Miss Royden’s invitation

18 April 2019

April 17th, 1919.

CONTRARY to the Bishop’s express wishes, the Rector of St Botolph’s, Bishopsgate, has invited Miss Maude Royden, a lady who plays at being now a Churchwoman and now a Congregationalist, to conduct the Three Hours’ Devotion on Good Friday. The question whether women shall be permitted to minister, and, if so, in what way, is to be reported on by the joint committee of the Southern Convocation in July, when, as the Bishop of London says, “in any case leave will be given only to approved and attested Churchwomen.” In the case of Miss Royden we need not prejudge the question of women’s ministrations; what matters is the question of discipline. It is clearly contrary to every principle of order that a person who is a Congregationalist on one day and professes himself a Churchman on the next day should be asked to preach in a parish church. A rector ought to know better than to pursue a line of conduct at which any of his parishioners might reasonably be offended. It is conceivable that some of the Bishopsgate people will run to St Botolph’s on Good Friday for the novel experience of seeing this much-talked-of lady in the pulpit, but it is also conceivable that some will not go to church at all. In either case, it would be deplorable if the solemnity of the day were marred by such consequences. It is even now not too late for the Rector of St Botolph’s to cancel an arrangement which is irregular in itself and exceedingly offensive to multitudes of Churchpeople.

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