English Protestantism; Anglican Parsons and Puritan Burdens

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English Protestantism; Anglican Parsons and Puritan Burdens

The most fundamental differences between the British culture and the Russian one relate to the English experience of Protestant attitudes and values. Russian Orthodoxy is a long way from Protestantism, emotionally, doctrinally and morally.

Since the 17th century, Britainhas developed from a religious society into a secular one; in 1997, although a majority of the population – about 70% - say that they believe in God, only a small minority (16%) attend a church at least two or three times a month. However, even if the religious sub-structure has beencrumbling away, some of the characteristic English Protestant values and attitudeshave survived, adapted for secular use.

The Bible is the holy book among all Christians, but among Protestants it is the one source of revealed religion, the evidence for their beliefs and practices. The Protestants were called Protestants because they objected to the mediaeval church’s refusal to allow ordinary people to read the Bible in their own language. During the 16th century much of Europe was torn apart by wars of religion. England escaped most of the horrors but endured the religious upheavals and emerged as a Protestant country.

The Protesters at the beginning of the 16th century combined demands that the Bible should be translated into the vernacular with attacks on Church corruption. The controversy in England was resolved in a characteristic radical-conservative manner. Henry VIII wanted the Pope to annul his marriage, but for political and diplomatic reasons, the Pope refused. Henry solved the problem by calling Parliament, which replaced the authority of the Pope with the authority of the King (so that he could annul his own marriage). Meanwhile, the old structures remained in place. Church services were now conducted in English, but they followed the traditional pattern of the Mass. The parish priests became parish parsons and they no longer were required to be celibate. The monasteries were dissolved, giving everyone an opportunity to seize the wealth of the monks. This was a popular and legal revolution in which much remained familiar.

This, however, is not the whole story. It is important to understand that there were two Protestant traditions within the country.

The Church of England, the established or state church, represents the conservative side of our culture. It’s the church in which the vast majority of the English have been baptized, married and buried since the mid-sixteenth century. From the end of the Civil War (1649) the church’s political power declined; and the increasing secularization of British society meant that the church hierarchy gradually ceased to play a significant political role. However, the socialinfluence of the Church of England on the English community has, until the last few decades, been profound. Through tradition and architecture the Church has stood for community and social cohesiveness. It has physical memorials in the parish churches which, since the 11th century, have been the centre of community life. Almost all the old parish churches are standing today: typically they are solid buildings of local stone, surrounded by a grassy churchyard where gravestones are planted, seemingly at random, so that people can walk among them, sit beside them or lean against them.

Another expression of social cohesiveness was the national liturgy. In the 1540’s the Church required a new English Prayer book. The Book of Common Prayer was written by Archbishop Cranmer and revised and adapted for English Protestant use in Elizabeth’s reign. Written in the most beautiful English it continued to be used for centuries, so that the rhythms, sounds andmeaning were part of daily life in England. Like the Authorized Version of the Bible, it is a wonderful example of religious text become literature. As a brief example, an extract from the General Confession (which is spoken by all members of the congregation at Morning and Evening prayer) may be quoted:

Almighty and most merciful father, we have erred and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against thy holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; and we have done those things which we ought not to have done. And there is no health in us. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare thou them that are penitent, according to thy promises declared unto mankind, through Christ Jesus, our Lord …

Besides its architecture and its liturgy, the social significance of the Church of England is to be found in its clergymen. Unlike the priests of Catholic countries, English parsons can be married or celibate. They had a respected social position, they were gentlemen. The Church of England parson would have a university education at Oxford and Cambridge, an education reserved for a very few people through the 17th to 19th centuries. He would consider himself to be socially partof the group who included the local landowners, educated professional men and those who lived on their inherited wealth. He might, himself, be quite poor. Some parishes provided a good income, some provided barely enough. But wealth didn’t determine social position; the parson was a gentleman, which meant that the vast majority of his parishioners were his social inferiors.

