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Episcopal Church of Scotland

Episcopal Church of Scotland. Scotland had no territorial episcopate before the 12th cent. and no archbishoprics before the late 15th cent. Although the church assumed an increasingly presbyterian accent after the Reformation, bishops remained a lively issue in the conflicts bedevilling church and crown between 1560 and 1690. Thereafter Scotland's remaining episcopalians formed links with English non-jurors, participating in 1711 in a joint consecration of bishops. An Act of Toleration (1712) gave them legal standing provided their ministers took the oath of allegiance to Queen Anne. Their continued adherence to the Stuarts hindered growth at first, but in 1720 the double election of John Fullarton, to fill the see vacated by the death of Scotland's last diocesan bishop, and as primus (presiding bishop), heralded a consolidation which John Skinner (1744–1816, primus 1788–1816) turned into revival. Skinner's negotiating skills led to the consecration of the United States episcopal church's first bishop (1784), repeal of the Penal Laws (1792), and adoption of the English church's Thirty-Nine Articles. They made possible the Anglican Communion; and reconciliation between non-jurors and the rest was effected at Laurencekirk (1804). This was the prelude to reconstruction: seven dioceses by 1837, a doubling of churches and clergy by 1857, a Church Council with lay congregational representation since 1876, and a Consultative Council on Church Legislation since 1905, the whole later enhanced by a General Synod and issuing in a theologically and socially alert church.

Clyde Binfield

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