Charles D. Cashdollar
A Spiritual Home explores congregational life inside British and American Reformed churches between 1830 and 1915. At a time when scholars have become interested in the day-to-day experience of local congregations, this book reaches back into the nineteenth century, a critically formative period in Anglo-American religious life, to examine the historical roots of congregational life. Taking the perspective of the laity, Cashdollar ranges widely from worship and music to fund-raising and administration, from pastoral care to social work, from prayer meetings to strawberry festivals, from the sanctuary to the kitchen. Firmly rooted in broader currents of gender, class, notions of middle-class respectability, increasing expectations for personal privacy, and patterns of professionalization, he finds that there was a gradual shift in emphasis during these years from piety to fellowship. Based on records, publications, and memorabilia from about 150 congregations representing eight denominations, A Spiritual Home gives us a comprehensive, composite portrait of religious life in Victorian Britain and America.