Written documents from Bischofszell makes it apparent that already well before the Reformation the laity had an impact on church life—both as individuals as well as collectively as members of confraternities. The article explores connections between city and village communities and the Church in light of donations for the salvation of souls. Church parishes, the town and the village communities (“Gemeinden”)—in and of themselves abstractions—constantly reinvented themselves publically in defined and limited ways that could be both bodily and spatially perceived—as in the case of visiting tombs or supporting and feeding the poor, acts framing the liturgy in the commemoration masses. The connection between community-building (“Kommunalismus”) and Christianization provides a possible means of explaining the continuing vitality of the donation of annual commemorations in the age of confessions. The parish as the structuring principle of both city and village was founded not least on the practice of intercessory prayer on the part of the living for the dead. A society’s obligations to the poor also rested on the principal of care and reciprocity.