Boston’s First Quarrel

Sunday, November 4, 2012
Speaker: Francis Bremer

The Conflict That Split First Church and Created Old South

We are looking at the Puritans all wrong, writes Francis Bremer, a leading historian of American Puritanism and expert on Boston's founders. The real story is not about witch trials, intolerant pastors, and Sunday blue laws, but empowering ordinary people. Those first New England churchgoers were "tenacious of their liberties," says Bremer, and carefully guarded the authority given them by the Congregational Way.

The story of the controversy in Boston's First Church — and the formation of the Third (or Old South) Church in 1669 — is usually told as a clash of personalities. A vocal minority of First Church's members charged that incoming pastor John Davenport hadn't been properly released from his church in New Haven, Connecticut. Dr. Bremer's latest book, Building the New Jerusalem: John Davenport, a Puritan in Three Worlds, argues that the Boston-wide clash was less a contest for authority between ministers and their followers than a struggle by local congregations to assert their independence from outside control.

In a historic event jointly hosted by the Congregational Library and Boston's First and Third Churches, Francis Bremer will tie those events to central themes of New England and Congregational history. Join us for his talk, a book-signing, and a chance to see some history remade. For more information please contact Alex Howard.

Sunday, November 4th
2:00 - 4:00 pm

Old South Church, Gordon Chapel
645 Boylston Street, Boston

Become a Member