When The Church of England came into existence it was, officially, The Church of England. Anybody who tried to be a different church in England had to be very quiet about it or they risked being disappeared very quickly and, usually, very painfully. So, although I think it is now time we change this misleading name for ourselves, at least we have an excuse for our original pomposity. The same can not be said for The Church in Wales. When a Convention of the Anglican Church in Wales met in 1920 and adopted the name "The Church in Wales," they were definitely not THE church in Wales. At the time they were no longer even an established church. As for The Church of Ireland they have to have the most ridiculously inaccurate name of any church on the planet (both in Ulster and Ireland).
I am posting about this now because I am having a conversation with Mark at PRELUDIUM about his referring to his church as "The Episcopal Church" when it is, in fact, officially still The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America (PECUSA). Of course, Mark is merely following current convention. Most Anglicans in the United States refer to their church as The Episcopal Church or T.E.C. But I am suggesting that they stop doing so. They are not the only episcopal church in America and they are not THE episcopal church in the world, not even in the Anglican Communion as there are two other provinces who use the word "episcopal" in their name and all Anglican provinces are episcopal.
Does any of this matter? I think it does. As a non-Romanist Anglo-Catholic I hate it when the Roman Catholic Church refers to itself as just The Catholic Church (or even just The Church). They are not THE catholic church (perhaps none of us are as there is no ONE CHURCH). Members of PECUSA got really pissed off when schismatics recently set up their own denomination in the States and called themselves "The Anglican Church in North America." They are not THE Anglican church in North America. They chose the title to insult their former home and confuse the media into thinking they were an official expression of Anglicanism, which they are not. I can't see how we can get upset about such hijacking of words such as "Anglican," catholic and orthodox, when we were previously guilty, and are still guilty, of choosing the names of our churches with exactly the same sneering propaganda motives in mind.