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A Protestant Baptist Choir
Welcome to our pages dedicated to Protestant Christianity in the capital
In the UK today, the Christian/Protestant religion has progressed in many different directions, with three of the largest churches in London being the Church of England, the Methodist Church and the Baptist Church.
The formation of the Church of England dates back to the times of Henry VIII, although there had been Christian churches long before this date. It was then that the Church Of England broke away from the Church Of Rome, and Roman Catholicism to form a separate branch of Christianity.
The Queen is head of the Anglican Church
There are two books which are central to the Church of England and the Anglican religion. These are the Book of Common Prayer and The Common Worship: Services and Prayer.
At the Head of the Church of England is the Queen, who is Supreme Governor. Her tasks involve the appointing of archbishops, bishops and deans of cathedrals, she is helped in this duty by the Prime Minister who advises her.
There has been a steady decline in attendance levels for the Church of England in recent years. This is indicative, in part, to the level of importance placed on the church in British culture today.
In contrast there has been a significant rise in the attendance figures of the other denominations such as the Methodists and Baptists.
The Methodist Church was born out of a movement to revive the Church of England in the 18th century, which was led by two brothers. Their names were John and Charles Wesley. The brothers were both ordained by the Church of England and are said to have had a spiritual experience, which profoundly changed them, and the way they viewed their faith.
While Charles Wesley began to write hymns (over 6000), John Wesley was preaching outdoors in fields to mass meetings of working class people. The Sermons of John Wesley, which were published, form a large part of the doctrine of The Methodist Church. He also believed that faith and good works should go hand in hand. The Wesleys were involved in caring for the poor, prisoners, widows and others who were socially disadvantaged.
Although he did not want to break away from the Church of England, the impact of Wesley's preaching made it almost inevitable and in the 19th century it had become a separate denomination but with many strains.
It wasn't until 1932 that the three main groups came together to form the Methodist Church as we know it today. There are around 6,100 Methodist churches with a total membership of almost 330,000. The Methodist Church is governed by the Methodist Conference which is held each June and presided over by a president and vice president.
The Baptist Church was formed in the 16th century. Baptists emphasise the need for a personal faith and a relationship with Jesus. They reserve the sacrament of Baptism for those people who can make a personal confession to Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. Baptism takes the form of full immersion of the body in water not just the top of your head.
By the 17th century there were two strains of Baptists - The General Baptists, who believed that Christ died for everyone and the Particular Baptists, who believed that Christ died for a select few i.e. a particular group. These two strains of thought later came together to form the present day Baptist Union of Great Britain.
There are at least 2150 Baptist Churches in the UK today with a membership of almost 160,000 and 150,000 churches with around 40 million members world wide. In the London area there are approximately 280 Baptist churches, with a membership of over 25,000, (this figure does not include those people who attend the church and are not members). Baptists see the church as a community of believers with every member having a very important and equal role to play within the church.
last updated: 19/02/2008 at 12:33