Reformed Episcopal Church

This schism from the Protestant Episcopal Church* in America was founded by G.D. Cummins,* its first presiding bishop, in 1873, because of deep dissatisfaction with the rising ritualism and sacerdotalism among American Episcopalians. Their bishops trace their consecration from Canterbury, yet are not a third order in addition to deacons and presbyters, but rather first among equals. Its government involves much lay participation at all levels. Clergy from other groups are received without reordination, and laity without reconfirmation. Their Book of Common Prayer of 1874 is based on the Prayer Book of 1785, the colonial church's revision of the BCP under Bishop William White. Their doctrine of ministry is Reformed in that the minister is a minister of Word and sacrament rather than a mediator. Absolution, baptismal regeneration, and transubstantiation are not held, and the Prayer Book contains their own 1873 Declaration of Principles and Articles of Religion. It is an American church, divided into the Synod of New York and Philadelphia, the Synod of Chicago, and the Jurisdiction of the South, each with its own bishop. A few parishes exist in Canada and England (Free Church of England*). The total American membership is a little over 7,000. Its theological seminary is located in Philadelphia.