Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Anglican Studies (11.1): Is there an Anglican culture? Anthony Trollope and the ‘Barchester’ novels

For many people their first introduction to Anglican culture is through the Barchester novels of Anthony Trollope

Patrick Comerford

MTh Year II

Anglican Studies in an Irish context:

Tuesdays: 2 p.m. to 4.30 p.m. noon, The Hartin Room.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013, 4.30 p.m.:

11.1: Is there an Anglican culture? Anthony Trollope and the Barchester novels


Next week, we are asking whether there is such a thing as an “Anglican culture,” and shall be looking at the poetry of TS Eliot and the novels of Rose Macaulay, for example.

But for many people their first introduction to Anglican culture may come in the Barchester novels of Anthony Trollope (1815–1882).

Trollope, who lived in Ireland from 1841 to 1851, including some years as town postmaster of Clonmel, was one of the most successful, prolific and respected Victorian novelists. His best-loved works, collectively known as the Chronicles of Barsetshire, revolve around cathedral and church life in the imaginary county of Barsetshire.

Although Trollope also wrote perceptive novels on political, social, and gender issues, and on other topical matters, his novels about Church life are among the important accounts of Anglican spirituality and culture in the Victorian era.

1, The Warden

The Warden is the first novel in Anthony Trollope’s series, the Chronicles of Barsetshire. Trollope said his first vision for The Warden came to him while walking in the cathedral close of Salisbury Cathedral. It was his fourth novel and was published in 1855.

The Warden concerns Canon Septimus Harding, the elderly warden of Hiram’s Hospital and Precentor of Barchester Cathedral.

Hiram’s Hospital is an almshouse supported by the income from a mediaeval charitable bequest to the Diocese of Barchester. The income maintains the almshouse itself, supports its twelve bedesmen, and, in addition, provides a comfortable abode and living for its warden. Canon Harding has been appointed to this position through the patronage of his old friend, the Bishop Grantly of Barchester, who is also the father of Archdeacon Grantly to whom Harding’s older daughter, Susan, is married.

The warden, who lives with his remaining child, an unmarried younger daughter, Eleanor, performs his duties conscientiously.

The story concerns the impact upon Harding and his circle when a zealous young reformer, John Bold, launches a campaign to expose the disparity in the apportionment of the charity’s income between its object, the bedesmen, and its officer, Canon Harding.

John Bold embarks on this campaign out of a spirit of public duty, despite his romantic involvement with Eleanor and previously cordial relations with Canon Harding.

Bold attempts to enlist the support of the press and engages the interest of The Jupiter (a newspaper representing The Times), whose editor, Tom Towers, pens editorials supporting reform of the charity, and presenting a portrait of Canon Harding as selfish and derelict in his conduct of his office.

This image is taken up by the commentators, Dr Pessimist Anticant and Mr Popular Sentiment, who have been seen as caricatures of Thomas Carlyle and Charles Dickens respectively.

Ultimately, despite much brow-beating by his son-in-law, the Archdeacon, and the legal opinion solicited from the barrister, Sir Abraham Haphazard, Mr Harding concludes that he cannot in good conscience continue to accept such generous remuneration and resigns the office.

John Bold, who has appealed in vain to Tom Towers to redress the injury to Mr Harding, returns to Barchester, where he marries Eleanor.

Those of the bedesmen of the hospital who have allowed their appetite for greater income to estrange them from the warden are reproved by their senior member, Bunce, who has been constantly loyal to Harding whose good care and understanding heart are now lost to them.

2, Barchester Towers

The second novel, Barchester Towers (1857), is possibly Trollope’s best known work. Among other things, it satirises the then raging antipathy in the Church of England between High Church and Evangelical adherents.

Barchester Towers concerns the leading citizens of the imaginary cathedral city of Barchester. The much loved bishop having died, all expectations are that his son, Archdeacon Grantly, will gain the office in his place.

Instead, owing to the passage of the power of patronage to a new Prime Minister, a newcomer, the far more Evangelical Bishop Proudie, gains the see. His wife, Mrs Proudie, exercises an undue influence over the new bishop, making herself unpopular with right-thinking members of the clergy and their families. Her interference in the reappointment of the universally popular Canon Septimus Harding (hero of The Warden) as warden of the hospital is not well received, although she gives the position to a needy clergyman with a large family to support.

Even less popular than Mrs Proudie is the bishop’s newly appointed chaplain, the hypocritical Revd Obadiah Slope, who takes a fancy to Harding’s wealthy widowed daughter, Eleanor Bold, and hopes to win her favour by interfering in the controversy over the wardenship.

The bishop, or rather Mr Slope under the orders of Mrs Proudie, also orders the return of the Revd Dr Vesey Stanhope from Italy. Dr Stanhope has been there, recovering from a sore throat, for 12 years and has spent his time catching butterflies. With him to the Cathedral Close comes his wife, and his three children.

The younger of Dr Stanhope’s two daughters causes consternation in the Palace and threatens the plans of Mr Slope. Signora Madelina Vesey Neroni is a crippled serial flirt with a young daughter and a mysterious husband whom she has left. Mrs Proudie is appalled by her and considers her an unsafe influence on her daughters, her servants and Mr Slope. Mr Slope is drawn like a moth to a flame and cannot keep away. Bertie Stanhope is a man skilled at spending money but not at making it; his two sisters think a marriage to rich Eleanor Bold will suit, and they pay off his debts.

Summoned by the local clergy to assist in the war against the Proudies and Mr Slope is another clergyman, the brilliant Revd Francis Arabin. Mr Arabin is a considerable scholar, a fellow of Lazarus College Oxford, and almost followed his mentor, John Henry Newman, into the Church of Rome. He is genuinely attracted to Eleanor, but the efforts of Archdeacon Grantly and his wife to stop her marrying Slope also interfere with any relationship that might develop.

Finally, at the Ullathorne garden party, matters come to a head. Mr Slope proposes and is slapped for his presumption, Bertie proposes and is refused with good grace and the Signora has a chat with Mr Arabin. Mr Slope’s double-dealings are now revealed and he is dismissed by Mrs Proudie, and the Signora. The Signora drops a delicate word in several ears and Mr Arabin and Eleanor become engaged.

The old dean of the cathedral having died it seems obvious that Mr Arabin should become the new dean, with a beautiful house in the Close, 15 acres of garden and an income even greater than that of his wife.

