Free Protestant Episcopal Church

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The Free Protestant Episcopal Church - FPEC, now called The Anglican Free Communion, was formed in England, on November 2, 1897, from the merger of three smaller churches; others were to join later. The ordination of bishops from within the apostolic succession was of major importance to this group, as also was having the church recognized as a lawfully constituted Religious denomination. The latter event occurred, at least tacitly, when an archdeacon from the group was exempted from World War I conscription in 1917 due to his clergy status, which would not have been permitted had the group not been considered a lawfully constituted denomination.

In 1890 Bishop Leon Checkemian, who had been a priest in the Armenian Catholic Church and later emigrated to England where he was consecrated as a Bishop, created the Free Protestant Church of England. In 1897 his church united with two other churches; the Ancient British Church and the Nazarene Episcopal Church to create the Free Protestant Episcopal Church of England with Dr. Checkemian as its first Primus.

The church had traditionally been quite small. There are various reasons for this, but one of them seems to be that clergy had tended to pass through it as a church in which to be ordained by bishops from the historic apostolic succession before moving on to other, larger church bodies. More recently, the communion has evolved and grown, at present having twenty five (25) provinces in different USA states and countries.

The FPEC has known internal dissension, some based on theological disputes and some on personalities. After a schism in the communion, one of the factions led by Dr. Horst Block was renamed "The International Free Protestant Episcopal Church (TIFPEC)"(1). On 12 February 2008 Dr. Block died and Bishop Peter Leers succeeded him as the Primus of TIFPEC. In February 2011 Leers dissolved that schismatic jurisdiction, ending the division. The original organization survived with Dr. Edwin Duane Follick becoming its Primus in 1994 until the present. During the Bishop's Synod of 2012, in Bolivia, the organization was renamed "The Anglican Free Communion".

Currently, after the solution of the schism, the Anglican Free Communion has been restructuring and advancing worldwide, continuing its centennial history now covering many nation and many USA states. The Free Protestant Episcopal Church (The Anglican Free Communion) is present in England, Spain, U.S.A., Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, El Salvador, Panama, Colombia, Peru, Tanzania, Gabon, Kenia, Cameroon, Liberia, Burundi, Pakistan and India. Coming soon are provinces in Mexico and Venezuela.


The Free Protestant Episcopal Church (The Anglican Free Communion) is one of the oldest Anglican Communions in existence and is constituted by a large group of Anglicans of all varieties of churchmanship from Anglo-Catholic (High Church), Evangelical (Low Church), Latitudinarian (Broad Church), Charismatic and Liberal. All of the Provinces of the Communion are autonomous, comprising self-governing churches and families of churches around the world. This Communion was established in England on 2 November 1897 by a union of several small British episcopates established in the 1870s, independent of the Church of England. The Most Rev'd Leon Checkemian (1848 to 1920), an Armenian bishop had moved to Britain and became an Anglican and served as the first Primate of the new Church.

As of 2014, the year of its 117 anniversary, the Archbishop Primus of the Communion is Dr. Edwin D. Follick (California) and the Chancellor and Secretary General is Archbishop Dr. Samuel Sostre (Florida). Dr. Follick will be retiring in 2015 and will be replaced by Archbishop Richard Palmer from London, UK. The seat of the denomination will return to its place of origin.

The Free Protestant Episcopal Church is a communion of free Anglican churches around the world, living an Anglican reconciliation and unity.

Apostolic succession[edit]

The church claims valid apostolic succession derived from the Armenian Catholic Church, the Syrian Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Church of England (through the Reformed Episcopal Church of the United States of America). These lines were in the jurisdictions that united in 1897 to found the Free Protestant Episcopal Church.

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