An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

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King's Chapel, Boston

The first Anglican church in Massachusetts, it also became the earliest recognized Unitarian congregation in America after the Revolution. The parish was organized on June 15, 1686, and the church building was opened for worship on June 30, 1689. King's Chapel remained an Anglican stronghold in Puritan New England throughout the colonial period. When British military forces abandoned Boston in 1776, the rector and many of the parish's Loyalist members fled to Nova Scotia. Although the church was reactivated under the leadership of lay reader James Freeman a few years later, the congregation held unorthodox theological views. They prepared their own edition of the Prayer Book with all references to the Trinity removed. Bishop Samuel Seabury refused to ordain Freeman because of his Unitarian beliefs. Freeman was ordained by the senior warden of the parish on Nov. 18, 1787. With Freeman's ordination, King's Chapel ceased to be an Anglican Church and became in effect the first Unitarian Church in America.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.