- Broad church
Broad Church is a term referring to
Latitudinarian churchmanshipin the Church of England, in particular, and Anglicanism, in general. From this, the term is often used to refer to secular political organisations, meaning that they encompass a broad range of opinion."
After the terms
High Churchand Low Churchcame to distinguish the tendency toward Ritualismand Anglo-Catholicismon the one hand and Puritanismon the other, those Anglicans tolerant of multiple forms of conformity to ecclesiastical authority came to be referred to as "Broad." As the name implies, parishes associated with this variety of churchmanship will mix High and Low forms, reflective of the often eclectic liturgical and doctrinal preferences of clergy and laity. The emphasis is on allowing individual parishioners choice.
Broad church as an expression is now increasingly replaced by references in the
Church of Englandto liberalism. For example, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in his "text of reflection" "The Challenge and Hope of Being an Anglican Today", released in 2006 [http://www.cofe.anglican.org/news/pr6706.html] , described the three "components in our heritage" as "strict evangelical Protestantism", "Roman Catholicism" and "religious liberalism", accepting that "each of these has a place in the church’s life". These would broadly correspond to the Low Church, High Church and Broad Church parties in the Church of England.
As said above the term can describe the membership of other organisations. When
James Callaghan, the Labour Party Prime Minister of the United Kingdomsaid of his party that "ours is a broad church", he meant that it embraced different strands of labour and socialisttradition.
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