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free church

noun
1.
(sometimes initial capital letters) a church free from state control.
2.
(sometimes initial capital letters) a dissenting or nonconforming church.
3.
(initial capital letters). Also, Free Kirk. (in Scotland) the church established by those who left the Church of Scotland in 1843.
Origin
1825-1835
1825-35, Americanism
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for free-church

Free Church

noun
1.
(mainly Brit)
  1. any Protestant Church, esp the Presbyterian, other than the Established Church
  2. (as modifier): Free-Church attitudes
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Encyclopedia Article for free-church

free church

generally, any Protestant religious body that exists in or originates in a land having a state church but that is itself free of governmental or external ecclesiastical control. Examples of such free churches are the Baptists in Scotland, where the established church is Presbyterian; the Presbyterians in England, where the Anglican Church is established; the Waldensian Church in Italy, where the Roman Catholic Church is established; and the Mission Covenant Church in Sweden, where the established church is Lutheran.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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