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" MAYOR'S SUNDAY."

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MAYOR'S SUNDAY." Is Welshpool Corporation Past Preaching To ? Eloquent Silence in the Parish Church. [BY A WELSHPOOL BURGESS.] 13th November, 1910. Their embarrassing experience on this Mayor's Sunday" is enough to make the Welshpool Borough Council- believe the old superstition that there is no luck in the number 13. Last Monday our town talk was the silent, but eloquent, rebuke which the civic fathers had received in St. Mary's Parish Church. This was the subject of discussion in shop and street, in public house and Conserva- tive Club. Said one member of this latter organisation: They were in a terrible way there-talking in the billiard room about the Vicar taking no part!" The Mayor of Welshpool described it as a very impressive service." It certainly was so from a certain standpoint. Every- one in the parish church must have realised something of the unspoken meaning of the service. The Vicar, in his private business life, had been willing to sell at a reasonable price land for the public good, which the townspeople were anxious to buy. But cer- tain forces had prevented the community from becoming their own landowners. Re- actionary influence could secure a majority of votes in three wards and in the Council Chamber. There was much soft speech- making over the re-election of the Mayor. But Welshpool's Vicar had not bowed the knee to Baal. And the progressive Liberals and Conservatives honoured him all the more for it. The Mayor and Corporation, with all their annual retinue, went to church without a chaplain, and they returned like- wise to the Council Chamber whence they had come. # Mr Maldwyn Price started the National Anthem on the organ as the procession en- tered church, and the congregation stood loyally. The Mayor and Corporation had arrived before time, and they waited in their seats a few minutes. There was some- thing embarrassing in the air the congre- gation contained a good number of people- hardy annuals" they are called by the regular attendants—who had not been in church since last Mayor's Sunday, unless they were at the King's funeral memorial service. The Mayor, in his scarlet, furred robes, sat in the Corporation pew next to the reading desk. The silver maces were propped up, one in each corner of the pew. What careful attention is paid sometimes to little details. At each end of the Corpora- tion pew's ledge there is a raised receptacle to accommodate the handle of the mace, otherwise they might fall on the floor. The three pews immediately under the pulpit had been reserved for the borough councillors and officials. In the fourth pew sat Mr Forrester Addie, the Earl of Powis's estate agent, behind Councillor Richard Jehkins, master of the Powis Castle stables. Enter up the aisle the choir, followed by the Vicar and a strange clergyman-a clean- shaven and spectacled face, full and fresh, suggesting Mr G. K. Chesterton. Everyone felt that he. and not the Vicar, would preach that morning. But Dr Davis is going to intone the ser- vice, and the Mayor and Corporation and the congregation stand to attention. The Vicar begins in the beginning: "When the wicked man turneth away from his wicked- ness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul." When the general confession" is reached, how many will join in ? How many will be silent? And why ? And of those who repeat after the Vicar, how many will mean what they say ? We have left undone those things which we ought to have done and we have done those things which we ought not to have done and there is no health in us." The strange priest reads the lessons in a pleasant voice that fills the church. He is the Rev Harrington Brown, a Shropshire curate, who is now acting as a locum" until the Vicar gets his new curate. The Vicar gives out some notices of meet- ings. And he makes a request: Will the congregation remain seated at the end of the service, while the Mayor and Corpora- tion leave the church ? The collection-as usual on Mayor's Suday "—will be divided between the Welsh- pool Dispensary and the Welshpool Nursing Institute. And it is the object of the col- lection that inspires the sermon. The Rev Harrington Brown, a stranger, can get no inspiration from the Welshpool Corporation. But perhaps he gets a better impression of them now-all silent councillors seated denurely in their frook-coats-than if he had to do much with their meetings. J There is a distance which lends enchant- ment to the scene. And there is a famil- iarity which breeds contempt. The locum" curate mounts the pulpit steps. The hymn ends, and he gives out his text. It is from the Gospel for the day," the 8th chapter of the Gospel according to St. Matthew, and the 2nd and 3rd verses: And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou can'st make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy