Here’s the fourth in a series of six kids talks on British Church History. This talk focuses on how Henry VIII took the Church of England out of the Roman Catholic denomination made it Protestant in an event known as the English Reformation. This talk has been given in church and also been adapted for a junior school assembly.
British Church History (Part 4) – Reformed
After the arrival of Christianity in Britain, the formation of the Church of England, it’s survival after attacks by the Vikings, and the organisation of the church during the reign of William the Conqueror, the next major event we come to in British Church History is probably the most famous of all.
Can you tell me who the following bands and singers are, and what the link between them is?
- Take That & Robbie Williams
- Spice Girls & Geri Halliwell
- Westlife & Brian McFadden
Robbie Williams was once in Take That until he left the group in 1995. Geri Halliwell was in the Spice Girls but left in 1998 (although did rejoin recently for their one-off tour). Brian McFadden was in Westlife until he left in 2004.
We’re going to be thinking about something else that left what it was part of.
The Church of England was part of the Roman Catholic denomination. As time went by, groups of people formed who wanted the church to change, to reform. They believed the Church of England was corrupt. It was tricking people into giving it money plus they did not think they were teaching the true meaning of the Bible.
In the first part of the 16th Century, lots of churches in Europe were leaving or splitting from the Roman Catholic Church for this very reason. But not the Church of England, King Henry VIII although he was getting fed up with the Pope, on the whole was happy with the way the church was.
That was until something happened to change his mind.
Henry VIII was married to Catherine of Aragon but she had failed to give him a male heir to succeed him as king. So he wanted to divorce her and marry Anne Boleyn. But the Pope (the leader of the Roman Catholic Church) said no!
This upset and angered Henry VIII and he did something radical. 1534 he took the Church of England out of the Roman Catholic denomination and it became Protestant. The Church of England left the Roman Catholic Church. This event is known as the English Reformation.
When Robbie Williams left Take That, it meant that he started recording his own songs and making his own albums.
When the Church of England left the Roman Catholic Church two of the big changes that happened were:
1) A new prayer book was written by Thomas Crammer called the Book of Common Prayer. This changed the church services from being Roman Catholic to being Protestant. What’s significant about the Book of Common Prayer is that Crammer put as much of the Bible into it as he could.
2) An English Bible was put in every church. Before the Bible was only available in Latin and the priests told people what it meant. But now there was English Bible, people could find out what it says themselves.
The apostle Paul wrote that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
The Church of England may have left the Roman Catholic Church because Henry VIII wanted a divorce. But God used this to change the Church in England to allow ordinary people to read the Bible in English and discover the good news about Jesus in it and how God wants them to live.
(Photo: Janet Burgess)