Although "The Church Intelligencer" continues to be published, the volumes for 1907 onwards are missing from our archives so we have used the "Church Association Annual Reports" (which began in 1867) to compile a summary of the activities of the Church Association from 1907 onwards.
Notes on the report of the Council at the 50th Annual Meeting held in the Caxton Hall, Westminster on Monday, May 3rd 1915.
P.5 - “Second Resolution” –
‘1. “That no revision of the Book of Common Prayer which has been submitted to and approved (after full consideration) by the Laity of the Church can justly be carried out, inasmuch as the Laity have the greatest stake in the Prayer Book; independently of the fact that any such revision must be submitted to, and approved by Parliament, seeing that the Church of England is the National Church of this country.
‘2. “That the particular proposals now set forth in the Convocation of Canterbury are highly controversial and largely of a reactionary and anti-Reformation character, including the suggested sanction of the Chasuble, which is the ‘distinctive vestment’ of the Mass.
‘3. “That the present time of National crisis is not opportune for the adequate discussion of any proposals for revision, least of all for those of such a nature.
‘4. “That any attempt to press the present Convocation proposals would be an act of disloyalty both to Church and nation, and should be strongly resisted”.’
P.6 – “Third Resolution” – “That this meeting condemns the action of His Majesty’s Ministers in sending an ‘Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary’ to the Vatican.”
P.7 – “The War”. ‘All other events in the past year have been reduced to relative insignificance by the outbreak of the Great War. Holding that it is lawful for Christian men to carry on and support “just wars” (Article XXXVII, Latin version) and that this country in fighting to repel the wanton aggression of Germany upon Belgium, took the only course consistent with righteousness and honour - the Council associates itself with the universal sentiment of the Empire in approving the unflinching prosecution of the War to a successful issue by the blessing of God.
‘The Council, however, recognises that war is at the best a scourge from God, and that it may well be that He is displeased with the nations for their unfaithfulness to Himself. As our own land has been more highly favoured than other countries since the Reformation, it behoves us to examine ourselves, to see where we have offended both individually and as a nation. Certainly we must confess to a weakening of reverence for the Word of God, to a prevalence of lawlessness and idolatry in the Church, to a growing disregard for the Lord’s Day, to a general decadence of spiritual life, to a widespread intemperance, immoderate love of pleasure, and to a growth of gambling.
‘The Council entreats all who read these words to examine themselves, and to work and pray without ceasing that we may all be given grace to amend our lives according to God’s Holy Word, so that we may be found an acceptable people in His sight through Jesus Christ our Lord.’
P.8 – “Church Association Annual Day of Prayer”. ‘According to custom, a Church Association Day of Prayer was observed, the intense gravity of the National crisis rendering the call for Confession and Humiliation more urgent than ever. This year it was decided to invite all the organisations represented on the London Council of United Protestant Societies to join us, and our offer was readily accepted. All the leading Protestant Societies were represented at the gatherings in Caxton Hall on Monday January 25th. If the Lord’s people were more ready to ask Him to teach them to pray, His Arm would speedily be put forth for the salvation of the Church and Nation.’
P.10 – “Welsh Disestablishment”. ‘In violation of the political truce proclaimed at the outbreak of the War, the Government weakly yielded to the pressure of faction, and forced the Irish and Welsh Bills through Parliament despite the indignant protests of the representatives of at least half the Nation. The spoliation of a poor Church is at any time a sorry spectacle, but it becomes distinctly indecent when performed by a Legislature whose numbers – without any mandate from, or warning to, the people - have voted to themselves salaries exceeding in value the plunder to be torn from the Church of Wales. Disestablishment we regret as a retrocession from the national acknowledgment of the Christian religion, and also as an emancipation of the Romanising clergy from the control of the law. Nevertheless it is impossible for Protestant Churchmen to wax enthusiastic in “Church Defence” when they do not know what Church they are to defend. A Church of England faithful to her own formularies would be its own “Church Defence Society”, and would need no other. A Church of England officially teaching the doctrine and practising the ritual of Rome would be a national calamity, and to labour for the destruction of such a system would become the pressing duty of every Evangelical Christian. As we pray so must we work, first to “cleanse” and then to “defend” the Church.
