America’s Revolution: The Bishop’s Palace III

Lead: In the 1700s the United States broke from England. No colony in history had done that before. This series examines America’s Revolution.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: In 1760 The Reverend East Apthorp arrived in Massachusetts with newly appointed Governor Francis Bernard. Apthorp became the Anglican pastor in Cambridge. A man hardly out of his twenties, he married into the loyalist Hutchinson family and, thus established, he proceeded to publicly announce support for schemes that were so eccentric and had absolutely no chance of enactment that he brought down on himself universal disdain in and out of the newspapers. He proposed that the Harvard Overseers add Anglicans to their number and that Anglican services be included in the College commencement. Imagine. Harvard. The seat of all Congregational, Calvinist dissent in the Commonwealth.

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America’s Revolution: The Bishop’s Palace II

Lead: In the 1700s the United States broke from England. No colony in history had done that before. This series examines America’s Revolution.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: The religious affiliation of most Americans was not inclined toward the Church of England. They were evangelicals or liberals or perhaps not even religious at all and enjoyed in America a rich tradition of religious freedom. Many of their ancestors had migrated to North America to escape what they sensed was hostility to their approach to religion in the government of England and Scotland as administered by the Anglican Church. The structure of hierarchy in that Church aroused little enthusiasm among colonists who were generally unsympathetic to establishments of any type. Such was part of the American DNA.

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America’s Revolution: The Bishop’s Palace I

Lead: In the 1700s the United States broke from England. No colony in history had done that before. This series examines America’s Revolution.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: In 1770 Lord North became King George III’s First Minister. He was a gentle soul with a determination to tamp down on colonial disputes. His government quickly repealed all of the Townshend revenue acts, leaving only a tax on tea and the Declaratory Act to remind the colonies that Parliament was determined to retain its right to extract revenues. This ushered in a period which some at the time called a “pause in politics,” with no giant issue animating colonial anger and resistance. That is until there was one. That was the issue of religion.

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John Wesley – I

Lead: In 1738 a little known and skeptical Anglican clergyman, freshly returned from a failed mission to America, encountered what he later described as divine assurance of salvation. From that point, John Wesley’s life was changed.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: John Wesley’s father was a pastor, rector of the small congregation at Epworth not far from the town of Doncaster in east central England. He was the ninth of thirteen children.  Educated at the Charterhouse School in London and Christ Church College, Oxford he assisted his father for several years and entered the Anglican priesthood in 1728. The following year he returned to Oxford to teach and there with his brother Charles and two companions formed a religious study group, which came to be known as the Holy Club. Their methodical approach to study and piety also earned them the uncomplimentary name, “methodists.” The group studied the Bible, visited and counseled prisoners in the castle jail, and distributed food and clothing to the poor. For this activity their fellow students hounded them, but under John Wesley’s leadership the group had modest growth.

John Wesley – II

Lead: John Wesley returned from America in 1737 deeply dissatisfied with his performance as a clergyman and missionary. He was seeking something deeper and said he found it in a heart strangely warmed.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Wesley was a typical orthodox, apparently devout Anglican clergyman in 1737, but his purely intellectual commitment to Christianity and his failed performance as a missionary to the colony of Georgia in the previous two years, awakened in him a powerful sense of despair and spiritual collapse. While in Georgia he had a chance meeting with a group of Moravians, a pietistic sect founded by German Count Nickolaus Zinzendorf. When Wesley returned to London he began to meet with the Moravians and in 1738 during a meeting in Aldersgate Street, had a spiritual encounter he later described as transformative. He recalled his intellectual conviction of the faith confirmed by a strangely warmed heart and a personal religious experience of grace.

Little Jack Horner IV

Lead: Beginning in 1536, King Henry VIII of England began to confiscate the once-Catholic monasteries of England. His seizure of Glastonbury was made easier by the treachery of Thomas Horner.

Tag: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Most of the monasteries submitted to this process with little resistance. Henry actually showed some compassion, giving some of the priests he considered unemployable a small pension for life, but those who resisted, he crushed ruthlessly. One those who held out was Richard Whiting, the Abbot of the ancient Cathedral at Glastonbury, near the western coast just south of Bristol. Whiting was eighty and had little to lose, but he tried to placate the King. He sent a Christmas present, the deed to twelve manorial estates which he hid in a Christmas pie. He entrusted this pastry delight to his steward, Thomas Horner, and sent him off to London. Horner was a realist. He knew very well that Whiting's gesture was useless. Henry would have Glastonbury. On the way, the disloyal steward popped open the pie and stole the deed to the rich manorial estate at Mells.

Little Jack Horner III

Lead: Faced with confiscation, Abbot Richard Whiting of the Cathedral at Glastonbury, at Christmas 1539, sent his trusted steward, Thomas Horner with a gift to appease King Henry VIII. This futile gesture turned out to be rich opportunity for Jack Horner.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In its early years, the Reformation in England, was none to secure. King Henry VIII remained a theological and emotional Catholic until the day he died. The primary reason for removing England from allegiance to the Roman Church in 1534 was that the pope refused to give him a divorce from his first wife who could not produce for him a male heir. The Protestants around Henry were always a little nervous that the King, on a whim, might act on his true Catholic sentiments and go back to Rome. His chief minister, Thomas Cromwell, convinced the King that if he dissolved the monasteries of England he could accomplish two things. By confiscating them the King could fill his depleted treasury, something that always appealed to Henry, and, because many monasteries were hotbeds of Catholic sentiment, he could suppress a potential threat to the newly Protestant Church of England. In 1536, Henry and Cromwell began to close the monasteries. The King kept some for himself, but wisely distributed the balance to his family, friends and supporters throughout the realm. This land transfer meant a large number of influential people would be committed by pure self-interest to the survival of the Reformation.

Little Jack Horner II

Lead: To get his hands on the monastic lands of Glastonbury Cathedral in 1539, King Henry VIII of England relied on the treachery of the Abbot's assistant, Thomas Horner.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: To secure his family's lock on the English throne, Henry VIII felt he had to have a male heir. Since his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, had failed to produce a son, he divorced her. To do so meant England had to renounce the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Pope. Henry became the Supreme Head of the Church and then, beginning in 1536, started closing the monasteries, many of which were lingering hotbeds of Catholic sentiment in England.