The witness of G. A. Studdert Kennedy

18 March 2009


From Canon Roger Harper

Sir, — Jonathan Gurling (Features, 6 March) perpetuates the myth that Studdert Kennedy was a pastor rather than a prophet. This myth elevates the two years of cigarette distribution over the ten years of fiercely argued anti-militarism. This myth says he was most concerned with the “problem of suffering”, whereas he knew all along that the answer lay in Christ, and in a faithful application of Christ’s teaching.

Studdert Kennedy spent his life-energy arguing for a decent wage for ordinary workers, and warning against the pitfalls of both capitalist and socialist paternalism. If the Church had listened to him, instead of sidelining him and ignoring his books, we would have had a much more robust and distinctive witness to our nation through the 20th century.

The Church of England welcomes pastors and ignores prophets, to our continuing damage.

34 Somerset Road,
Walsall WS4 2DP

From Canon Christopher Studdert-Kennedy

Sir, — In the light of the generous coverage that you were kind enough to give to the 80th anniversary of my father’s death, I am writing on behalf of the family to thank you.

I thought it might be of interest to some of your readers to know that there was an ecumenical service of holy communion in the Royal Garrison Church of All Saints in Aldershot, arranged by the Assistant Chaplain General, at which the Bishop to HM Forces presided, assisted by members of the Chaplains’ Department.

One of the lessons was read by a representative of the Industrial Christian Fellowship, and the sermon was preached by the Chaplain General.

In the evening in Worcester Cathedral, by kind permission of the Dean and Chapter, there was a special service of commemoration, the culmination of an excellent exhibition, “Woodbine Willie: The Worcester Years”, arranged by Canon Paul Tongue.

There was a large congregation at both services, and it was a particu­larly special occasion for my wife and me to be accompanied by our three children and four young grand­children.

Christopher Studdert-Kennedy
Orchard House, The Street
West Sussex RH20 4AS

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