|Anglican and Episcopal History|
The Anglican Communion
There are 75 million members of the Anglican household, made up of over 500 dioceses, 30,000 parishes and 64,000 individual congregations. Anglican groups worship in every country on earth except the Vatican City, Bhutan and a handful of small Islamic states in Africa and the Indian Ocean. In fact, in several countries, Anglicans are the only worshipping Christian congregation. The majority of Anglicans are found in three main areas: England and Wales (historically our beginning), sub-Saharan Africa (missionaries of the 19th century built vibrant churches, then led by native Africans), and Australia-New Zealand (where the majority of the population is descended from Anglican immigrants). Besides English, Anglicans worship in Spanish, French, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, Arabic, Swahili, Hindi-Urdu and other languages. Meetings of the autonomous local churches occur regularly, most notably at the once-a-decade “Lambeth Conference” of all the world’s bishops. Head of the Communion: The Most Rev. and Rt. Hon. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Episcopal Church (USA)
This is the autonomous self-governing body of Anglicans in the United States and some missionary districts. There are 2.5 million baptized members in 113 dioceses and 7300 parishes and congregations. Beginning with the earliest English immigrants to this country in the late 1500s, Anglicanism remained America's largest Christian body until the American Revolution. The evangelical revival of the 1800s in the South and the Catholic revival of the 1830s in the North led to the planting of churches throughout the expanding country. Organized in basically independent dioceses, the Church is a community of love based on a shared liturgy and common doctrine, not an organization based on uniform policy. The Presiding Bishop: the Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop and Primate, New York.
Twelve dioceses in Arkansas, Kansas, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, and the western halves of Missouri and Louisiana, make up Province VII and undertake joint efforts in mission and ministry.
The Diocese of West Missouri
Our diocese was founded in 1890 by the division of the state into two halves. Fifty-two congregations, a small monastic community, campus ministries in five towns, two nursing homes, a hospital complex, the Church Army in Branson and Episcopal Social Services in Kansas City are the basic units of our mission and ministry as a body of Christians under the leadership of our bishop. The Anglican tradition sees the diocese, rather than the parish, as the basic unit of the Church, ensuring that no one congregation becomes engrossed entirely in its own local concerns, reinforcing the bonds of love and mutual forbearance to which Christians are called. The Standing Committee is the Bishop's Council of Advice for the Diocese of West Missouri. The committee is scheduled to meet monthly to approve ordinations, buy and sell land and buildings, elect bishops, review applications of missions for parish status and other business the bishop brings for discussion and approval. The Bishop of West Missouri: The Rt. Rev. Barry Howe, Kansas City.
The Southern Deanery
The 18 parishes of the southern part of our diocese gather semi-annually to discuss matters of common interest. The clergy of these congregations meet monthly in "Clericus" for the same reason.