Membership: 2.5 million.
Churches: 7,400 parishes.
Structure: 107 dioceses headed by bishops, grouped regionally into nineprovinces.
Hierarchy: The top elected figure is Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold,elected in 1997 to a nine-year term.
Governance: The church gathers every three years -- the last time in2000 -- to set policy and doctrine. The General Convention gathering isdivided between a 204-member House of Bishops and an 832-member House ofDeputies comprised of clergy and lay members.
History: The Episcopal Church is the autonomous U.S. branch of theWorldwide Anglican Communion, headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury.Episcopalians arrived in the United States in 1607 at the Jamestown,Va., settlement and weathered the American Revolution to emerge as theProtestant Episcopal Church.


Membership: Approximately 70 million.
Provinces: 38 autonomous churches spanning 164 countries. Each churchhas a presiding bishop, also called a primate.
Hierarchy: The archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, is the de factohead of the Anglican Communion, although he is considered only the firstamong equals.
Governance: The primates, bishops and lay members of the AnglicanCommunion gather once every 10 years -- the last time in 1998 -- for theLambeth Conference, which sets policy and doctrine for the globalchurch. The primates also gather once a year for discussion.
History: The Anglican Communion has its roots in the Church of England,which was formed in 1534 when England's King Henry VIII split the churchfrom Rome because the pope refused to grant him a divorce.
The Britishmonarch is considered the symbolic head of the church.