100 Years Ago: Disturbances in Moston

16 March 2011

March 17th, 1911

At the consecration of a church that had existed as a mission for some years in Moston, Manchester, Bishop Knox had upset its habitual congre­gation by removing altar crosses long in use, to conciliate the break­away “Lightbowne Evangelical Church”. He had then appointed the Revd R. Clews, who banished Hymns Ancient and Modern and the pro­cessional cross, and favoured shortened services and evening com­munion. After representations by “the Church party” to the Bishop failed, some began to protest by bring­ing in a cross, even smuggled in in pieces past policemen whom Mr Clews had summoned, by singing responses that he wanted said, and by staging walk-outs.

IT IS regrettable to hear again that on Sunday last the services at St Luke’s, Lightbowne, were inter­rupted by some of the congregation more or less ostentatiously walking out of the church before the ser­mon. The . . . congregation have un­doubtedly grave cause of complaint against the action of the Bishop and the clergyman he has put in charge. . . . But, however that may be, nothing can justify these rather childish and thoroughly irreverent demonstrations on the part of some of the younger people. The de­cencies of the House of God are the first consideration, and it ill-becomes those who would appar­ently claim fellowship with the heirs of the Tractarians to be parties to anything like creating a distur­bance in church. Those who have fought for Catholic principles in the past have had too much of that sort of thing to endure to be able to contemplate a revival of it without feelings of the liveliest repulsion; all the more so if it should seem in the eyes of the public to come from their side. Let these young people read the history of the past fifty years. They will learn that the steady endurance of present dis­tress has been a chief principle of the Oxford Movement, and that childish petulance never yet ac­complished anything for God or man.

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