With the Stanhopes’ return to Italy, life in the Cathedral Close returns to its previous quiet and settled ways and Mr Harding continues his life of gentleness and music.

3, Doctor Thorne

The third Barchester novel, Doctor Thorne (1858), is mainly concerned with the romantic problems of Mary Thorne, niece of Doctor Thomas Thorne (a member of a junior branch of the family of Mr Wilfred Thorne, who appeared in Barchester Towers), and Frank Gresham, the only son of the local squire, although Trollope as the omniscient narrator assures the reader at the beginning that the hero is really the doctor.

The major themes in this book are the social pain and exclusion caused by illegitimacy, the nefarious effects of the demon drink, and the difficulties of romantic attachments outside one’s social class. The novel also gives a vivid picture of electioneering and all the just-legal shenanigans that accompany the event. Most of the action takes place in a village of Barsetshire and a country house not far off.

The idea of the plot was suggested to Trollope by his brother Thomas.

When their father dies, Doctor Thomas Thorne and his younger, ne’er-do-well brother Henry are left to fend for themselves. Dr Thorne begins to establish a medical practice, while Henry seduces Mary Scatcherd, the sister of stonemason Roger Scatcherd. When Scatcherd finds out that Mary has become pregnant, he seeks out Henry and, in the ensuing fight, kills him.

While her brother is in prison, Mary gives birth to a girl. A former suitor offers to marry her and emigrate to start a new life, but refuses to take the baby. Dr Thorne persuades her to accept the generous offer, promising to raise his niece. He names her Mary Thorne but, wishing neither to have her illegitimacy made public nor to have her associate with the uncouth Roger Scatcherd, he keeps her birth secret. He tells Scatcherd that the baby had died.

After his release from prison, Scatcherd rises quickly in the world. In time, his skills make him extremely rich. When he completes a seemingly-impossible important project on time, he is created a baronet for his efforts. Throughout his career, he entrusts his financial affairs to Dr Thorne. When Thorne becomes the family doctor to the Greshams, he persuades Scatcherd to loan ever growing sums to the head of the family, the local squire. Eventually, much of the Gresham estate is put up as collateral.

Meanwhile, Mary grows up with the Gresham children and becomes a great favourite with the whole family. As a result, Thorne feels obliged to tell his friend the squire her secret.

Mary falls in love with Frank Gresham, the son and heir of the squire of Greshamsbury and nephew of the Earl and Countess De Courcy, and he with her. However, his parents desperately need him to marry wealth, in order to rescue them from the financial distress resulting from the squire’s expensive and fruitless campaigns for a seat in Parliament.

His snobbish mother and aunt wish him to marry an eccentric, if kind-hearted, older heiress, Martha Dunstable. He reluctantly visits her at Courcy Castle and they become friends. But foolishly and playfully he proposes. She demurs, knowing that he does not love her, and he tells her about his love for Mary.

Sir Roger is a drunkard, and Dr Thorne tries in vain to get him to curtail his drinking. In his will, he stipulates that bulk of his estate should go to his odious, dissolute only son Louis Philippe, but leaves Dr Thorne in control of the inheritance until the heir reaches the age of 25. Should Louis die before then, Scatcherd stipulates that the estate must go to the eldest child of his sister Mary. Dr Thorne is forced to divulge Mary’s history, but Scatcherd leaves the will unchanged.

Sir Roger eventually dies of his excesses, and Sir Louis inherits his vast wealth. The son proves just as much an alcoholic as the father, and his weaker constitution quickly brings him to the same end. After consulting with many lawyers, Dr Thorne confirms that his Mary is the heiress, richer than even Miss Dunstable.

Unaware of these proceedings, the more-resolute Frank finally persuades his doting father to consent to his marriage to Mary. When all is revealed, everyone is elated, even Frank’s mother and Countess De Courcy.

4, Framley Parsonage

The fourth novel, Framley Parsonage, was first published in serial form in the Cornhill Magazine in 1860.

The hero of Framley Parsonage, the Revd Mark Robarts, is a young vicar, newly arrived in the village of Framley in Barsetshire. The living has come into his hands through Lady Lufton, the mother of his childhood friend Ludovic, Lord Lufton.

Mark Robarts has ambitions to further his career and begins to seek connections in the county’s high society. He is soon preyed upon by local MP, Mr Sowerby, to guarantee a substantial loan, which Mark in a moment of weakness agrees to, even though he does not have the means and knows Sowerby to be a notorious debtor.

The consequences of this blunder play a major role in the plot, with Mark eventually being publicly humiliated when bailiffs begin to confiscate the Robarts’s furniture. At the last moment, Lord Lufton forces a loan on the reluctant Mark.

Another plot line deals with the romance between Mark’s sister Lucy and Lord Lufton. The couple are deeply in love and the young man proposes, but Lady Lufton is against the marriage. She would prefer that her son instead choose the coldly beautiful Griselda Grantly, daughter of Archdeacon Grantly, and fears that Lucy is too “insignificant” for such a high honour.

Lucy herself recognises the great gulf between their social positions and declines. When Lord Lufton persists, she agrees only on condition that Lady Lufton asks her to accept her son. Lucy’s conduct and charity (especially towards the family of the poor curate, the Revd Josiah Crawley) weaken Lady Lufton’s resolve. In addition, Griselda becomes engaged to Lord Dumbello. But it is the determination of Lord Lufton that in the end vanquishes the doting mother.

The book ends with Lucy and Ludovic’s marriage as well as three other marriages of minor characters. Two of these involve the daughters of Bishop Proudie and Archdeacon Grantly. The rivalry between Mrs Proudie and Mrs Grantly over their matrimonial ambitions forms a significant comic subplot, with the latter triumphant. The other marriage is that of the outspoken heiress, Martha Dunstable, to Dr Throne, the eponymous hero of the third novel in the series.

5, The Small House at Allington

The Small House at Allington, the fifth Barchester novel, was published in 1864. The novel concerns the Dale family, who live in the “Small House,” a dower house intended for the widowed mother (Dowager) of the owner of the estate. The landowner, in this instance, is the bachelor Squire of Allington, Christopher Dale. Dale’s mother having died, he has allocated the Small House, rent free, to his widowed sister-in-law and her daughters Isabella (“Bell”) and Lilian (“Lily”).

