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Church LifePastors, Congregations, and the Experience of Dissent in Seventeenth-Century England$
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Michael Davies, Anne Dunan-Page, and Joel Halcomb

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198753193

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198753193.001.0001

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Life After Bunyan

Life After Bunyan

Ebenezer Chandler and the Bedford Congregation, 1689–1710

Chapter:
(p.172) 9 Life After Bunyan
Source:
Church Life
Author(s):

Michael Davies

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198753193.003.0010

This chapter explores the ‘church life’ of the Congregational meeting at Bedford during the two decades following the death in 1688 of its most famous pastor, John Bunyan, and the passing of the 1689 Toleration Act. It examines the difficult experience of pastoral transition facing the church under the early leadership of Bunyan’s successor, Ebenezer Chandler: the first pastor to be appointed from without the congregation since its establishment in the early 1650s, but about whom almost nothing has been written. This chapter addresses matters at the heart of the relationship between Dissenting pastors and their congregations in one of the most prominent and well-documented Congregational churches of the era, and during a key period in the transformation of English Dissent: from the seventeenth century to the eighteenth century, and from persecution to toleration, via the short-lived ‘Happy Union’ of Presbyterians and Congregationalists in the early 1690s.

Keywords:   John Bunyan, Ebenezer Chandler, Bedford, Congregational, church life, pastoral transition, Dissent, Dissenting pastors, Toleration Act, Happy Union

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