K. Hewitt. Understanding English Literature

Practicum 7.6

Translate the italicized parts of Text 7a into Russian

Practicum 7.7

Learn the extract from the General Confession by heart

Practicum 7.8

Practicum 7.9

Study the text above to discern the reasons why Britain turned from Catholicism to a new religion. Answer the questions to follow

1. What did Protesters object to in Catholic Church?

2. What was the role of Henry VIII in the process of adopting a new religion by the English?

3. Which Catholic Church patterns survived in Protestantism, what was changed, abandoned?

4. What historical evens signaled the start of church’s decline in Britain?

5. What was the social / financial status of a Church of England parish parson in the past?

Practicum 7.10

Read the text to follow and account for the difference in the models of Protestant thinking

Basically there was very little active anti-clericalism in England as there was in the Catholic countries of Europe. England does not have great religious disputes and committed atheists. We are culturally skeptical but tolerant. But there is another way of looking at this comfortable attitude to life, many people of a religious temperament need something stronger for their spiritual food. From the 16th century onwards, such people turned towards dissenting sects, the Protestants who refused to conform to the Church of England.

These radical Protestants at the turn of 16 to 17 centuries asked themselves how an individual Christian could resist sin in this world to ensure justice and happiness in the next world? The Catholic sinner confesses his sins and through repentance is restored again to a state of grace and purity – until he sins again. This was, and is, for many people a comforting system. It accepts human frailty and gives everyone a chance to repent, right up to the end. But it puts immense power in the hands of the priests. Distrust of the power of priests was one of the forces behind Protestant theology. Protestants argued that each person’s salvation in the next world was a matter between God and the individual. What is more, since God, being all-powered, already knows the future state of each soul, there is logically nothing that the individual can do to save himself. But human beings do not live logically. In people’s minds, the Calvinist belief that everything in this life ispredestined struggled with the belief that human beings are free to make their own individual choices. Out of this struggle emerged the characteristic Protestant model of life. The good Protestant searched for signs of God’s spirit within himself as evidence of God’s grace protecting his individual journey towards salvation. He felt that the journey was his own responsibility. He always had to be fighting sin – privately. The protestant’s ought is internalized, it’s a burden which cannot be shared. Protestantism tends therefore to satisfy the religious hunger of the self-confident and those who take responsibility for themselves; it is harsh on the timid, the weak and those who long for guidance from other human beings.

Originally Puritan referred to a person during the reign of Elizabeth, who thought that the Reformation had not gone far enough, and the Church of England was not the pure church described in the Bible, Puritans objected to distractions from the serious purpose of thinking about the state of one’ soul. Therefore they objected to the theatres – and naturally all dramatists mocked them vigorously. Like Whig, Tory and Democrat, Puritan is a word which began as abuse and later on taken up as a proud title by the abused.

Many of those who were derided as Puritans left the Church of England at the end of the 16th century because it preserved too many rituals and too much respect for a church hierarchy. They formed their own churches (groups of people worshiping together, often in the home of one of the supporters) and were known as Dissenters or Nonconformists to include Baptists, Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Quakers, and, in the 18th century, Methodists. The sects differed from one another in details of doctrine, but they shared a democratic approach to religious worship and appointed their own ministers who were often more like delegates or chairmen than priests. Despite their insistence on individualism, they upheld a strong community spirit. Those nonconformists who came from prosperous and educated families were prevented from going to the country’s two universities (Oxbridge) unlike their Church of England neighbours - they were forced to go to universities in Scotland and on the continent, which at that time were more intellectually aliveand progressive. They were also disqualified from entering those professions which required university education, such as the Law. So they turned their energies to trade. Their religious beliefs encouragedindividual decision-making and therefore individual enterprise, they adapted easily to new developments. England as a great trading nation, and later the first industrialized nation, owed far more to the energies and successes of the nonconformists or dissenters than traditional English gentlemen. For these people were not gentlemen. So the religious beliefs of nonconformists and their belief in capitalism became entwined with one another. In this way, wealth, particularly when associated with enterprise and effort, could be interpreted as one of those eagerly-sought signs of grace. Logically enough, rich nonconformists were not much in favour of providing aid for the passive poor (they disapproved of paternalism and charity), but they recognized a religious obligation to help those who were already setting out on the path to Salvation. So they build schools, sat on committees to alter bad social conditions, to improve prisons or abolish slavery. And they made sure these committees were effective. In none of these activities did Capitalism and Christianity seem to conflict. Their democratic church structures, and the sense of solidarity which they had acquired through a history of religious oppression, led them towards the radical wing of the Liberal Party.