Lily has for a long time been secretly loved by John Eames, a junior clerk at the Income Tax Office, while Bell is in love with the local doctor, James Crofts. The handsome and personable, but somewhat mercenary Adolphus Crosbie is introduced into the circle by the squire’s nephew, Bernard Dale. Adolphus rashly proposes marriage to portionless Lily, who accepts him, to the dismay of John Eames.

Crosbie soon jilts her in favour of Lady Alexandrina de Courcy, whose family is in a position to further his career. Lily meets her misfortune with patience, and remains single, continuing to reject Eames, though retaining his faithful friendship. Bell marries Dr Crofts, after refusing an offer of marriage from her cousin Bernard.

As with all of Trollope's novels, this one contains many sub-plots and numerous minor characters. Plantagenet Palliser (of the Pallisers series) makes his first appearance, as he contemplates a dalliance with Griselda Grantly, the now-married Lady Dumbello, daughter of the archdeacon introduced earlier in the Chronicles of Barsetshire.

6, The Last Chronicle of Barset

The final Barchester novel, The Last Chronicle of Barset, was first published in 1867. This novel concerns an indigent but learned clergyman, the Revd Josiah Crawley, the curate of Hogglestock, as he stands accused of stealing a cheque.

The novel is notable for the non-resolution of a plot continued from the previous novel in the series, The Small House at Allington, involving Lily Dale and Johnny Eames. Its main storyline features the courtship of Crawley’s daughter, Grace, and Major Henry Grantly, son of the wealthy Archdeacon Grantly.

The archdeacon, although allowing that Grace is a lady, does not think her of high enough rank or wealth for his widowed son; his position is strengthened by Crawley’s apparent crime.

Almost broken by poverty and trouble, Crawley hardly knows himself if he is guilty or not; fortunately, the mystery is resolved just as Major Grantly’s determination and Grace Crawley’s own merit force the archdeacon to overcome his prejudice against her as a daughter-in-law.

As with Lucy Robarts in Framley Parsonage, the objecting parent finally invites the young lady into the family; this new connection also inspires the dean and archdeacon to find a new, more prosperous, post for Grace’s impoverished father.

Through death or marriage, this final volume manages to tie up more than one thread from the beginning of the series. One subplot deals with the death of Mrs Proudie, the virago wife of the Bishop of Barchester, and his subsequent grief and collapse. Mrs Proudie, upon her arrival in Barchester in Barchester Towers, had increased the tribulations of the gentle Canon Harding, the title character of The Warden. He dies of a peaceful old age, mourned by his family and the old men he loved and looked after as Warden.

Barchester on television

The Barchester Chronicles is a 1982 BBC television serial adaptation of the first two Barchester novels, The Warden and Barchester Towers. The series, directed by David Giles, was largely filmed in and around Peterborough Cathedral, where the locations included the Deanery and Laurel Court.

The series starred Donald Pleasence as Mr Harding, Nigel Hawthorne as Archdeacon Grantly, Angela Pleasence as Mrs Grantly, Cyril Luckham as Bishop Grantly, David Gwillim as John Bold, George Costigan as Tom Towers, John Ringham as Finney,Barbara Flynn as Mary Bold, Janet Maw as Eleanor Harding, Clive Swift as Bishop Proudie, Geraldine McEwan as Mrs Proudie, Alan Rickman as Obadiah Slope, Susan Hampshire as Signora Madeline Neroni, and Ursula Howells as Miss Thorne.

Next week:

Tuesday, 2 April 2013:

2 p.m., 11.2: Is there an Anglican culture? The poetry of TS Eliot.

3.15 p.m., 11.3: Is there an Anglican culture? Rose Macaulay and The Towers of Trebizond


1, Essays;

2, Evaluations;

3, Dissertation proposals.

Canon Patrick Comerford is Lecturer in Anglicanism and Liturgy, the Church of Ireland Theological Institute, and an Assistant Adjunct Professor, Trinity College Dublin. These notes were published online on Tuesday 26 March 2013 as an introduction to a seminar on ‘Anglican Culture’ on the MTh Year II course, EM8825: Anglican Studies in an Irish context, on Tuesday 2 April 2013.

Anglican Studies (10.2): The new Archbishop of Canterbury

Archbishop Justin Welby was enthroned as Archbishop of Canterbury last Thursday … but what is the role of the Archbishop of Canterbury? And how is he chosen? (Photograph © Lambeth Palace/Picture Partnership)

Patrick Comerford

MTh Year II

Anglican Studies in an Irish context:

Tuesdays: 2 p.m. to 4.30 p.m., The Hartin Room.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013, 3.15 p.m.:

10.2: The new Archbishop of Canterbury

Question: How many of you watched the enthronement of the new Archbishop of Canterbury on the television last Thursday [21 March 2013]?

Both the Archbishop of Armagh and the Archbishop of Dublin were present, representing the Church of Ireland.

Two days earlier [19 March 2013], at the inauguration of Pope Francis I in Saint Peter’s in Rome, the Archbishop of Canterbury was represented by Archbishop John Senamu of York, and there was a large delegation representing the Anglican Communion, including the Revd Canon Kenneth Kearon from Dublin, who is Secretary General of the Anglican Communion.

In many ways, the process of electing a new Pope was far more transparent that finding a replacement for Rowan Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury. So, how is a new Archbishop of Canterbury chosen? And who is the new Archbishop of Canterbury?

Both are important questions because of the role of the Archbishop of Canterbury as an international Church leader alongside the Pope and the Ecumenical Patriarch, and his role within the Anglican Communion.

Archbishop Rowan Williams ... how was his successor chosen?

The bishops in the Church of England were sometimes perceived as presenting the vote on the Anglican Covenant as a vote of confidence in Rowan Williams as the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Was last year’s decision by the Archbishop of Canterbury to announce his retirement before the “Super Saturday” vote an acknowledgment that the Covenant was defeated?

Did his decision give the remaining dioceses “permission,” as it were, to vote against the Covenant?

We may never answer these questions. But we may like to ask how was the new Archbishop of Canterbury chosen?

The responsibility for choosing the Archbishop of Canterbury rested with the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC). Its task is to submit the name of a preferred candidate (and a second appointable candidate) to the Prime Minster who is constitutionally responsible for tendering advice on the appointment to the Queen.

