You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Anglo-Catholics’ tag.

As I was preparing yesterday’s post on what Anglican priests think of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, a lot more material came to the fore.

Trinity Sunday

As regular readers and churchgoers know, June 12, 2022 was Trinity Sunday.

At the Priory Church of St Bartholomew in London, it was also Confirmation Day for a blessed handful of the congregation.

The Revd Marcus Walker, St Bartholomew’s vicar, is on the right of the photo below. The Bishop of London, the Right Revd Sarah Mulally, is in the centre:

Did you ever wonder why mitres are shaped with a point?

Our vicar told us on Pentecost Sunday — the week before Trinity — that mitres are shaped that way to suggest the tongues of fire that descended on the heads of the faithful on the first Pentecost, signifying the arrival of the Holy Spirit.

It is a pity that the Bishop chose to preach on The Shack in her sermon. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear — no!

Not surprisingly, those preaching on Trinity Sunday dread it because it requires in some measure explaining the holy mystery of the Triune God. It is not unusual for a vicar to assign the sermon to an ordinand — trainee priest — who is a member of his congregation.

St Patrick used a shamrock. However, a Lutheran pastor in the United States uses an egg, which, in some ways, is even better. His sister, whom I cited in my post, wrote on another website (emphases mine below):

He set out 3 small bowls. He cracked an egg, separated the white from the yolk, placed them in 2 of the bowls, and the shell in the third. He then asked the children which was the egg (which of course brought out all kinds of interesting responses). He used this illustration to explain the Trinity. I think even the adults in the congregation were enlightened by his talk. The children certainly learned something that day.

Returning to St Bartholomew’s, Marcus Walker exchanges thoughts with a Catholic in the Twitter below:

Walker is absolutely right.

The Revd Matthew Cashmore is the vicar of St Anselm’s in Hayes, Middlesex, near Heathrow Airport. For centuries, it was a rural area. Now it is very much a part of Greater London. Its growth as an industrial suburb began in the mid-19th century with the arrival of the railway. In the 20th century, it was home to many industries, including player pianos, vinyl records, caravans, food manufacturing and aviation companies. Today, it is known for food, aviation and a number of Heathrow’s hotels.

St Mary the Virgin Church is the oldest house of worship in Hayes, dating back to the 13th century.

St Anselm’s was built in the 20th century but its name references the history of St Mary the Virgin, as Wikipedia explains:

St Anselm’s Church was completed in 1929 to the design of architect Hubert Christian Corlette. Noted designer MacDonald Gill was responsible for the panelled ceiling. The church’s foundation stone was laid on 13 May 1927 by Sir John Eldon Bankes. The east window is by James Powell and Sons of Whitefriars, London. The church was Grade II listed in November 2019.[58] St Anselm’s is so-named because William Rufus (1056 – 1100) sent Archbishop (later Saint) Anselm of Canterbury (c.1033 – 1109) to stay in the manor house of St Mary’s Church, as it was the nearest of the Archbishop’s manors to Windsor, where William Rufus resided.[59][60]

William Rufus was the third son of William the Conqueror.

On to the present day, and Matthew Cashmore, like many other vicars, preached on the mystery of the Trinity. This is an excerpt from St Anselm’s Trinity Sunday pew leaflet:

To try to figure out HOW this trinity of God works. We are human and modern humans attempt to understand the world through the lens of science and ‘reason’.

The issue of course is that creation is rather more complex and difficult than we can understand.

We are not God and we are reaching and trying as hard as we can to understand things that He created and put into place.

It’s just not possible.

This is not to say that we shouldn’t try – that we shouldn’t engage in trying to understand the the universe through science and ‘reason’; but rather to accept that there are things that we can not neatly fit into categories of science that are central to how we exist in the universe.

We are not God.

Sometimes we need to accept that it is wiser to exist and simply appreciate and give thanks for what God has made – and our part in it.

Wise words indeed.

Mission work

I found out about St Anselm’s via a tweet from a vicar whose tweets I posted yesterday.

The Revd Sarah Hancock, from Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire, posted the church’s brilliant advert for a Mission Priest:

I can see why they have passed a Resolution. Going into rough pubs is probably not the sort of thing even today’s women priests are up for.

Mission work also appeared in Cashmore’s Trinity Sunday sermon, as he exhorted the congregation to think about ways in which they, too, can bring the Gospel to the unchurched. Excerpts follow:

In the name of the Father of the Son and of the Holy Spirit – Amen.

Today, as I’m sure you’re all aware is Trinity Sunday. It’s a day we call to mind the Holy Trinity and what that means to us today.

Trinity Sunday is an annual reminder of the simple command to live within the love and commandments of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – and Jesus tells us how we discern how to do that …

… our faith is a felt faith. It is a faith that exists as much in our hearts and our stomachs as it does in our brains. The moment we forget that we lose the awesome breadth of what God has in store for us – we lose the ability to engage with what Jesus taught us – and we lose sight of what the Holy Spirit wants us to do in this life.

Now, I’m not saying we should leave our brains at the door when we come to church. What I am saying is that academic and intellectual exploration has to work alongside that gut feeling we all experience when we see the work of the Holy Spirit and that gentle warming of our heart we feel when we see the love of Jesus in action.

Our faith is a broad, complex and wonderful thing. It interacts with the world in a myriad of ways and people interact with us – and the faith they see in us – in a myriad of ways

We should be open to all those possibilities

The fact that somebody may want to talk to us about where the Trinity appears in scripture for example, is an opportunity to engage people about their faith. For us to crack open the Bible and talk them through the gospel of John and its rich description of the workings of the Father, Son & Holy Spirit. (so I suggest you take your pew sheet home and read around these chapters!)

