Our Church, which was organized on September 2nd, 1921 was originally known as the African Orthodox Church. Its faith, as declared, was Orthodox, in conformity with the Orthodox Churches of the east from which its Episcopate was derived. While it admitted to membership and other privileges persons of all races, it sought particularly to reach out to millions of African descents in both hemispheres and declared itself to be perpetually autonomous and controlled by Africans. Hence the name, African Orthodox.
The African Orthodox Church (AOC) owed its Episcopate and Apostolic Authority to the Syrian Church of Antioch where their disciples were first called Christians, and of which the See of St Peter the Apostle was the first Bishop.
In a Bull issued by Ignatius Peter III, Patriarch of Antioch and the East, permission was given for the Consecration of the Priest Joseph Rene Vilatte as Archbishop – Metropolitan of the Archdiocese of America, namely, for churches adhering to the Orthodox Faith; and, on May 29th, 1892, Archbishop Vilatte was duly consecrated in Ceylon by Archbishop Julius Alvarez, assisted by the Syrian Bishops George Gregorius and Paul Athanasius, all three being under obedience of the Patriarch of Antioch.
On September 28th, 1921, in the United States, George Alexander McGuire, who was born in South Africa and served in Anglican Church in South Africa and the United States of America until 1918、until he was rejected by the administration of the Anglican Church (Canterbury) after he had been elected to the office of Bishop, was consecrated to the first Bishop and Primate of the AOC by Archbishop Joseph Rene Vilatte, assisted by Bishop Carl A. Nybladh who had been consecrated by Vilatte. Bishop McGuire was thrived to lay the foundation of the newborn AOC and on September 10th, 1924, he was elected to Archbishop. Then Archbishop McGuire declared that he is forming a sect of the Anglican Church “for our race”, thus the unity of the AOC, South Africa and the United States of America, began. Archbishop McGuire was elected as Patriarch by the Conclave of Bishops with the title of Alexander I.
In 1934, the AOC had about 30,000 members, about fifty clergies, and thirty churches in Africa and the United States of America. Alexander I died on November 10th, 1934, and Archbishop George Ford (1897-2004), succeeded the mantle.
During the 1960s and 1970s, our Church played a massive role in the fight against APARTHEID in South Africa and worked with Dr Martin Luther King Jr in the United States of America.
In 1997, AOC implemented the reform and changed its name to Anglican African Orthodox Church (AAOC). From its inception, the AAOC set out to prevent the notion that we are a black church. We made it clear that we serve all God’s people; thus, in 2002 there was a name change to Anglican Church Worldwide (ACW.)
Following the eradication of wrongful concords of the previous administration, several senior former ACW bishops and priests removed themselves, renounced its name and became the Worldwide Anglican Church (WAC) in July 2017. The ACW continues in the USA with a handful of bishops and priests. However, the Worldwide Anglican Church bishops, priests, and churches do not recognize them, preferring to remain committed to the dedicated ministry of our founding fathers in 1921, with an emphasis on humble service to all mankind, and a strong commitment to our Anglican roots.
Operations of the Church is now conducted with the utmost fairness, and the organization is dedicated to establishing a resilient and welcoming foundation for devoted believers worldwide. In December 2018, the WAC and Mercy Worldwide Ministries Anglican Church (MWMAC) came into Intercommunion with each other to form a robust union. In addition to this Intercommunion, the WAC appointed its first female Archbishop, British/American The Most Revd Christine Jane Alexandra ‘Mercy’ Johnson of the MWMAC to the Archbishop Directorate General of the Americas. On February 2nd, 2019, MWMAC merged with the WAC and Archbishop Christine Jane Alexandra ‘Mercy’ Johnson became WAC’s first Ex-Officio Matriarch.
The foundational work of this church began in earnest and continues to develop a strong body as we near our centenary. From our humble beginning in South Africa and the USA, we now have thousands of parishes and clergies across five continents, which will enhance the unified traditional Anglican faith.
History will decide on the work of the WAC, but it will be left to our successors to carry the vision. It is our hope that we, who have planted the seeds of growth, while we will not see it, will bear fruit that brings others to the kingdom of God. We pray at that time that much will not be said of who we were, but that what we have done to advance the Church here on earth.
Worldwide Anglican Church Central Office is registered and incorporated in Uganda.
The Worldwide Anglican Church