Tuesday, August 27, 2013


As I noted in the previous post, the verdict of the Court held at Ispwich was
not unanimous; two of the judges, Samuel Symonds and William Hathorne
dissented and issued their own opinion. In part it said:

"That several words and passages in the writing or complaint presented to the court
and owned by himself or proved by others, especially taken merely in themselves
without his answer and the testimony of others then present, are highly offensive
and scandalous. But considering his answers and the testimony together with the
same, we find the matter to be much altered from what the naked words as they are expressed in the writing do hold forth. We perceive that a great part (if not a greater
part) of that church doe stand for the congregational way of church government and discipline to be exercised amongst them (which is the way the churches here doe
professe to the whole world to be the way and only way according to the gospel of
Christ,) and that it is and hath been for a long time a very great burthen and grievance
to them, that they have not freedom in that respect, (where there is occasion of actings)
as by the word of God they ought to have, and other churches have in this country, and
at the beginning their own church also quietly did enjoy for some space of time, and
that the alteration hath occasioned much differences and unquietudes amongst them."

-A Sketch of the History of Newbury, Newburyport, and West Newbury, from 1635 
to 1845
,  by Joshua Coffin & Joseph Bartlett  (Sameul G Drake, Boston, 1845) p76

So the court, like the Newbury church was divided, and while Edward Woodman was chastised for his behavior, he and his followers could point to the dissenting opinion
that their position was correct.

Later that same year, in November 1669, a council of churches from the  nearby towns
was called to mediate between the two sides. The ruling of the council is in language
so convoluted I won't even attempt to explain it. Suffice it to say that it didn't resolve
the problem, and a few months later it surfaced again when a church member named
John Webster read a statement after a church service criticizing Rev. Parker. Again
the case was brought to Court but neither side was satisfied with the outcome.

Finally, two weeks later, Edward Woodman and his followers decided to take matters
into their own hands:

'The church having seriously considered of the complaint brought to us by Mr. Woodman against our reverend pastor, master Parker and do judge it clearly proved by sufficient evidences, and much of it known to our selves to be true, do judge that you have been instrumental of the divisions and troubles, that have a long time [been] and still are, continued in this church, partly by your change of opinion and practice and several times breaking promises and covenants or agreements with the church, and other things contained in the complaint, therefore we cannot but judge you worthy of blame, and do hereby blame you, and for the restoring of peace to the church we are enforced, though with great grief of heart, to suspend you from acting any thing that doth appertain to your office, in administring seals and sacraments, or matters of government as an officer, until you have given the church satisfaction therewith. We do desire and admonish you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ speedily to endeavour that God may have his glory by it and the hearts of your grieved brethren in the church may be comforted and in the mean time as a gifted brother you may preach for the edification of the church if you please. Your loving but afflicted brethren of the church of Newbury. Signed by us in behalf of the church.

Richard Dummer.
Richard Thorla.
'March sixteenth, 1670.
 'This was brought to Mr. Parker by Archelaus Woodman, William Titcomb,
Richard Bartlet and Samuel Plumer, and Samuel Plumer read it.'

Richard Knight. Anthony Somerby.
Nicholas Noyes, Samuel Lowle,

'After sunset William Titcomb, Stephen Titcomb, Stephen Greenleaf, Richard Bartlet and Caleb Moody came with a message to Mr. Parker and told him they were sent from the church to give him notice that the church had chosen two ruling elders, namely, Mr. Dummer and Mr. Woodman, and they were to send to the two neighbouring churches to join with them to ordain them upon this day sevennight. Witnesses to the message of the church, captain Gerrish. Richard Knight, Nicholas Noyes, John Knight, senior, Mr. Woodbridge and Anthony Somerby.'

'We whose names are here underwritten do consent to the writing, which do declare an act of the church laying Mr. Parker under blame, and suspending him from all official acts in the church. Dated sixteenth of March, 1670.

Me. Richard Dummer.    
Mr. Edward Woodman.
Archelaus Woodman.
William Moody.
William Ilsley.
Francis Plumer.
William Titcomb.
John Emery, senior.
John Emery, junior.

Richard Thorla.
John Merrill.
Francis Thorla.
Edmund Moores.
Stephen Greenleaf.
Thomas Browne.
Abraham Merrill.
Benjamin Lowle.
Richard Bartlet.
Samuel Plumer.
Josefh Plumer.
Thomas Hale, junior.

John Bailey                                                                
Job Pilsbury.
Steven Swett.
Benjamin Rolf.
John Wells.
Nicholas Batt.
Abraham Tot-van.
Anthony Mors, senior.
William Sawyer.
Edward WooDMAN.junior.
William Pilsbury.
Caleb Moody.
John Poore, senior.
John Poore, junior.
John Webster.
Robert Cokee.
John Bartlet, senior.
John Bartlet, junior.
Edward Richardson.
James Ordway.

- ibid. pp82-83

The names in red are my ancestors and relatives.

Forty one church members had decided to remove Reverend Parker. How would
he and his supporters respnd to this move?

To be continued.

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