Or it may be that people want to know what the practical outworking of the Trinity in our day to day lives isor they may want to understand how our love of God the Father, Son & Holy Spirit makes us feel.

We need to be prepared to answer these questions in the real world

There are three things that I think any Christian should be ready to answer in the street.

    • How does God make you feel?
    • How does the Holy Spirit guide your daily life?
    • How has Jesus taught you to live a life more pleasing to God?

These questions form the heart of what we talk about in the world when we bring people to the love of Jesus – and in so doing – to the love of God and the Holy Spirit.

They are true because we experience them across the breadth of our lives and because we see them in scripture – the test of truth …

Our faith is an experienced faith.

It has to be lived out to be understood

When we talk to people about GodWe engage them with the truth of what we have seen, what we have learnt, what we have experienced in our day-to-day life with Jesus.

And we should be more prepared for it.

We should, each morning as we cross ourselves and say the Our Father – think with our brains, feel with our stomach, experience the joy of love in our heart, and ask ourselves – how can I go into the world today and bring somebody to Jesus.

How can we bring people to this church, this place and bring them to baptism – to a relationship that is earth shatteringly life changing with God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit?

It is up to each one of us to figure that out. Each one of us will bring a different gift, each one of us will bring different experiences and feelings, each one of us will have engaged with scripture in different ways and each one of us will reach somebody that another person cannot.

Nobody is beyond the love of God the Father, Son & Holy Sprit.

So, go out into the world my brothers and sisters and bring people to baptism, to this place, to a relationship with the Holy Trinity – because the only way to understand the Trinityis to live inside its love.


St Anselm’s is a High Anglican church, therefore, it adopts some Catholic practices and pre-Vatican II vestments, such as this fiddleback chasuble in gold and blue:

I wish Fr Matthew all the best with his parish work and finding a Mission Priest.

Those interested in reading or watching more of his sermons can find them here.

I can also recommend the one for Pentecost Sunday, another inspiring call to mission:

Another vicar, the Revd Sam Charles Norton, is also concerned about spreading the Good News in the Church of England. He begins by going back to basics, with the Bible, writings of the early Church Fathers as well as Anglican clergy who helped to develop the Church of England in the 16th and 17th centuries when it was theologically at its best:

He says we have replaced doctrine with culture:

People should visit our churches if only for their beauty, as close to a glimpse of heaven as we have in this life:

Who knows where a church visit might lead?


In closing, new members were installed into the Order of the Garter on Monday, June 13. This ceremony takes place every June.

This year, the Bishop of Worcester’s brother was one of the newest members of this ancient Royal order. Tony Blair, unfortunately, was, too.

However, the interesting thing is that both the Bishop of Worcester — the Right Revd John Inge — and his brother, who is a Field Marshal, are the sons of butchers. Let no one say that modest parentage prohibits great achievements:

The Bishop is the Lord High Almoner, in charge of distributing alms to the poor. The office dates from 1103 and is a post in the Royal Households of the United Kingdom.

The last Lord High Almoner who was the son of a butcher was Cardinal Wolsey (1473-1530):

How marvellous to be parents of sons who went into the military and the Church!

Continuing my series what’s on Episcopal priests’ minds, the Anglo-Catholic FrKeithV posted a succinct tweet on inclusion in the Church:

I couldn’t agree more. We should be transforming our lives through the gift of faith and God’s infinite grace: becoming more Christlike and rejecting the bondage of sin.

It is unclear whether his next tweet is related to inclusion, but one of the reasons people find inclusion upsetting is that a handful of those who wish to be included do tend to demand it, rather than approach the Church in humility and goodwill.

One remedy for this is to rely on Scripture rather than one’s personal feelings — emotions:

It is hard being a Christian. Sometimes we love our personal baggage, which often keeps us in a sinful cycle. Satan can readily supply us with any number of excuses not to grow spiritually, to remain in his snare.

Our emotional resistance — wilful disobedience — to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit is one of the devil’s best tricks. Don’t fall for it.

Last week I started a new series, ‘What’s on Episcopal priests’ minds‘.

This week’s instalment presents a defence of Christian beliefs. The tweets are from the Revd Everett Lees, SCP, vicar of Christ Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

BCP below is the Book of Common Prayer:

I could not agree more.

For too long, spiritually corrupted Protestant clergy have portrayed Jesus in a vague, butler-in-the-sky manner or as a socio-political activist.

Episcopalians — and other Anglicans — must recapture the doctrine and beliefs of their denomination. This holds doubly true for clergy. We must teach those tenets and the life of Christ to newcomers and the next generation. I am happy to see that the Revd Mr Lees does just that:

May God continue to bless him and his ministry team.

Last week — and by chance — I found a few interesting Twitter feeds from Episcopal priests in the United States.

I’m thinking of starting a new series: ‘What’s on Episcopal priests’ minds’.

Without further ado, here goes.

The Revd Robert Hendrickson is rector of Saint Philip’s in the Hills Episcopal Church in Tucson, Arizona. He is an Anglo-Catholic.

This tweet lists his views on Sunday services:

I’m not sure what he is saying about Purgatory, which, as far as I know, is not a belief of the Episcopal Church.