The membership of the CNC is prescribed in the Standing Orders of the General Synod of England. With last year’s appointment of a new Archbishop of Centerbury, there were 16 voting members:

● The Chair (a layperson): Lord Luce, a former Conservative MP and minister, and High Steward of Westminster Abbey, appointed by the Prime Minister in April.
● The Bishop of Gloucester, Michael Perham, elected by the House of Bishops of the Church of England.
● The Bishop of Carlisle, James Newcome, elected by the House of Bishops.
● Six representatives (three clergy and three lay) elected from the Diocese of Canterbury by the Vacancy in See Committee: Canon Clare Edwards, Canon Mark Roberts and Bishop Trevor Willmott; Mr Raymond Harris, Mr David Kemp and Mrs Caroline Spencer.
● The six representatives (three clergy and three lay) elected by General Synod to the Commission for a five-year period: Very Revd Andrew Nunn (Southwark), Canon Peter Spiers (Liverpool) and Canon Glyn Webster (York); Mr Aiden Hargreaves-Smith (London), Professor Glynn Harrison (Bristol) and Mrs Mary Johnston (Diocese of London).
● A member of the Primates’ Meeting of the Anglican Communion elected by the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion: Archbishop Barry Morgan (The Church in Wales).

In addition, there were three non-voting members of the commission:

● the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Canon Kenneth Kearon;
● the Prime Minister’s Appointments Secretary, Sir Paul Britton;
● the Archbishops’ Secretary for Appointments, Ms Caroline Boddington.

Before the Commission first met, there was an extensive consultation process to determine the needs of the diocese, the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. This had several phases:

● The diocesan Vacancy in See Committee prepared a brief description of the diocese and a statement setting out the desired profile of the new Archbishop
● The Prime Minister’s and the Archbishops’ Secretaries for Appointments conducted a wider consultation exercise to inform the Commission’s consideration of the needs of the mission of the wider Church of England and the Anglican Communion.

The Commission had an initial meeting around the end of May to agree its process, which continued over the summer.

The process included:

● A review of background material and results of the consultations, discussion of the challenges for the next Archbishop and, in the light of these, consideration of the personal qualities required;
● Consideration of candidates;
● Voting to identify the recommended candidate and a second appointable candidate, whose names then wentforward to the Prime Minister.

Canterbury Cathedral ... the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury

Since 2007, the agreed convention in relation to episcopal appointments has been that the Prime Minister commends the name preferred by the Commission to the Queen. A second name was identified in case, for whatever reason, there was a change of circumstances which would mean that the appointment of the CNC’s recommended candidate could not proceed.

Once the Queen approved the chosen candidate and he indicated a willingness to serve, 10 Downing St could announce the name of the Archbishop-designate, and that happened on 9 November 2012. No 10 took the unusual step of announcing the appointment on the social networking site Twitter stating: “Downing Street is pleased to announce the appointment of Justin Welby as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury.”

Then the 35-member College of Canons of Canterbury Cathedral, made up of senior clergy and may members of the diocese, formally and unanimously elected the new Archbishop of Canterbury on 10 January 2013. This could only take place once a Congé d’Élire and Letter Missive from the Crown has been received.

The election was confirmed by a commission of diocesan bishops in a legal ceremony (the Confirmation of Election) in Saint Paul’s Cathedral, London, on 4 February. At that moment, Justin Welby became in all powers the Archbishop of Canterbury.

After the new Archbishop paid homage to the Queen, he was formally enthroned in Canterbury Cathedral last Thursday [21 March 2013].

The roles of the Archbishop of Canterbury:

There are six principal roles for the Archbishop of Canterbury:

1, The Archbishop is the Bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. He has delegated much of his responsibility for the diocese to the Bishop of Dover, who leads a senior staff team of the Dean, three Archdeacons and the Diocesan Secretary. The Archbishop continues to take a keen interest in the affairs of the diocese, to attend staff and other meetings, the annual residential staff meeting, and the Archbishop’s Council of the diocese when possible.

2, The Archbishop of Canterbury is also a Metropolitan, having metropolitical jurisdiction throughout the 30 dioceses of the Province of Canterbury in the Church of England. As such, he can conduct formal visitations of those dioceses. Establishing close links with bishops in his province is an important part of his work and he visits three dioceses each year.

It is a Metropolitan’s responsibility to act as the chief consecrator at the consecration of new bishops, to grant various permissions, licences and faculties, to appoint to parishes where the patron has failed to do so within the prescribed time limits, to act as Visitor of various institutions and release, where appropriate, those who have taken religious vows.

The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York are joint Presidents of the General Synod of the Church of England. The Archbishop of Canterbury is Chair and the Archbishop of York Vice-Chair of the House of Bishops and the Crown Nominations Commission. Two Provincial Episcopal Visitors (“flying bishops”) report to the Archbishop in relation to the 163 parishes in the southern province that have petitioned for extended episcopal care under the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod.

3, As leader of the “Church by Law Established” the Archbishop, in his capacity as Primate of All England, is “chaplain to the nation,” classically exemplified at a coronation. More routinely he has regular audiences with the Queen and the Prime Minister, and is frequently in touch with senior Ministers of State and with the Leaders of Opposition parties. In addition, both Archbishops and 24 other senior bishops have seats in the House of Lords.

4, The Archbishop is the Focus of Unity for the Anglican Communion. He is the convener and the host of the Lambeth Conference, the President of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), and Chair of the Primates’ meeting. In these roles he travels extensively throughout the Anglican Communion, visiting provinces and dioceses, and supporting and encouraging the witness of the Church in very diverse contexts. As primus inter pares among the bishops, he has a special concern for those in episcopal ministry.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is, along with the Bishop of Rome and the Ecumenical Patriarch, widely regarded as an international spiritual leader, representing the Christian Church. On overseas visits, a meeting with the Head of State is almost always a part of the programme, as are meetings with other significant political persons.

5, The Archbishop has a national and international ecumenical role; nationally he is one of the Presidents of Churches Together in England, who provide strategic guidance to ecumenical endeavours.

6, The Archbishop takes the lead in relationships with members of other faith communities both in this country and overseas, reflecting the increasing significance of those communities for the context in which the Church’s mission and ministry take place.

Who is the Archbishop of Canterbury?

