St. Christopher's Parsonage 193-B Duong Cong Ly
Saigon, Republic of Vietnam November, 1961
As you all know, our "parish" has been passing through a "time of troubles".
The rice fields in several provinces of Vietnam and Cambodia were flooded by the swollen Mekong, and as you flew from Saigon to Phnom Penh you saw just a vast lake from horizon to horizon, with roofs and treetops sticking up from the muddy water.
The Viet Cong have entered South Vietnam in regimental strength (estimated at about 20,000 men), and murdered our friend Col. Huong Thuy Nam, among many other people, after cruelly torturing and mutilating him.
Cambodia and Thailand have broken off relations in a silly quarrel, and the USA is getting roasted in the royal Cambodian speeches. In Laos the three princes are still bargaining over the country's future government.
There are also some bright spots in the picture. General Maxwell Taylor's visit gave a boost to morale, though it left our military and diplomatic families with their tongues hanging out! And now the Foreign Relations Committee group of congressmen and their wives are in Saigon, and we have enjoyed entertaining the Harris McDowells (Harris was our Congressman in Delaware) and the Tom Johnsons (he is our Representative in Maryland).
Our congregations are going well, though it is always hard to keep up with the arrivals and departures, returns from home leave, trips to Hong Kong, etc. A total of about 100 attend our Sunday services at Saigon now. Last Sunday W baptized his first Vietnamese convert and named him "John Mark (Ho) Van Hoa". The third Vietnamese Anglican we know of, he is Secretary of the Khai Minh School, where W taught English for a while.
Six or eight other young Vietnamese, including a girl, an Air Force sergeant and several students, are attending weekly classes at the Parsonage for Baptism and Confirmation. For them we have a Vietnamese translation of the American Prayer Book "Offices of Instruction", made by a young law student, Tran Trong Hai, and printed in a pamphlet.
For the services on 12 November, "Remembrance Day", Padré Hodgins, Assistant Chaplain General, GHQ FARELF, came over from Singapore, as W was due at Phnom Penh. The special service at 10:45 A.M. was a most moving one, with military personnel in uniform and the little French Church packed to the doors.
The French-Reformed congregation and our own have started planning to organize a secondary school in the French Church compound. We are thinking of an English-language school for American, British, Chinese and Vietnamese children in the mornings, with the same facilities used in the afternoons by French-speaking children from the plantations and elsewhere who will live in the compound, attend the Saigon lycees and do their home-work under direction in the afternoons. More about this later.
Ambassador Trimble, Warden of Trinity Church, Phnom Penh, and his wife Nancy are back from home leave, as are Gaylord and Joanne Walker, respectively Lay Reader and former Committee member, and things are gathering new momentum there. The Pell's are taking a "Cambodian holiday" this month, and plan to enjoy Angkor Wat, the fabulous Water Festival at Phnom Penh, Thanksgiving Dinner at the Stuart Barons' and bathing in the Gulf of Siam at Kep. The Church School at the Barons' house is still going strong, and everyone is excited at the new materials which arrived recently from Morehouse-Barlow.
Vientiane was as quiet and relaxing as usual when W visited the Church of the Holy Spirit there at the end of October. Everyone hopes the American dependents will be able to return soon from their year-long exile in Bangkok. Mr. Malcolm Morris, the Australian Minister, is Warden of that congregation. There is always an enthusiastic turnout for our services in the tiny whitewashed "International Protestant Chapel" which Pastor Whipple kindly offers for our use.
For W the brightest of all recent moments was when E stepped off the jet airliner at Saigon's Tan Son Nhut Airport on 24 October, after two and a half months in the USA! She came bearing photos of the children and grandchildren, including Robert Foster Whitmer IV, our first grandson and Lili's and Bob's fine contribution to our Rogues' Gallery! We had to hire an airlines bus to convey to the Airport all E's Vietnamese admirers, would-be adopted daughters, et al!
We are expecting the Lord Bishops of Delaware (in December) and Singapore and Malaya (in February), and are lining up batches of people for them to confirm.