For everything else, in layman’s terms, he is saying that:

a) the priest should kiss — osculate — the altar. A proper altar should have a consecrated square of stone in it that the celebrant kisses before celebrating the Communion service, as if he were kissing Christ. It is a sign of reverence.

b) the celebrant should wear a maniple, which is an embroidered band of silk worn over the left hand, reminding a priest that he is God’s servant. From Wikipedia, which has illustrations (emphases mine below):

Originally, the maniple was likely a piece of linen which clerics used to wipe their faces and hands and has been described by some modern commentators as being akin to a handkerchief. It appears to have been used in the Roman liturgy since at least the 6th century. The maniple can vary widely in size, shape, and degree of embroidery and ornamentation.

Common symbolic comments refer to the maniple’s likeness to the rope by which Christ was led and the chains which bound his hands. It has also become known as an emblem of the tears of penance, the burden of sin, and the fatigue of the priestly office. This understanding is reflected in the vesting prayer said while putting on the maniple before Mass. Anglican commentators have described the maniple as a symbol of being a servant to the servants of God.

Alphonsus Liguori claimed: “It is well known that the maniple for the purpose of wiping away the tears that flowed from the eyes of the priest; for in former times priests wept continually during the celebration of Mass.”[11]

c) he does not like concelebrated Communion services. Concelebrated services parcel out various parts of the Communion liturgy among two or more priests. (I agree: too distracting.)

d) the Revised Common Lectionary is not very good. (I tend to agree.)

e) the Revised Standard Version of the Bible is preferable to the New Revised Standard Version.

f) facing east — the traditional direction — at the altar is preferable but not better.

g) he would like to see more feast days celebrating Mary, the mother of Jesus.

h) benediction — a blessing — should be offered to all who do not receive Communion.

i) Morning Prayer — what used to be the main Sunday service, with one or two Communion services per month — is preferable over Communion every week. (I definitely agree.)

This is why he dislikes concelebrated services:

Some priests believe that getting in the habit of going up to the altar to receive a blessing instead of Communion accustoms people who are not yet baptised to the altar rail. This is a relatively recent development in the Anglican Communion and, quite possibly, priests might have a point:

Morning Prayer is a big hobby horse of mine, too. Would that it returned:

Robert Hendrickson explains his religious journey, including his love of Morning Prayer, in a fascinating post of his, ‘Morning Prayers with Hymns and Anthems: A Catholic Case for the Office on Sunday at 11:00’.

Like me, he was raised a Catholic. For both of us, Morning Prayer was a big draw to the Episcopal Church. Both of us also read the Book of Common Prayer (different to the English one) and got to know clergy and congregation at the churches we respectively chose.

His experience fully mirrors my own.

Excerpts follow from his defence of Morning Prayer.

His story begins in New Haven, Connecticut. His wife had been raised a Methodist. Both were looking for one church they felt mutually comfortable in.

Enter Morning Prayer, especially Rite I:

Our third Sunday, we visited Trinity Episcopal Church on the Green. The welcome there was warm without being cloying. The music was beautiful. The choir that day was the Choir of Men and Boys. The liturgy was dignified without being self-conscious. It was Rite I Morning Prayer with Hymns and Anthems done with grace, dignity, reverence, and joy. In short, it was classically Anglican and my wife and I both fell in love with the parish.

Coming to New Haven, I had grown up Roman Catholic and my wife had grown up United Methodist. We were looking for a church that we could attend together. The beauty of Trinity on the Green’s Morning Prayer service was that I could participate fully and prayerfully without wrestling with what it meant to come to a “protestant” Communion service. By the time a service of Holy Communion came around at Trinity, I had talked with the priest there, gotten to know parishioners, read large parts of the Book of Common Prayer, and made up my mind that this was the church for me. More importantly, it was the church for us.

Morning Prayer served an evangelical function in the best sense of that word. We were brought into the life of the parish and, over time, made the decision to receive Communion there. It was a service in which the presence of God was made manifest through art and warmth and we were drawn into the Presence of God, in the Sacrament, over time and after much thought. We committed to the parish and felt deeply and warmly cared for.

Hendrickson became a priest, thanks to that profound experience via Morning Prayer:

I daresay that I owe my vocation in the Episcopal Church to Morning Prayer (as well as kind priests who encouraged me).

For those parishes looking for a way to be welcoming while maintaining the historic Reformed and Catholic understandings of the Sacraments, I would urge a re-examination of our Church’s history of Morning Prayer as a central act of worship.

Detractors will say — and they do — that one should not deny the congregation Holy Communion. At the church I attended in the US, the early morning and evening services were Communion services every Sunday. The main one, however, was Morning Prayer on most Sundays. We had one Communion service per month at 11:00.

Hendrickson appreciates what the detractors are saying, however:

If the choice, however, is between Communion without Baptism (an abandonment of the Reformed and Catholic traditions) or regular Morning Prayer with less frequent Communion, then Morning Prayer makes great sense

Now so many have much of the ceremony but little of the theology …

Morning Prayer can be an absolutely beautiful and dignified service full of joy.

It is ideal for newcomers — Christians who are church shopping and especially those who are enquiring about Christianity:

It is a service ideally suited for education, formation, and evangelism. It can prepare believers for Baptism and Communion. For those who are seeking a way to welcome, educate, and form believers for the life of the Sacraments, Morning Prayer is a meaningful and authentic liturgical response.

As more and more people come to our churches with little or no experience of the Church, minimal knowledge of the story of Christ, and virtually no understanding of the Sacraments, regular Morning Prayer may make far more sense than regular Mass. In many ways, it would be a return to a time when we had a Mass of the Catechumens (those being instructed in the faith) and the Mass of the Faithful (those that have received Baptism).

