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Miss Royden’s Three Hours

26 April 2019

April 25th, 1919.

THOSE whom perversity or curiosity attracted to Bishopsgate Church on Good Friday to hear the Lady Assistant Minister of the City Temple conducting the Three Hours’ Devotion were disappointed. On the closed door of the church there was posted a prohibition by the Bishop of London, in obedience to which the proposed irregularity was not committed. An adjournment had to be made to the neighbouring parish hall, and this not being an ecclesiastical building, what was done there had no official character. There were devotional exercises, conducted by a surpliced lady who was supported by a surpliced choir of lady vocalists, but nothing more. The same meeting, held in the church and led by a preacheress who calls herself a Churchwoman but holds an official ministerial commission from a Congregational chapel, would have meant a good deal. It would have meant that the last vestige of discipline in the English Church had disappeared. We do not suppose that the Rector of Bishopsgate will heed any warning from us; nevertheless, we do assure him that the policy which he, with others, is bent on pursuing, can issue only in one way. It will force on the choice of alternatives, whether it is better to drive Catholics out of the Church of England, or to flood it with Dissenters to their exclusion. We long as earnestly as he does for the day when the breach between Church and Dissent shall be healed, but we can assure him that such action as his will only widen the breach the more. The terms of reunion are not yet agreed on. To anticipate an agreement in this way is to embitter the old controversy, and to put back the clock of religious pacification.


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