All ritual action is distinguished from types of action on the basis of the action being oriented to sacred or charismatic objects, that is objects which are set apart from the profane world, the everyday world of routine and utilitarian action. In order to explain persistence of civic ritual in groups of the kind the functionalist notion of ‘integration’ would seem to have some value; the ritual occasion brings members together, and makes them aware of their membership of the group. The usefulness of the distinction between religious and civic ritual will be demonstrated in an examination of the problems that have grown up in England, particularly within the Church of England and between that Church and its relations with the other major institutions in England. The Anglican Church from 1700 to 1850 could be seen as a relatively desacralised religious organisation, with a stress on puritan ethical conduct at the individual level, and its ritual more civic than religious.