We, who remember the Faith, the grey-headed ones,
Of those Anglo-Catholic Congresses swinging along,
Who heard the South Coast salvo of incense-guns
And surged to the Albert Hall in our thousands strong
With ‘extreme’ colonial bishops leading in song
We, who remember, look back to the blossoming May-time
On ghosts of servers and thurifers after Mass,
The slapping of backs, the flapping of cassocks, the play-time,
A game of Grandmother’s Steps on the vicarage grass-
“Father, a little more sherry? - I’ll fill your glass”
We recall the triumph, that Sunday after Ascension,
When our Protestant suffragan suffered himself to be coped –
The SYA and the Scheme for Church Extension –
The new diocesan’s not as ‘sound’ as we’d hoped,
And Kensit threatens and has Sam Gurney poped?
Yet, under the ‘Travers baroque’, in a limewashed whiteness,
The fiddle-back vestments a-glitter with morning rays,
Our Lady’s image, in multiple-candled brightness,
The bells and banners – those were the waking days
When Faith was taught and fanned to a golden blaze.
—Anglo-Catholic Congresses by John Betjeman
-A poem about the golden age of Anglo-Catholicism in the 20s and 30s (via anglo-catholic)
I’ve just been reading a memoir where a priest’s earliest memory of Anglo-Catholicism is when a thurifier swung a thurible too violently and it burst into flames !
- Forget worship bands and PowerPoint to attract young people to church Flaming Thuribles are the way forward!