A Brief History of the Episcopal Church / Edition 1

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Many denominations have faced serious identity crisis in recent years. Who are we? We do we exist? What is our mission given the radical political, social, and economic changes that have occurred in this century? What does it mean to be "church" in a pluralistic, postmodern world?

In an effort to answer these and related questions, denominations have rediscovered their origins and redefined themselves and their mission in ways that are consistent with their history. Additional research into denominational histories and the rewriting of these histories has been of significant import in helping today's churches relate to their times.

David L. Holmes has produced a relatively concise, highly literary 400-year history of the Episcopal Church, its successes and its failures. He has clearly tied this history to the Anglican Reformation that emerged from Henry VIII's break with Roman Catholicism (an appendix on the annulment of Henry VIII has been included for those who may be unfamiliar with what precipitated the crisis between Henry and the Roman Church).
This book, then, provides a readable and accurate account of the beginnings of the Anglican Church in America at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607, to the establishment of the Protestant Episcopal Church in America after the War of Independence, to the present day. "Although only sixth in terms of numbers in the United States," David Holmes concludes, "the denomination that first appeared in the colonies as the Church of England 400 years ago has become substantially Americanized. It may be second to none in the nation in terms of power and influence."

All who are interested in American church history and in the influence of the Episcopal Church on American history will find David Holmes's account fascinating and helpful.

David L. Holmes is Professor of American Religion and Church History at the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia.

A readable and accurate account of the beginnings of the Anglican Church in America at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607, to the establishment of the Protestant Church in America after the War of Independence to the present day. All who are insterested in Americn church history and in the influence of the Espicopal Church on American history will find Holmes' book most enlightening.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781563380600
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 11/1/1993
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 699,037
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.53 (d)

Meet the Author

David L. Holmes is Professor of American Religion and Church History at the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2010

    Concise Yet Detailed

    As a recent convert to the Episcopal Church, I looked at a variety of histories to learn more about my new church. This one fit the bill nicely for having a great overview of the different trends in the evolution of the Episcopal Church in America. Recent controversial issues in the church are not neglected either, such as the role of women and gays. Holmes, a professor at William and Mary, provides a readable account of the church's growth in the context of other events in American history. One caveat, the appendix provides a fresh look at King Henry VIII and seems out of place with the scope of the rest of the book. Recommended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2001

    Excellent history of the Church

    This was a great book, easy to read and full of information. Gave great insite to the traditions and history of the Episcopal faith and the church. Mr. Holmes, goes from the Anglican Reformation to the present, filling in most of the questions that newcomers and those born in the Episcopal faith have asked, on why we do some of the things that we do. This book has given me a real hunger for doing more research on the Episcopal Faith.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2001

    History at its best

    David Holmes has written the most informative and enjoyable history of the Episcopal Church available today. This is not a history of an impersonal institution, but of a living body of people, communities, and movements over five centuries. While Holmes presents--in a readable and interesting fashion--all the important historical developments in the life of the church from its colonial roots through the twentieth century, what realy stands out is his portrayal of the church's stunning diversity over the years. Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics, slaves and slave owners, pioneers and Native Americans, the Women's Auxiliary and proponents of the 'Social Gospel,' diocesan bishops in cathedrals and missionary bishops on dog sleds, all play an important role in the church's history and in Holmes's book. And for anyone who has wondered (in awe or confusion) at the worship of the Episcopal Church, Holmes's chapter on the life and worship of the church alone is worth the price of the book. He gives a fascinating account of the development of the church's liturgy and architecture that you will find nowhere else.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2000

    This 'brief history' will appeal to many

    Good history pairs accurate facts with clear analysis. Great history adds fresh ideas, compelling personal accounts, and a genuine passion for the subject matter. In this engaging book on the Episcopal church, David Holmes has written history of the best kind. As a professor at the College of William and Mary, Holmes commands knowledge of both church development and European and American history. Yet his simple, direct language makes complex topics clear to readers unfamiliar with church history or religious studies in general. His research also makes Episcopal history relevant to a wide range of audiences. In a chapter entitled ¿The Growth of the Episcopal Church,¿ Holmes chronicles the church¿s post-Colonial development. The diversity in this section shines. With fascinating detail, the author describes Anglican attempts to evangelize Native Americans, touches on foreign missions, and writes about the effect of immigration on the church. Holmes also brilliantly chronicles the little-known role of women in areas such as missionary work and the social gospel movement. The book tells the stories of several women affected by the national debate over women¿s ordination in the 1960¿s and 1970¿s. Even without the detailed and lively history that comprises its six main chapters, Holmes¿s book would be worth reading for its fascinating appendix, which chronicles Henry VIII¿s quest for an annulment from Catherine of Aragon. In an exceedingly well-researched account, Holmes balances historical detail with human interest drama that will captivate readers of all levels. With lively prose and compelling analysis, this ¿brief history¿ will be a delight for scholars, laity, and history buffs alike.

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