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The Church of England has always thought of itself not as a new foundation but rather as a reformed continuation of the ancient "English Church" (Ecclesia Anglicana) and a reassertion of that church's rights. Anglican worship outside of Britain begins as early as 1578 in Canada.
The Anglican Communion traces much of its growth to the older mission organisations of the Church of England such as the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK, founded in 1698), the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG founded 1701, now known as and the Church Missionary Society (CMS, founded 1799).
The word Anglican originates in , a medieval Latin phrase dating to at least 1246 that means the English Church, but in the past two centuries the tradition has been adopted around the world.
Over the years, national churches gained independence from the Church of England and the Anglican Communion has become what is described in the quote at the top of the page: a global family of national and regional Churches.with traditional origins of their doctrines summarised in the Thirty-nine Articles (1571).Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury acts as a focus of unity, recognised as primus inter pares ("first among equals"), but does not exercise authority in the provinces outside England.Examples of such collaboration can be found in the Communion's Networks, in projects such as Anglican Witness, the Anglican Alliance, in its International Commission on Unity, Faith and Order and on the Anglican Communion News Service.It has always been a strength of the Anglican Communion that such co-operation continues and flourishes despite significant disagreements on certain issues.