A style of church governance where the congregation makes all the decisions about its affairs and policies. The individual church is completely autonomous - it may be affiliated with other congregations or associations, but it takes no direction from them. Decisions, whether regarding doctrine or day-to-day business, are made locally within the congregation. Quakers, Congregationalists, Baptists (kind of), and various others use this style of polity. Unitarians (one of the few non-christian churches to use the term polity to describe themselves) in particular embrace the democratic nature of this style of polity.

Contrast with episcopal polity and presbyterian polity.

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