Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Disestablishment, the process of reducing a State Church (q.v.) to a Free or "voluntary" Church by depriving the State authority of the power either of appointing to ecclesiastical office or of taking any part in the settlement of disputed questions of doctrine and ritual. Thus in England the Crown is patron of many livings, and appoints to bishoprics, deaneries, and other ecclesiastical dignities, and determines ecclesiastical law through the State courts. Disestablishment would transfer these powers to persons or bodies appointed by the members (clerical and lay) of the Church of England. The process, however, would almost necessarily be accompanied by Disendowment, or diversion to other (probably secular) objects of property hitherto devoted to ecclesiastical uses.