What We Believe
We are Christians
We are disciples of Jesus Christ, worshipping God as He has revealed himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We subscribe to the Creeds of the Early Church.
We are Catholic
The Free Church of England is defined in its Constitution as ‘a branch of the Holy Catholic Church, united by faith to Jesus Christ the Head of the Church’. We are committed to the maintenance and propagation of the faith once delivered to the saints and lived out in every generation in the power of the Holy Spirit. We rejoice in the faith and heritage we share with our fellow Christians around the world.
We are Reformed
Like many Churches, our history is shaped by the events which took place in the Church in Western Europe in the 16th century – the Reformation. The abiding legacy is the conviction that the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the Word of God and that only those doctrines which are contained in Scripture are necessary for salvation.
The Church must constantly ensure that no innovations in doctrine or worship obscure this fundamental truth.
We stand in the Anglican tradition
Nowadays, the word ‘Anglican’ often has negative associations, suggesting a body of people with a wide range of beliefs. For us, however, the word defines us as part of the historic Catholic Church constantly cleansed and renewed by the power of the Scriptures.
Our structures, ministry and forms of worship are in direct continuity with those of the Church of England and our Constitution requires us to ‘conform to the ancient laws and customs of the Church of England’.
We are a sacramental Church
We believe in the Divine institution of the Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper (also called Holy Communion or Eucharist).
It is our practice to baptise infants as well as adults.
The Eucharist is our central act of worship in which we ‘proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes’ and ‘after an heavenly and spiritual manner’ partake of the Body and Blood of Christ.
We believe in the unity of the Church
We recognise the oneness of all who are in Jesus Christ. Our Constitution requires us to ‘maintain communion with all Christian Churches’ and to set forward ‘quietness, peace and love among all Christian people’.
The Free Church of England is a member of Churches Together in England and of the Free Churches Group. Like others, we are exploring new patterns of growth towards full visible unity.
We believe in the ministry of all the baptised
By the grace of the Holy Spirit every member of the Church is entrusted with the duty and privilege of witnessing to Jesus Christ, and with gifts to use in the service of the Church and the world.
Ministry in its fullest sense involves the laity as well as the clergy.
We are an episcopal Church
We affirm and continue the ancient three-fold ministry of bishops, presbyters and deacons. While we are committed to maintaining the historic episcopate, we recognise the validity of other forms of ministry.
In conformity with Scripture and the historic Tradition of the Church, only men are admitted to the three traditional Orders and to the office of Reader.
We are a liturgical Church
A Book of Common Prayer, virtually identical with that of the Church of England, is the basic standard for our worship, though modern language forms are currently being explored.
Outside our main services flexible and non-liturgical forms of worship may be used.
We are a bridge Church
Our unique history gives us many points of contact both with the historic episcopal Churches and with Churches that were organised at the Reformation and afterwards with different structures.
In recent years there has been a great deal of consensus reached among the Churches as a result of years of theological dialogue. We believe that we are uniquely placed to assist in putting some of these insights into practice.