Justin and Caroline Welby at Lambeth Palace (Photograph © Lambeth Palace/Picture Partnership)

Justin Portal Welby was born in London on 6 January 1956, the son of Gavin Bramhall James Welby and Jane Gillian (née Portal). They divorced in 1959, when he was three, and he was brought up by his father. At Eton, his contemporaries included the Tory minister Oliver Letwin, and Charles Moore and Dominic Lawson, former editors of the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Telegraph.

From Eton, he went to Trinity College Cambridge, where the Master was his mother’s uncle, ‘Rab’ Butler, a former Conservative deputy prime minister. At Cambridge, he met Caroline Eaton, later a classics teacher; they would marry in 1979 and have six children. He was 21 when his father died in 1977. He graduated a year later with a BA in history and law, and then worked in the oil industry for 11 years.

During five years in Paris with Elf Aquitaine, he became fluent in French and a Francophile. Tragedy struck in 1983 when his seven-month-old daughter, Johanna, died in a car crash in France. “It was a very dark time for my wife Caroline and myself,” he said later, “but in a strange way it actually brought us closer to God.”

Back in London in 1984, he joined Enterprise Oil, with interests in West African and the North Sea, and started going to Holy Trinity Church, Brompton. When he began considering ordination, the Bishop of Kensington, John Hughes, told him: “There is no place for you in the Church of England. I have interviewed a thousand for ordination, and you don’t come in the top thousand.”

He received a BA in theology in Durham and was ordained in 1992. After 10 years in parish ministry in Warwickshire, he became a canon in Coventry Cathedral in 2002 and co-director for International Ministry. His peace work at Coventry saw him shake hands with warlords and being held at gunpoint in Africa.

In 2007, he became Dean of Liverpool, one of England’s largest and most deprived cathedrals. He doubled attendances, abseiled from the roof, and allowed John Lennon’s Imagine to be played on the cathedral bells – despite the line “imagine there is no heaven.” He also encouraged a “Night of the Living Dead” service on Halloween, when a man rose from a coffin to represent the Resurrection.

He once fell into a fit of giggles during a reading from Leviticus that mentions a badger. As a mark of affection, Liverpool Cathedral gave him a small carved rock badger that he placed on the tip of his bishop’s crook when he became Bishop of Durham in 2011.

Online later today:

11.1: Is there an Anglican culture? Anthony Trollope and the Barchester novels.

Next week:

Tuesday, 2 April 2013, 2 p.m. to 4.30 p.m.:

2 p.m.: 11.2: Is there an Anglican culture? The poetry of TS Eliot.

3.15 p.m.: 11.3: Is there an Anglican culture? Rose Macaulay and The Towers of Trebizond.


1, Essays.

2, Evaluations.

3, Dissertation proposals.

Canon Patrick Comerford is Lecturer in Anglicanism and Liturgy, the Church of Ireland Theological Institute, and an Adjunct Assistant Professor, Trinity College Dublin. These notes were prepared for a seminar on the MTh Year II course, EM8825: Anglican Studies in an Irish context, on Tuesday 26 March 2013.

Anglican Studies (10.1): The Anglican Covenant – does it have a future?

Patrick Comerford

MTh Year II

Anglican Studies in an Irish context:

Tuesdays: 2 p.m. to 4.30 p.m., The Hartin Room.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013, 2 p.m.:

10.1: The Anglican Covenant: does it have a future?

The Anglican Covenant is a proposed solution to the public conflicts and threats of schism within the Anglican Communion over the past decade or so.

The idea of a covenant was first suggested in the Windsor Report (2004), which responded sympathetically to the complaints from those parts of the Anglican Communion – described variously described as conservative, traditionalist, or orthodox – that were dissatisfied with developments in the churches of the West, including the election of Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire (the US), and the blessing of same-gender partnership in the Diocese of New Westminster (Canada).

But it is sometimes forgotten that the Windsor Report also addressed concerns of cross-border interventions by bishops from the so-called “Global South” in the Episcopal Church (TEC) and the Anglican Church of Canada.

Ridley Hall, Cambridge, founded in 1881 … the Ridley Cambridge Draft was finalised there in April 2009 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

The Covenant went through a number of drafts and comment periods before a “final” text was codified in December 2009. The 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion have since been asked to adopt this text. In June 2010, the Anglican Church of Mexico became the first church to do so.

The Covenant is immediately effective for churches that adopt it. Churches adopting the Covenant commit themselves to a new relationship with other Anglican churches. Churches that do not sign up to the covenant or are in the process of adoption may be allowed to take part in certain Covenant-defined activities, though their status is not completely clear.

At the centre of the new arrangement is the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion, formerly the Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and Primates’ Meeting.

When conflicts arise, the Standing Committee is to seek consensus. If no consensus is found, the Standing Committee may ask an “offending” church to delay or stop a controversial action.

If that request is ineffective, the Standing Committee can recommend “relational consequences.”

In practice, would enacting “relational consequences” mean demoting or excluding a church from participation in certain bodies?

Or would it mean asking other provinces effectively to shun the offending church, banishing it from the Anglican family?

Even if such extreme actions are never taken, at the heart of the new covenanted relationship among Anglican Churches would always be the threat of exclusion.

At Lambeth 2008, it was initially made clear to the bishops that the conference was not a legislative meeting and that there would be no voting. A series of meetings on the proposed covenant was held.

The bishops were divided up into daily Indaba groups or discussion groups of about 40 bishops each, and the covenant was a discussion topic on one day.

Although there was no voting, the report that came from Lambeth 2008 said that a majority of bishops present favoured an Anglican Covenant.

In December 2009, the text of The Anglican Communion Covenant was sent to all the member churches of the Anglican Communion asking them to consider it for adoption according to their own internal procedures.

At the General Synod of the Church of Ireland in Armagh two years ago, the Church of Ireland agreed to “subscribe” to the Covenant on 13 May 2011. But the General Synod also made it clear that the Covenant did not supplant existing governing documents of the Church of Ireland.

In the Church of England, the Act of Synod adopting the Covenant was sent to the diocesan synods before it could have any possibility of returning to the General Synod for approval.

The General Synod of the Church of England voted on 24 November 2010 to send the Covenant to diocesan synods. If a majority of synods voted in favour of adopting the Covenant, the question would then be brought back to General Synod for a final vote.

The final vote was 26 dioceses against the Covenant and 18 for it:

● 26 voted against the Covenant returning to the General Synod for a final vote: Bath and Wells, Birmingham, Chelmsford, Derby, Ely, Gloucester, Guildford, Hereford, Leicester, Lincoln, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Oxford, Portsmouth, Ripon and Leeds, Rochester, St Albans, St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, Salisbury, Sodor and Man, Southwark, Truro, Wakefield and Worcester.