This news-letter is a short one because it accompanies Volume 1, Number 1 of "THE MEKONG MESSENGER". We hope that this new magazine will convey to our readers some of the flavor of this area and the trend of the work here. We commend especially Bishop Sansbury's fine letter in the back pages.
May this letter serve to bring you all affectionate regards and best wishes for Thanksgiving and Christmas from
WALDEN, EDITH AND KAZMAIER PELL
THE DIOCESE OF SINGAPORE AND MALAYA
under the metropolitan jurisdiction of His Grace, the Most Reverend Arthur Michael Ramsey, 100th Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Lord Bishop of Singapore and Malaya
The Right Reverend Cyril Kenneth Sansbury, D.D. Bishopsbourne, 4, Bishopsgate, Singapore 10.
The Bishop (Suffragan) in Kuala Lumpur
The Right Reverend Roland Koh Peck Chiang, D.D. 9, Middle Road, Kuala Lumpur, Malaya.
THE ANGLICAN-EPISCOPAL CONGREGATIONS OF THE MEKONG under the archdiaconal jurisdiction of The Archdeacon of North Malaya
The Venerable Anthony C. Dumper
St. George's Vicarage, 20, Pangkor Road, Penang, Malaya.
The Reverend Walden Pell II, M.A. Oxon., S.T.D.
St. Christopher's Parsonage, 193-B, Duong Cong Ly, Saigon, Vietnam.
The Clerical Visitor to Vientiane
The Reverend E. James Pulman
Christ Church Parsonage, 11, Convent Road, Bangkok, Thailand.
The Congregations St. Christopher's Church, Saigon, Vietnam. Trinity Church, Phnom-Penh, Cambodia. Church of the Holy Spirit, Vientiane, Laos.
HISTORICAL OUTLINE OF ANGLICAN WORK IN THE DIOCESE OF SINGAPORE AND MALAYA
From late 18th Century--Anglican work in Singapore and Malaya under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Calcutta.
1856-1862.--St. Andrew's Cathedral built in Singapore.
1869.--Singapore and Malaya included in the new Diocese of Labuan, Sarawak and Singapore.
1909.--Charles James Ferguson-Davies consecrated First Bishop of Singapore. In addition to St. Andrew's Cathedral, St. George's Church was in existence at Penang, Christ Church at Malacca, All Saints Church at Djakarta and Christ Church at Bangkok.
1955-1959.--Anglican Church services started at Phnom-Penh, Saigon and Vientiane under the leadership of Lay Readers, with visits from the Lord Bishop, the Assistant Bishop, the Archdeacon of North Malaya, the Chaplain of Christ Church, Bangkok, and others.
1960.--Under the Right Reverend Henry W. Baines, D.D., the Diocese of Singapore becomes the Diocese of Singapore and Malaya. Bishop Baines commissions the Reverend Walden Pell II to undertake "The Anglican Mission in Indo-China".
1961.--Dr. Pell arrives with Mrs. Pell at Saigon in January to take charge of the congregations in Saigon, Phnom-Penh and Vientiane. The mission and congregations receive their present names.
MESSAGE FROM THE BISHOP OF SINGAPORE & MALAYA
I have much pleasure in sending a greeting to you all for the first number of "THE MEKONG MESSENGER". It is good to have news of the progress of the three Congregations in the area under the leadership of the Rev. Walden Pell II, and I look forward to visiting you all in due course. You are geographically cut off from the main part of the Diocese, but that does not mean that you are forgotten. We value your belonging to us and we want to give you all the help we can. Our prayers are with you that God's blessing may rest upon your life and witness.
+ KENNETH SINGAPORE AND MALAYA
Bishop of Singapore and Malaya
7 September, 1961
MESSAGE FROM THE ARCHDEACON OF NORTH MALAYA
I am delighted to hear of the good progress made by the Congregations of the Mekong and of the production of this magazine. I have very happy memories of my visits to the capital cities in which our congregations are, and their work and worship will always occupy a special place in my thoughts. I send my good wishes to all my friends who will read this, and I assure you all in the far north of the Archdeaconry that we will continue to pray for your work and witness in the special situation in which you are placed.
