The Anglican Communion is an association of churches around the world that are in communion with the Church of England. The worldwide Anglican Communion membership is approximately 77 million. Included within the communion are the Episcopal Church of the United States, the Anglican Church of Canada, the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Nippon Sei Ko Kwai (Japan), and more than 30 other ecclesiastical bodies. The late 20th century saw the communion's greatest growth occur in Africa. Each of the “provinces,” as the national churches are called, is autonomous, determining such matters as who is eligible for ordination. The first decade of the 21st century was a time of increased tension within the communion, as schism was threatened over the ordination of openly gay clergy and the ...

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