The Church Association was instituted in 1865. Canon Richard P. Blakeney (1820-1884), vicar of Christ Church, Claughton (nr Birkenhead) was the key founder of the Association:
Click here for Rev Richard Hobson's account of R. P. Blakeney founding the Church Association (extract from 'Richard Hobson of Liverpool - the Autobiography of a Faithful Pastor'. Published by Banner of Truth.)
Click here for 'Memoriam' of R. P. Blakeney in The Church Intelligencer.
The first Annual Report contains an ‘address’ which presents its raison d’être as follows.
“The present estate of the United Church of England and Ireland is such as to demand the earnest attention and combined efforts of all who would maintain her position as the Established Church of these realms.
“The dangers which threaten her are internal, and arise form two opposite sources. On the one hand, there are public teachers within her Communion, who hold and preach rationalistic doctrines plainly opposed to her Articles and Formularies. On the other hand, there is an increasing section of the clergy who, having for their object the restoration of our Church to the Romish communion, are introducing into her worship vestments and ceremonies repudiated by our Reformers, and which are unauthorised by constitutional usage during the three centuries since the Reformation.
“It is the latter danger which presses at the moment, and the members of the Church may well be asked whether, reflecting with gratitude on the great work of the 16th century, they will tamely give up the pure ritual and liturgy of their Church, handed down by their Protestant forefathers. If they would preserve these, they must lose no time in exposing the practices, and withstanding the efforts which are now made to undermine the purity of her doctrine and simplicity of her worship. . . .”
The Objects of the Association
These are presented in the same Annual Report as follows.
“To uphold the principles and order of the United Church of England and Ireland, and to counteract the efforts now being made to assimilate her services to those of the Church of Rome.
“In pursuing these objects the Council, among others, adopt the following means, viz:-
- Publishing information, holding public meetings, presenting memorials, &c.
- Pressing for an authoritative disapproval and suppression of all ceremonies, vestments, and ornaments which depart from the practice of the Church as sanctioned by three centuries of usage.
- Endeavouring to obtain – if necessary, through the appointment of a Royal Commission, or by legislative enactment – so clear a declaration of the law of the Church, as shall prevent the continuance of practices, which, being borrowed from Rome, corrupt the integrity, and endanger the safety of the reformed Church of England.
- Assisting aggrieved parishioners to obtain protection from practices which drive them from their parish church
These Objects of the Association were later amended to read -
“To Uphold the Doctrines, Principles, and Order of the United Church of England and Ireland, and to counteract the efforts now being made to pervert her teaching on essential points of the Christian faith, or assimilate her Services to those of the Church of Rome, and further to encourage concerted action for the advancement and progress of spiritual Religion.”
The First Council
Mr John Campbell Colquhon was appointed the first Chairman, who was assisted by Mr T R Andrews as Vic-Chairman. The Council comprised some thirty-two members, sixteen of whom were clergymen. Twenty-eight Vice-Presidents were appointed, twelve of whom were peers of the realm, and seven were senior clergymen. Also there were twenty-eight secretaries of local branches. In addition, some eighty names are given as forming the General Committee, fifty of these were clergymen.
The office address is given as 8 Adam Street, Adelphi, shortly followed by 12 York Buildings, Adelphi. By 1868 the office had moved to 14 Buckingham Street, Strand, where it remained for many subsequent years. From the start, monthly prayer meetings were held in the Association’s offices.
Declaration of Principles
Church Association Declaration of principles from 1867.
Summaries of the journals of Church Association ('Intelligencer') can be found in the publications section of the website.
Many of the famous Church Association Tracts are also available online.
Trust was registered as a limited company in 1903 to hold patronage rights and trust properties on behalf of Church Association.
In 1950 Church Association combined
with the National
Church League to form Church
Trust, the patronage arm of Church Association, was renamed as
Church Society Trust.
See the family tree
of Church Society
A Protestant Throne
A Protestant Parliament
A Protestant Church
A Protestant People
Church Association Wycliffe Van
from a postcard dated March 1907.