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The term "low church" refers to churches which give relatively little emphasis to ritual, sacraments and the authority of clergy. The term is most often used in a liturgical context. The term was initially designed to be pejorative. During the series of doctrinal and ecclesiastic challenges to the established church in the 17th century, commentators and others — who favoured the theology, worship, and hierarchical structure of Anglicanism
Anglicanism
(such as the episcopate) as the true form of Christianity
Christianity
— began referring to that outlook (and the related practices) as "high church". In contrast, by the early 18th century, those theologians and politicians who sought more reform in the English church and a greater liberalisation of church structure, were called "low church". "Low church", in an Anglican
Anglican
context, denotes the church's simplicity or Protestant
Protestant
emphasis, and "high church" denotes an emphasis on ritual or, later, Anglo-Catholicism.

Contents

1 Historical use 2 Modern use 3 Ecumenical
Ecumenical
relationships

3.1 United churches with Protestants in Asia 3.2 Britain and Ireland

4 Church of England

4.1 Notable parishes 4.2 Notable organisations 4.3 Notable Bible
Bible
colleges and theological colleges

5 Notable churches and dioceses 6 See also 7 References 8 Further reading 9 External links

Historical use[edit] The term low church was used in the early part of the 18th century as the equivalent of the term Latitudinarian in that it was used to refer to values that provided much latitude in matters of discipline and faith. The term was in contradistinction to the term high church, or high churchmen, which applied to those who valued the exclusive authority of the Established Church, the episcopacy and the sacramental system. Low churchmen wanted to tolerate Puritan
Puritan
opinions within the Church of England, though they might not be in agreement with Puritan
Puritan
liturgical practices. The movement to bring Separatists, and in particular Presbyterians, back into the Church of England
Church of England
ended with the Act of Toleration 1689 for the most part. Though Low church
Low church
continued to be used for those clergy holding a more liberal view of Dissenters, the term eventually fell into disuse. Both terms were revived in the 19th century when the Tractarian movement brought the term "high churchman" into vogue. The terms were again used in a modified sense, now used to refer to those who exalted the idea of the Church as a catholic entity as the body of Christ, and the sacramental system as the divinely given means of grace. A low churchman now became the equivalent of an evangelical Anglican, the designation of the movement associated with the name of Charles Simeon, which held the necessity of personal conversion to be of primary importance. At the same time, Latitudinarian changed to broad church, or broad churchmen, designating those who most valued the ethical teachings of the Church and minimised the value of orthodoxy. The revival of pre-Reformation ritual by many of the high church clergy led to the designation ritualist being applied to them in a somewhat contemptuous sense. However, the terms high churchman and ritualist have often been wrongly treated as interchangeable. The high churchman of the Catholic type is further differentiated from the earlier use of what is sometimes described as the "high and dry type" of the period before the Oxford Movement. Modern use[edit] In contemporary usage, "low churches" place more emphasis on the Protestant
Protestant
nature of Anglicanism
Anglicanism
than broad or high churches and are usually Evangelical in their belief and practice. They may tend to favour the Book of Common Prayer
Book of Common Prayer
services of Morning and Evening Prayer over the Eucharist, though the Diocese of Sydney has largely abandoned the Prayer Book and uses free-form evangelical services. Some contemporary low churches also incorporate elements of charismatic Christianity. More traditional low church Anglicans, under the influence of Calvinist
Calvinist
or Reformed
Reformed
thought inherited from the Reformation era, reject the doctrine that the sacraments confer grace ex opere operato (e.g., baptismal regeneration) and lay stress on the Bible
Bible
as the ultimate source of authority in matters of faith necessary for salvation. They are, in general, prepared to cooperate with other Protestants on nearly equal terms.[citation needed] Some low church Anglicans of the Reformed
Reformed
party consider themselves the only faithful adherents of historic Anglicanism
Anglicanism
and emphasise the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England
Church of England
as an official doctrinal statement of the Anglican
Anglican
tradition.[citation needed] Ecumenical
Ecumenical
relationships[edit] United churches with Protestants in Asia[edit] Several provinces of the Anglican Communion
Anglican Communion
in Asia have merged with Protestant
Protestant
churches. The Church of South India
Church of South India
arose out of a merger of the southern province of the Church of India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon (Anglican), the Methodist
Methodist
Church of South India
Church of South India
and the South India United Church (a Congregationalist, Reformed
Reformed
and Presbyterian united church) in 1947. In the 1990s a small number of Baptist
Baptist
and Pentecostal
Pentecostal
churches joined also the union. In 1970 the Church of India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon, the United Church of North India, the Baptist
Baptist
Churches of Northern India, the Church of the Brethren
Church of the Brethren
in India, the Methodist
Methodist
Church (British and Australia Conferences) and the Disciples of Christ
Disciples of Christ
denominations merged to form the Church of North India. Also in 1970 the Anglicans, Presbyterians
Presbyterians
(Church of Scotland), United Methodists
United Methodists
and Lutherans
Lutherans
of Churches in Pakistan merged into the Church of Pakistan. The Church of Bangladesh is the result of a merge of Anglican
Anglican
and Presbyterian churches. Britain and Ireland[edit] In the 1960s the Methodist
Methodist
Church of Great Britain made ecumenical overtures to the Church of England, aimed at church unity. These formally failed when they were rejected by the Church of England's General Synod in 1972. In 1981, a covenant project was proposed between the Church of England, the Methodist
Methodist
Church in Great Britain, the United Reformed
Reformed
Church and the Moravian Church.[1] In 1982 the United Reformed
Reformed
Church voted in favour of the covenant, which would have meant remodelling its elders and moderators as bishops and incorporating its ministry into the apostolic succession. The Church of England
Church of England
rejected the covenant. Conversations and co-operation continued leading in 2003 to the signing of a covenant between the Church of England
Church of England
and the Methodist
Methodist
Church of Great Britain.[2] From the 1970s onward, the Methodist
Methodist
Church was involved in several "Local Ecumenical
Ecumenical
Projects" (LEPs) with neighbouring denominations usually with the Church of England, the Baptists
Baptists
or with the United Reformed
Reformed
Church, which involved sharing churches, schools and in some cases ministers. In the Church of England, Anglo-Catholics
Anglo-Catholics
are often opposed to unity with Protestants, which can reduce hope of unity with the Roman Catholic Church. Accepting women Protestant
Protestant
ministers would also make unity with the See of Rome
See of Rome
more difficult. In the 1990s and early 2000s the Scottish Episcopal Church
Scottish Episcopal Church
(Anglican), the Church of Scotland
Church of Scotland
(Presbyterian), the Methodist
Methodist
Church of Great Britain and the United Reformed
Reformed
Church were all parts of the "Scottish Churches Initiative for Union" (SCIFU) for seeking greater unity. The attempt stalled following the withdrawal of the Church of Scotland
Church of Scotland
in 2003. In 2002 the Church of Ireland, which is generally on the low church end of the spectrum of world Anglicanism, signed a covenant for greater cooperation and potential ultimate unity with the Methodist Church in Ireland.[3]

