Faith throughout history has been a dominating social factor, and in Britain throughout the nineteenth century, this very same spiritual domination can be seen. The Victorian age was marked by the Church of England, which developed such an influence in politics along with faith that it ended up being difficult to separate the 2. The power of the church created numerous issues: lack of area, not associating with its individuals, hypocrisy, and so on. The environment of the high church compared to that of the dissenting groups discusses why the shift of faith accompanied such a large action.
Wealthy (High Church) vs. Middle Class (Dissenters)
In the high church, financing originated from the rich which in turn provided a piece of the church as property-pews. These pews were branded with a household name and would pass from generation to generation. If the family moved, the seat would stay uninhabited not open for others to being in! This left the lower classes to standing rooms or sitting on the floor, neither of which leave an individual sensation ethically or spiritually boosted.
This example of people purchasing pieces of the church displays how it was growing more concerned with political and economic interests and less interested in its common spirituality.
The church’s dependence on these interests developed a location that did not invite the middle and lower class worshippers, however was a “maintain of the younger children of members of the upper class who had little interest in religious beliefs and less interest in the growing varieties of urban poor.” This close relationship in between church and state created a hostile atmosphere in between it and society. The Church established associations to the social concerns of the time poverty, illness, and oppression. And ended up being called a group of “elite hypocrites” rather than a mass of parishioners. Given that the high church only preached to about fourteen percent of the population in England, it was just a matter of time prior to the bulk rose up and found spiritual refuge amongst the dissenting groups.
Service and Praise
Style of worship differed considerably between the Church of England and the dissenters. The Church of England had a more official structure to it, where the dissenting churches allowed for the freedom of expression, class and respectability did not designate where you would sit. Decorating your “Sunday finest” was no longer a requirement for participation. This tradition of the Church of England humiliated the lower classes since many “compromised their ‘Sunday best’ for other financial investments more important to living, like food. In your home where everybody was supposed to be equivalent in the eyes of God, individuals were slapped in the face with suggestions about their position in society”. This rejection of rigorous rules and traditions produced a praise of God that was more personalized and attainable for those who might not purchase their redemption.
Preachers of the Church of England were inaccessible, particularly in comparison to the common minister. Preachers were extremely educated and used a “highly improved language” which would go right over the heads of the churchgoers. They were talking at the people and not to the people. On the other hand, the dissenting ministers spoke to individuals and not at individuals. The congregation and the ministers had a friendly relationship built off of comprehending not off of supremacy and inability like the high church. The high church excluded many of the lower classes, but invited the aristocracy with open arms. The dissenting religious beliefs were outlets for those being omitted. It was an escape from the hypocrisy (preaching equality versus living equality), an escape from the tradition, and an escape from the distance (in regards to relationships).