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Encyclopedia > Free Church of England

The Free Church of England is an Anglican church which separated from the established Church of England in 1844. The church was founded by evangelical clergy in Devon in response to the Anglo-Catholicism of Henry Phillpotts, the Bishop of Exeter. It was initially supported by Edward Adolphus St Maur, 11th Duke of Somerset, who built the first church in Bridgetown. The term Anglican (from medieval Latin ecclesia Anglicana meaning the English church) is used to describe the people, institutions, and churches as well as the liturgical traditions and theological concepts developed by the established Church of England, the Anglican Communion and the Continuing Anglican Churches (a loosely affiliated group of... The Church of England is the officially established Christian church[1] in England, and acts as the mother and senior branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion, as well as a founding member of the Porvoo Communion. ... 1844 was a leap year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... The word evangelicalism usually refers to religious practices and traditions which are found in conservative, almost always Protestant, Christianity. ... Devon is a large county in South West England, bordered by Cornwall to the west, Dorset and Somerset to the east. ... The terms Anglo-Catholic and Anglo-Catholicism describe people, groups, ideas, customs and practices within Anglicanism that emphasise continuity with Catholic tradition. ... Henry Phillpotts (1778-1869), or Henry of Exeter, as he was commonly called, was one of the most striking figures in the English Church of the 19th century. ... The Bishop of Exeter is the Ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Exeter in the Province of Canterbury. ... Edward Adolphus St. ... Bridgetown is not really a separate town, but is a part of Totnes. ...

In 1927, the Free Church of England (FCE) entered into full communion with the Reformed Episcopal Church, a church through which it had originally received its bishops in historic succession. The Reformed Episcopal Church (REC) was founded in 1873 by Anglican evangelicals in the United States. The name, "Reformed Episcopal Church" is now an alternate name for the Free Church of England. 1927 (MCMXXVII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar). ... Motto: (French for God and my right) Anthem: God Save the King/Queen Capital London Largest city London Official language(s) English (de facto) Unification    - by Athelstan AD 927  Area    - Total 130,395 km² (1st in UK)   50,346 sq mi  Population    - 2005 est. ... Full communion is completeness of that relationship between Christian individuals and groups which is known as communion. ... The Reformed Episcopal Church is an Anglican church in the United States and Canada. ... 1873 (MDCCCLXXIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ...

The Free Church of England regards itself as a Protestant Anglican church body, worshipping in the Low Church tradition and holding to the principles of sola scriptura, sola fide, and salvation only by the Name of Christ. Denied are such teachings as ministers being sacrificing priests and Apostolic Succession (which lineage nonetheless has been tenaciously maintained in the FCE up to the present) as essential for a valid ministry. Protestantism is a general grouping of denominations within Christianity. ... Low church is a term of distinction in the Church of England, initially designed to be pejorative. ... Sola scriptura (Latin By Scripture alone) is one of five important slogans of the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. ... Sola fide (by faith alone), also historically known as the justification of faith, is a doctrine that distinguishes Protestant denominations from Catholicism, Eastern Christianity, and Restorationism in Christianity. ... For other uses, see Salvation (disambiguation). ... This page is about the title or the Divine Person. For the Christian figure, see Jesus. ...

As of January 2004, The Free Church of England had two dioceses in England and a church in Russia-- The Church of Christ the Saviour, St. Petersburg. Parishes in England are concentrated in the north and south. Motto: (French for God and my right) Anthem: God Save the King/Queen Capital London Largest city London Official language(s) English (de facto) Unification    - by Athelstan AD 927  Area    - Total 130,395 km² (1st in UK)   50,346 sq mi  Population    - 2005 est. ... A parish is a type of administrative subdivision. ...

