Friday, 15 January 2010

Simple-minded holiness

The diocese of Lincoln knew it was receiving a holy man as Bishop even before Edward King arrived.

The Vicar of St John & Stephen’s, New Clee has leant me the bound copy of the Parish magazines for St John’s for the first fourteen years from its establishment in 1877. I have only dipped in so far, but I have already noticed the following quotations from the national press in 1885.

No High Churchman living is at once so beloved by men of his own school, and so affectionately tolerated by others outside it, as Dr King. He is the most conciliatory of brave Churchmen, the most persuasive of incisive preachers, and perhaps of all men who have had the courage of their opinions, he would occur to those who know him as the likeliest mediator between contending parties, and the link that would come readiest to hand in binging cross controversialists to unity. Beyond all questions Dr King has been for the last ten years the foremost figure in the religious life of Oxford. He has proved himself the possessor of gifts calculated to win the younger and guide the older members of the University in a way peculiarly his own.


The impression which he leaves on those who are brought into contact with him of a simple-minded and profound holiness. He is felt to be in very truth a simple-hearted (simple-hearted sometimes almost to the verge of a quaint childishness) and holy man. That feeling we believe to have been the primary, the deepest, the most abiding source of his influence.

And it is St John & Stephen’s (whose Shalom Youth Project has been mentioned in this blog before) which looks forward to giving the Archbishop of Canterbury lunch on the Sunday in March when he is in the diocese for the Edward King centenary celebrations.

The photograph is the third of Grimsby buildings noticed recently, an almshouse for retired fisherman on the edge of St John & Stephen’s parish; the shutters on the houses due for demolition in Guildford Street are just visible in the background.

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