The Church of England plays a vital role in the life of the nation, proclaiming the Christian gospel in words and actions and providing services of Christian worship and praise.
Its network of parishes cover the country, bringing a vital Christian dimension to the nation as well as strengthening community life in numerous urban, suburban and rural settings. Its cathedrals are centres of spirituality and service, and its network of chaplaincies across continental Europe meet important local needs.
The Church of England plays an active role in national life with its members involved in a wide range of public bodies. Twenty-six bishops are members of the House of Lords and are engaged in debates about legislation and national and international affairs.
The Church of England is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
The Church of England is organised as two provinces; each led by an archbishop (Canterbury for the Southern Province and York for the Northern). Each province comprises of dioceses being 44 in total, including the Diocese in Europe.
Each diocese in England is divided into parishes. Each parish is overseen by a parish priest (usually called a vicar or rector). From ancient times through to today, they and their bishop are responsible for the 'cure of souls' in their parish.
Her Majesty the Queen, who is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, appoints archbishops, bishops and deans of cathedrals on the advice of the Prime Minister. The two archbishops and 24 senior bishops sit in the House of Lords.
The Church of England is episcopally-led (there are 108 bishops (including Diocesan Bishops and Assistant and Suffragan Bishops). It is governed by General Synod as its legislative and deliberative body at national level, making decisions on matters of doctrine, the holding of church services and relations with other churches. General Synod passes measures which, if accepted by Parliament, have the effect of acts of Parliament. It is made up of three groups or houses of members: the Houses of Bishops, of Clergy and of Laity, and meets in London or York at least twice annually to consider legislation for the broader good of the Church.
Find out more about the Church of England at www.churchofengland.org
Published on: 30/01/2011