This does not impart judgment or a lesser status! This means we have a group of people being raised up in the faith and that we trust them to hear, learn, and to make the choice as to whether they want to make that step through Baptism to the Altar. If I were to enter a temple, mosque, or any other holy place, I would not expect to be welcomed to their holiest rites as a visitor. In fact, I would assume they were not all that important to them if I were!

Our modern Christian experience is looking evermore like that of the early Church and our practices need to be informed by them. We will have more adult baptizands, more people knowing little of the story of Christ, and less cultural influence. We will have to take the time to bring these folks into the fullness of the faith we have received. It is not our role to dismantle the Sacraments we have been entrusted with but to find new ways to draw those who have never heard to the Remembrance. Morning Prayer may be the perfect Anglican answer for this day and age.

Fully agree!

I see that Saint Philip’s in the Hills still has 100% Communion services, but, here’s hoping the congregation and clergy eventually make the move towards Morning Prayer.

My apologies for not posting Forbidden Bible Verses today.

I intend to schedule it for tomorrow.

Unfortunately, I had something to do this afternoon which took much longer than expected and had to be done within a particular deadline. It’s finished now and I can truly agree, once again, that there is a wideness in God’s mercy.

There’s a wideness in God’s mercy is a hymn that Dr Frederick William Faber, a clergyman with a Doctor of Divinity degree, wrote in 1862 to the melody of WELLESLEY (Tourjee).

Since then, Dr Faber’s lyrics have been adapted to other melodies, such as Corvedale by Maurice Bevan (b. 1921), sung below by the Choir of St Paul’s Cathedral, London:

The hymn is widely sung across many denominations and appears in 785 hymnals. has the lyrics to Faber’s hymn:

1 There’s a wideness in God’s mercy,
like the wideness of the sea.
There’s a kindness in God’s justice,
which is more than liberty.
There is no place where earth’s sorrows
are more felt than up in heaven.
There is no place where earth’s failings
have such kindly judgment given.

2 For the love of God is broader
than the measures of the mind.
And the heart of the Eternal
is most wonderfully kind.
If our love were but more faithful,
we would gladly trust God’s Word,
and our lives reflect thanksgiving
for the goodness of our Lord.

Faber was part of the Oxford Movement — members of the Church of England who moved to High Church (traditional Roman Catholic-style) liturgy — in the 19th century. The movement later became known as Anglo-Catholicism and exists today.

John Henry Newman was one of the Oxford Movement adherents. He eventually became not only a Roman Catholic but also a Cardinal.

Faber also ‘crossed the Tiber’ and became a Roman Catholic in 1846. tells us that he was the son of a Church of England clergyman, Mr T H Faber, and:

was born at Calverley Vicarage, Yorkshire, June 28, 1814, and educated at Balliol College, Oxford, graduating B.A. in 1836. He was for some time a Fellow of University College, in the same University. Taking Holy Orders in 1837, he became Rector of Elton, Huntingdonshire, in 1843, but in 1846 he seceded to the Church of Rome. After residing for some time at St. Wilfrid’s, Staffordshire, he went to London in 1849, and established the London “Oratorians,” or, “Priests of the Congregation of St. Philip Neri,” in King William Street, Strand. In 1854 the Oratory was removed to Brompton. Dr. Faber died Sept. 26, 1863.

Balliol College is one of the foremost Oxford colleges. It is interesting that Faber served a parish in Huntingdonshire, part of Cambridgeshire, which was known for its Low Church adherence. During Cromwell’s time, two centuries earlier, Cambridgeshire was Calvinistic in belief, the very antithesis of High Church beliefs and worship.

Anyone who knows London will also know that the London Oratory is one of the centres of the capital’s Roman Catholic worship. The Oratory also has a famous boys’ school, which is over-subscribed year on year.

‘How “spikey” are YOU?’ is a short quiz that tests one’s affinity with ritual and ceremony in church.

It will no doubt baffle anyone who is not Anglican, Episcopalian or Catholic.

‘Spikey’ refers to the tall altar candles used in traditionalist churches. The higher one is on the candle in terms of results, the spikier — more high church — one is.

Thanks to my all-too-brief but nonetheless impressive pre-Vatican II upbringing, my result is:

Top of the flame

Congratulations!! After passing this rigorous test you are indeed ‘Top of the flame’ .. .a true all singing, all dancing ‘bells and smells’ Anglo-Catholic! Our videos of Solemn High Mass will have you romping in the Elysian Fields and should you be passing our door.. call in and be assured of a warm welcome! And remember our maxim ‘the only thing that hinders too much ceremonial is the lack of equipment!’

How true!

The quiz asks that you enter a name. I merely typed in a random jumble of letters, which was accepted.

You can even save your results to share with others. Therefore, I look forward to hearing from you in the comments below!

The quiz comes from the altar servers at Beauchamp (pron. ‘Beecham’) Chapel at the Anglican Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick.

The church’s Norman foundations date back to 1123 and were commissioned by the 2nd Earl of Warwick, Roger de Beaumont.

In the 14th century, a subsequent Earl of Warwick, Thomas de Beauchamp, had the chancel vestries and chapter house extensively rebuilt. His descendants built the Chapel of Our Lady, also known as the Beauchamp Chapel.

If you are in or near Warwick, it would no doubt be worthwhile attending one of the Sunday services. Otherwise, you can tour the church and go up into the Tower. It looks beautiful.

Also highly recommended is Warwick Castle, erstwhile home of the Earls of Warwick. It’s a beautiful place and will take the better part of a day to visit.