                                                                           K. Hewitt. Understanding English Literature

Practicum 7.11

Translate the italicized parts of Practicum 7.10 into Russian

Practicum 7.12

Find in the texts above religious terms and arrange them in the table to follow. Translate them

Verbs Nouns Adjectives Adverbs

Practicum 7.13

Practicum 7.14

Answer the questions to the text from Practicum 7.9

1. Define what the comfortable attitude to life implies

2. What made some Protestants turn to dissenting sects?

3. How can a Catholic sinner be restored to a state of grace and purity?

4. What is the role of a Catholic priest in this process?

5. What is the concept of a Protestant priest?

6. What is the concept of Salvation in the Protestant theology?

7. What controversy defines the Protestant model of life?

8. Why is Protestantism regarded as a religion of the self-confident?

9. What is the origin of the word Puritan?

10. What did Puritans object to?

11. Why did Puritans leave the Church of England?

12. What sects did radical Protestants give rise to?

13. What features did all nonconformist sects share?

14. What education did nonconformists have access to?

15. How did their beliefs benefit them profession-wise? What activities did they accomplish most? Why?

16. What was nonconformists’ attitude towards charity?

17. What political thinking were they likely to adopt naturally?

Practicum 7.15

Read the text below and answer the question: What is K. Hewitt’s view on the future of religion in Britain? Relate it to current public perception of Orthodox Church in Russia

Since WWII, England has unquestionably become a secular society. Systematic school and Sunday school lessons have very probably hastened the decline of religious belief. Church of England rituals have been preserved for important occasions such as weddings, funerals, coronations and the opening of Parliament. Although nonconformist values can be seen in all sorts of reforming, charitable and local democratic activities, the chapels are closing. Anyone looking at our society over the long term, would probably come to conclusion that Protestantism is no longer relevant to those who have inherited it.

There are clear reasons for it. Spiritually, morally and doctrinally Protestantism is not international in its structures. Yet we have become a multiracial multi-faith society which has to accommodate the beliefs not only of the other Christian creeds but also Muslims, Sikhs. Protestantism rejects the hedonistic and anarchic so it has little appeal for those involved in the young cultures. It encourages hard work, independence, self improvement and self-denial for greater future good – all which have become sadly ironic values in a society of widespread unemployment.

                                                                           K. Hewitt. Understanding English Literature

Text 7b

The text to follow deals in talking mentality. Study the text and use it as a starting point for communication

An essential part of the British thinking has traditionally been related to the concept of being agentleman. The text to follow deals with this concept , as of the late 19-early 20th century, and the way it was treated in the then English literature.

Being a Gentleman

An English gentleman of the well-established upper-classes has a small private income, sufficient if he had been a single man, but not enough to live as a gentlemen if he also has wife and children. Nevertheless, he refuses to work for money, though he is always busy around the house. He loves old English music and ‘old customs’. He totally lacks those essential ingredients of the hero, noble ambition and military ardour. And he cares nothing formoney.

