Virginia's Mother Church and the Political Conditions under Which It Grew

Virginia's Mother Church and the Political Conditions under Which It Grew

Virginia's Mother Church and the Political Conditions under Which It Grew

Virginia's Mother Church and the Political Conditions under Which It Grew

Excerpt

It is with a sense of profound gratitude that this volume of history of the Anglican Church in Virginia is brought to completion. It is the story of the first hundred and twenty years of the development and growth of organized religion in the colony of Virginia, and of the political ideals and conditions under which it grew.

The title, "Virginia's Mother Church" has been chosen as being the most accurate description of the condition which existed throughout the whole period under consideration. The Church of England was the only organized and continuing form of religion which ministered throughout the whole colony all of the time. The only other body with any notable strength were the Quakers, who first began coming into the colony during the period of the Commonwealth, and who continued to grow throughout the rest of the period. There had been a number of Puritans in the colony during the time of the civil wars in England, but these had gone. The Baptists and the Presbyterians were just making their first beginnings as the period came to a close. Throughout the whole period, the spiritual care and religious instruction of the people of Virginia were almost entirely in the hands of the Church which had come with the first settlers, and which had grown and spread pari passu with the growth and expansion of the colony itself.

This title, however, cannot be confined entirely to the period of this first century but may, with equal truth, be applied to the whole colonial period, including the two generations immediately prior to the American Revolution in which other Protestant churches, Presbyterian and Baptist, Lutheran, Mennonite and German Reformed were growing in numbers and strength. It was still the Mother Church of the colony in that it was in existence and organized in every county as the Established Church, ministering to poor and needy folk, and upholding the ideals of moral life and spiritual experience, whether the other religious bodies were present or absent.

The author makes no apology for the discussion of political conditions in Virginia during this period. It would be as impossible to under-

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