Definition of the Church of England noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


the Church of England

BrE BrE//ðə ˌtʃɜːtʃ əv ˈɪŋɡlənd//
; NAmE NAmE//ðə ˌtʃɜːrtʃ əv ˈɪŋɡlənd//
(abbreviation CE, C of E) [singular] Types of belief
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the official Church in England, whose leader is the Queen or King See related entries: Types of belief Culture The Church of England is the official Protestant church in England, which became independent of the Roman Catholic Church in the 16th century at the time of Henry VIII. The king or queen is the Supreme Governor of the English, or Anglican, Church and it is led by the Archbishop of Canterbury and governed by the General Synod of bishops, clergy and laity (= ordinary church members). England is divided into parishes, each based around a parish church and with a vicar or rector in charge. Parishes are grouped into 41 dioceses each led by a bishop. There is also a Diocese in Europe. Church of England priests are allowed to marry and members of the clergy usually wear a white circular collar, informally called a dog collar. Services are given in English, the most important of them being Holy Communion, often just called Communion, at which people take Communion (= share bread and wine in memory of Christ). People become members of the Church at a baptism ceremony. Later, when they are old enough to understand the Church's teachings, they are confirmed and are allowed to take Communion. Many people are baptised as babies but are not confirmed and do not go to church regularly, but they use the church at important times in their lives such as when they get married or when members of their family die. Culturereligion in BritainIn the Census of 2001, British people were asked for the first time to answer a question about their religion, although they were not forced to answer the question. This question was repeated in the Census of 2011. Then 75% replied that they had a religion (2001: 85%) and 59% of them said that they were Christian (2001: 71%). 4.8% said they were Muslim (2001:3%). Other religions, including Hindus, Sikhs, Jews and Buddhists made up a further 4% together. 7.2% of people did not answer the question. Although the majority of the population describe themselves as Christian, only a very small proportion go to church regularly. British people rarely discuss religion and feel that a person's religious beliefs are a private matter.The established (= official) church in England is the Church of England. Members of the Church describe themselves informally as ‘C of E’. In Scotland the official church is the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, known by Scots as ‘the Kirk’. There is no established church in Wales and Northern Ireland. In Wales the Anglican Church is known as the Church in Wales. The Church is involved in political life as archbishopsand some bishops are members of the House of Lords and are chosen by the Queen or King following the advice of the Prime Minister. The monarch must be a member of the Church of England and is its official head. Christian religious education is provided in state schools but children do not have to take part. About 10% of the population are Roman Catholic and there are also Catholic schools.Protestant groups other than the Church of England are called Free or Nonconformist Churches. The Free Churches include the United Reformed Church, the Baptist church and the Methodist church. Nonconformist churches are also sometimes called chapels.Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus in Britain are mainly from families who came to Britain after World War II from India and Pakistan, although there has been a Muslim community in Britain since the 16th century. The history of Jews in Britain goes back to Roman times but many Jews in Britain today are from families who came to Britain as refugees from other countries in Europe at various times in the 19th and 20th centuries. Synagogues, mosques, Hindu temples and gurdwaras (= Sikh places of worship) are found in cities and many towns. The first British mosque was established in Cardiff in 1860 and the first gurdwara in London in 1911. The Hindu temple at Neasden in London is the largest in Europe. The Chief Rabbi is the main representative of British Jews and there are many religious organizations that represent particular religious groups. The Muslim Council of Britain and the Hindu Forum are among the largest of these.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: the Church of England