Sunday, June 19, 2011

America's First Mega Church- Brooklyn's Most Holy Trinity Church (1841)

McNamara's Blog has intriguing post at When Williamsburg was German: Most Holy Trinity Church (1841).

Truly perhaps one of the nations first mega Churches.

A few observations:

First we get again huge hints of this countries deep German heritage.It's amazing to thing about this but in the Civil War Union soldiers. Approximately 516,000 (23.4% of all Union soldiers) were German Americans. 216,000 of these were born in Germany. Yet in American lore it seems that we don't here about this as much as we should. Perhaps two world wars in the 20th century caused to people to sadly suppress this.

Second it is interesting the aspects of immigration and tensions that perhaps we see today:
The first congregation was made up of seventy families, all German. In time a German village would be recreated in urban America. One Brooklyn historian writes: “the singing societies and the Turnvereins [gymnasiums] and dance halls and beer gardens… helped make life pleasant in the good old German way.” Language and customs remained German for at nearly three generations. For German immigrants, preserving these was paramount. “Language preserves the faith,” was a popular saying among them.

Third the REAL and at times life threatening anti Catholicism and indeed anti immigrant actions these ordinary people had fight.

Finally for a Church of os so many it seems it was a center of life. For all those organizations that are mentioned there had to be HUGE lay involvement I expect. Thus exposing the untruth perhaps that lay people were very much involved in the Church in many ways PRE Vatican II.

Neat history that has lessons for today.

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