We find ourselves belonging to a very old story, rooted as far back as the first and second centuries in the British Isles.
From the seventh through the fifteenth centuries, the Celtic Church came under the umbrella of Roman Catholicism. In the fourteenth century, many of the most influential English clergymen began questioning some of the newer theological positions and decisions of Rome. English clergymen then formally established independence from Roman Catholicism in the sixteenth century thereby giving birth to the Anglican the church in 1534.
Anglicanism is the third-largest Christian tradition worldwide—only the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions are larger than us. Over the last five hundred years, our faith has spread all over the world, including to America through the earliest English settlers and explorers. Today, the Episcopal Church is the primary American expression of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
We often joke that if you ask three Episcopalians about doctrine, you will get five different answers. We are a broad family with many streams. Holding these conflicting theologies in tension is seen as a historic strength for us. Via media, Latin for the middle way, is the traditional phrase used to describe our tradition.