A Grand Day Out

St James' Spanish Place -- A Bastion in Marylebone

St James' Spanish Place, in Marylebone, London, has more space devoted to it in Pevsner's 'London' (Vol 3: London NW) than even All Souls Langham Place, a few pages earlier.  So it is an important building.  But better than that, on Sunday evening it was the place to be.  Crowds came from Ordinariates out in the shires, some form beyond Canterbury in the Southeast, from deepest Essex, and we took a contingent from Bournemouth (a three-hour ride in a mini-coach) to celebrate a glorious Evensong and Benediction, and listen to our Ordinary, Mgr Keith Newton.

He reminded us just how far we have come in such a short time.  He promised even better things as more and more former Anglicans come into the Catholic Church through the Holy Father's inspired provision of Anglicanorum Coetibus.

Edward Goldie's chef d'oeuvre: reminiscent of Pearson's style

One of the things we might have missed on leaving the Church of England was 'Forward in Faith'.  That organisation enabled Anglican Catholics to meet (at the National Assembly, and in local groups) and make common cause.  Now it looks as though this is being replaced for us by the Ordinariate.  Last year's Walsingham Pilgrimage brought many of us together, and last night there were so many old friends to see.

Fr Ed Tomlinson ponders how to loot the Sacristy

We heard how well the Groups are going in Hemel Hempstead and in Deal, and what new things are starting in Croydon and Maidstone. There were so many former leaders of the Catholic movement in the Church of England; the one-time Master of SSC, Fr Christopher Colven, now proprietor of the church where we were worshipping; Fr Geoffrey Kirk, originator of Forward in Faith; Sister Wendy of the Famous Three; Francis Bown once a neighbour and colleague of mine in Hull, now a lay Catholic who is a regular worshipper at St James' — and so many others, who will I hope not be offended if I fail to mention them.

After the Procession of the Blessed Sacrament

The Choir reminded us of some of the glories of the Anglican tradition: Parry's thrilling "I was Glad" for the introit, Bernard R The ose's Responses, Stanford's Mag & Nunc in C.  The only complaint from my Group was that they wanted to sing more hymns to sing themselves — maybe an Office Hymn?  But the hymn which the Ordinariate claims as its own, "Praise to the Holiest", sung to Somervell's great tune, was some compensation.  After all, Cathedral Evensong is not a sing-along.

We are ready for our close-up, Mr de Mille

Our contingent from Bournemouth had spent a busy day; many had set off for Mass before 9am, and did not return home until near 11pm.  We had been interviewed by the Editors of The Portal (now the official magazine of the Ordinariate of OLW) for the hour after Mass.

'And nothing but the truth, remember.' (Ronald Crane)

What a memorable day January 15th turned out to be.  Now we look forward to the Ordinariate's Chrism Mass, our likely next big gathering (on April 2nd, we think).  See you there.

Author: Fr. Edwin Barnes

Bishop Barnes read theology for three years at Oxford before finishing his studies at Cuddesdon College (at the time a theological college with a rather monastic character). He subsequently served two urban curacies in Portsmouth and Woking. During his first curacy, and after the statutory three years of celibacy, he married his wife Jane (with whom he has two children, Nicola and Matthew). In 1967, Bishop Barnes received his first incumbency as Rector of Farncombe in the Diocese of Guildford. After eleven years, the family moved to Hessle, in the Diocese of York, for another nine years as vicar. In 1987, he became Principal of St Stephen’s House, Oxford. In 1995, he was asked by then Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, to become the second PEV for the Province. He was based in St. Alban’s and charged with ministering to faithful Anglo-Catholics spread over the length of Southern England, from the Humber Estuary to the Channel Islands. After six years of service as a PEV, Bishop Barnes retired to Lymington on the south coast where he holds the Bishop of Winchester’s license as an honorary assistant bishop. On the retirement of the late and much lamented Bishop Eric Kemp, he was honored to be asked to succeed him as President of the Church Union. Both these appointments he resigned on becoming a Catholic in 2010. Fr. Barnes is now a priest of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, caring for an Ordinariate Group in Southbourne, Bournemouth.

10 thoughts on “A Grand Day Out”

  1. The OLW Ordinary's Pastoral Letter is in full at Ordinary's Pastoral Letter and a Flickr set of photographs of the anniversary service can be found at OLW Ordinariate – Evensong & Benediction- at St James, Spanish Place

    The following is part of a message poster yesterday by Father Ian Hellyer of the Ordinariate to his Group:-

    "Father Keith has laboured extremely hard during this first year – and he gladly volunteered to the clergy last week that he had never worked so hard in his life, even as a Anglican flying bishop. He encouraged us to proceed in hope as we continue to establish the life of the Ordinariate in the Catholic Church.

