Emmanuel Episcopal Church (Cumberland, Rhode Island)

Emmanuel Episcopal Church (Cumberland, Rhode Island)

Emmanuel Episcopal Church (Cumberland, Rhode Island)

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Emmanuel Episcopal Church is an historic Episcopal parish founded in 1835 in Manville, Rhode Island, but now located in nearby Cumberland.


From a Textile Village to the Church on the Hill

The Blackstone River powered the machinery of those textile mills that brought the Industrial Revolution to America. One such mill owned by Samuel Mann (or Man), who gave his name to the village of Manville in which his mill was located. Here, as in the other new mill villages that spread upriver from Samuel Slater’s original mill in Pawtucket, itinerant revivalists rather than settled churches provided only sporadic religious services for the workers in these early factories. Mann, himself a Quaker, found these “enthusiasts” distasteful and sought to replace them with a “sober religion.” He was clearly concerned not only for the souls of his workers but also for the discipline of his workforce when he wrote in 1835 to the Episcopal Bishop of Rhode Island to request a missionary. He offered to provide for the missionary lodging in a mill house, two new suits of clothes a year, and a salary of $300, to be collected at the mill’s pay window at the rate of $6 a week. He also promised ongoing financial support for the building and maintaining of a church. The bishop sent the Rev. Ephraim Munroe to answer the call.

If some of these early operatives had emigrated from England, they had not been Anglicans there any more than their Yankee counterparts had been...
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