The Scottish Episcopal Church is a self-governing Province of the world-wide Anglican Communion. The church was first disestablished in 1689. During the eighteenth century its members were persecuted and subjected to severe penal statutes.
In many of its congregations, worship is centred round the 1982 Scottish Liturgy and the Church continues the development of non-Eucharistic services. The Liturgy Committee is now working on a new Eucharistic Liturgy.
The Scottish Episcopal Church has bishops, priests and deacons. These orders have existed since the early centuries of the Church. In 1994 women were ordained to the priesthood in the Scottish Episcopal Church for the first time.
The Scottish Episcopal Church now has over 350 churches in Scotland and some 52,000 members, 32,000 of whom are communicant members.
In the decision making processes, there is equal representation by clergy and laity. Parity in the participation and involvement of men and women in the life of the church is sought, as is an active part to be played by youth.
The General Synod meets annually and oversees the life of the Church in all its aspects. The Scottish Episcopal Church does not have an Archbishop, rather a Primus (from the Latin - primus inter pares - first amongst equals) who is one of the bishops who has been elected by the other bishops to preside over General Synod. The present Primus is The Most Rev David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane.
In the Province, there are seven dioceses made up of amalgamations of the fourteen pre-Reformation dioceses. They are: Aberdeen and Orkney; Argyll and the Isles; Brechin; Edinburgh; Glasgow and Galloway; Moray, Ross and Caithness; St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane.