Son of an Anglican priest, educated at Cambridge University and prepared for ordination at Cuddesdon Seminary, I served in the ministry of the Church of England from 1960 until I moved to the Episcopal Church of the United States early in 1980 to become Rector of what was then St Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, Arlington, Texas – from which very Parish (since June 1994, the Parish of St Mary the Virgin, a Pastoral Provision parish in the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth) I retired at the end of 2012 and of which I am now Pastor Emeritus. Married to José in 1964, we have two grown and married children, Giles and Sarah. We also have a number – about which I am not prepared to be specific — of cats.
The Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, Cosmo Gordon Lang (who was a figure in the great Oscar-winning movie The King’s Speech) commissioned a portrait of himself to commemorate his ascension to that high office in 1928. When the Bishop of Durham, Hensley Henson, was visiting him the Archbishop showed him the new painting and asked his opinion. Unwilling to commit himself, Henson asked the Archbishop for his own views. “I fear that it portrays me as proud, arrogant and worldly.” Henson replied: “And to which of these attributes does Your Grace take exception?”
I present this as a subtle example of what it means to be blunt and sharp at the same time — which, incidentally, a Member of Parliament in London some forty years ago claimed to be his principal hobby. It is an ingenious idea, and an ambitious undertaking to emulate. But this, for what it is worth, it will be the general approach and attitude of this blog.
From time to time, in my own more proud and arrogant moments, I have thought of the possibility of writing my autobiography – and I have only refrained from doing so because I can’t imagine that there would be a sufficiently interested readership to warrant such a task. Herbert Hensley Henson (1863-1947), however, was a scholar, controversialist, the Gifford Lecturer in 1935-6, and Bishop of Durham. He gave the title Retrospect of an Unimportant Life to his own autobiography. I suspect that his Lordship could not have regarded his life as that unimportant, for he did allow it to run to three volumes. In such a spirit of modesty I offer my blog.