I'm from New Zealand, could use help understanding church aspects of my family history

Discussion in 'Church History' started by Gavin Bedggood, Jul 31, 2017.

  1. Gavin Bedggood

    Gavin Bedggood New Member

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    I have just joined and I thought I would say hello and mention why I am here.
    First thing is that I am not religious in any way..... But I am descended from Anglican missionaries who came to New Zealand in 1828 and 1836 as a part of the Church Mission Society. I am writing my family history and I hope to get some incites into there Anglican faith and how it influenced the way they lived there lives and its impact right down to the present generation.

    My GGG grandparents met whilst working in the Sunday school movement in London in the 1820's.

    My eight times great grandfather was apparently "Church Warden" in Tytherington. He died in 1696.

    My family goes back 13 generations to 1560 in the Tytherington area.

    My family history has a "pivotal couple" in the story. They were born John and Eliza in 1802 and 1803 respectively. John was born around Tytherington and moved to London for work. He led the singing in his church and meet Eliza while they were both working in the Sunday School movement.
    They married in London and became lay missionary's here in New Zealand in 1836.

    Kind regards
    Gavin Bedggood
    New Zealand.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2017
  2. Gavin Bedggood

    Gavin Bedggood New Member

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    Part two... This is not easy on a phone!

    I have been told that they were from the "low church" and I would like to understand that concept and how that effected there lives and worship.

    I am also interested to get some idea if how they would have met whilst involved with the Sunday school movement in the 1820's.

    Also what would the duties of a church warden have been in the 1670-90 period in a small town.

    I have many of there letters and artifacts from the early days in New Zealand. Including many religious books and the tuning fork my GGG grandfather bought with him from England to use to start the music in the church at Waimate North where they settled.

    I am sure I will have more questions as the research continues and I look forward to your thoughts and comments.

    Regards
    Gavin
     
  3. Gavin Bedggood

    Gavin Bedggood New Member

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    Just to explain the 1828 date in my intro, that was another set of GGG grandparents, the Rev Charles and Hannah Baker. He was a "proper" missionary and worked his whole life for the mission. When he and his wife arrived in New Zealand there were less than 300 Europeans settled in the country, and less than 40 women. They were interesting times.
     
  4. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Low church broadly speaking involves an approach to worship that places less emphasis on rituals and less of a conception of the timeless, and instead focuses on the 'here and now' and uses as many means at hand as possible. Today's low church would be using guitars and piano. Back then they would've still used the organ (it was too hallowed to be cast away even by the low church) but they'd use much more hymnal, methodist and revival music. It was sometimes the case that the low church folk were better adapted for missions since they didn't depend on rituals and material implements of Anglican worship to the same extent. This was a source of some friction back home, where they were sometimes cast as pseudo-methodists or quasi-dissenters. That being said they were very different from modern evangelicals in that they brought with them a ferocious reverence for Sacred Scripture, and moral instruction. The missions planted by the low church folk were often lacking in ritual, but heavy in Scripture and saintly living, which they took extremely seriously. Hope that helps!
     
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  5. Gavin Bedggood

    Gavin Bedggood New Member

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    Very good explanation, Thanks.

    New question.... The year is 1845. My GGG grandfather took an action in a war zone, alone, to help another person (who's life was not in danger) that could put his own life in great danger.... My question is.... How would his low church evangelical faith have influenced his decision?
     
  6. Gavin Bedggood

    Gavin Bedggood New Member

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    A follow up question on the low church. Outside the church building how did influence their lives?

    For example, would flashyness be seen as a sin?

    A oral history story about my gg grandmother was that she was hopping mad when there Church was rebuilt and someone put a wooden cross on the top. She threatened to climb up the steeple her self and cut it off. (Would have been around the 1870's). Is that normal?
     
  7. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I don't think it would be a sin per se, but I wouldn't be surprised if it were looked down on. Sort of like crossing the road when the cars are going by, just not doing it is a good idea.

    But yes unlike modern evangelicalism these peoples lives were saturated in Scripture and moral instruction. How you dress, what kind of aspirations you should have in life, how you should treat your neighbors, can you take an extra apple from someone's vendor cart, etc.

    This seems very strange to us but wouldn't be that uncommon in some parts of the low church in the 19th century. There was a kind of evangelical fervor in that era, fueled by the hugely dominant Methodists that were growing absurdly all over the globe. The Baptists were colonizing parts of the midWest America, and planting churches in missions around the world (e.g. Livingstone). The low church Anglicans were in places taken in by this seemingly worldwide fervor.

    The rationale behind such behavior towards the cross was the basic opposition to ritual. Ritual was at all times essential to Anglicanism, but that's why it was murmured against by dissenters and the evangelicals -- it seemed like Roman Catholicism. The best way to cast off the shackles of Roman Catholicism, with all its seemingly "Popish" sins like duplicity, moral "flexibility", external- and observance- centric Phariseism, was to make the faith purely internal, and forbid oneself to allow external expressions of any kind.

    This was not a time like ours where the very existence and identity of Western Christians is in question forcing us to adopt as many visible marks as possible. There was no doubt and no threat of disappearance of Christianity. It was everywhere and for everyone, and the only question was what kind you should adopt. Allowing external expressions, such as a cross, or vestments for priests (or even calling them priests) would (so the logic goes) lead people to value externals more and once again forego the unbending internal backbone of faith and morality.
     
