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CHURCHMEN AND PUBLIC LIFE. Ruridecanal Conferencs at Pembroke Dock. INTERESTING SPEECHES. As briefly announced in our last issue the r-ctri-decanal conference for the deanery of Oastlemartin was held in St. 'John's School- room, Pembroke Dock, on Wednesday evening, when the rural dean (the Rev. S. T. Phillips) presided over a fair attendance of clergy and lay representatives. THE RURAL DEAN'S ADDRESS. In his address the Rural Dean said that this conference was but a link in the long chain which sought to bind all members of the national Church in one great whole. For some years past there had been a growing desire to find a way of interesting the laity in the work of the Church—a desire which he, for one, was anxious to foster. But the question was a thorny one. In this, as in some other things, the position of the Church was to keep the mean between two extremes. In the Church of Rome the layman occupied a subordinate position. In what were now called the Free Churches-to use a term which he found ready to hand without committing himself to its accuracy-the layman was more or less su- preme. With the Church the layman was legally recognised in the office of church warden—ai^pfficc both ancient and honourable, but at best local and parochial. They wanted something more than that. The House of Laymen had met the want to some extent, but did not satisfy the need. Now they had, after years of deliberation and controversy, a house of representatives. The question that had troubled them most had been how should they elect the representatives. Should they be elected by the congregation or the parochial vestry? Should the electors be communicants or not? They had fallen back on the vestry but the lay representatives must sign a de- claration that they were communicants. The representatives were members of the ruri-de- canal conference. That conference elected re- presentatives to the diocesan conference and the latter in turn elected members of the house of representatives which met periodically in London. Thus the laymen in each parish had a voice in the councils of the church. UnAntrUB 1IN UTJAIN IMi. 1. Proceeding, he said that since the last ruri- decanal conference the rural deanery of Castle- martin had seen many changes. The Deanery, when fully manned, had nineteen incumbents, but in twelve months five incumbents had vacated their benefices. The Rev. F. R. A. Hamilton had left Stacpole for Claypole, near Newark-on-Trent. It was not generally known that Mr. Hamilton was one of those fortunate ones who were pupils of the late Dean Vaughan. The clergy in the Deanery were the better for that fact, as Mr. Hamilton often threw light upon obscure passages met with in their Greek Testament readings, and when fortified by a note of Dean Vaughan's his opin- ion was generally final. Advanced age had compelled the Rev. E. J. Wolfe to resign the rectory of Angle. Mr. Wolfe was one of the heroes of his younger days, and it was his privilege to be numbered among his friends since the days of long ago, when his energy as chaplain to seamen at Swansea won the ad- miration of all who knew him and his work. Chancellor Jones had resigned Warren and St. Twynnel to undertake diocesan work, streng- thened by the renewed health which his stay in the deanery brought him. The Rev. Charles Morgan had vacated the rectory of Rhoscrow- ther, to which he was inducted as long ago as 1887. Before that he was rector of Bosheston for fifteen years. His connection with the deanery was longer still; he once told the sneaker that he had worked with no fewer than eight rural deans. For many years he was secretary of their chapter. The parish of St. Davids had added yet another name to its rapidly growing roll of vicars, but as the re- tiring incumbent had merely removed to Stac- pole, and the new one formerly served as curate of Monkton, the balance of gain and loss to the deanery was not affected. In a very short time the vicar of Manorbier would return to England. Manorbier was a college living, and it had been held by a succession of men who had distinguished themselve's as scholars and thinkers, and the Rev. E. Kinloch Jones' energy had been linked with scholar- ship and high thinking. He took away with him ihe good wishes of a host of friends, for though he (the speaker) had spent his whole life in the diocese of St. Davids, he could not recall a single instance of an immigrant mak- ing so wide a circle of friends in so short a time, an Mr. Kinloch Jones had done. Ap- pointments had been made to all the bene- fices: the Rev. W. Garner was at work at Anglo, the Rev. G. P. Gabriel at Warren, the Rev. R. H. Sewell had accepted Rhoscrowther, and the Rev. Herbert Hiaver had accepted Manorbier. The Rural Dean then dealt with the question of THE ROYAL COMMISSION now sitting, which he said was (so far as they could judge) likely to sit for some time yet. What the ultimate result would be remained to be seen, but some very excellent results had already been gained. It was often assumed that this was the first inquiry of the kind into the position and work of the Church. In 1831 a Commission inquired into the established rovenues of England and Wales. In 1875, and again in 1892, Parliamentary returns were or- dered showed the amount raised by voluntary contributions for church building, restoration, and furniture. The present inquiry was of a wider nature, but, as far as it covered the same ground, it would provide material for comparison with the figures obtained on pre- vious occasions. They might have seen some of the results in the public Press; they had not