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 Annual Meeting held on May 1st, 1916.
P.6 – “The Jubilee of the C.A.” ‘The Church Association which was founded on November 6th, 1865, was publicly inaugurated at a meeting in Exeter Hall on May 5th, 1866. Under ordinary circumstances, therefore, we should now be celebrating the “year of Jubilee”; but the actual situation is one which makes any such celebration impossible as well as unsuitable. We can only thank God for having blessed the Society for half a century, and pray for His assistance to serve Him better and more successfully in the future than ever in the years that are gone.’
P.6 – “ Causes for Thankfulness”. ‘Despite the unscrupulous activities of the enemies of Gospel Truth we have much cause for thankfulness. The “schemes” for the Revision of the Prayer-book are being hampered by the disagreements of their authors, and there is good hope that the whole project may yet come to nothing. The dangerous conspiracy to force the Mass and Confessional upon the Army has been boldly faced and defeated by the Chaplain-General. Certain of our bishops have spoken out plainly about Romish abuses in the Church. And what more especially concerns this Association, funds have come in to carry on our work, if not on as large a scale as we need, yet sufficiently, with a watchful economy, to keep our organisation in active efficiency.’
P.7 – “Rome and the War”. ‘It daily becomes more evident that this country is engaged in a War which is really though not as apparently a struggle against Rome as when she broke Philip of Spain or shattered the dreams of Louis XIV. In both these cases there was a crafty, unscrupulous and barbarous world-power which aimed at universal domination, and which to gratify this lust both used and was used by another cunning power, as St James would phrase it, more “earthly, sensual, devilish” than itself, to wit, the Papacy. The same is the case to-day. Rome is bound by self-interest (the only tie that secures her effectually) to the Central Empires. Except Austria, no first-rate power is Roman Catholic. Germany is almost half Romanist, and has conceded all that Rome wants in return for the unwavering support of the “Black Party” to the Navy Acts and other measures aimed at the destruction of Protestant England. . . . The Romish Bavarians have been responsible for some of the worst atrocities in Belgium and France; while their Prince Rupprecht (the Jacobite “Prince of Wales”) is credibly affirmed to have given orders that no prisoners are to be taken of “our most hated foes,” the English.’
P.8 – “The Vatican Mission”. ‘Our Government continues to maintain a “Diplomatic” Mission at the Vatican, for the expressed and especial purpose of imparting to the Pope authoritative information as to the progress of the War. The Mission is, we believe, an infringement of the Bill of Rights and of the Accession Declaration Act, 1910. . . . The excuse that the circumstances of “this Protestant Kingdom” have so altered since the Revolution that it is impossible not to hold some relations with the “spiritual” head of so many of our fellow-subjects, is rather worse than futile. Romanists are now a smaller proportion of the population of these islands than they were in 1689, they are an insignificant fraction of the population of the Empire both in numbers and in their contribution to its material and moral welfare, the Empire has been built up by Protestants principally during the period when the Romanists were absolutely excluded from holding any office at all under the Crown, and a large section of the Romanist population in Ireland have shown by their acts that they are content that we should wage this War without their aid.
P.8 – “Exploitation of the War”. ‘Under cover of the distraction of public attention by the War the Sacerdotal party is continuing to push a vigorous offensive. Convocation is still pressing Prayer-book Revision. Praying for the dead is being advocated and introduced in many places. . . .
“The New ‘Six Points’”. These are: (1) Reservation and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament; (2) Restoration of Devotions to our Lady in Public Worship; (3) The right to substitute Latin for the vernacular Mass; (4) Restoration of Contemplative Orders; (5) A celibate Priesthood; (6) “To the sixth point all these are prefatory and introductory; it is a frank and fearless re-statement of our Relation to the Apostolic See.” Such is the programme adopted by the more aggressive section of the English Church Union. Obviously it would be simpler and more dignified to propose the unconditional surrender of the English Church to the Papacy.’
P.9 – “The Campaign against the Chaplain-General”. ‘The Chaplain-General, Bishop J Taylor-Smith, being a loyal minister of our Reformed Church and dutifully observing the King’s Regulations for the conduct of public worship in the Army, has set his face steadfastly against the attempts of the Ritualists to force the Mass and the Confessional upon Church of England soldiers. As his reward he has been made the subject of a series of intrigues. The first move was the suggestion that the enormous increase of work required that Dr. Taylor-Smith should have an assistant. Such a reasonable request was granted, but not to the liking of the Ritualists, for the new Bishop for the Front was an old CMS man, Dr Gwynne, late Bishop of Khartoum.’
P.12. “Legal Decisions”. ‘One of the last services to the Church rendered by Bishop Straton as a diocesan was the prevention of a rood screen in Newcastle Cathedral. The Parish Church there is used as the Cathedral, and the Vicar was anxious to complete the screen. The Bishop, however, intimated that in all cases of such alterations a faculty must be obtained from the Consistory Court. When the Vicar appeared there, the Chancellor, Lieut-Colonel Errington, refused the desired faculty, but offered to grant one for a cross with no figure upon it, and suggested that the images of St Mary and St John be taken down.
‘In the case of Rex v the Bishop of Salisbury, it was decided by the Court of King’s Bench that the office of a Bishop in admitting a person as Churchwarden is “only ministerial”. That is to say, the Bishop has no power to adjudicate whether the elected person is a fit and proper one for the office; he can only inquire whether he was duly elected or whether he is legally disqualified from holding office. We are thankful for this reaffirmation of the law of the Church. The laity have little enough control in Church affairs as it is; it would be intolerable if the Bishop were allowed to disqualify their elected representative on the pretext that in the exercise of his “discretion” he did not approve of the man selected by the people.’
P.14 – “Colporteur-Evangelist Van Mission”. Six vans managed each by a colporteur are reported in use. ‘In this time of change it is not surprising that there should have been alterations in our staff of Colporteur-Evangelists during the past year; owing to this reason and the War, the work has been carried on with difficulty. . . . The Vans which are exposed to all weathers in summer and winter, need constant repair to make them fit dwellings for the Colporteurs, last year four of them had to be thoroughly renovated. . . . After the War it is hoped not merely to maintain the present Vans in full work, but to extend this department of our work, and with this view the Council have taken advantage of an opportunity which presented itself of purchasing a seventh Van in honour of the Jubilee year of the Association.’
P.17 – “Organisation”. ‘During the past twelve months the Clerical and District Secretaries have been quietly and steadily carrying on their work, in spite of the fact that in many parts evening meetings and even services have been suspended. . . . Needless to say those districts nearer the scene of conflict have felt the effects of the War more keenly than others, and suffered more from air raids and darkened streets. Despite these difficulties, much good work has been done.’
P.26 – “The Church Association Trust”. Seven Directors of the Trust are named. The list of benefices held by the Trust amounts to sixteen churches with four other properties added.