Philanthropy and secularisation : the funding of Anglican religious voluntary organisations in London 1856-1914

Flew, Sarah Emma Jayne (2013). Philanthropy and secularisation : the funding of Anglican religious voluntary organisations in London 1856-1914. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000d5ca

Abstract

This thesis is an examination of five Anglican home-missionary organisations which operated in the Diocese of London in the latter half of the nineteenth century. These five organisations were all entirely dependant upon the financial support of the Anglican laity to provide their revenue. The main thrust of the thesis is an analysis of the finances of these home-missionary organisations. The initial four questions that this thesis examines are: how did the organisations raise money; who did they solicit support from; to what extent were the societies successful in soliciting financial support to carry out their aims; and did the funding revenue streams remain stable through the period? This is with the main purpose of evaluating the Anglican community's support of these organisations during the period of study, in terms of who gave financial support and how this changed. Drawing on the wealth of material contained in the annual reports of the organisations chosen for this study, this thesis provides a comprehensive analysis of the subscriptions and donations and in doing so identifies an important shift in the gender-base of the laity's support at the end of the period. In seeking to explain the loss of the male funder in the late nineteenth century, the thesis engages with the key wider themes of philanthropy and secularisation. The assumption of this thesis is that modern religious bodies have to function as economic agents, that they need steady sources of income, and have to have mechanisms to raise sufficient funds on an annual basis. It argues that the decline in financial support from the Anglican laity within the period was not a result of failing fundraising techniques of the organisations themselves. Instead, it was a symptom of a wider malaise. The thesis explores the ethos of giving in the latter half of the nineteenth century and argues that an important factor in the decline of giving was the waning of the teaching of the doctrine of Christian stewardship after its mid-century renaissance. It argues that the new generation of Christians born in the latter half of the nineteenth century did not have the same ethos of giving that their parents had held. In doing so, it concludes that this shift was a significant change in the 'consequential dimension' of religion, which is how people behave as a consequence of their faith.

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