This crude national stereotype has the characteristics of many young men of his class and generation and can be called an ‘amateur’. This is a word laden with significance in English. In earlier days, to be an amateur was the proud claim of many English gentlemen. The amateur is not concerned with money, and therefore is not forced to act against his own nature; his activities are free, spontaneous and spiritually genuine. On the other hand, ‘amateur’, especially when used as an adjective, means ‘not taken seriously’. Gentleman’s work round the cottage is ‘amateurish’, always a pejorative word; an ‘amateur’ job is usually shoddy or incomplete piece of work by someone who has nottaken the trouble to learn to do it properly. He revolts againstthe necessity of working, applies himself to his own tiny selection of work, and to leaving the rest to the ultimate will of heaven.

A further element in the story is the potency of the past. He is always looking backwards to an older England, and his passions are linked to the passions of earlier generations, while the modern world of money, work, servants, power doesn’t attract him, he resists it all.

A young gentleman can turn his back to the professional work of his social class in order to work on the land while he ponders how to live as an Englishman in the future.

And yet, in time of war, intelligent, educated, thoughtful, sensitive men from privileged homes rushed to join the army. Why? It was nothing to do with the defense of one’s motherland. The English live on an island which was not being attacked.

                                                       after K.Hewitt. Understanding English Literature

Practicum 7.16

Translate the italicized parts of Text 7b into Russian

Practicum 7.17

III. Communication Practice


What features appeal to you in a gentleman, which do not? Let your answer be well-grounded



Topic 8. Voicing Regrets & Disappointments

I. General

Tip to keep in mind:

When expressing regrets and disappointments, try not to dramatize what happened

Practicum 8.1

Study the communication strategy of Voicing Regrets & Disappointments

  Voicing Regret Voicing Disappointments
Step 1 Say what makes you regret about the current situation Express disappointment with the state of affairs or a person it was provoked by
Step 2 Be optimistic, voice hope for the better Suggest ways to make up for what happened

Practicum 8.2

Arrange the Voicing Regrets & Disappointments vocabulary in 2 groups relating to 2 steps of communication strategy (some stock phrases can refer to more than one step) , e.g.:

Step 1 Step 2
Voicing Regrets I regret to inform that the flight is delayed (the weather conditions are unacceptable ) I do hope it won’t take long
Voicing Disappointments I expected him to be a little bit more flexible I will ask him to reconsider …

I am rather disappointed to find out / I was bitterly disappointed to discover

It wasn’t as good as I’d expected

To tell the truth I expected it to be (much) nicer

I wish they had spent more time on

I am upset

It was a faux pas

I’m sorry I did it, I wish I had not done it

I hate / regret to tell you

We regret having done it

I am positive we / he will work it out

Maybe we /she /he could

I admit it was a mistake

There are ways to make up for it. Why not do…?

II. Voicing Regrets & Disappointments Practice

Practicum 8.3

PracticeVoicing Regrets & Disappointments strategyin the following situations:

-a mechanic is voicing his regret for charging much more than the customer expected for unforeseen repairs; the customer is voicing his / her disappointment with the high costs

- the English are voicing disappointment at queue-jumpers at the airport

- an Italian is voicing disappointment at the English being reluctant to get involved in a conversation while commuting, queuing, etc.  

-a female is voicing disappointment to her colleagues with her husband who wasted another £1000 in a casino

Practicum 8.4

Study the text with official regrets and answer the questions to follow

What public figure does the newspaper express regrets to?

What happened?

What does the newspaper offer to offset the damage inflicted?


Madonna Wedding Pictures

On October 19, 2008, we published photographs of Madonna and Guy Ritchie’s wedding in December 2000.

The photographs were published on the front pare and in a double-page spread with the words “World exclusive: never seen before pictures of Madonna and Guy Ritchie’s wedding”.

The pictures had been copied from a wedding album in Madonna’s home without her permission. We therefore had no right to publish them.

We regret having published these pictures and apologize to Madonna and her family for the distress caused by this breach of her privacy and copyright. We have agreed to pay substantial damages and Madonna’s legal costs. We have also destroyed all copied of the wedding photographs in our possession.

Madonna will be donating the damages to her Raising Malawi charity.

