Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ann Hutchinson

Anne Hutchinson (baptized July 20, 1591[1][2] – August 20, 1643) was a pioneer settler in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Netherlands and the unauthorized minister of a dissident church discussion group. Hutchinson held Bible meetings for women that soon appealed to men as well. Eventually, she went beyond Bible study to proclaim her own theological interpretations of sermons, some, such as antinomianism offended the colony leadership. A major controversy ensued, and after a trial before a jury of officials and clergy, she was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony.[3]

She is a key figure in the study of the development of religious freedom in England's American colonies and the history of women in ministry. The State of Massachusetts honors her with a State House monument calling her a "courageous exponent of civil liberty and religious toleration."[4]

Early years
Anne Hutchinson was born Anne Marbury in Alford, Lincolnshire, England, and baptized there on July 20, 1591, the daughter of Francis Marbury, a dissident Puritan clergyman, and Bridget (Dryden) Marbury.[2] Anne was educated at home and read from her father's library. At the age of 21, on August 9, 1612, Anne married William (Will) Hutchinson (d. Boston, Massachusetts, 1642) at St. Mary Woolnoth, London.[2] She and her family followed the sermons of John Cotton, a Protestant minister whose teachings echoed those of her father. Cotton left England because of his persecution by the bishops. Anne and her family likewise emigrated from England to Massachusetts in 1634, together with other colonists.[5]

[edit] Religious activities
The majority of colonial European settlers who came to America for religious reasons came for the freedom to practice their own interpretation of Christianity and, in some cases, to impose it on others. In their early years, most colonies enforced a uniformity at least as strict as had occurred in the country they had left. There was considerable Puritan intolerance in Massachusetts and Connecticut.[6] Her particular "heresy" was to maintain that it was a blessing and not a curse to be a woman.[7]

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