Roman Catholics along with high church Anglicans and Lutherans will be celebrating Corpus Christi Sunday on June 10, 2012.

Traditionally, the feast of Corpus Christi is the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, however, in many churches it is commemorated on the first Sunday after Trinity.

My 2010 post on Corpus Christi Sunday explains more about this feast day, the last important Sunday feast before ‘Ordinary Time’ or ‘Sundays after Pentecost (or Trinity)’, which will now last until the end of the Church year in November.

Corpus Christi means ’Body of Christ’ in Latin. The feast dates back to the Middle Ages and became a mandatory feast in 1312.  It parallels the Last Supper on Maundy (Holy) Thursday, but is a more joyous celebration and one of thanksgiving, as Christ’s prophecies of His death, resurrection and ascension into Heaven have been fulfilled.  He also sent the Holy Spirit to His disciples and the Holy Trinity was revealed to mankind — all as He promised.

Forbidden Bible Verses returns next week

Friday’s late-night post concerned St Paul’s, an Episcopal parish in St Paul, Minnesota, hosting a meeting of the Episcopal Church Socialist League and being active in initiatives designed to ‘transform’ their city.

They cite as inspiration the Right Revd Frank Weston, Bishop of Zanzibar, who died in 1924.  Bishop Weston was an Anglo-Catholic and a Christian Socialist. Not content with purely spreading the Gospel — although he did this with tremendous success — he also exhorted a type of socio-religious legalism, believing that it would solve the inequalities of the day.

These are further excerpts from the address St Paul’s cited (emphases mine):

Brethren, if you ask me, your Chairman, what is your present duty I tell you that first. Get back into your parish, get back into your rural deanery, get back into your own diocese, and work out what Christian fellowship means. Make for yourselves such fellowship as shall not make you ashamed in the sight of Jesus. Do not ask me how it is to be done,—if I knew I would tell you. It is a problem; but it is a problem that Christ can solve if we will be true to him-a difficult and a ticklish problem. You cannot simply sweep away the social customs in which we have been born and bred, and God forbid that we should try. You cannot pretend to an equality of culture and an equality of taste and temperament which does not actually exist. But, if God leapt a gulf for you, I suppose that you can leap gulfs for God first. We are recalled to the Christ of Bethlehem, then, into fellowship …

I remind you that the hope of your salvation and the justification of your claim to attention from the world is just the naked Christ of Nazareth, and to him I recall you …

Fix your eyes upon him who goes before you: Jesus, the naked Christ.

Brethren, consider. We meet and we count our thousands now; and had we an Altar that we might offer our Mass here, how glorious we should think it. But when you have followed the naked Christ, now glorified, and in the sacramental presence pleaded his cause before the Father, where is the sternness, where is the strictness, where is the self-sacrifice in us, the ministers, the acolytes and worshippers at the altar? Naked, yet glorified: that is the picture of him in his sacramental presence; and we well we know what we are.

But I say to you, and I say it to you with all the earnestness that I have, that if you are prepared to fight for the right of adoring Jesus in his Blessed Sacrament, then you have got to come out from before your Tabernacle and walk, with Christ mystically present in you, out into the streets of this country, and find the same Jesus in the people of your cities and your villages. You cannot claim to worship Jesus in the Tabernacle, if you do not pity Jesus in the slum.

You have got your Mass, you have got your Altar, you have begun to get your Tabernacle. Now go out into the highways and hedges where not even the Bishops will try to hinder you. Go out and look for Jesus in the ragged, in the naked, in the oppressed and sweated, in those who have lost hope, in those who are struggling to make good. Look for Jesus. And when you see him, gird yourselves with his towel and try to wash their feet.

I investigated Bishop Weston on the Canterbury Project and found two biographies as well as some of his sermons and letters, all of which made interesting reading.

Spouse Mouse, although far from being a Socialist, was schooled in the Anglo-Catholic tradition and often says that this branch of the Anglican Communion did more than their Evangelical / Low Church counterparts in terms of charity work, particularly among the poor in the East End of London.

HFB Mackay’s short biography of Weston says that he joined the Christian Socialists when he went up to Oxford.  After earning a First in Theology, he moved to London where he attended the College Mission at Stratford:

The knight-errant in him was taking shape, and he went down to the East End in the spirit of joyous adventure. Here his powers of leadership began to appear. He had a strong, quiet manner which won the confidence of the bigger boys who called him the Cardinal and made him their confidant. It was glorious time of Christian Socialism and growing Anglo-Catholicism until the Protestant Conservative element at Oxford intervened, and Frank Weston resigned the college mission and went to St. Matthew’s, Westminster. Two saying had always stuck in his mind. When he was a boy at Dulwich, the Headmaster, who had a curious power of divination, one day said to him, à propos of nothing, “Weston, if Jesus Christ asked you to give Him your overcoat would you go and fetch Him your shabbiest?” Weston said, “No, sir,” and he proved as good as his word. And when he was at Stratford and was talking one night in Oxford the socialistic doctrine which was to “build Jerusalem in England’s green and pleasant land,” a Don said to him, “Weston, do you believe in the heavenly Jerusalem?”

“Yes,” said Weston.

“I wish I did,” said the Don; “and if I did I don’t think I should talk about anything else.”

The saying shook Weston’s mind into a new perspective. After sorting his ideas, praying and meditating and developing his work as a priest in the orderly devotional atmosphere of St. Matthew’s, he volunteered again for Central Africa, was accepted and went out to Zanzibar.

