Slideshow image
Submitted by Imai Thomas Welch
Article 5 in the Series

What is “BIPOC”? BIPOC is an acronym for “Black, Indigenous, and Other Peoples of Colour”. It’s an umbrella term for all non-White peoples. Even if there are many different communities within the BIPOC umbrella, we share many of the same challenges and concerns about things like racism and diversity. In this series, I’m going to provide some information and trivia about BIPOC peoples. 

Anglicanism has a long and storied history of being the Established or State Church, including here in Canada. The Anglican Church often acted as the religious arm of the British Empire; the Church evangelised communities, and left numerous Anglican churches which developed their own cultures and customs over time. Even nowadays, many Anglican churches take on religious roles within otherwise secular governments.

But, that status of the State Church came at a price; local churches were often not allowed to govern themselves. In those cases where churches did have some self-governance rights, factors such as colonial status, funding models, and plain-ol’ racism meant that Bishops and even parish clergy routinely came from the UK. Local Christians, especially non-White Christians, often could not lead their own parishes until the Anglican church was no longer the State Church in their communities. So, a couple of questions about Disestablishment (the loss of status as the State Church): 

When was the Anglican Church disestablished in Canada?

It depends on the province. Nova Scotia disestablished the Anglican Church by 1850. Ontario disestablished the church in 1854. Disestablishment had certainly occurred in all provinces joining Confederation in 1867. 

In Quebec and British Columbia, the Anglican Church never really became Established. However, as Colonies their first Anglican Dioceses were created by Royal Letters Patent from the UK, and their clergy did receive some support from the colonial governments. 

When was the Anglican Church disestablished in the British Empire?

Again, it depends on the location. Parts of Australia were disestablished as early as 1836. Jamaica disestablished the Anglican Church in 1870.  Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) did not disestablish until 1881. Barbados didn’t disestablish the Church until 1969, almost 3 years after gaining independence from the UK.