The Church of England is organised into two provinces; each led
by an archbishop (Canterbury for the Southern Province and York
for the Northern). These two provinces cover England, the Isle of
Man, the Channel Islands, the Isles of Scilly and even a small part
of Wales; not to mention continental Europe.
Each province is built from dioceses. There are 43 in England and the
Diocese in Europe has clergy and congregations in the rest of
Europe, Morocco, Turkey and the Asian countries of the former
Each diocese (except Europe) is divided into parishes. The
parish is the heart of the Church of England. Each parish is
overseen by a parish priest (usually called a vicar or rector).
From ancient times through to today, they, and their bishop, are
responsible for the 'cure of souls' in their parish. That includes
everyone. And this explains why parish priests are so involved with
the key issues and problems affecting the whole community.
Her Majesty the Queen is the Supreme Governor
of the Church of England, and she also has a unique and special
relationship with the Church of Scotland, which is a Free Church. In
the Church of England she appoints archbishops, bishops and deans
of cathedrals on the advice of the Prime Minister. The two
archbishops and 24 senior bishops sit in the House of Lords, making a major
contribution to Parliament's work.
The Church of England is episcopally led (there are 108 bishops)
and synodically governed. The General Synod is elected from the
laity and clergy of each diocese and meets in London or York at
least twice annually to consider legislation for the good of the
The Archbishops' Council was established in 1999 to
co-ordinate, promote, aid and further the mission of the Church of
England. It is composed of 19 members and 7 directors whose
task is to give a clear sense of direction to the Church nationally
and support the Church locally.