enables Anglican Churches to be “bridge churches”, thus fulfilling their ecumenical vocation.

As minority Churches in the European social and religious context, the Anglican Churches have learned with humility to be salt, light and leaven, developing ministries among the vulnerable and marginalized and recently and in a committed way supporting refugees who seek Europe for their own salvation and human survival. Also faithful to their prophetic vocation, the different Anglican Churches in Continental Europe have raised their voices in their own contexts in denouncing authoritarian and populist political forces and in defending the European project that promotes freedom, democracy and unity among peoples. They were unanimous in their condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the manipulation of religion for political purposes.

The Christian identity of these Churches is thus shaped by their own Mission commitments in the European social and religious context. The way they express their love for God by loving others and how they serve God by serving those most in need identifies and expresses their faith. In turn, the unique richness of the Anglican liturgies they celebrate and the way they proclaim the Risen Christ, empowers them to serve the world in a particular way. In this way, Anglican Churches and Christians in Continental Europe have a unique and valuable contribution to make to the Anglican Identity and to the entire family of the Anglican Communion.

Supporting Information:

  • This article is part of our wider ‘Being Anglican’ series, where Anglicans from around the world share what the Lambeth Call on Anglican Identity means to them, and how this theme supports the life of the Anglican Communion. Find the ‘Being Anglican’ reflections shared so far here.
  • For more information on our next webinar about Being Anglican and the Lambeth Call on Anglican Identity click here.

open to all:
the Phase 3 webinars