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CHURCH DEFENCE MEETING ATI…

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CHURCH DEFENCE MEETING AT I LEDBURY. Addresses by Mr John Riley and I Archdeacon Bevan. A well-attended meeting was held at the Church Room, Ledbury, last (Thursday) night, for the purpose of expressing opposition to the Welsh Church Bill. The meetiag was convened by the local Church Defence Committee, and was presided over by Alderman John Riley, of Putley Court, who was supported by Archdeacon Bevan, of Brecon, the Rector (Rev F W Carnegy) and Mr C H Bastow. Also present were Mr and Mrs Spencer H Bickham, Dr Miles Wood, Mrs Mase- field, Mr C B Masefield, Mrs F W Carnegy. Mra Maddison Green, Mr and Mrs Hugh Croft, Miss Martin. Miss Ussher Roberts. Dr A R Green, Mr F W Wade. Rev (I F R and Mrs Strickland, Mr H Vernon Smith, Miss Masefield, etc., etc. The Chairman said he was very glad to see so many there that nigbt, as he began to think that after the attention paid in Parliament lately to affaire ovei the water, it had rather been put out of the ininde of people that they had such a Bill as the Welsh Church Bill He was glad to find that that was not the case, and he would like to say tliat-ie hoped the speaker would advisably avoid any political references. It was really a matter o: retision and they ought to keep politics 4Hit of it as far as possible. There were no doubt many Liberal Churchmen in the room and they did not wish to say anything that would wound the susceptibilities of Liberal Churchmen by saying anything at,,tiiiat the Government responsible for the Bill. No doubt there were other persons present, non-members of the Church of England, to whom they could appeal to join them in ■ opposing this Bill and to follow the noble lead given them by the deputation to the Prime Minster the other day. (Applause.) The Bill was in two parts—disestablishment and disendow- went. On the former he did not propose to say anything ti-; he did not know what it was. They had been told by the promoters of the Bill that disestablishment would be a very fine thing for the Church in Nale., because it would give the Church ^r^ater freedom. He did not know how that would come about, as he did not know how men who had never been in liondage were going to be any better by being offered freedom. As to disendowment they knew what that was. They know wh-.t it would mean if it was proposed to cut off 2-3rds of their income, and have it taken away. Oue of the tilings they had always been told was that this Bill ought to pass because it was wanted by a majority of the people in Wales. They had al ways maintained that mem- bers of the Church in Wales were a majority of the religious people in Wales. They had always offered to put the test and now that they found Nonconformists in Wales who put religion before polities, and had appealed to the Prime Minister to stop the Bill, then they were justi- fied in saying that there was a large majority in Wales against the Bill. (Applause.) The Bill proposed to lop off sundry dioceses from the Church and surely in that case the great body of the people in the Church of England had a right to have a say in the matter, and they could not say the church people in this country were in favour of it. He very much doubted if the Bill would have passed in Parliament if the Welsh Members had been told to vote as they pleased, at any rate it they had been told the vote was by ballot and nobody would know what their votes were, many of them would not be in favour of this Bill. The Bill was mean and many Liberal members va the Honse of Commons would not have voted for the Bill had there been no such thing as party politic-. (Applause.) Archdeacon Bevan, :¡f Brecon, was the principal speaker, and in the course of an address of an hour's duration, he nude a fine fighting speech which frequently roused the audience to enthusiasm. He said they met at a very interest: ing time in the controversy, and in reply to the argument that it would be to the advantage of religious peace in Wales if they accepted the Bill, pointed out that the Liberationisms only regarded it as a contribution to the ttnal settlement of the question. So far from promising a settlement of the question it would on y be the beginning of a period of attacks which would continue so long as the Church held a single building or a single Esnny of her ancient endowments. The present ill proposed to take 123 in the ? away, and would take away the majority of their church- yards. and a subseqnent Bill would contain some attempt to nationalise their churches and cathedrals. What they asked for in Wales was mere justice and fair dealing—(applause)—and they were going to stay out lookinc, for those two things to the end of the chapter—(applause)— and nothing encouraged them so much as the knowledge that their fellow Churchmen in England were making the cause, of Wales their cause and were rendering splendid assistance. Referring to the petition that was conveyed to the Prime Minister by a deputation of Non- conformists from the diocese of St. Asaph, where where thay had a petition signed by 15,000 Nonconformists over '21 years of age, the Arch- deacon said that petitions were also being signed in the dioceses of St. David's and Llandaff against the secularisation of the ancient endowments of the church and the alienation of the ancient burying places of the church. In Breconshire their loci! paper, an organ supporting the Bill, I printed the following Beware! All Non- eonfornmta and those who value religions freedom are warned to resist to the uttermost the attempts made to secure signatures to the petition against religious freedom. Refuse to sign 1 Refuse to take round the petition! Refuse to be persuaded Remember the edict Sign or Starve Welshmen, stand (Laughter.) In his subsequent remarks Archdeacon Bevan drew graphic word pictures of the valuable work done by the Church in the slurti parishes of the towns and cities of Wales, and in the remote parishes in the mountains. In conclusion he said they bad a strong conviction still that the appeal they were making was an appeal that would not be made in vain. They made that appeal to the instincts of fairness and they could not bring themselves to believe that that appeal was going to be made to no purpose. One wishes," concluded the Archdeacon, that those who &rc inclined to speak about the Welsh triumph being assuied, would take to themselves the reply that was made at one time by a staunuh Cii irchmaa to one who threatened to be an (,pprei,.i;r. I am speaking of Henry of Navarre, who said The Church in whose name I speak—it belongs to that Church to endure blows and not to inllii t them, but I would have your Majesty remember that the Church is an anvil that has worn out many hammers. (Loud applause. ) Dr. Wood proposed "That this meeting strongly protests against the Government's attempt to pass by meais of the Parliament Act, without an appeal to the country at a General Election, a measure for the disemberment of the Church and for the secularisation of religious endowments in Wales (Applause.) There were signs now that many who had hitherto supported the Bill were beginning to realise, late though it was, that it was an immoral thing to deprive the Church of its endowments and apply them to secular purposes. (Applause.) The Rector seconded, and referred to the remarkable outbursts of feeling against the Bill, as expressed in the petitions and demonstrations against it. He knew dozens of Liberal Church- men who at the next General Election would vote for their Church, and when they had saved their Church would go back to their party. (Applause). The resolution was carried by acclamation. Dr Green proposed and Mr Bastow seconded a hearty vote of thanks to the Chairman and Archdeacon Bevan, which was enthusiastically accorded, and both gentlemen briefly replied.

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