The Mail on Sunday, 2009

Practicum 8.5

PracticeVoicing Regrets & Disappointments strategyin the following situations (to be done in writing)

-an Italian student in his /her E-mail to his family is voicing bitter disappointment that when s/he starts talking to the English on a train, they seem to treat him as drunk, drugged or deranged

-an elderly English lady in a letter to the editor-in-chief of a local newspaper is voicing disappointment at the modern trend to talk loudly on the mobile-phone in public

Text 8a

The text to follow deals in talking law. Study the text and use it as a starting point for communication in semi-formal setting

Правила дорожного движения

1. Участники дорожного движения обязаны знать и соблюдать Правил a дорожного движения, сигналы светофоров, знаки и разметку.

2. Водитель обязан иметь при себе водительское удостоверение на право управления транспортным средством соответствующей категории; при движении на транспортном средстве, оборудованном ремнем безопасности, быть пристегнутым и не перевозить пассажиров, не пристегнутых ремнями.

3. Запрещается движение при неисправности тормозной системы, рулевого управления, передних фар, указателей поворота и задних фар в темное время суток, недействующем стеклоочистителе во время дождя или снегопада.

4. Водитель транспортного средства, движущегося по второстепенной дороге, должен уступить дорогу транспорту, приближающемуся по главной.

5. Перед перестроением водитель обязан подавать сигналы световыми указателями поворота соответствующего направления.

6. Водитель должен соблюдать дистанцию c движущимся впереди транспортным средством, чтобы избежать столкновения.

7. На дорогах с двусторонним движением, имеющих три полосы, обозначенные разметкой, разрешается выезжать на среднюю полосу только для обгона, объезда, поворота налево и разворота.

8. Запрещается превышать скорость, указанную на знаке «Ограничение скорости», резко тормозить, если это не требуется для предотвращения ДТП.

9. При желтом мигающем сигнале, неработающих светофорах или отсутствии регулировщика перекресток считается нерегулируемым.

10. Дальний свет должен быть переключен на ближний в населенных пунктах, если дорога освещена.

11.При ДТП водитель, причастный к нему, обязан немедленно остановить транспортное средство, включить аварийную световую сигнализацию и выставить знак аварийной остановки.

12. Остановка и стоянка транспортных средств разрешаются на правой стороне дороги на обочине. На левой стороне – на дорогах с односторонним движением.

13. На автомагистралях запрещается: движение пешеходов, велосипедов; разворот и движение задним ходом; переход осуществляется строго по пешеходному переходу.

14. Дорожные знаки и дорожная разметка: двойная сплошная линия, прерывистая линия, предупреждающие знаки, предписывающие знаки.

Practicum 8.6

Match the italicized words from the text with the English words from the list to follow

driver’s / driving license; U-turn; keep a safe distance; changing traffic lanes; give way to smb; dual carriageway; road marking; front / rear lamps; overtake; motorists; traffic lights; compulsory speed sign; uncontrolled intersection; dipped / beam headlights; warning traffic signs; regulatory traffic signs; built-up areas; hazard lights; windscreen wiper; breakdown triangle; major / minor road; flashing amber signal; one-way street; the edge of the road; motorways; pedestrian crossing; reversing; road code; safety belts; brakes; steering; double solid lines; broken line; direction indicator lights; rear lights (tail lights); headlights.