Mackay explains the atmosphere in Africa at the time:

If you go back from the twentieth century to the first you find yourself in a society where none of the Christian traditions of conduct, conventions and repressions exist. It was not difficult to make these children religious, it was very difficult to keep them at all decent in conduct, and it was immensely difficult to make them see that the one had anything to do with the other …

He found, like St. Francis de Sales, that he must make the Blessed Sacrament the centre of their lives.

Weston became so proficient in Swahili that he dreamt in it. He did not attempt to Europeanise his young students but rather wished to build up an African church.

His next post was as Canon and Chancellor of the Cathedral in Zanzibar, where some of his duties involved preaching to a more European congregation. For those who are unaware, Zanzibar was part of the enormous British Empire, denoted by pink on maps of the world until the 1960s.

In 1907, Weston was consecrated Bishop of Zanzibar. He appears to have been a complex character — believing in Socialism yet actively campaigning against Modernism in the Church. He was diligent about preaching the Gospel in Africa and did not hesitate to mete church discipline to members of his diocese when warranted:

As Bishop he became disciplinarian of his people. he sat as judge, heard cases, and imposed public penance, but all the time with such a love of souls that he became the father and consoler of all his black children. There is a story of a rebellious sinner and his excommunication from the altars of the Church. The awful ceremony proceeded, the lighted candles were hurled down on the ground and extinguished, and the Bishop came to the final sentence, “We do hereby cut you off-” and then burst into a torrent of tears, and amid the sobs of the Bishop, priests and people, the church bell tolled out the news that the doom had been pronounced.

He participated in Protestant ecumenical conferences, one of which was at Kikuyu in Uganda.  Weston was concerned that with each denomination — including his own — teaching a varying degree of doctrine and heresy, the Christian clergy were allowing the Muslims an advantage.  This is worth noting, because it could help to explain why our churches in Europe are losing ground. Mackay explains:

The Church and the Sacraments were at stake in the Kikuyu controversy, and the Person of our Lord in the controversy with Modernism. The Bishop’s contention in the Kikuyu case we know. He won his chief points, and we like to think of his departure from the second Kikuyu Conference to the sound of his opponents’ cheers. Weston’s presence, speech and charm were irresistible.

With regard to Modernism, Bishop Weston was in a painfully favourable position to see what it might lead to.

The Arabs of Cairo were deluging Zanzibar with proselytising Mohammedan tracts in which they pointed out that the Modernist teachers in England were teaching a doctrine of our Lord’s Person indistinguishable from Mohammed’s account of it, and that our learned men were now making it perfectly clear that Mohammed had been right all the time and the Church wrong. We may regret the methods with which the Bishop fought the Modernists, we may perhaps think them extravagant and out of date. But this is clear, they made it plain to the slow English mind that modern Christian teaching must be watched.

This is an excerpt of a letter Weston wrote to the Bishop of St Albans in England in 1914 on the subject:

My purpose is to submit to you, as a representative Prelate of the Ecclesia Anglicana, and as a most zealous supporter of her foreign missions, the thesis that at the present time, having regard to her exceedingly chaotic system of Truth, she is entirely unfit to send missionaries to heathen or Muhammadan lands.

Your Lordship will guess at once that I have not always taken this view. I am now in my sixteenth year of missionary work; to it I have given my best years; and for it I have gladly sacrificed tastes and aspirations that fail of satisfaction in the isolation of our tropical life. Why then do I now begin to doubt? Simply because the Ecclesia Anglicana is content to have lost her power of self-expression, so that we out here can no longer appeal to her Voice or rest upon her Witness. She has no Voice: she offers no single Witness

The long series of modernist publications with which we have grown familiar was crowned towards the end of last year by Seven Oxford Men, who published a book called “Foundations” as a contribution towards the reconciliation of religious belief with modern thought … Now so used are we to heretical speculations and teachings by Cathedral Dignitaries and Academic Teachers, that one book more or less would not be seriously felt. The significance of this particular work lies in the official relations in which the authors stand, or stood, to Bishops of the Church. For it is evident that what an Examining Chaplain, or the Principal of a Theological College, can tolerate in a book of which he is a joint author, he is bound to accept as within the limits of orthodoxy from his ordination candidates. So that the chief value of the book is not in its theology nor its philosophy; but rather in the revelation it affords of the official attitude of the Bishops implicated towards heresy and unorthodox speculation.

Mr. Streeter, who does not regard belief in Our Lord’s bodily resurrection as necessary for himself or for others, quietly ceased to be your Lordship’s Chaplain, but the other priests, who allowed his view as permissible in a brother priest, remain at their posts. Some of them, we are told, do not accept Mr. Streeter’s teaching; but that it is not wrong in a priest to accept it, they are pledged to maintain.

The book, briefly speaking, permits priests to believe and teach, among other things equally heretical,

(a) that the Old Testament is the record of the religious experiences of holy men who lived roughly from 800 B.C. onwards; some of whom wrote the so-called historical books in order to shew how, in their view, God acted in circumstances that quite possibly, and in many cases probably, never existed;

(b) that the Christ’s historic life opens with His baptism, at which He suddenly realized a vocation to be the last of the Jewish Prophets;

(c) that Christ did not come into the world to die for us; but having come, He died because of the circumstances of the case;

(d) that Christ was mistaken in what He taught about His Second Advent, thinking that the world would not outlast St. John;

(e) that therefore He did not found a Church, nor ordain Sacraments;

(f) that His body has gone to corruption;

(g) that there is no Authority in the Church beyond the corporate witness of the Saints, many of whom are now unknown, to the spiritual and moral value of the Christian religion.