been completed, but so far as they had gone they were not discouraging. Church people as a whole were modest folk. There were, of course, some blatant advertisers amongt hem, but they were few and far be- tween-so few that they became unduly con- spicuous. As a general rule they did not parade their work in public, and did not publish lists of converts. Some, indeed, carried their mo- desty so far that they had objected on prin- ciple to the compilation of statistics and the filling up of returns. To them the whole thing teemed very like the sin of David when he numbered the people, although the sin of David was not in the act but in the motive. This Royal Commission had brought home to tAem the fact that the case for the Church must be made clear to others. It was not enough that they were convinced that the Church was not the alien institution that some represented it to be-they had to convince others. The best way of doing this was to produce their proof in the form of figures which would stand close examination. This had been done. Parish after parish had fallen into line, and in every case the figures had been tested and checked in a way which some of them had been tempted to consider irksome. They had, however, seen the need of them, and there was NO REASON TO FEAR the closest investigation into their reliability. They had seen lately that there had been a serious reduction in figures affecting certain other religious bodies. Whether this reduction was due to the reaction naturally following the late revival, or to the lessons in arithmetic taught by the Church Commission, was not for him to say, but he should be very greatly surprised if any such reduction was revealed by the Church statistics. Proceeding, he dealt with the accounts sent in by the churchwar- dens in that, deanery, and said that he was very favourably impressed by the careful way in which the majority of the accounts were kept. He then dealt with the necessity for keeping a proper ledger in each parish, and accounts clearly showing Church expenses for lighting, heating, salaries, charities, etc., and also showing all money received. It was be- coming more and more evident that a frontal attack would be made on the Church in the very near future. Flank attacks by regulations were becoming common, and the frontal attack could not be long delayed if the pledges of Ministers of the Crown were to be redeemed. They could not complain of want of notice, and if they were caught napping the fault would be their own. The time did not seem to have come for large gatherings, but the time had come for the buckling on of armour for the conflict. Church people wanted to be wound up, more the pity; but all large bodies were slow to move. The consolation was that WHEN THEY DID MOVE they possessed a proportionately large amount of momentum, and were apt to carry things before them. Some of tJJ.;il know how true this proved to be of the Church in the past, and the knowledge convinced them that Church people would not quietly submit to be dis- inherited. If some of them saw last week, in their leading county newspaper, words of his which pointed to a different conclusion, they would have had yet another instance of the importance of small things. The omission of the little word "not" by the Linotype made all the difference. In conclusion, he expressed his great regret that it had not been possible for him to visit the parishes of the Deanery, but happily there had been no great need of such visits. THE CHURCHMAN AS A CITIZEN. The Rev. E. Kinloch Jones (Manorbier) then opened an interesting debate on "The Church- man as a Citizen," and deplored the present tendency of dissociating public matters from religion and settling them on a purely secular basis. He pointed out that Churchmen were, as a rule, not anxious to take their part in public affairs as Churchmen; and the repre- sentatives on public bodies, who were sup- posed to be Churchmen, were too often men who were not active Church wcniers. Church people said that these things were not their business, and felt that if they raised their voices about a matter they might get into some sort of difficulty. It was their duty to speak and talk on matters of public importance as much as possible, and use their influence for what they felt to be the right. As an example he dealt with the Temperance ques- tion and said that whatever party brought in a measure dealing with temperance, if they, after considering it, felt that it contained good clauses, they surely had' no right to keep their mouths shut. In the discussion which followed, the Rev. D. Akrill Jones, of Prendergast, said that they as Church people ought to make their voices heard on the tremendous, vital, burning ques- tions of the day, and see that they were not settled altogether on secular grounds. Dealing with the Churchmen on public bodies, he said that though they were outside butresses they were not often- inside pillars of the Church. Proceeding, he compared the Churchmen on the Pembrokeshire County Council with the Nonconformist members, and said that the latter almost without exception for years and years had been deeply interested and ac- tive members in their chapels. They came from their homes to these public deliberations inspired by the spiritual life of their chapels. There was the difference between the Non- conformist and the Church members, and this was what they wanted to remedy. He thought that the remedy would be to allow the laity ¡ a much larger share in the life of the Church, and that the Chairman had put his finger on the weak spot.



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