Definitions

Established church

Established church

An established church is a church officially sanctioned and supported by the government of a country, e.g. the Church of England in the United Kingdom.

Church of England

The Church of England is the established church in England, of which the monarch is constitutionally the supreme governor. Until 1920 it also held the same position in Wales and the Church of Ireland had the same position in Ireland prior to 1869.

Since the Revolution of 1688 the Church of Scotland has been the established church in Scotland. After King William III and his wife Queen Mary II landed in England and replaced James II, a settlement was reached where Scotland would have a distinct church. From that point on the Church of England was Episcopalian and the Church of Scotland was Presbyterian. Because of the National Covenants, which were important to the people of Scotland, the relationship between church and state is organized differently in that the church is independent of parliament rather than being subject to it.

A strong push was made by liberals and dissenters for disestablishment in England in the late nineteenth century as well; although unsuccessful, the issue has never entirely gone away.

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