Page 3, 5th July 1963

5th July 1963
Page 3
Page 3, 5th July 1963 — "The notion that there was an essential hostility between the

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"The notion that there was an essential hostility between the

towns and the churches was a common one between 1820 and 1850."

Not that acquiescence was universal. Parliament, for instance voted large sums between 1809 and 1824 for new Church of England benefices arid churches, but when all was done "the most clearsighted students of the matter were forced to realise that nonworshippers among thc working classes were not just physically inaccessible to Christian ministry but were declining to accept it." Whatever the efforts made. midcentury saw the churches, whether established or non-conformist, marked as middle-class, sometimes resignedly so. While Catholics retained a big beach-head among Irish immigrants, the vast numbers of these were too much for the few men and materials present to meet them, so that many lapsed through impossibility of contact.

Invasions The second half of the century saw new, urgent self-questioning on the part of believers. resulting in such invasions as mission churches and campaigns, new sees and parishes, diocesan conferences. the Church Army, the Salvation Army settlements. and the shortlived experiment of labour Churches, When all was done T. C. Fry, Headmaster of Berkhamsted School, wrote in 1898: "The Church is mostly administered and officered by the classes: her influential laity belong almost wholly to the class; she is doing a great and giving work among the masses but . • social rank and social position still count for so much . .".

This worthwhile and wellorganised book gives a glimpse of various fascinating moral and social attitudes and besides those most directly relevant, e.g. of Sir James Stephen who, according to his son Leslie, "once smoked a cigar and found it so deliciouS that he never smoked again". or of the young Ramsay MacDonald attending a Salvation Army meeting armed with a pea-shooter.

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