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England's Culture WarsPuritan Reformation and its Enemies in the Interregnum, 1649-1660$
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Bernard Capp

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199641789

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199641789.001.0001

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The Puritan Parish

The Puritan Parish

(p.110) 6 The Puritan Parish
England's Culture Wars

Bernard Capp

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the character, work, and achievements of the interregnum church. It surveys the structural, personal, and pastoral problems facing the parish clergy, and their disputes with ejected ‘Anglicans’ and sectarian rivals. It examines the nature of church services following the suppression of the prayer-book, and the role of sermons, psalm-singing, and catechizing, as well as the precarious survival of some traditional services. Finally it examines the fierce controversies over access to the sacraments: should all respectable people be able to receive communion, or only the godly? This heated issue led to a wide range of local practices, all highly contentious, and communion services were often abandoned to escape such conflicts. The chapter ends with an assessment of the record of the puritan ministry during its brief period of dominance.

Keywords:   puritans, parishes, church services, sacraments, ministry, prayer-book, Anglicans

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