Alban, (d.304 A.D.) is the earliest Christian in Britain who is known by name and, according to tradition, the first British martyr.
Alban was a soldier in the Roman army. He gave shelter to a Christian priest who was fleeing from persecution, and was converted by him. When officers came to Alban’s house, he dressed himself in the garments of the priest and gave himself up. Alban was tortured and martyred in place of the priest, on the hilltop where the Cathedral of St. Alban’s now stands.
The Venerable Bede gives this account of Alban’s trial: “When Alban was brought in, the judge happened to be standing before an altar, offering sacrifice to devils . . . ‘What is your family and race?’ demanded the judge. ‘How does my family concern you?’ replied Alban; ‘If you wish to know the truth about my religion, know that I am a Christian and am ready to do a Christian’s duty.’ ‘I demand to know your name,’ insisted the judge. ‘Tell me at once.’ ‘My parents named me Alban,’ he answered, ‘and I worship and adore the living and true God, who created all things.’ ”
The Mission of Saint Alban's Church describes our reason for existence. Our Vision describes what Saint Alban's Church will look like when we are fulfilling our mission.
To worship God, the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, every Lord’s Day in a Church unless reasonably prevented;
To engage regularly in the reading and study of Holy Scripture and the Doctrine of the Church as found in Article I of the Constitution of this Church;
To observe their baptismal vows, to lead an upright and sober life, and not give scandal to the Church;
To present their children and those they have led to the Lord for baptism and confirmation;
To give regular financial support to the Church, with the biblical tithe as the minimum standard of giving;
To practice forgiveness daily according to our Lord’s teaching;
To receive worthily the Sacrament of Holy Communion as often as reasonable;
To observe the feasts and fasts of the Church set forth in the Anglican formularies;
To continue his or her instruction in the Faith so as to remain an effective minister for the Lord Jesus Christ;
To devote themselves to the ministry of Christ among those who do not know Him, utilizing the gifts that the Holy Spirit gives them, for the effective extension of Christ’s Kingdom.
Anglicans are Christians. Anglicans are Catholic but not Roman Catholic. Anglicans are reformed but not Protestant. The Anglican Church is the State Church in some countries. The Anglican Church is a small Christian minority in countries. So what do Anglicans believe?
We believe and confess Jesus Christ to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no one comes to the Father but by Him. Therefore, the Anglican Church in North America identifies the following seven elements as characteristic of the Anglican Way, and essential for membership:
We confess the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments to be the inspired Word of God, containing all things necessary for salvation, and to be the final authority and unchangeable standard for Christian faith and life.
We confess Baptism and the Supper of the Lord to be Sacraments ordained by Christ Himself in the Gospel, and thus to be ministered with unfailing use of His words of institution and of the elements ordained by Him.
In all these things, the Anglican Church in North America is determined by the help of God to hold and maintain as the Anglican Way has received them the doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ.
"The Anglican Communion," Archbishop Geoffrey Fisher wrote, "has no peculiar thought, practice, creed or confession of its own. It has only the Catholic Faith of the ancient Catholic Church, as preserved in the Catholic Creeds and maintained in the Catholic and Apostolic constitution of Christ's Church from the beginning." It may licitly teach as necessary for salvation nothing but what is read in the Holy Scriptures as God's Word written or may be proved thereby. It therefore embraces and affirms such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the Scriptures, and thus to be counted apostolic. The Church has no authority to innovate: it is obliged continually, and particularly in times of renewal or reformation, to return to "the faith once delivered to the saints."
To be an Anglican, then, is not to embrace a distinct version of Christianity, but a distinct way of being a "Mere Christian," at the same time evangelical, apostolic, catholic, reformed, and Spirit-filled.