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British Sermons On National Events

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Chapter Summary

This chapter is focused on discrete occurrences that gave rise to sermons on a single day, or within a short, defined period of time. The events under consideration were not political in themselves, although some had obvious political ramifications, but were either lifecycle events concerning the royal family, the deaths of other national figures, or natural disasters and military conflicts. Clergy of all denominations responded to them in part from a sense of civic and national duty, and in part from a recognition of pastoral need and opportunity. Such sermons, though, were not solely linked to officially-appointed days and special services. Many clergy also took the initiative themselves in delivering similar sermons on the nearest convenient Sunday to a major event. The importance of sermons in articulating and shaping public responses was further apparent in their extensive publication, especially during the first two-thirds of the century.

Keywords: British sermons; clergy; lifecycle events; national events



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