Date of Award

Summer 1991

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Director

Peter C. Stewart

Committee Member

Willard C. Frank

Committee Member

James R. Sweeney

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.H47B36


Following the War of Independence the Anglican church in the United States was all but defunct. In the eyes of many American communicants, political independence from England necessitated a comparable ecclesiastical divorce. The postwar years produced various plans aimed at the reorganization of the Protestant Episcopal Church. The Episcopalians of Maryland and Pennsylvania took the lead in awakening their brethren to the advantages of national unification.

How did Virginia, perhaps the most Anglicanized state of all, respond to this call for religious solidarity? This matter, and others, were addressed at the first convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Virginia, held in Richmond, from May 18th to the 25th, 1785. Unlike other state meetings, the Virginia Convention, consisting of both lay and clerical delegates, produced a set of resolutions unprecedented in terms of intellectual and organizational articulation. The final position taken by the Virginia Episcopalians was characterized by a balance between the desire, prevalent among most states, for national unification, and a traditional beckoning of provincialism, common to the Old Dominion in matters of policy­making.


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