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Colonial America (1492-1776)
Colonial Churches



Colonial Churches
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   10.95

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    islam, showy, tolerance, forbidden, ceremonial, colonial, founded, traditional, variety, well-established, spiritual, arrival, protest, knowing, religion, soul
     content words:    Native Americans, New England Colonies, Middle Colonies, Southern Colonies, Native American, Many Native Americans, Great Spirit, New England, Dutch Reformed, King Henry VIII


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Colonial Churches
By Sharon Fabian
  

1     In colonial times, Americans belonged to a variety of churches. They worshipped in a variety of ways. Native Americans worshipped as they had for hundreds of years. Sometimes they combined their traditions with selected elements from Christian religions. Slaves brought their own religions from Africa, although they were often not able to practice their religion as they wished. Colonists brought many Christian religions from Europe. The New England Colonies, the Middle Colonies, and the Southern Colonies each had its own religious character.
 
2     There were many Native American religions established in America before the arrival of the colonists. There were some similarities among many of them. There were also a number of similarities between the Native American religions and the Christian religion of most of the colonists. Many Native Americans believed in a creator, or Great Spirit. They believed that a person's soul could live on after the person's death. Many of their religions had leaders similar to preachers in Christian religions. The Native Americans prayed, made offerings, and celebrated special occasions. Native American religions often taught that the supernatural was present in nature, not separate from nature as the Christian religions taught.
 
3     Slaves brought traditional African religions to America. Islam and Christianity were also brought to American by African slaves. Slaves were often discouraged from practicing their own religion. Often they were even forbidden from doing so. For that reason, religions from Africa were not passed down as easily as other American religions. However, bits and pieces of African religions have survived. They can be recognized in spiritual beliefs about the importance of spirits and ancestors and in songs and stories.

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Colonial America (1492-1776)
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