● 18 have voted for it: Blackburn, Bradford, Bristol, Canterbury, Carlisle, Chester, Chichester, Coventry, Durham, Exeter, Europe, Lichfield, Norwich, Peterborough, Sheffield, Southwell and Nottingham, Winchester and York.

As a consequence, the Church of England cannot now sign up to the Anglican Covenant, which many have seen as the one plan that might have prevented the global Anglican Communion from fracture and division.

During the voting in the diocesan synods, a consistent the pattern emerged: around 80% of the bishops voted in favour of the covenant, but the clergy and laity votes have split around 50-50 for and against, with votes against nudging ahead among the clergy. Does that suggest that the bishops are out of touch with faithful Anglican churchgoers and clergy in England, as Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch of Oxford suggested in The Guardian last year [25 March 2012]?

The last Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, supported the Anglican Covenant in an effort to ensure divisive issues – including gay and lesbian bishops – do not split the Anglican Communion. However, the covenant had already been rejected by conservative many Anglican leaders around the world, even though they are the ones it was intended to placate.

Archbishop Williams said he saw the Anglican Covenant is about the autonomous, self-governing member Churches of the Anglican Communion being “accountable to each other in the Communion.” Defending the Covenant, he said it would not give anybody the power to do anything but recommend courses of action.

However, critics have said the Anglican Covenant is in danger of undermining the traditional independence or autonomy of the member churches of the Anglican Communion.

The concept of an Anglican Covenant grew out of fears that disagreements over the divisive issues between different provinces of the Anglican Communion would lead to irreconcilable division within the Church.

The arguments included the appointment of bishops in non-celibate gay relationships, including Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, and the blessing of same-gender unions, in Anglican dioceses in the US and Canada.

Some provinces in Africa, Latin America and Asia vehemently condemned these developments.

When an Anglican Covenant was first proposed within the recommendations of the Windsor Report, Bishop Bob Anderson warned the House of Bishops in the US that if the Anglican Covenant became a reality, it would change the nature of Anglicanism.

The Primate of Korea said his Church would reject the covenant, because, in their considered opinion, to accept it would be to internalise the colonialism that he felt existed in the relationship between the Anglican provinces of the West and their province.

Provinces critical of the actions of the North American churches have formed a separate grouping known as Gafcon (from the Global Anglican Future Conference held in 2008).

They also supported the foundation of breakaway churches in North America, and these actions served only to worsen the divisions within the Anglican Communion.

Looking at the Covenant

The Anglican Covenant seeks to commit member churches of the Anglican Communion to respect each other’s autonomy, and to “spend time with openness and patience in matters of theological debate and reflection, to listen, pray and study with one another in order to discern the will of God.”

The covenant provides for the Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) to consider whether an action by one autonomous Anglican province complies with Anglican teaching if other Churches disagree with it.

Under the covenant, the Standing Committee could request a Church to defer a controversial action, and having consulted other bodies within the Anglican Communion, may declare that an action would be “incompatible with the Covenant.”

The Church of England General Synod backed the covenant in November 2010, despite the misgivings of many, and referred it to the dioceses.

But the covenant received a decisive setback immediately afterwards when it was rejected by the Gafcon Primates’ Council – seen by many as the very Church leaders that the Covenant was intended to placate.

The Gafcon leaders said: “While we acknowledge that the efforts to heal our brokenness through the introduction of an Anglican Covenant were well intentioned, we have come to the conclusion the current text is fatally flawed and so support for this initiative is no longer appropriate.”

The 38 self-governing provinces of the Anglican Communion were asked to sign an agreement under which a Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion would consider actions such as the ordination of gay bishops and whether they were compatible with Anglican teaching.

Those member churches that declined to sign the Anglican Covenant would continue to be Anglicans inside the Anglican Communion, but in an outer or slower tier.

Seven provinces have approved the convent in their own way:

● The Church of Ireland (“subscribed”)
● The Anglican Church of Mexico
● The Church of the Province of Myanmar (Burma)
● The Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea
● The Church of the Province of South East Asia (with an added preamble of its own)
● The Anglican Church of the Southern Cone of America
● The Church in the Province of the West Indies

In the case of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, the covenant has been approved pending ratification at the next General Synod which is usual procedure in that province. In the case of South-East Asia, the word use was “acceded,” in the Southern Cone the word used was “approved,” and it the West Indies it was “accepted.”

On 18 April 2012, the Governing Body of the Church in Wales, passed a motion indicating its willingness to consider the Covenant, but it asked the ACC to clarify the status of the Covenant in light of its rejection in the Church of England last year.

But the covenant has been rejected by the Council of Bishops in the Philippines. On 8 June 2012, the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church voted decisively against a resolution to adopt the Covenant in principle. On 9 July 2012, the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia declared that it was unable to adopt the Covenant. On 10 July 2012, The General Convention of The Episcopal Church (TEC) declined to take a position on the Covenant. The matter cannot come up there for debate before 2015.

In Australia, the Covenant has been sent to dioceses for study. In Canada, it has been sent to the dioceses for study, and the Church is also seeking theological, ecclesiastical, legal and constitutional implications of action to adopt or not. Korea has acknowledged sections 1-3 as “excellent and useful” but has postponed for further consideration any decision on Section 4. Melanesia has no difficulties with first three sections, but has deferred consideration until the General Synod next year (2014). Southern Africa has adopted pending ratification at the next synod.

The secretary general of the Anglican Communion, Canon Kenneth Kearon, indicated after the deciding votes in the diocesan synods of the Church of England a year ago, that the Anglican Covenant is still alive and on the agenda of the member provinces of the Anglican Communion.

What next steps are taken by the Church of England is up to the Church of England, Canon Kearon said. But he said that “consideration of the Covenant continues across the Anglican Communion and this was always expected to be a lengthy process. I look forward to all the reports of progress to date at the ACC-15 in New Zealand in November.”

Canon Kenneth Kearon ... “consideration of the Covenant continues across the Anglican Communion and this was always expected to be a lengthy process.”

The Anglican Consultative Council, at its meeting in Auckland, New Zealand, last year (ACC-15), spent an hour in private conversations on 31 October considering the status of the Anglican Covenant but took no action.

