Older and wiser

Published October 1, 2000

100 years ago: October 1900

Canadian Churchman asked the question: Is there an age limit to ecclesiastical preferment to usefulness in the Church of England? If so, what is it? If not, why should not aged ecclesiastics be appointed to positions where spiritual influence is of more consequence than work? Those impatient persons, who, in the present age of hurry, would deprive all clergymen of their preferments at a certain age, besides wasting a large sum in pensions, would have called upon the Apostle St. John, when he could do no more than totter down to the church and say: “Little children, love one another,” to resign his apostolate, and make room for a younger and more active man!….

Should the same sermon be preached to the same congregation more than once? The late Bishop Strachan said yes. For some reason or other, a congregation in the diocese of Toronto wanted a change. The Churchwardens were deputed to wait on the Bishop and present their case; they did so, and amongst other reasons given, they urged that the incumbent had preached the same sermon for the third time on last Sunday to them, and it was utterly impossible for the people to get any spiritual comfort or sustenance from such a man. “Oh! indeed,” replied the Bishop, “that’s very bad. I did not think things had gone so far in your parish. What was his text?” This was a poser. At last, after thinking a long time, they answered that they could not call the text to mind just then. “Well, gentlemen, you had better go home, and I’ll have to get Mr.– to preach it to you again,” were the Bishop’s parting words.

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50 years ago: October 1950

Canadian Churchman reported that at the recent sessions of the General Council of the United Church of Canada, one salaried official stated, according to a newspaper report, that the United Church is evangelical whereas the Anglican Church is not. Now where did he get that strange idea? And how does he know?

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25 years ago: October 1975

Canadian Churchman reported that while we have been developing new consciousness-raising projects and programs and asking other churches to “buy into” our concerns, we have overlooked the contribution of the Canadian Council of Churches. How else do we explain the emasculation of the council’s budget and staff in which we have shared? The inter-church coalitions will continue because we prefer this kind of operation to being involved in conciliar structures. But we should hardly be surprised if before too long someone asks, “Haven’t we travelled this road before?” and suggests we begin to gather all our eggs into one basket again.


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