The Anglican Communion works towards Christian unity by strengthening its relationships with other Churches. Listed here are the Churches which are closely linked or 'in communion with' churches in the Anglican Communion. This means they are able to participate fully in each other's worship and receive communion at Eucharist celebrations.
Old-Catholics are a group of national churches which at various times separated from Rome. The term "Old-Catholic" was adopted to mean original Catholicism.
The Anglican Communion signed the Bonn Agreement with the Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht in 1931. This agreement of "inter-Communion" has formed the basis for an ongoing relationship mediated by the Anglican-Old Catholic International Co-ordinating Council.
Anglicans and Old Catholics are welcome to participate fully in each other’s worship and receive communion at celebrations of the Eucharist; clergy may act fully in each other’s churches. This was the first agreement of its kind that Anglicans had ever concluded.
The Philippine Independent Church is the indigenous national church of the Philippines. It traces its formal organization to 1902 when Roman Catholic clergy and laypeople separated from Rome during that country's struggle for independence. It is a church both catholic and reformed, maintaining many traditional doctrinal teachings while repudiating control from Rome or by any other foreign bishops. Because no bishops separated with them it lost the historic episcopate. It maintained a presbyteral transmission of the three-fold ordained ministry, until 1948, when the Episcopal Church in the United States approved the request from transmit the historic episcopate by the consecration of three IFI bishops. They then ordained every other person holding the office of bishop, priest, and deacon. From 1961, full intercommunion was agreed by a joint document approved by both churches. The IFI is also fully in communion with all other churches in communion with the See of Canterbury. IFI bishops attend the Lambeth Conference. Today it is a church of between 1.5 and 2.5 million members in the Philippines with outreach dioceses and ministries world-wide, including the United States and Canada. The World Council of Churches estimates worldwide membership at six million.
The Mar Thoma Church forms part of the ancient Syrian Church of Malabar, and its main membership is in Kerala, India.
At the beginning of the 19th century the Syrian church came into contact with British missionaries, who established educational institutions and assisted the church with theological formation. The Bible was translated into the local language, Malayalam, in 1828. In 1836 a group of committed Christians initiated a movement of reformation in the church. They insisted on re-ordering its life and practice in the light of the scriptures. The reformed section of the church became known as the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Malabar or simply the Mar Thoma Church. Institutions such as the Mar Thoma Evangelistic Association (1888) and the Mar Thoma Theological Seminary (1927) were created and continue to promote evangelical and ecumenical vision and commitment.
While retaining many of the traditional characteristics of the ancient Eastern church, the Mar Thoma Church keeps very close relations with Christian churches in other parts of the world. It is in full communion with the churches of the Anglican Communion and maintains special relations with the Episcopal Church in the USA and the Anglican churches in Australia and Canada, as well as with the Uniting Church in Australia. Its membership is a little over a million.
NB: the The Church of North India (CNI), The Church of South India (CSI), The Church of Pakistan and The Church of Bangladesh are united Churches that are considered Member Churches of the Anglican Communion.