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Congregationalism has its roots in England in the 16th century, when it stood for the purity of the church and for the freedom of each church to conduct its own affairs under the Lordship of Christ. Thus, in Congregationalism, the congregation is understood to be the centre of church authority and government.
[/span6] [span6] In England, well-known Congregationalists have been John Bunyan, the author of Pilgrim’s Progress, John Owen, vice-chancellor of Oxford University and the London preacher, Martyn Lloyd-Jones. The 19th century missionary to Africa, David Livingstone, was also a Congregationalist. Some of the early members of the church, the Pilgrim Fathers, sailed to America on the Mayflower in 1622 and made a great impact on American life and values.
New England Congregationalists went on to found Harvard University in 1636 and Yale University in 1701. The outstanding American Congregationalist of this period was Jonathan Edwards. Congregationalism came to the Australian colonies in the 1830’s.