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Cambridge renaissance in Anglo-Catholicism

18 July 2014


From the Dean of St Edmundsbury

Sir, - I did not know the Revd Dr John Hughes (Obituary, 11 July) well personally, but I felt his loss as a theologian keenly, and so went to his funeral in Ely Cathedral last week.

It was a moving service, not least because of the great number of young Anglo-Catholic priests who attended and robed in black stole. They had been inspired by John (and others) over the past decade, through his ministry in Cambridge colleges and at Westcott House, into a love of the Church of Christ as a means of grace through the sacraments, sound theological engagement, and the traditions and liturgies of the Church of England.

As a Church, we are witnessing to a renaissance, I believe, in Anglo-Catholicism, which is centred in Cambridge, and which is gathering a sound momentum. There is now a growing number of scholar priests who have been taught to think theologically; who know who Aquinas was.

John's loss is profound and sad, but I hope and pray it might be a catalyst to that movement - that it realise for itself, and be recognised for, the missionary power that it has to regenerate faith at a time of crisis in the Church of England.

Of course we need women bishops. I suppose we need growth strategies and mission plans. More than anything, we need a renewed living and daring confidence in God's grace through the sacraments, theology, and liturgy of the Church.

This is happening through the ministry of such as John Hughes, and I encourage the current leadership of the Church to take account, and support much more strongly, this Anglo-Catholic revival, with its emphasis on mission through tradition.

The Deanery, The Great Churchyard
Bury St Edmunds IP33 1RS

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