Practicum 8.7

Render Text 8 a in English

Practicum 8.8

Share your own driving experience of being involved in a road accident and voice disappointment at reckless drivers. Make aroad accident report to the police in writing

The vocabulary to follow might come in handy

to press the clutch; to insert the (ignition) key; to start the engine (the engine won’t start); to belt up; to change gear; to switch to 1st  gear; to indicate; the accident scene; to produce a valid insurance certificate or give insurance details; to record other driver’s details; to wear seat belts; to use child restraints; impaired / DUI / DWI driving; BAC (blood alcohol concentration)

Practicum 8.9

PracticeVoicing Regrets & Disappointments strategy in the following situations

-an American is planning a trip to the UK and is voicing regret at the looming prospect of left-side driving

-a mother of a young driver isvoicing disappointment at her son being detected by a traffic enforcement camera while exceeding the speed limit

Practicum 8.10

PracticeVoicing Regrets & Disappointments strategy and write 200-250 wordsessayon poor driving practices in developing countries

III. Communication Practice

Role play

The Mayor is shocked to learn about traffic injury and mortality rates in the city. He is voicing regret and disappointment with poor traffic safety standards and is calling for action.

 A City Council team is tasked to work out a package of moves aimed at enhancing road safety

Text 8b

The texts to follow deal in talking law. Study the texts and use them as a starting point for communication in formal setting

Florida College expects students to abide by high standards of moral, personal, and social behavior. The following regulations are supposed to contribute to a wholesome atmosphere on campus and to the individual student's cultural and social maturity. Policies and regulations may be amended from time to time by action of the responsible bodies.

Students found guilty of lying or falsifying official documents will be liable to suspension. Cheating or plagiarism is not acceptable. This includes cheating on a test and copying another student's paper or other authors' works without identifying the sources. Cell phones and cameras must not be turned on during a test.

Florida College is a drug- and alcohol-free work and educational environment. The possession or use of intoxicating beverages is strictly prohibited. Violation of these restrictionswillresult in automatic suspension from the College. Florida College complies with federal, state, and local laws regulating drugs and alcohol. Students involved in illegal activities must be reported to the law enforcement agencies. Resident students may not possess or use tobacco products either on campus or off campus while enrolled in the College.Non-resident students may not possess or use tobacco products while on campus. Any use or possession of tobacco will result in an appointment with the Dean.

Students are to be in their residence halls by the beginning of curfew at 11:00 pm on Sunday through Thursday and by 12:00 am on Friday and Saturday until 6:00 am.

Hazing violations resulting in personal injury or damage to college property will be considered as major offenses and punished appropriately. Threatening or abusive behavior will not be tolerated. This includes, but is not limited to, racial, religious or sexual harassment, intimidation, pranks, invasion of privacy.

Penalties: a) Documented verbal warning from the instructor or another person in authority; b) Exclusion or removal from a class, examination room, etc.; c) A letter of reprimand sent to the student by registered mail or by personal delivery; d) Fines may range from $50 to $300. Fines must be paid according to the deadline indicated in the written notification of disciplinary action (normally 10 business days); e) Replacementoflost or damagedproperty, or payment of an amount equal to monetary value of the property.


https://www.floridacollege.edu; http://www.kings.uwo.ca

Practicum 8.11

Translate the italicized parts of Text 8b from English into Russian

Practicum 8.12

Practicum 8.13

Practicum 8.14

Study the Florida College Code, identify priorities and relate them to the penalties stipulated. Compare with your cultural practices

Practicum 8.15

PracticeVoicing Regrets & Disappointments strategyin the following situation (to be done in writing)

a parent in a letter to the Dean is voicingregret and disappointment over his / her son’s cheating at the exam, asking for an opportunity to reinstate him

III. Communication Practice

Role play

-Two colleagues having got stuck in a traffic jam are voicing their disappointment at the decreasing driving culture in the UK when seeing a group of jaywalkers and an unscrupulous driver ‘cheating’ by zipping down the outside, faster-moving lane and then trying to edge back at a later point.

-Head of the traffic police is giving an interview to a local TV channel, where he claims the English to be most fair and courteous drivers, still he voices regret and disappointment at the increasing road-rage incidents in the UK (provoked by tailgating, headlight flashing, obscene gestures, obstruction and verbal abuse).


The faculty members are expressing disappointment with the students’ performance at the end-of-the term exams, high truancy rate and basically poor studying habits. At first the students are on the defensive to be finally made into voicing regrets



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