Religion, Art, and Money: Episcopalians and the American Culture from the Civil War to the Great Depression

Peter W. Williams. Univ. of North Carolina, $39.95 (296p) ISBN 978-1-4696-2697-0
In this penetrating and insightful work, Williams surveys the Episcopal Church’s influence on art, education, and politics, and its strong involvement in political causes that advance human rights and dignity. But, he wonders, has the church gone too far, and alienated the very constituency that made it so wealthy and powerful? Williams presents the Episcopal Church as one of the most influential religious institutions in American history, possessing an economic and cultural stature only rivaled by the Catholic Church. Great edifices such as Trinity Church in N.Y.C. testify powerfully to the church’s love for tradition, wealth, and power, but, as Williams so cuttingly observes, all of this is at risk as the church gets more deeply involved in present-day social movements while being increasingly eclipsed by the growing populist and secular movements. Episcopal music, art, and educational institutions maintain a crucial place in American culture, but with a rapidly dwindling membership, all this may count for little. Williams provides prescient forecasts and constructive musings on the future of the Episcopal Church. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/14/2016
Release date: 05/01/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 296 pages - 978-1-4696-5471-3
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