Church of England vs Church of Scotland

Do the two churches differ in beliefs?

I ask this because I learnt that when the Queen is in England, she’s the head of the C of E. When she’s in Scotland, she’s head of the C of S. How is this possible if the two don’t believe in exactly the same thing?

I also know that one member of the Royal family (I think it was Princess Margaret) had her second marriage in the Church of Scotland because they’re more lenient on remarriages for divorcees. Thus I’m imagining that this means their beliefs aren’t identical.

The Queen is Supreme Governor of the CofE (not “Head”) but she does not have that relationship with the CofS. She does attend CofS services when she is in Scotland.

The CofS is Presbyterian, the CofE is, well, Anglican. It is not unusual for Christians of one denomination to attend services in churches of another denomination. Certainly I have seen senior Catholic prelates at Anglican services, the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge among them.

They’re not identical, but are broadly similar. Historically they were even more so: the Church of England used to be more Calvinist in its theology, and the Church of Scotland used to have bishops. Both the loss of Scotland’s bishops, and the constitutional settlement which sees the monarch as a member of both national churches, has a lot to do with the fact that William III (of Orange) was a Dutch Calvinist.

Both of the above comments are correct. It should also be mentioned that the Church of Scotland is not the established church of the Scottish state anymore, whereas, the CoE still is in England.

There is also the Episcopal Church of Scotland still existing - a remnant of the times before 1690 when Scottish Kirk had bishops.

And the Scottish Episcopal Church is, of course, a member of the Anglican Communion.

Traced back to the Non-Jurors, yes?

Well, yes, but also to the Qualified chapels.

History is so confusing.

They were a thoughtless lot in the past weren’t they? Sometimes I think they just didn’t care whether Posterity would be confused or not.

Although the CofS, disestablished though it now is, is still the national church of Scotland.


One ought to be able to understand this thing from a single book, if they had conducted themselves in a proper manner.

Understand history, that is.

cue Sellar and Yeatman, I fancy.

Yes, something like that, for all that.

Imagine the relief on my shelf problems.

As others have said, the Queen is the supreme governor of the Church of England.

When she is in Scotland, she is just a member of the Church of Scotland. However, as Scotland’s national church, the Church of Scotland does participate in royal traditions. For example, upon their coronation, monarchs pledge to defend the security of the Kirk. She also appoints a Lord High Commissioner to personally represent her at each of the General Assemblies of the Kirk. The post of Lord High Commissioner is purely ceremonial–they have no authority in the church at all.

And I think I’m right in saying that when the Queen is in Scotland her chaplains are ministers of the Church of Scotland.

Interesting. Thanks for sharing.

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