History of The Episcopal Church

The beginnings of the Church of England, from which The Episcopal Church derives, date to at least the second century, when merchants and other travelers first brought Christianity to England. It is customary to regard St. Augustine of Canterbury’s mission to England in 597 as marking the formal beginning of the church under papal authority, as it was to be throughout the Middle Ages.

In its modern form, the church dates from the English Reformation of the 16th century, when royal supremacy was established and the authority of the papacy was repudiated. With the advent of British colonization, the Church of England was established on every continent. In time, these churches gained their independence, but retained connections with the mother church in the Anglican Communion.

The Historical Society of The Episcopal Church (HSEC) is an association of persons and entities dedicated to the preservation and dissemination of information on the history of The Episcopal Church. ​Founded in 1910 as the Church Historical Society, members include scholars, writers, teachers, ministers (lay and ordained), students – anyone with interest in the objectives of the Society.

National Episcopal Historians and Archivists
NEHA provides a forum for exchanging ideas, gives mutual support, and serves as an archival and historical network for any who preserve, explore and share the historical dimensions of The Episcopal Church. Begun as an outgrowth of the Church Historical Society in 1961, NEHA seeks to answer the needs of church leaders who know attention should be given to nurturing congregational, diocesan, and institutional historians, registrars and archivists.

Episcopal Women’s History Project
Statement of purpose: To promote and encourage research, writing and publication in all matters touching upon the history of women in The Episcopal Church; To promote and encourage the collection and preservation of records and other artifacts of interest pertaining to such history; To foster and promote public knowledge of interest in such history.

The English Church

The Church in the United States of America


Gallery: Past Presiding Bishops

Frank T. Griswold

Katharine Jefferts Schori

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