Thus it is allowed by the Seven to any priest to deny the Trustworthiness of the Bible, the Authority of the Church, and the Infallibility of Christ.

… I say one pauses: for if Episcopacy, Sacraments, the Bible, and the Lord Christ Himself are on the official list of Open Questions, what is there left in the Deposit that we are here to hand on to Africans?

The answers that are offered for my consolation in this matter vary. Roughly speaking they may be stated thus:

(a) “The Ecclesia Anglicana is by her nature and claim within the Catholic Church, but in order to save confusion and schism, she allows men to remain within her communion who on the Continent would have been driven out. Thus she has a character of inclusiveness that may be said to give her a duty of mediating between various opinions and temperamental views,”

For myself I gain no comfort from such an answer. A mediating Church, it seems to me, would not include within its borders two men of directly contradictory beliefs: rather it would so modify and adjust the two beliefs until they were seen to be complementary, and then it would help one man to hold them both. For example, while Sacramentalism and Personal Religion can be held by any one man as complementary truths, I do not see how a mere Sacramentalist, if such a man exists, could remain in communion with one who believes only in a Personal Religion; and a Church that would seek to retain both men would in no sense be a mediator: it would not be in any true sense an organism: it would be merely a Society for shirking vital issues. Or again, what is it that the Church is mediating when she includes within her borders a man who believes that Christ is Virgin-born, and a man who calls Him the son of Joseph? Or a man who believes that Christ is his Infallible Guide, and a man who holds that Christ was seriously mistaken about the need of a Church and Ministry? Or a man who believes that Our Lord’s Glorious Manhood is the fountain of grace, the Temple of the Holy Ghost, and a man who teaches that the Manhood has ceased to be whole and complete, the Body having gone to corruption? Personally I do not see exactly what it is that is here “mediated” by the Church.

(b) “The Will of God is to purify the Church by permitting these heresies to abound within her borders. If we are patient, all will be well.”

As I listen to this I try to work it out for myself. Here, in this diocese of mine, heresy may burst forth. If it does so, shall I be able to say that it is God’s Will? First, I must think over the indications of God’s Will that are most evident. And at once I remember that in His Will and Providence, just five years ago to-day, the Archbishop of Canterbury and his co-consecrators exacted from me, as a condition of my reception of the rank and grace of Episcopacy, a most solemn vow that I would always be ready to banish from my diocese any erroneous and strange doctrine that I might meet.

As to the Kikuyu Conference, Desmond Morse-Boycott explains:

The Bishops of Mombasa and Uganda, without reference to the diocese of Zanzibar, had joined in conclave with the various Free Church denominations that were working in Africa, to find a solution of the problem of how best to meet the spiritual needs of Africans who moved from one territory into another. The dual menace of Islam and the white man who exploited blacks, together with the tug of tribal customs, seemed to them (and the average Englishman was quick to agree) to constitute a difficulty that made domestic ecclesiastical differences relatively absurd. They felt that at all costs a way must be found for the African trained by the Anglican Church in Uganda to have Communion in another territory where the Free Church was the sole representative of Christianity.

We are accustomed, in England, to adapt ourselves to denominational difficulties. In Africa they are highly embarrassing. Essential Christianity appears sharply outlined there against a background of ignorance and false religion and sin. What appear at first sight to be accidentals of Christianity tend to be regarded as immaterial. That such a view is very natural we should be the first to admit if our parish, with its sundered Christian units—Church, Roman Catholic, Methodist, Salvation Army, Congregational, Baptist—were taken into the heart of Africa and left to preach the Gospel. In the teeth of opposition, and in the face of primitive passions, we should speedily become vexed over apparently artificial divisions.

He was training his Africans to believe, for instance, in the Apostolic Succession. How, then, could he send them forth to receive the ministrations of those who disbelieved in his conception of the Church? “He did not believe that ‘a Church’ with an indefinite faith, with no determined rule of life and a haphazard form of government, would be strong enough to weld Africans together, to uplift them as a race, or to defend them against being exploited by Indians and Europeans.”

He wrote, accordingly, to the Archbishop of Canterbury, denouncing the Bishops of Mombasa and Uganda for the part they had played in “Kikuyu,” and charging them, formally, “with propagating heresy and committing schism.” If he failed to do justice to the fact that their scheme was tentative, and not in operation, they, for their part, cannot be excused for having ignored the existence of the Diocese of Zanzibar. The upshot of it was that the Bishop of Zanzibar’s position was upheld, but, as the War had broken out, Kikuyu meant little to any but anxious Churchmen. The Anglican Communion once again steered clear of the rocks, although her break-up had been prophesied, but Frank Weston, who dared to turn her from danger, was in disgrace.

Bishop Weston died in 1924.  The people of Zanzibar flocked from miles around to pay their final respects. Even the Muslim onlookers could see by the outpouring of emotion that he was a revered, ‘holy’ man, indeed.

To which I would add — ‘holy’, except for the Socialism.

Mackay notes:

… one of the little black schoolboys of the Kiungani, writing of him after his death …

“You will know that he is a loving man, for his mouth is always opened ready for laughter, for he is still laughing, and he will laugh for ever.”

Well, maybe, but there does seem to be a volatile vacillation here between works-based salvation, true Christianity and giving to ‘the naked Jesus’ — a parlous image. The only time Jesus was mostly unclothed was in His suffering on the Cross. Is it meet and just to equate those who make a series of wrong choices — dead in sin — as being a ‘naked Jesus’? It seems a step too far, indeed.

