Church of England

The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St Augustine of Canterbury in AD 597.

As a result of Augustine's mission, the church in England came under the authority of the Pope. Initially prompted by a dispute over the annulment of the marriage of Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon, the Church of England separated from the Roman Catholic Church in 1534 and became the established church by an Act of Parliament in the Act of Supremacy, beginning a series of events known as the English Reformation. During the reign of Queen Mary I, the Church was fully restored under Rome in 1555. Papal authority was again explicitly rejected after the accession of Queen Elizabeth I when the Act of Supremacy of 1558 was passed. Catholic and Reformed factions vied for determining the doctrines and worship of the church. This ended with the 1558 Elizabethan settlement, which developed the understanding that the church was to be both Catholic and Reformed:

  • Catholic in that it views itself as a part of the universal church of Jesus Christ in unbroken continuity with the early apostolic church. This is expressed in its emphasis on the teachings of the early Church Fathers, as formalised in the Apostles', Nicene, and Athanasian creeds.
  • Reformed in that it has been shaped by some of the doctrinal principles of the 16th century Protestant Reformation, in particular in the Thirty-Nine Articles and the Book of Common Prayer.

During the 17th century, political and religious disputes raised the Puritan and Presbyterian faction to control of the church, but this ended with the Restoration. The contemporary Church of England still continues to contain several doctrinal strands, now generally known as Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical. This reflects early divisions. In recent times, tensions between theological conservatives and progressives find expression in debates over women's ordination and homosexuality within the church. The Church of England has ordained women as priests since 1994. A measure allowing the consecration of female bishops was lost by a narrow margin in 2012.

Since the Reformation, the Church of England has used an English liturgy. The Book of Common Prayer was based on original writings and translations from the Latin services by Thomas Cranmer. This liturgy has been updated and modernised at various times. The church also adopted congregational singing of hymns and psalms.

The governing structure of the church is based on the traditional parishes which are gathered into dioceses presided over by a bishop. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the Primate of All England and a focus of unity for the whole Anglican Communion worldwide. The General Synod is the legislative body for the church and comprises bishops, clergy and laity. As it is the established church, its measures must be approved of by both Houses of Parliament. This is done by the General Synod referring measures decided on to the Ecclesiastical Committee of Parliament, which is made up of 15 peers from the House of Lords selected by the Lord Speaker and 15 MPs selected by the Speaker of the House of Commons. This committee then produces a report on the proposed measure. The measure and report are then presented to Parliament. Both houses must agree to pass a resolution passing the measure before it can be presented to the Sovereign for Royal Assent and become law.

While the Church of England is the established church in England and the Crown dependencies, its territory does not extend to the other constituent countries of the United Kingdom, who have their own separate but disestablished national churches. The Church of Ireland and the Church in Wales were separated from the English Church in 1869 and 1914 respectively, and both are autonomous churches in the Anglican communion; due to different historical origins, Scotland's national church, the Church of Scotland, is Presbyterian, but the smaller Scottish Episcopal Church (itself an offshoot of the Church of Scotland) is in the Anglican communion.

Read more about Church Of EnglandDoctrine and Practice, Membership, Structure, Financial Situation

Other articles related to "church of england, church, church of":

Church Of England - Financial Situation
... Although an established church, the Church of England does not receive any direct government support ... As of 2005, the Church of England had estimated total outgoings of around £900 million ... The Church of England manages an investment portfolio which is worth more than £8 billion ...
Sequestration (law) - England - Church of England
... There are also two specific and slightly different usages in term of the Church of England to the action of taking profits of a benefice to satisfy the creditors of the incumbent to the action of ensuring ... As the goods of the Church cannot be touched by a lay hand, the writ is issued to the bishop, and he issues the sequestration order to the church-ward ... Similarly when a benefice is vacant the church wardens take out sequestration under the seal of the Ordinary and manage the profits for the next incumbent ...
Claydon, Oxfordshire - Church and Chapel - Church of England
... The Church of England parish church of Saint James the Great was a dependent chapelry of the parish of Cropredy until 1851 ... of Oxford, Samuel Wilberforce, expressed dissatisfaction with the condition of the church building ... The church has also an early clock of an unusual design ...

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