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  8. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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    Could you please elaborate on "duplicity","moral flexibility ", and " external and observance centric Phariseism". I've never before heard any of these terms in relation to Catholicism. Thank you
     
  9. Gavin Bedggood

    Gavin Bedggood New Member

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    All very interesting, I am in fact learning more than I thought I would. So thank you so much for taking the time to answer.

    How would making money or capitalism have been viewed?? We have always had a family joke that we have always been lousy business men, and their was not any "old money" to show from our 181 years here!
     
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  10. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    @Aidan,
    A lot of the moral rules in the earlier stages of Roman Catholicism, especially among the Jesuits, involved moral probabilism and being morally comfortable with outwardly expressing a false statement, as long as one could personally construe it a true:

    "No officer, I did not drink and drive" (to himself: "by drink I mean water; I did drink alcohol, but I'm only going to say 'drink' and let the cop thinks whatever he wants")

    This was officially taught by Alphonsus Liguori and Louis de Montfort, who became canonized as a saint.


    As for observance-centrism, the low church folks saw that there was no substantial reformation of morals in non-Protestant countries. Vices were predominant, people went homeless and begged and were lazy, while in Protestant countries there was a lot of interior moral earnestness, begging and homelessness were shamed and rare, etc. Protestants saw a Catholic comfort with vices as long as there was a presence of exterior observance, thus Phariseism.

    @Gavin Bedggood,
    In general, a low churchman was a strong proponent of capitalism, as Max Weber's study has shown. That doesn't mean that every single low churchman was in fact wealthy, although it was a greater indicative to becoming so than other perspectives toward religion. Instead of wondering why you have no old money, ask if you've had any people in abject poverty, comfortably homeless and indifferent to work, which I'd consider highly unlikely.
     
  11. PotterMcKinney

    PotterMcKinney Active Member Typist Anglican

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    If I remember correctly, Anglo-Catholicism had the socialist bout.
     
  12. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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    Some very objective views
     
  13. Gavin Bedggood

    Gavin Bedggood New Member

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    You are right. No poverty, simple subsistence living yes. VERY high work ethic. I remember my fathers stories of my great grandparents during the depression years have a large section where they had a house and wheelwright business that was started in the 1890's. They tended large gardens and any produce that was surplus to the family they would put out at the gate for hungry people to take.
    At the same time my grandfather was the town butcher and drove his delivery van around to do deliveries to secluded homes, and often people could not pay and he would give meat away or trade anything they had in surplus even if he had no use for it.
    He would visit his aunts who were old and struggling and they were WAY to proud to take charity.... So they would be his last van stop, and he would take meat to them and say "I have this left over and if you don't take it will go to waste".

    In my mind my ancesters really LIVED the Christian life through there actions.

    Those great grandparents were both the grandchildren of two of the original low church missionaries.

    Sorry if I am rambling!!

    Please tell me more.
    Kind regards
    Gavin
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2017
  14. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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    Your grandfather was a very good man
     
  15. Gavin Bedggood

    Gavin Bedggood New Member

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    I just got off the phone with my 80 year old aunt and asked her about religion in the family and she said my grandfather was christened and "confirmed" as an Anglican as a child, and his main memory of it was that the boots he had on had buckles in them and when he kneeled the buckles dig into his legs and it hurt!
     
  16. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I recommend you read Max Weber's Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. You may see a reflection of your ancestors in those pages.
    Cheers!


    Baptized, confirmed... That is indeed the faith of ages, the faith of our ancestors.
     
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  17. Gavin Bedggood

    Gavin Bedggood New Member

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    What would a low churchman have thought of Freemasonry? I would have thought the ritual involved in Freemasonry might have precluded a low churchman joining?

    Follow up question, what was the relationship between Anglicans and Freemasonry like over the past 200 years?
     
  18. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    For the early part of the Freemasons history in the 18th century or so they were looked on by Anglicans as relatively benign, since they promoted the faith in God and were mostly about good works. Over the course of the 19th century however that changed as they became more and more associated with the occult and conspiracy theories. I don't know if it was canonically forbidden to join them in that time yet but do know that it's canonically forbidden today.
     
  19. Gavin Bedggood

    Gavin Bedggood New Member

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    Thanks, can you expand on "canonically" for me?
     
  20. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I don't know that being a Freemason is canonically forbidden. Historically, a member of the Royal Household has been Grandmaster in England. The current Grandmaster is the Duke of Kent: http://ugle.org.uk/about/whos-who

    Archbishop Rowan Williams felt that Freemasonry was incompatible with Christianity (though he had no issue with ordaining women or consecrating them to the episcopacy), but I have never heard that the Church prohibits membership, certainly not canonically.

    Only the Roman Catholic Church has done that. The Church of Greece has taken a stand against Freemasonry, but no Orthodox Church speaks for all of Orthodoxy. When I was a member of the Serbian Orthodox Church, my priest knew that I was a mason and didn't have any concerns about it at all.

    This is an interesting link:

    http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/004988.html
     
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