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Representation of the laity

22 November 2019

November 21st, 1919.

IT WOULD be interesting to know what body would be considered by the Bishop of Hereford [Dr Hensley Henson] to be really representative of the Church of England. The Convocations are not. Nor are the Houses of Laymen, for they are composed merely of loyal laymen who take an intelligent interest in the affairs of the Church to which they belong, and may therefore be at once dismissed as ecclesiastically-minded laymen, whom everyone knows to be rather more misrepresentative of the Church than even the clergy. We thought until a few days ago that Dr Henson considered the House of Commons to be almost ideally representative of the Church of England, but even that has failed him, for it has endorsed the principle of the Enabling Bill by an overwhelming majority, and Dr Henson’s eyes have been opened to the fact that “the present House of Commons is admittedly a highly abnormal body. It does not reflect the true mind of the nation upon ecclesiastical matters.” The pattern of the body that Dr Henson would consider fully representative of the Church of England may be laid up in heaven, but we fear that he must abandon the hope of finding it realized upon earth. We do not see, in fact, how it could possibly be brought into existence unless by Dr Henson’s personal nomination of every one of its members.

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