was cleansed." The curate preached for thirteen minutes. His discourse had three heads: Firstly-The one who obtained the desired cure. Secondly-The conduct of Christ towards this man. And Thirdly-The lessons. What were the lessons ? I notice there are several," said the curate. But one lesson in particular I suggest that we dwell upon in conclusion. The Lord Jesus Christ did not become man merely to be a sacri- fice for sin on Calvary but also that He should be our example. The act of His touching this man revealed to us something of His compassion, something of His sym- pathy. If Christ, then, upon earth was so sym- pathetic, ought not we who profess to be His followers, to cultivate this noble quality of sympathy and compassion towards others ? Whilst it should be our aim to practice daily such a character, there are occasions on which we should especially show forth our sympathy. And is not the present moment such an occasion ? We ourselves have not, like the Divine Master, the power to heal the sick with a touch or with a word. But, surely, have we not the power to heal the sick by supporting such institu- tions as these for which I plead this morn- ing ? Our contributions are asked for the funds of the Nursing Institute and the Dispensary in this parish. And as a parish priest whose ministerial life has been mostly spent in agricultural parishes, I can bear witness to the enor- mous boon all such institutions are to the sick, to the suffering, and to the dying. Many a sad and dismal cottage has been turned into a home of rejoicing because the one poor, suffering inmate, instead of having to lie racked with pain on a mat- tress of straw in some dark or half-lighted attic, has been removed to an institution where the rooms are light and airy, where the suffering one is well attended to, and where his sufferings are alleviated. Shall not then,, brethren, the sympathy which the Divine Master extended towards the leper in the gospel move us to help these truly Christian causes to-day ? Shall not we, brethren, who have the power, stretch forth our hand to help the sick; shall not we, brethren, who have the power, stretch forth our hand to help the suffering shall not we, brethren, who have the power, stretch forth our hand to help the dying ? The curate paused. His Hospital Sunday" sermon was ended. Would he now pass on to a reference about the Mayor's Sunday,,? Would he welcome the Mayor and Corporation, or, at any rate, tell them that they have administrative powers in their hand to heal some of the 20th century leprosy in Welshpool ? Would he remind them that not only could they subscribe towards the "light and airy" Nursing Institute, but also could abolish "dark, half-lighted" cottages in Powysland slums ? No! Where the Vicar of the parish had failed in past years, a "locum" curate could hardly hope to succeed. Almost be- fore the congregation realized it, the Rev Harrington Brown was in the midst of the sentence which ends every sermon in the Anglican Church, but which is uttered so rapidly and lowly that many of the con- gregation rarely catch more than the words Father, Son, and Holy Ghost." Then came the hospital hymn and the col- lection. When one plate had passed the three pewfuls of councillors, ex-mayors, and officials, it was paved with silver, plus two pennies. The Mayor and Corporation and their retinue marched back to the Town Hall, and in the Council Chamber the Mayor ad- dressed a gathering of expectant burgesses: "Gentlemen, I thank you again heartily and most sincerely for the compliment you have paid the Corporation and myself this morning by attending in such number to divine service. I also wish to thank the officers and men of the Imperial Yeomanry and Territorial forces, also the Boy Scouts and members of the Friendly Societies. "I should also like to thank the Rev Harrington Brown for his excellent sermon, and the organist and the members of the choir. "I am sure we have all had a very im- I pressive and beautiful service this morning, and I trust our little institutions will benefit this morning. I have the privilege for the second time of asking you if you will kindly oblige me by taking a glass of wine with me ? Amid loud applause and some smiles, half- a-dozen waiters and waitresses appeared in the chamber, each carrying a tray laden with wine glasses. Sherry or port, sir Mr Charles Galloway, one of the borough auditors, and the oldest established licensed victualler in the town, has not once missed walking to church on "Mayor's Sunday" since 1880. "A pretty good record that was the appreciative comment of one bur- gess. "Almost as 'good as Mr Harrison's aldermanship." But Mr Galloway, with his long experience of Mayors' Sundays in Welshpool, had to admit that never before had he seen the Borough Council snubbed as they were on November 13th, 1910.

Stitch in Time.

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