Class and congregation : social relations in two St. John's, Newfoundland, Anglican parishes, 1877-1909

Morgan, Laura Bonnie Colleen (1996) Class and congregation : social relations in two St. John's, Newfoundland, Anglican parishes, 1877-1909. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

St. Mary's Anglican church was located in the working-class West End of St John's, Newfoundland, and St Thomas's in the upper and middle-class East End. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, St Mary's parishioners and congregation shared skilled working-class experience and contacts. In contrast, while St Thomas's parishioners were mainly working class, the congregation was dominated by the bourgeoisie. Secular class differences shaped church developments, and affected parishioners' experience of Victorian and Edwardian Anglicanism. St. Mary's lay administration included church wardens and a skilled working and lower middle-class vestry. There was no vestry at St Thomas's, and the church wardens were secularly powerful men. St Mary's lay administration was more democratic, whereas St. Thomas's operated on a system of personal authority. St Mary's and St Thomas's systems of financing were similar, but St Mary's was more aware of the financial difficulties its parishioners could face. It designed a system to accommodate irregular incomes, and encouraged donations from every member of the community. At St Thomas's, rectors emphasised large personal donations from the wealthy. Theologically, St. Mary's was High Church, and St Thomas's Low. St Thomas's was more affected by Ritualism, a liturgical and architectural revival associated with middle-class consumerism. St. Mary's congregation was less interested in making their church into a fashionable place of worship. Instead, the use of locally built items and hand-made gifts showed an aesthetic rooted in community and craft pride. At St Thomas's, Victorian bourgeois ideology, which included female domesticity, shaped parish poor relief. Efforts to help the poor at St. Mary's were more communal, with less attention to judging the deservedness of needy parishioners. Likewise, the most successful voluntary associations at St Thomas's were those with a prescriptive mandate, especially promoting the bourgeois ideals of True Womanhood and Christian Gentlemen. At St Mary's, voluntary associations were community-based and fraternal. In St John's, early feminism was centred in East End society, and the activities of St Thomas's women showed this influence. At St Mary's, women had limited parochial power and were less recognized for their contributions.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/866
Item ID: 866
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves [188]-209
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > History
Date: 1996
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador; Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador--Avalon Peninsula--St. John's
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Church of St. Mary the Virgin (St. John's, N.L.); St. Thomas' Church (St. John's, N.L.); Anglican Church of Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador--History; Social classes--Newfoundland and Labrador

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