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By John K. Nelson

During this publication, John Nelson reconstructs daily Anglican non secular perform and adventure in Virginia from the top of the 17th century to the beginning of the yankee Revolution. tough earlier characterizations of the colonial Anglican institution as susceptible, he finds the elemental function the church performed within the political, social, and fiscal in addition to the non secular lives of its parishioners. Drawing on huge examine in parish and county files and different fundamental resources, Nelson describes Anglican Virginia's parish procedure, its parsons, its rituals of worship and rites of passage, and its parishioners' diverse relationships to the church. All colonial Virginians--men and ladies, wealthy and terrible, old and young, planters and retailers, servants and slaves, dissenters and freethinkers--belonged to a parish. As such, they have been topic to its levies, its authority over marriage, and different social and fiscal dictates. as well as its spiritual services, the parish supplied crucial deal with the bad, collaborated with the courts to deal with civil disputes, and exerted its effect over many different facets of group existence. A Blessed corporation demonstrates that, by means of creatively adapting Anglican parish association and the language, kinds, and modes of Anglican spirituality to the Chesapeake's detailed environmental and human stipulations, colonial Virginians sustained a remarkably powerful and trustworthy Anglican church within the outdated Dominion.

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Extra resources for A Blessed Company: Parishes, Parsons, and Parishioners in Anglican Virginia, 1690-1776

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How were people to gather weekly for public worship if they had to travel five, ten, twenty, or thirty miles? 44 For each congregation the parish provided a church building and the necessary supporting staff and supplies. Virginia’s Anglicans identified themselves not with the parish church, but with one of the several churches within the parish. Ministers became itinerants, riding circuit from Sunday to Sunday among the congregations within their parishes. The Book of Common Prayer made the multicongregational system possible and effective.

Bartholomew Yates at the Middle Church in Christ Church Parish, Middlesex County, Virginia. These ten gentlemen together with three others of their kind—Sir William Skipwith, Mr. Christopher Robinson, and Mr. 3 The Christ Church gathering was given over to fashioning a line-item record of the expenses incurred in the course of the year. 5 As the public authority most immediate to the people, the vestry’s concerns were substantial and diverse: selection, support, and supervision of a minister, a parish clerk, readers, and sextons; construction, maintenance, and renovation of churches and chapels as well as the parson’s glebe; equipping clergy and churches with items essential to worship; caring for parishioners in need; presenting persons whose conduct was offensive or disruptive; overseeing processioning; recruiting parishioners for work delegated to the parish by county  and provincial authorities; and, of course, determining yearly the parish tax.

Worship could proceed on Sundays when the minister was elsewhere in the parish because the form and content of worship were put down in black and white. Lay readers officiated in the minister’s absence. Each and every one of a parish’s congregations regularly assembled on Sundays, one led by the minister, the others by laity. The Church of England’s liturgical character, which set it apart from most other Protestant bodies, actually served to facilitate its creative adaptation to the distinctive environment of the Old Dominion.

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