Anglican CommunionThe Anglican Communion is a world-wide organisation of Anglican Churches.
Technically it is not possible to speak of the Anglican Church as a whole; it is better referred to as the Anglican Communion, which consists of national churches in communion with the Church of England. Some of these churches are known as Anglican, others call themselves Episcopalian. The ultimate head of any Anglican church is the Primate, head of the church at the national level; but Anglican primates acknowledge the leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury as primus inter pares, or "first among equals".
There are also a number of denominations which are not in communion with the Church of England but consider themselves Anglican in doctrine, such as the Free Church of England and "continuing churches" such as the Anglican Province of Christ the King.
Recently, disagreement between the differing church views of homosexuality has strained the unity of the communion, as well as their relationships with other Christian denominations; see Anglican views of homosexuality.
"The Episcopal [or Anglican] Church has a long tradition, and over that time has inherited, created, or retained many words that might not be familiar...These special terms, though confusing at first, are part of [the church's] rich heritage."
Churches of the Anglican Communion