P.10 – “Home Rule”. ‘So far as Home Rule is merely a political and economic matter, the Church Association has nothing to do with it. Where Home Rule attacks the dearest interests of more than a million Irish Protestants, we are bound to espouse the cause of our brethren.
‘The Act infringes the requirements of the Protestant Constitution by permitting a Romanist to be Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, whereas it is a fundamental provision of the Bill of Rights that no Romanist shall have or exercise the Royal Power in “this realm and Ireland, and the dominions thereunto belonging”. So stringent is the law on this head that every Regency Act from the Revolution down to and including the Act of 1910 contains strict provision that any Regent or other vice-regal officer becoming a Romanist, or even marrying a Romanist, ceases ipso facto to be invested with royal authority.
‘Furthermore, we cannot shut our eyes to the evidence which proves “Home Rule, Rome Rule”. If the Act be enforced, it seems that it must result either in civil war or the enslavement of the Irish Protestants - an enlightened minority possessing most of the capital and most of the business ability of the country – to a bigoted and ignorant Romish majority whose racial, political, and religious animosity against their fellow-subjects is sedulously fed by professional agitators and by the Roman priests.’
P.11 – “Convocation and Prayer Book Revision”. ‘On February 20th, 1915, the Joint Committee of Canterbury Convocation reported in favour of 162 amendments of the Prayer Book, out of which the Archbishop candidly confessed that the majority would not be carried at later stages. Unhappily, it is certain that the minority which will be carried by the Convocations – for in both Houses of each the partisans of the Ritualists now preponderate – willl include the features which make the proposed revision so offensive to Protestant Churchmen. The Council therefore issued a Manifesto, to concentrate public attention to the following changes in the Communion Service, to wit, the proposed sanction of
1. The use of the Chasuble . . .
2. The re-arrangement of the Communion prayers to facilitate the inculcation of sacerdotal ideas . . .
3. The mutilation of ther sentences of administration to foster a belief in the
so-called “Real” Presence . . .
4. The alteration of the rubrics which now forbid a priest to celebrate without
having bona fide communicants.
5. The reservation of the Sacrament . . .
6. The recital of prayers for the dead . . .
P.13 – “Dean Wace and the Convocation Proposals”. ‘Although the Dean of Canterbury’s views do not always coincide with our own, we believe Protestant Churchmen owe him a deep debt of gratitude not only for his courageous defence of the principles of the Reformation in the Lower House of Canterbury Convocation, but also for his most valuable and timely articles in the Record, where he has shown with unsparing logic the true meaning of the proposals of the joint Committee, and for his letters in the Times. We could not follow the Dean in wishing to permit the use of modified prayers for the dead, yet Dr Wace’s willingness to go so far in the interests of peace lends the gravest weight to his present strenuous approach to the Convocation proposals.’
P.13 – “Our Duty”. ‘Realising the Romanising character of the proposed revision, “the Council, therefore, believe it to be the duty of all ‘sober, peaceable, and truly conscientious sons of the Church of England’ to maintain with resolute determination, and without any competitor, the Prayer-book consecrated by the blood of the Martyrs, and endeared to us by the loyal approval and reverent use of twelve generations of English Churchmen of every school of thought.” The “Battle of the Books” will eventually have to be fought out in Parliament, and the Council will spare no effort in combating the Sacerdotalist policy at every step both towards and in the Legislature. But, under God, it depends upon the rank and file of the Church to defeat this great betrayal, and by their financial aid, by their personal service, and particularly by their prayers, to avert the threatened depravation of the Liturgy, which is still the noblest monument of our Reformers, who laid down their lives at the stake rather than forswear the pure faith which they had embodied in the English Book of Common Prayer.’
P.17 – “The Editorial Secretary”. ‘We deeply regret to record the resignation, owing to advancing years, of Mr J T Tomlinson, who held the post of Editorial Secretary for over thirty years.’ A generous appraisal of his work is recorded.
P.22 – “Colporteur-Evangelist Van Mission”. A record of the workings of eleven colporteurs from seven vans is given here.
P.26 – “Church Association Trust” – ‘The Directors have acquired the advowson of Peldon, in Essex, making a total of sixteen in the hands of the Trust.
On the outbreak of the War, the Chaplain at Düsseldorf, Archdeacon Noyes, with most of the English members of his congregation, left the town, and, after trying experiences, arrived safely in England on the 11th August.’