Before those conversations began, Bishop Victoria Matthews of Christchurch, New Zealand, asked the members to consider “why [the covenant] is a cause of fear and why is it a sign of hope for others?”

Bishop Matthews said she thought there were two Anglican Communion Covenants: “One is the document that people have in their mind and the other is the Anglican Communion Covenant on paper.”

For that reason, she said, she wanted people “to read the Covenant and be focused on that” because often, when people start talking about the Covenant, “what they describe in their mind as the Covenant is unrecognisable.”

She said that the questions behind the Covenant were: “What is the best way?”, “Is there a way that will keep us together safely?”, ‘and “hat is our deepest fear when we consider decision-making processes?”

The results of the reflections at ACC-15 were sent on to the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO) and the Anglican Communion Standing Committee “as they discern the ways to take the matter forward.”

and the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia has subscribed to the covenant’s first three sections but said it cannot adopt section 4, which outlines a process for resolving disputes.

Criticism of the Covenant:

Many opponents of the Covenant within the Church of England would say that they believe in an Anglicanism adapted to local needs and based on a shared heritage of worship, but not on specific understandings of church doctrines to which all must subscribe. Their view of Anglicanism, they say, leads them to conclude that the Anglican Covenant is “profoundly un-Anglican.”

They would argue that the fourth part of the covenant contains a mechanism whereby “errant” provinces could have their status as full and equal members of the Anglican Communion reduced.

Other critics argue that the Anglican Covenant seeks to codify the love that should already be there and to ratify the fear that inspired the Windsor Report.

Writing in The Guardian a year ago [26 March 2012], after that absolute majority of dioceses in the Church of England had voted down the Anglican Covenant, Diarmaid MacCulloch, Professor of History of the Church at the University of Oxford, described the covenant as “a pernicious scheme” and a “sorry diversion.”

He sees the Covenant as an attempt “to increase the power of centralising bureaucracy throughout the … Anglican Communion.”

For Diarmaid MacCulloch, the principal aim of the Covenant was to discipline the Anglican churches in the US and Canada.

Some questions:

The compass rose, the symbol of the Anglican Communion … it is surmounted by a bishop’s mitre, in the centre is the cross of Saint George, and the Greek motto, Ἡ ἀλήθεια ἐλευθερώσει ὑμᾶς (“The truth will set you free”), a quotation from John 8: 32.

Would the Covenant bring a measure of discipline and accountability into relationships between the member churches of the Anglican Communion?

Those who support the Anglican Covenant say other Anglican member churches may still ratify the Anglican Covenant. Would this leave the Church of England in the second, outer, tier of a world-wide communion?

Without the Anglican Covenant, can the Anglican Communion hold together as a spiritual body, yet whose bonds are more than affection, where each community within the Anglican Communion is respected equally?

Would the Anglican Communion collapse without the covenant?

Would the Anglican Communion collapse without the Church of England?

Is it fair to argue that the covenant would not change much?

If so, why was it introduced?

Is it possible, as Diarmaid McCulloch, describes it, to lay down the law “in that delicate, nuanced thing that is religious belief?”

Or do “you end up damaging or hurting a great many people”?

The fourth part – the part “with teeth” – has stayed in every draft of the covenant. Does this make it a firmly fixed, constituent part of the covenant? Is accepting any part of the covenant to be taken as approval of the fourth part as well?

Dioceses throughout the Anglican Communion have “companion diocese” links, and a variety of lines of mutual ministry and service across the whole Communion. Is affirming the Covenant necessary to hold the Anglican Communion together?

Some additional thoughts

Richard Hooker’s statue at Exeter Cathedral ... he set out the Anglican theological method of Scripture, Reason and Tradition

The issue underlying the conflicts in the Anglican Communion is one of authority. Who decides what is acceptable and on what basis do they do so?

Concern about homosexuality resulted in a powerful alliance of some Evangelicals and some Anglo-Catholics opposing the “innovations” of more liberal and tolerant Anglicans. The Evangelicals objected to homosexuality on the basis of what they see as biblical prohibitions, and Anglo-Catholics objected to the alleged rejection of Church tradition.

Classic Anglican theology stems from the writings of the 16th century theologian Richard Hooker, who argued in Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity that, in addition to scripture and tradition, we have reason to guide us. With these three sources of authority – Scripture, Reason and Tradition – change becomes possible and proper as conditions and understandings change and allowing a diversity of opinion allows us to explore new possibilities.

But Evangelicals are worried less about a change in interpreting Scripture as a rejection of Scripture and its authority.

Have the traditional forms of holding Anglicans together – the Lambeth Quadrilateral and the Four Instruments of Communion – lost their effectiveness in holding together the Anglican Communion?

Appendix 1: The Lambeth Quadrilateral

Lambeth Palace, seen from Westminster on the opposite bank of the River Thames ... the London home of the Archbishop of Canterbury also gives its name to the Lambeth Conference(Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

The Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral, frequently referred to as the Lambeth Quadrilateral or the Lambeth-Chicago Quadrilateral, is a four-point articulation of Anglican identity, often cited as encapsulating the fundamentals of the Anglican Communion’s doctrine and as a reference-point for ecumenical discussion with other Christian denominations.

The four points are:

1, The Holy Scriptures, as containing all things necessary to salvation.
2, The Creeds (specifically, the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed) as the sufficient statement of Christian faith.
3, The Sacrament of Baptism and Holy Communion.
4, The historic episcopate, locally adapted.

Resolution 11 of the third Lambeth Conference (1888) reads:

That, in the opinion of this Conference, the following Articles supply a basis on which approach may be by God’s blessing made towards Home Reunion:
(a) The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as “containing all things necessary to salvation,” and as being the rule and ultimate standard of faith.
(b) The Apostles’ Creed, as the Baptismal Symbol; and the Nicene Creed, as the sufficient statement of the Christian faith.
(c) The two Sacraments ordained by Christ Himself – Baptism and the Supper of the Lord – ministered with unfailing use of Christ’s Words of Institution, and of the elements ordained by Him.
(d) The Historic Episcopate, locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying needs of the nations and peoples called of God into the Unity of His Church.