This article needs to be updated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (July 2017)

Church of England[edit] Notable parishes[edit]

All Saints Church, Peckham All Saints Church, Ecclesall, Sheffield All Souls Church, Langham Place Busbridge Church, Surrey Hambledon Church, Surrey Holy Trinity Brompton Holy Trinity Church, Cambridge Jesmond Parish Church St Ebbe's Church, Oxford St Helen's Bishopsgate St Matthew's Church, Millbrook St Mark's Church, Kennington St Mary's Church, Islington St Nicholas' Church, Durham St Nicolas Church, Newbury

Notable organisations[edit]

Alpha course Anglican
Anglican
Mainstream Christianity
Christianity
Explored Church Army Church Society Crosslinks Reform (Anglican)

Notable Bible
Bible
colleges and theological colleges[edit]

Oak Hill Theological College, Southgate, London Ridley Hall, Cambridge St John's College, Durham St John's College, Nottingham Trinity College, Bristol Wycliffe Hall, Oxford Moore College

Notable churches and dioceses[edit]

Anglican
Anglican
Episcopal Church Anglican
Anglican
Orthodox Church and the formerly Traditional Protestant Episcopal Church Anglican
Anglican
Diocese of Sydney Free Church of England Evangelical Connexion of the Free Church of England Church of Ireland Church of England
Church of England
(Continuing) Igreja Anglicana Reformada do Brasil Extra-provincial Anglican
Anglican
churches Church of England
Church of England
in South Africa Church of South India Church of North India Diocese of the Great Lakes Diocese of the Carolinas Reformed
Reformed
Episcopal Church Reformed
Reformed
Anglican
Anglican
Church (USA) United Episcopal Church of North America

See also[edit]

Evangelical Anglicanism John Wesley Wesleyanism Anglo-Catholicism Broad church Central Churchmanship Conservative Evangelicalism
Evangelicalism
in Britain Church of England High Church Methodism Open Evangelical Ritualism

References[edit]

^ "Church of England/ Methodist
Methodist
Church Covenant".  ^ "Church of England/ Methodist
Methodist
Church Covenant".  ^ "Church of Ireland/ Methodist
Methodist
Church Covenant". 

Further reading[edit]

Cross, F. L. (ed.) (1957) The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. London: Oxford U. P.; Low Churchmen, p. 824

External links[edit]

Catholic Encyclopedia: Low Church High Church
High Church
vs. Low Church: Documentary Narrative of an Ecclesiastical Joke compiled by Richard Mammana and Cynthia McFarland

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "article name needed". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge Unive

.