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Unity by the Mansfield method

20 March 2020

March 19th, 1920.

“CURIOUSER and curiouser” we may cry with Alice as we read the many and various explications of the Mansfield College resolutions [100 Years Ago, 28 February]. We do not doubt that those assembled to discuss a possible basis of reunion did in fact agree, but we are equally certain that considerable disappointment will attend the fuller understanding of the resolutions by those who hoped for a short cut. Dr [William] Temple, whose interpretation appears elsewhere in this issue, makes it quite clear that he is no party to what is commonly understood as intercommunion, and that by “authorization” the Conference apparently meant ordination in so far as the charismatic gifts of a Christian minister need to be supplemented by the grace of Holy Orders. Neither is he willing to be a party to any action by weight of numbers. “I would”, he says, “rather wait indefinitely than drive out from the Church even the extreme ‘Catholic’ section.” . . . On the one hand we have Dr Temple unwilling to move without the consent of the whole of our Church members, and on the other the President of the Free Church Council declaring in his presidential address at Leicester that “under present conditions an outward reunion of the Churches is neither necessary nor desirable.” Mr Meyer further remarked that, “We would not unite with the Anglican Church so long as she is allied to the State and demands the acceptance of principle and practices which our fathers repudiated even to blood.” The dislike of Nonconformists for the Mansfield manifesto was expressed at Doncaster on Tuesday by several members of the Council of the Congregational Union. . . What are they likely to think and say when they learn the truth as expounded by Dr Temple?

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