Appendix 2: The instruments of communion in the Anglican Communion:

The Primates of the Anglican Communion at their meeting in Swords, Co Dublin, two years ago. Seated on each side of Archbishop Rowan Williams are Archbishop Alan Harper and Canon Kenneth Kearon; in the back row (second from left) is the Irish-born Scottish primus, Bishop David Chillingworth

The Anglican Communion is served by four “Instruments of Communion”:

1, The Archbishop of Canterbury
2, The Lambeth Conferences
3, The Primates’ Meeting
4, The Anglican Consultative Council


Anglican Studies (10.2): The new Archbishop of Canterbury

Online later today:

11.1: Is there an Anglican culture? Anthony Trollope and the Barchester novels.

Next week:

Tuesday, 2 April 2012:

2 p.m., 11.2: Is there an Anglican culture? The poetry of TS Eliot.

3.15 p.m., 11.3: Is there an Anglican culture? Rose Macaulay and The Towers of Trebizond


1, Essays

2, Evaluations

3, Dissertation proposals

Canon Patrick Comerford is Lecturer in Anglicanism and Liturgy, the Church of Ireland Theological Institute, and an Adjunct Assistant Professor, Trinity College Dublin. These notes were prepared for a lecture and seminar on the MTh Year II course, EM8825: Anglican Studies in an Irish context, on Tuesday 26 March 2013.

With the Saints in Lent (42): Harriet Monsell, 26 March

Harriet Monsell, founder of the Community of Saint John Baptist, was born at Dromoland Castle, Co Clare

Patrick Comerford

Harriet Monsell (1811-1883) is one of the few Irish-born women to be remembered in the Calendar of Saints in Common Worship in the Church of England. However, because her commemoration this week falls on the Tuesday in Holy Week, she is unlikely to be included in many commemorations today [26 March].

Harriet Monsell was the founder of the Community of Saint John Baptist, an order of Anglican nuns dedicated to social service. By the time she died on Easter Day, 25 March 1883, the order had numerous houses, including houses in England, India and the Americas.

The Hon Harriet O’Brien was born in 1811, the third daughter and the eighth of nine children of Sir Edward O’Brien (1773-1826) of Dromoland Castle, Co Clare. Her father was the MP for Ennis in the Irish House of Commons (1795-1800) and MP for Co Clare in the Westminster Parliament (1802-1826), until he resigned the seat for health reasons.

When Edward O’Brien died in 1837, his widow Charlotte (née Smith), who was a devout Anglican, moved to London with their four daughters, then to Dublin and to other places. The second daughter, Grace, never married, but the other three daughters, including Harriet, married Anglican priests: Catherine married Charles Harris, Bishop of Gibraltar; and Anne married Canon Arthur Martineau of Saint Paul’s Cathedral, London. Of the four sons, Lucius O’Brien (1800-1872) succeeded his father as MP for Co Clare and later inherited a family title as the 13th Lord Inchiquin; while William Smith O’Brien (1803-1864), was a leader of the Young Ireland revolution in 1848, was tried for treason, deported to Tasmania, but later returned to live in Co Limerick.

Harriet Monsell ... in 1839 she married Canon Charles Monsell of Limerick Cathedral

On 21 September 1839, Harriet married Charles Henry Monsell (1815-1850) while he was studying and receiving medical treatment at the University of Dublin. They moved to Oxford the following year. There, while he completed his studies, they came under the influence of the Oxford Movement. Charles was the third son of the Ven Thomas Bewley Monsell, Archdeacon of Derry, and after his ordination he became his father’s curate. Later, he became a canon of Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Limerick.

Because of his continuing ill health, the couple spent much of their later married life in Europe, most often in Naples.

After Canon Charles Monsell died in 1850, Harriet continued her affiliation with the Oxford Movement. She began working in the railroad and army village of Clewer among former prostitutes and unmarried mothers at a House of Mercy. The house had been founded some years earlier by Mrs Mariquita Tennant, who was a Spanish refugee, a convert to Anglicanism and a clergyman’s widow. However, due to ill health, Mrs Tennant moved to nearby Windsor, where she soon died.

Harriet Monsell moved to Clewer with her sister Catherine and her husband, the Revd Charles Harris, later Bishop of Gibraltar.

After Charles Harris moved to another parish in 1852, Canon Thomas Thellusson Carter became the Rector of Clewer and the Warden of the House of Mercy. Soon, Harriet Monsell professed religious vows with two other women, and became Mother Superior of one of the first Anglican religious orders since the Reformation.

The women lived according to a rule attributed to Saint Augustine of Hippo and at first they were called the Sisters of Mercy. They later changed their name to reflect their inspiration from Saint John the Baptist’s call to penitence. During the new order’s first five years, it expanded from assisting about 30 marginalised women to dedicating a building to serve about 80 women.

As the Community of Saint John Baptist, the nuns were guided by Mother Harriet, with her energy and humour. They extended their original mission to running about 40 institutions, including mission houses in parishes, as well as orphanages, schools and hospitals.

Mother Harriet retired to Folkestone in 1875 for health reasons, although she was occasionally able to visit the communities she founded.

She died on the morning of 25 March 1883, which was both the Feast of the Annunciation and Easter Day that year. Because of this coincidence, her commemoration in the Calendar of the Church of England has been moved to 26 March.

A new Education Centre and home for the Sisters of Begbroke is being built at Ripon College Cuddesdon, near Oxford, and is to be known as Harriet Monsell House.

This new wing will provide a space for dialogue on the issues reflecting the challenges and opportunities of modern life, house the new projects and events arising from the success of our Research Centre, and enable the provision of better and deeper training for clergy at all levels. The plans also include a state-of-the-art lecture theatre.

The top two floors will provide a new home for the Sisters of Begbroke whose presence at the college “is eagerly awaited in order to complement our rhythm of prayer and help deepen our spiritual formation as a community.”


O God, your Son came among us to serve and not to be served,
and to give his life for the life of the world.
Lead us by his love
to serve all those whom the world offers no comfort and little help.
Through us give hope to the hopeless,
love to the unloved,
peace to the troubled,
and rest to the weary, through Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.


Hosea 2: 18-23; Psalm 94: 1-15; Romans 12: 9-21; Luke 6: 20-36.

Tomorrow (27 March): Charles Henry Brent.

Picture reproduced by kind permission of the Mother Superior of the Community of St John the Baptist, Begbroke, Oxford. See: http://www.oxford.anglican.org/who-we-are/history-of-the-diocese/calendar-of-commemoration/mother-harriet-monsell/