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 Issues | Church | Anglican Communion - How Big?

How big is the Anglican Communion?

Various figures are quoted for the size of the Anglican Communion. These vary from the 70 million in the literature produced by the Anglican Communion Office to the 78 million stated by Archbishop Eames at the press conference to launch the Windsor Report.

The Church of England yearbook 2004 gives a figure of 77 million. However, this includes 26 million members of the Church of England which the estimate for the number of baptised Anglicans.
Usual Sunday attendance in England is now below 1 million and a recent report by the Church statisticians proposed a figure of 3 million for active church membership (those who come once a year or more).

One might do a similar analysis for ECUSA where a figure of 2.4 million is given but actual week by week attendance perhaps a third of this even before the recent divisions.

Taking account of the inflated figure for England the more realistic figure for the Communion is at most 54 million. What is astonishing is that over 41.5 million of these are members of the African provinces. It appears therefore that three-quarters of active Anglicans live in Africa.

When the Lambeth gathering of Anglican Bishops took place in 1998 they passed resolution 1.10 on human sexuality. Of those voting over 85% voted for the resolution. When abstentions are taken into account this represented not much more than two-thirds of the Bishops who supported the motion. This has been taken by some to suggest that the Communion is fairly divided on the issue. But these figures need to be put into context.

There were around 750 Bishops eligible to attend Lambeth 1998. Something over 300 (over 40%) of these Bishops were from the British Isles, the USA and Canada which between them account for at best 10% of the active membership of the Communion. In contrast there were only about 225 African Bishops.

Put another way, if the Africans had sent proportionately as many Bishops to Lambeth 1998 as the Americans there would have been well over 2,000 African Bishops present.

 

Further information and articles about the Anglican Communion

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Membership figures

Sources : Church of England Yearbook 2004

Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia 220,659
Australia 3,881,162
Brazil 106,415
Burundi 625,000
Canada 686,362
Central Africa 600,000
Central America 15,600
Congo 300,000
Church of England 26,000,000
Hong Kong 29,000
Indian Ocean 90,486
Ireland 410,000
Japan 57,273
Jerusalem & Middle East 10,000
Kenya 3,500,000
Korea 14,558
Melanesia 163,884
Mexico 21,000
Myanmar 59,266
Nigeria 17,500,000
Papua New Guinea 166,046
Philippenes 121,000
Rwanda 1,000,000
Scottish 45,077
South East Asia 168,079
Southern Africa 2,000,000
Southern Cone 22,490
Sudan 5,000,000
Tanzania 2,000,000
Uganda 8,000,000
ECUSA 2,400,000
Wales 84,000
West Africa 1,000,000
West Indes 770,000
77,067,357

 

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Related Links
Anglican Communion Pages
BulletLambeth Quadrilateral 1888
BulletIntroduction
BulletUnity of the Communion
BulletInstruments of Unity
BulletHow big is the Communion?

BulletAnglicans outside the Communion

Anglican Communion - Other Sub Issues
BulletDivision in the Communion
BulletStatements and Documents

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BulletEthics
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