    These are words we need to take to heart. Hope is not a little thing. Often the word is used in everyday speech as a kind of casual optimism. In Christianity hope is powerful and entirely transforms the present moment, for it bathes the present in the glorious future gained for us by Christ's victory on the cross. So we engage with all the challenges of forming the ordinariate groups from the perspective of this hope in Christ. This hope is no superficial thing.

    In everyday speech, hope is used as a casual optimism. In Christianity hope is a solid and powerful reality. Hope enabled the martyrs to endure terrible suffering and even death, rather than give up their faith in Christ. The martyrs show us what hope is and how powerful it is. Holy Tradition tells us that the martyrs are the seed of the church. Wherever the church is persecuted and there are martyrs, the church grows in strength and numbers. During the various ages of persecution in the early church, the followers of Christ increased in number as well as in faith.

    So let us as members of the Ordinariate look to the challenges we are presented in this coming year as opportunities for us to grow in hope. We face various uncertainties not least to do with money and church buildings. We face them knowing that our true security is found in Christ not elsewhere. With time our financial challenges will be solved as is most expedient for us according to God's will. With time appropriate places of worship for the ordinariate will be found, again, as is expedient for us according to God's will. In the mean time, we are where our Lord wants us, let us rejoice that that is so."

    For those in the USA who have had to wait for the erection of the TCP Ordinariate, now it is your turn and these words from a priest to his group one year into this great ecumenical journey may be of help and inspiration to you.

  2. Thanks, Henri – but it was very near the truth. I also had a caption to the picture of the Ordinary with Fr Colven; mysteriously it disappeared. The caption was about the advice Fr Colven was giving Msgr Keith about how to secrete a mobile phone in his mitre.

  3. It is noteworthy that Father Tomlinson ends his blog post on the anniversary service with these words:

    "And if any kindly billionaire desires to build a replica of S. James’ Spanish Place in Pembury then do not hesitate to contact me. I would not change a single brick! What a great evening and a great year. I cannot wait to see where the next will take us…."

    Father Ed will most certainly not be the first catholic parish priest (or bishop or abbot for that matter) to want to build a church for the greater glory of God.

    In England we are fortunate to have both "Series One" – the great pre-reformation cathedrals, abbeys parish churches (or at least those that survived the wreckers) and "Series Two", the cathedrals and churches built after Catholic Emancipation.

    Maybe we are now to have "Series Three" as the Ordinariate starts to build to meet the needs of its parishioners.

    So I think it's great that Father Ed has got the "Bob the Builder" bug!

  4. I might have a Bob the Builder bug but sadly not a Bob the builder budget!

    And, yes, Fr. Edwin is quite correct. I was loving every inch of the building and sacristy and jokingly asked how much I could hide under my cassock when leaving!

    1. Father Dwight,

      Fr Mark Woodruff of the Catholic League is, as you will be aware also a former Anglican and a former Precentor of St Edmundsbury Cathedral. If you are in nostalgic mood, try his report on the service here: Solemn Evensong for First Anniversary

      There are RC cathedrals on both sides of the Atlantic with bishops justifiably very proud of their organists & choirs. I suspect that once the liturgists have finished and a definitive Ordinariate book is published, many diocesans may start asking for permission to use the Ordinariate Evensong and Benediction more generally. It is, after all, a "treasure to be shared".

  5. (Let's hope they start with Vespers and Benediction more often, then they can think about exotic imports!)

    Are the "famous three" the sisters from Walsingham? It would be lovely to know what they are up to, if they don't think being written about would clash with their life (I have no idea about them, except that they exist, not the first clue, so they may be of an avoiding-all-publicity form of life).

    There are also a good many "round two" churches needing love and attention!

  6. I hope that there is more to the Ordinariate than dressing up and buildings, not that these are bad. On the New Liturgical Movement website there is a complete report with many pictures and Msgr newton's sermon. There are wonderful optics, but former Anglicans shouldn't get carried away by them.

  7. Do you know if the Anniversary Evensong was recorded (video or audio) and whether this will be made public? I would love to be able to put it on our website as an example of Ordinariate worship and as an encouragement to prayer and reflection.

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