In the first years of the Twenty-first Century, several divisive issues faced FCE conventions. One was the question of church members also holding membership in Masonic Lodges. It was decided that such membership was incompatible with the Christian faith, and a decision was reached to call for all such church members who also hold membership in secret societies to be counselled about the conflicting values of the two. In most areas of the world Masons gather together in Masonic Lodges to work the three degrees of Freemasonry: 1° = Entered Apprentice 2° = Fellow Craft 3° = Master Mason Blue Lodge is used to specify the basic Masonic Lodge granting the first three degrees and to differentiate it from other Masonic... A secret society is a social organization that requires its members to conceal certain activities—such as rites of initiation or club ceremonies—from outsiders. ...

Additionally, a still-unresolved proposal for the Church to enter into new ecumenical activities was debated. Some members insisted that although the FCE had long supported fellowship with other Evangelical churches, the new ecumenical proposal did not limit itself to clearly Evangelical churches. This controversy has been the primary cause of a schism within the FCE, with the one faction of the FCE favoring broader relations with other churches while the other faction (the "Evangelical Connexion") favors ecumenical relations within the framework a narrow interpretation of traditional FCE beliefs. The word ecumenical comes from a Greek word that means pertaining to the whole world. ...

Another development stirring controversy within the FCE came from an action taken by the Church's North American partner. The Reformed Episcopal Church in the United States and Canada agreed to work towards a 2008 merger with the Anglican Province of America, a "continuing" Anglican jurisdiction known for Anglo-Catholic beliefs and practices. This move caused some in the FCE to question the future doctrinal stance of the Reformed Episcopal churches and even the connection between the British and the American churches itself. The official leadership of the FCE continues steadfast in its commitment to the historic links with the sister church in America, to the consternation of the Connexion. The Anglican Province of America is one of a number of continuing Anglican chuches in the United States, i. ... Doctrine, from Latin doctrina, (compare doctor), means a body of teachings or instructions, taught principles or positions, as the body of teachings in a branch of knowledge or belief system. ...

By early 2006, it appeared likely that the two factions would not be reconciled to each other and might, therefore, become two separate churches at some time in the near future. The Primus, Rt. Rev. Kenneth J. W. Powell, has classed the Evangelical Connexion clergy as "dissenters," and the act of withholding funds from the national church as consitituting de facto withdrawal from the FCE. On that basis, legal action has been inaugurated to seize the properties and bank accounts of parishes affiliated with the Connexion. That effort is still unresolved by the courts.

On July 29 2006, the licit faction of the FCE consecrated two new bishops. Participants in the consecration included bishops from the Reformed Episcopal Church in North America, the Mar Thoma Syrian Church, the Malabar Independent Church, the Moravian Church, and a representative from the Countess of Huntington's Connexion. The dissenting faction of the FCE are quick to point out that one of the denominations represented at the consecration permits the ordination of women to the presbyterate. The Free Church of England does not allow for women's ordination.

The viability of this venerable but small church appears in doubt.

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Church of England - HighBeam Encyclopedia (449 words)
The tiny church in the town of Stratford-on-Avon, England, where William Shakespeare was baptized and buried is falling apart, and fans of the bard are being asked to help raise more than $6 million to repair the ravages of eight centuries.(Briefly noted)(repairs to Holy Trinity Church)(Brief article)
The Church of England's general synod has approved relaxed rules on the remarriage of divorced people after a long debate, but the session ran out of time November 14, leaving unresolved the question of how to implement its new policies.
The Church of England's Board for Social Responsibility has called for the decriminalization of marijuana in its report to the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee's study of whether the British government's drug policy is working.(Brief Article)
Free Church Federation - LoveToKnow 1911 (779 words)
England and Wales have since been completely covered with a network of local councils, each of which elects its due proportion of representatives to the national gathering.
Although the objects of the Free Church councils are thus in their nature and spirit religious rather than political, there are occasions on which action is taken on great national affairs.
A remarkable manifestation of this unprecedented reunion was the fact that a committee of the associated churches prepared and published a catechism expressing the positive and fundamental agreement of all the Evangelical Free Churches on the essential doctrines of Christianity (see The Contemporary Review, January 1899).
  More results at FactBites »



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