Chapter 1: The Churches Arrive
A few days before Christmas, 1606, three small ships sailed from London. As they slowly passed down the Thames River toward the great open sea, excitement aboard ran high. These were Englishmen on their way to establish a plantation in America, the first in a long line of men and women who were to seek their fortune and freedom in the New World. Their religion was brought with them as naturally as their provisions of food and clothing. As good Englishmen planting a colony under the name of King James, they brought with them the official religion of England -- that of the Anglican Church, or the Church of England.
What fate lay in store for these 105 men? They were adventuresome, seeking glory and fortune, certain in the conviction that they were acting in behalf of God and the king. Had not the Spanish and the French found fresh strength and resources in the New World? If England was to remain safe and secure, it too must venture forth into unknown rich lands. In 1570, Sir Walter Raleigh had failed to establish an English settlement in America, but this time a large company of men would succeed where a single man failed.
Aboard one ship was Rev. Robert Hunt, clergyman of the Established Church of England. Englishmen were out not only to make their fortune but also to win the savages to Christ. Was it not a shame that only French and Spanish followers of the pope sought to win Indians to Christianity? The precious souls of the natives must be saved from the Catholicism of the pope as well as from their own heathen practices.
So it was that the original instructions for the plantation demanded that the "religion now professed and established within our realm of England" should be regularly practiced by the colonists and spread "as much as they may amongst the savage people" around them. These were the instructions to be followed in the new colony of Jamestown soon to be founded.
One hot summer morning of the following year, the...