The following is taken from the website of St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow:
After the Reformation the national church vacillated between Episcopalianism and Presbyterianism for over a century before finally declaring Scotland Presbyterian, with the Church of Scotland receiving all church buildings and assets. Hence in Scotland the parish church is Church of Scotland (there is no equivalent Episcopal parish structure) and away from the cities Episcopal churches are few and far between.
In 1689 the Scottish Episcopal Church originated with those who refused to accept the Revolution Settlement. It suffered because of its continued allegiance to the Stuart dynasty and was persecuted for the next century.
But the beginning of the nineteenth century saw the laws against Episcopalians relaxed; the increased trade and cultural links between Scotland and England encouraged growth in the church as part of the general expansion of church building in the Victorian era.
The Scottish Episcopal Church is a lively church; liturgical innovation is encouraged, built around our distinctive Scottish liturgy and influenced by the rediscovery of our Celtic roots. The ministry of the laity is growing, whilst Diocesan Synods and congregational Vestries allow creative church government.
In recent years the Scottish Episcopal Church has become known for its involvement in social issues. Mission 21, planned to meet the challenges and opportunities of the 21st Century, seeks to take the church out into the local community and address its needs.
The Scottish Episcopal Church, while never having been a part of the Church of England, is a province of the worldwide Anglican communion, with seven Dioceses, each with its own Bishop and Cathedral. The Episcopal Church does not have an Archbishop; instead, one of the Bishops is elected “Primus”.
The Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway is geographically large and culturally varied, ranging from Glasgow and the industrial Clyde to rural Borders country.
…and thanks to Holy Trinity and St Barnabas Church, Paisley, for the following:
The Scottish Episcopal Church is a self-governing province of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Within that family our nearest sisters are the Church in Wales, the Church of Ireland and the Church of England.
It is called Scottish because we trace our history back to the earliest known Christian communities in Scotland about 400 CE. It is Episcopal (from the word for bishops) because we maintain the three ordained orders of ministry (bishop, priest and deacon), dating from the early Church.
Women have been ordained as priests since 1994 and legislation passed in 2003 allows women priests to become bishops in the Scottish Episcopal Church. Scotland is divided into seven dioceses or areas that are under the care and leadership of a Bishop. Each diocese has a mother church, called the Cathedral which is the focus of the worshipping life of the diocese at different times in the year.
There are 325 congregations in Scotland and over 300 active priests (although only half are full-time). We have approximately 52000 members. Congregations vary in size from 4 or 5 people meeting together in a house on one of the western isles to over 900 on a Sunday in one of the Edinburgh churches. The Scottish Episcopal Church is a lively church; liturgical innovation is encouraged, built around our distinctive Scottish liturgy, and influenced by the rediscovery of our Celtic roots.
The Scottish Episcopal Church is an open and inclusive family welcoming all who wish to belong.