‘Oh, yes, people, give all you can.’  Sure, I could say that, too — anyone could. And there are a number of young American preachers today who do — David Platt, the Baptist, for example. However, unless one gives of one’s own capital, it’s meaningless.

And that’s the magic of Socialism. As Baroness Thatcher once said, ‘They [Socialists] always run out of other people’s money. It’s quite a characteristic …’

This isn’t meant as a message filled with pride.  On the contrary.

However, I have just read of an Anglo-Catholic priest, Fr Addison Hart, who recognised that having swum the Tiber, it was just a stretch too far.

Let this be a cautionary tale — a true story, in this case — for anyone contemplating same.  Please give it very careful considerationIn November 2009, I published the reflections of Brother Stephen, O. Cist., who became an Anglican (having converted from another Protestant denomination) and was later received into the Roman Catholic Church.  I would strongly advise all potential converts from Canterbury to Rome to read this blog post.

Equally, I would also suggest without hesitation that they read Fr Hart’s first-person story below.  Please be sure you know what you are getting into.

This is what Fr Addison Hart had to say, in part (emphases mine):

… as an Anglican priest who, with high ideals but considerably lower savvy, “poped” back in 1997, all I can say to those who may be thinking likewise is this: Unless you know in your heart you can believe in such super-added dogmas as papal supremacy and infallibility (very late inventions), that Jesus did not need to possess “faith” during his earthly years (to which I respond, was he or was he not fully human?), and that the bread and wine physically change into his body and blood during the Eucharist without any palpable evidence of it; unless you can believe in Mary’s “Immaculate Conception” (an unnecessary and unverifiable belief, if ever there was one), her bodily assumption, and so on, then I would urge you to stay put. You already have everything you need, and, what Rome would add to you, you not only do not need, but should positively avoid weighing yourselves down with. Anglicanism is doctrinally sound and blessed with great forms of worship. Rome is neither. As for Rome’s claims to a vastly superior moral authority — well, I would venture to say that after such revelations as clerical sexual abuse on an international scale and their bank’s money-laundering, the lie has been put to that.

No, don’t make my mistake. I wouldn’t make it again myself, and, as it is, I’m making my way out the Roman door.

Just a word to the wise.

Addison Hart+

If you are currently struggling with the choice of converting to Rome, many of us around the world shall keep you in our prayers.

On January 08, 2011, the Telegraph reported that Anglican priests and congregations will not, in some cases, be able to continue using their church buildings for worship.

Why would this come as a surprise to those swimming the Tiber?  Everyone said this over a year ago.  Few people expected the new Roman Catholics to be afforded the privilege of worshipping in their former Anglican church buildings.

Talk about having your cake and eating it.  Really.

That’s not your church anymore, friends.  You should have thought about conversion more practicably if premises were a prime consideration.

The Telegraph elaborates:

In a vote which has split the local community and left long-standing friends on opposite sides of a growing divide, 54 parishioners at St Barnabas Tunbridge Wells have indicated that they intended to become Catholics while 18 said they would remain in the established Church…

At St Barnabas the move towards Rome is being led by the vicar, Fr Ed Tomlinson …

he has been told by the diocese of Rochester that if he and his followers leave the Church of England they will no longer be allowed to hold services, even on a shared basis, at St Barnabas – a nineteenth-century red-brick church where Siegfried Sassoon, the First World War poet, was baptised.

The firm stance has infuriated Fr Tomlinson, the vicar since 2006. “The whole thing stinks to high heaven,” he said.

“The Archdeacon made it abundantly clear that he does not want to entertain the notion of shared worship space and that he would resist my remaining here in any capacity.

“How lamentable that a solution based on unity exists but those with authority seem more intent on division.”

How was this ever intended as a unifying move?  The Pope initiated it.  Although there were rumours at Lambeth Palace, The Archbishop of Canterbury said he was unaware of any formal move until the Pope issued the invitation.

All’s fair in love and war, folks.  You made your choice.  Surely, you didn’t really expect your Anglican mates to grant you use of their church, did you, even if the Archbishop of Canterbury said that the Church of England would seek a system of sharing churches?  Yet, the article notes that Rowan Williams did say it would be a ‘challenge’, not a guarantee.

Not all bishops are in favour of the sharing option, including the Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Richard Chartres:

“For the avoidance of confusion I have to say that as far as the Diocese of London is concerned there is no possibility of transferring properties,” he said last month.

He said that previous experiments of church sharing had not led to “warmer ecumenical relations” but “tended to produce more rancour”.

Yes, one can well imagine.

William Fittall, secretary general of the General Synod and the Church’s most senior lay official, also said it would be “entirely possible” for Anglicans converting to Catholicism to use their former churches, adding that it would be “a matter for the local Anglican bishop concerned whether he was content for that to be the case”.

It does seem as if some of those converting to Catholicism have over-romanticised their position and the aftermath of conversion.

© Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist, 2009-2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? If you wish to borrow, 1) please use the link from the post, 2) give credit to Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist, 3) copy only selected paragraphs from the post — not all of it.
PLAGIARISERS will be named and shamed.
First case: June 2-3, 2011 — resolved

Creative Commons License
Churchmouse Campanologist by Churchmouse is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,539 other followers


Calendar of posts

August 2022
28293031 - The internets fastest growing blog directory
Powered by WebRing.
This site is a member of WebRing.
To browse visit Here.

Blog Stats

  • 1,683,895 hits