The Anglican Communion is an international association of independent churches consisting of the Church of England and national and regional Anglican churches in full communion with it. Full participation in the sacramental life of each church is available to all communicant Anglicans.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of All England, has a place of honour among the bishops of the Anglican churches. He is recognised as primus inter pares, or first among equals. The archbishop does not exercise authority in the provinces outside England, but instead acts as a focus of unity.
The churches of the Anglican Communion considers themselves to be part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and to be both Catholic and Reformed.
With a membership estimated at around 85 million members, the Anglican Communion is the third largest Christian communion in the world, after the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. Some of these churches are known as Anglican, such as the Anglican Church of Canada, due to their historical link to England (Ecclesia Anglicana means "English Church"). Some, for example the Church of Ireland, the Scottish and American Episcopal churches, and some other associated churches have a separate name. Each independent church has its own doctrine and liturgy, aligned in most cases on that of the Church of England; and each church has its own legislative process and overall episcopal polity, under the leadership of a local primate.
The Book of Common Prayer, produced in 1662, has for four centuries guided our worship. In the last century new services have been produced, including in 1989 our own “A New Zealand Prayer Book” and churches have developed their own freer forms of worship also being embraced in our Parish.