American Episcopal Church

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American Episcopal Church
Classification Protestant
Polity Episcopal polity
Origin 1968, Mobile, Alabama
Separated from Episcopal Church in the USA
Merger of United in 1991 with the Anglican Catholic Church to form the Anglican Church in America. Some Anglican Catholic Church dioceses declined the merger.

The American Episcopal Church (AEC) was a conservative Anglican denomination that existed in the USA between 1968 and 1991.

Its growth was temporarily slowed by the relative success of the Continuing Anglican movement of 1977 and 1978 which culminated in the creation of its own version of an alternative to the Episcopal Church in the United States of America. Following the 1976 General Convention of the Episcopal Church, one in which the ordination of women to the priesthood and a new Prayer Book were approved, traditionalist clergy and laypersons unwilling to accept the recent changes met in St. Louis, Missouri and founded the new "Anglican Church in North America (Episcopal)". That provisional name was formally changed to Anglican Catholic Church at the new church's first convention held the next year.

Those who organized the Congress of St. Louis were departing members of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada, both of which are member provinces of the Anglican Communion headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The American Episcopal Church, which had no such recognition, was not invited to participate in the Congress. Carroll Eugene Simcox, editor of The Living Church, joined the AEC in 1982.

The AEC continued to grow, however, and for a while gained new members and parishes from the Anglican Catholic Church as new disputes afflicted the ACC. The AEC and ACC ultimately negotiated a merger in hopes of unifying the conservative Anglican cause in the United States.

The 1991 merger took in all of the former AEC parishes but divided the Anglican Catholic Church, owing to last-minute opposition from some of the ACC's bishops. As a result, the American Episcopal Church was absorbed into the new Anglican Church in America but was joined by less than half of the ACC dioceses, with the others deciding to reject the union agreement and continue the existence of the Anglican Catholic Church.