By Angela Greenland
WHEN the Archbishop of Canterbury came to Oxford recently, he expressed his pleasure at seeing a further example of interdenominational relations in the city. He was opening an Anglican bookshop and coffee house, which is just 200 yards up the road from the Catholic Newman Bookshop and coffee house here.
Although there will be plenty of competition between the two, the Newman bookshop was opened eight years ago, has flourished ever since, and the Rev. Keith De Berry, Rector of St. Aldates. admits frankly to copying a good idea from the Catholics. Fr. Michael Hollings, chaplain to Catholics at the university. and "patron" of the Newman bookshop, is giving Mr. De Berry some "tips of the trade".
The Catholic venture is actually run by the Old Palace Bookshop Ltd.; Mr. John Todd manages the books, and Mr. Dennis Hickley runs the coffee house. This idea of serving coffee and food was started as a further way of making money, but most of the business in the bookshop is done by mail order, and this has since proved the most profitable side.
Nevertheless the coffee house is always crowded. I went there for lunch, and was served a bowl of steaming soup, French bread and a large fruit salad for only 2s. On Sunday mornings a group of students take over and serve coffee for those coming out of Mass. Both Fr. Hollings and Mr. De Berry intend to keep prices as low as possible to cater for the undergraduates, who, as Fr. Hollings told me, "like to buy a cup of coffee and talk for hours."
The bookshop side of the Anglican venture is run by Mowbray's Ltd., and only religious books and guidebooks to Oxford are sold, the latter as an attraction for holiday tourists. This is in contrast to the Newman bookshop, which stocks a wide selection of Penguin paperbacks.
On the opening day, the Archbishop of Canterbury went on to say that he hoped the St. Aldate's coffee house would prove to be a "place of Christian fellowship . . . to spread Christian truth and the study of the Christian faith." Judging by the reactions of one student I talked to, this has proved to be the case at both concerns. "When you come to have coffee." he said, "your realise what a good idea these coffee-houses are, and then you go on to think more about the church."
It seems that both Anglicans and Catholics in Oxford, though "rivals" in business, have discovered a first-class way of bringing the practical side of the church to ordinary people in the city.
Monks' snow rescue
Cistercian monks of Nunraw. in the East of Scotland, carried supplies of milk through thick snow for over a mile every day when villagers at Garvald. East Lothian. were cut off during blizzards this month. This is the second time the monks have come to the rescue in this way.
The Catholic Teachers' Religious Certificate and College Entrance Examinations will be held on Saturday, March 9. Candidates for either exam should apply at once to their diocesan religious inspector, enclosing the fee of 10s. for the certificate exam or 5s. for the college entrance.