Anglicanism today consists of 38 independent churches around the world, with a 39th entity in formation. These churches are called "provinces" of the "Anglican Communion," all of which are historically descended from the Church of England and the Archbishop of Canterbury. There are 80 million Anglicans worldwide, making it the third largest Christian Communion in the world. Anglicanism has no central authority like the Roman Catholic Church has in its pope. The Archbishop of Canterbury acts as the convener and host of the Lambeth Conference of Bishops every ten years, but only in his own Church of England does he exercise actual authority.
In 1888, the conference of bishops issued a statement setting out the essentials for the reunification of the “one holy catholic and apostolic church.” These essentials define Anglicanism. The four basics are: 1) the Holy Scripture as containing all things necessary for salvation; 2) the two sacraments ordained by Jesus Christ himself: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper; 3) the Apostle’s and Nicene Creed as concise statements of the faith; 4) the historic episcopate (bishops) carrying on the apostolic ministry for the unity of the Church.
Another way to define Anglicanism
is that we are
Scriptural, Sacramental, Creedal and Episcopal.