A Spiritual Home: Life in British and American Reformed by Charles D. Cashdollar

By Charles D. Cashdollar

A religious domestic explores congregational existence inside of British and American Reformed church buildings among 1830 and 1915. At a time whilst students became drawn to the daily event of neighborhood congregations, this publication reaches again into the 19th century, a significantly formative interval in Anglo-American spiritual lifestyles, to check the historic roots of congregational life.Taking the point of view of the laity, Cashdollar levels largely from worship and track to fund-raising and management, from pastoral care to social paintings, from prayer conferences to strawberry gala's, from the sanctuary to the kitchen. Firmly rooted in broader currents of gender, category, notions of middle-class respectability, expanding expectancies for private privateness, and styles of professionalization, he unearths that there has been a steady shift in emphasis in the course of those years from piety to fellowship.Based on files, guides, and memorabilia from approximately a hundred and fifty congregations representing 8 denominations, a non secular domestic offers us a complete, composite portrait of spiritual existence in Victorian Britain and the US.

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Example text

Conversely, not everyone who paid for seating made the deeper, personal commitment to membership. Members and pewholders had both formal and informal means of influencing the direction of the congregation. The most obvious was the right to vote. Opportunities to exercise the right of suffrage varied considerably over the course of the nineteenth century, with the overall trend being toward expanded opportunity. In the parish kirks of the Church of Scotland, voting scarcely mattered before the Church Patronage Act of 1874; kirk sessions were self-perpetuating, and temporal matters and the selection of pastors were in the hands of the patron or town council.

The duties of the officers extended beyond their sacramental function. Presbyterian elders had full jurisdiction over disciplinary cases and admission to the congregation; Congregational deacons, augmented by the other members of the Church Committee, acted as preliminary examiners of potential members although final decisions were made by the entire membership. As members of the session or church committee, they managed the poor fund, visited members in their homes, promoted the congregation’s spiritual growth, oversaw worship and singing, and collected benevolence funds (that is, money transmitted to denominational or independent charitable or mission societies).

Disturbing to the devout worshipper, . . ”10 The difficulty with tardiness was that it revealed a lack of serious intent, and worship in early nineteenth-century Reformed congregations was, if nothing else, meant to be a solemn undertaking. ”12 These Reformed groups had emerged from the Calvinist Reformation and come under the influence of the Puritan movement. It was their forebears who had drafted the Westminster Directory of Worship in 1644, and even after two hundred years, its spirit was strong.

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