The Pilgrims: Religious Worship

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As we know from our earlier studies, the Pilgrims believed that the Catholic Church and Church of England had strayed from Christ’s teachings.

This was part of the reason they came to the New World.

King James I {VI of Scotland} had the King James Bible commissioned and written, but the Pilgrims chose to stay with the 1560 Geneva Bible and the Book of Psalmes, published by Henry Ainsworth in 1612.

The only sacraments they took part in were baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

“The church of the Pilgrims was organized around five officers: pastor, teacher, elder, deacon, and deaconess (sometimes called the “church widow”).” However, none of these offices were considered essential.

John Robinson, pastor of the Puritans, never made it to America. He died in 1625. William Brewster, the Elder, became the teacher for the group. “Elder William Brewster had several hundred books on various religious topics in his library.”

The deacons, John Carver and Samuel Fuller served in this role all their lives, tended to the needs of the poor and elderly and collected offerings. The Deaconness also tended to the sick and poor and performed the role of midwife.

The church building was drab and plain, with no religious depictions or significance tot he Pigrims. However, protection was very important to them. “During the early years of Plymouth, failing to bring your gun to church was an offense for which you could be fined 12 pence.”

The Sabbath was holy to the Pilgrims and they stopped everything on Sunday’s to observe a day of rest.

“At Plymouth, the Pilgrim’s church was the bottom floor of the town’s fort–the top floor held six cannons and a watchtower to defend the colony.”

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