With sincere greetings,
TONY DUMPER, Archdeacon
29 July, 1961
MESSAGE FROM THE PRIEST-IN-CHARGE
Any message from me must begin, continue and end with thanks: thanks to literally hundreds of people who have contributed their energy, prayers, time, hospitality, money and other gifts to our Mission along "the mighty Mekong".
First, there are nearly 50 persons or organizations (especially the Chichester du Pont Foundation) who have given over $ 7,000 to our Mission's fund in the Overseas Department of the National Council of the Episcopal Church; and there is the Overseas Department itself, which is paying our travel to and from the U. S. A., our rent in Saigon, and my salary, and is struggling patiently with our problems and affairs, some of them without precedent.
Many thanks also to the Bishops of Singapore and Malaya: to Bishop Baines, who commissioned us in 1960 to undertake what was then called "The Anglican Mission in Indo-China"; to Bishop Sansbury, who has given us such fine support and will be with us, d. v., in January (at Vientiane) and February (at Phnom Penh and Saigon); and to Bishop Koh, whose printed news-letter of Lent, 1957, first aroused our interest in coming here, and who has this work so close to his heart.
We are grateful also to many other Diocesan leaders: to Archdeacon Dumper, and to the Rev. E. J. Pulman of Bangkok, who visited these congregations in years past; to Commander Hudson, former Secretary of the Diocese, Mr. Leonard Strange, the present Secretary, and all the clerical and lay people in Singapore and Malaya who have helped to start organized Anglican work here.
We'll never forget the two weeks of hospitality we received when we arrived in Saigon last January, nor the kind people who gave it: Col. and Mrs. Hugh Cook, Cmdr. and Mrs. Everett Parke, and General and Mrs. Alden Sibley; and Col. and Mrs. E. B. Cheston, who kept us supplied with ice until we installed our Frigidaire! Since then many people have entertained us in Phnom Penh, Vientiane and Saigon, and to all these hosts and hostesses goes our sincere gratitude!
Next we would mention the large body of men, women and children in all three congregations who have served as committee members, lay readers, lesson readers, sidesmen, Altar Guild members, organists, Choir members and acolytes. In Saigon alone it takes some 30 individuals a month to perform the duties of the first five categories above. All these people lead busy lives full of unexpected pressures and distractions, and our thanks to them is well deserved.
We are especially grateful to the Rev. William P. Anna, Protestant Chaplain of S. S. HOPE and, when he is at home, Rector of St. John's Church, Beltsville Md., U. S. A., for taking services and preaching when I was away; to Miss Julia Sibley for her splendid talk on the ministry of healing at Saigon on 10 September and to Mrs. Stuart Baron, Miss Janette Irving and their helpers, who started our first Church School, in the Barons' house at Phnom Penh.
Our local fellow-clergy have also earned our thanks as well as our affection and admiration: the Rev. Pierre Medard and the Rev. Walton Whipple, our host pastors in Saigon and Vientiane respectively: the Rev. John Sawin in Saigon and the Rev. W. H. Holton in Phnom Penh, who have extended every sort of cooperation and fellowship; and other clergy of the Evangelical Church, which recently celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the start of its work in this area.
We are all grateful to the many who have contributed their piastres, riels, kips, pounds and dollars to the support of our churches; to the ladies who have kept our altars supplied with flowers; and to the donors of the following equipment, supplies, and services.
From the Rev. William P. Anna, Prayer Books, leaflets, candles and Communion wafers.
From Mrs. E.B. Cheston, vestments for the Acolyte.
From Colonel Cheston, Miss Gabrielle Clara and Miss Dorothy Ward, mimeographing of church bulletins, minutes, schedules, etc.
From the Church of the Holy Spirit, Vientiane, a silver ciborium for Holy Communion.
From Mrs. Hugh Cook, the loan of a typewriter.
From Mrs. Marshall Green of Seoul, Korea, two needlepointed kneelers for St. Christopher's Church, Saigon.
From Her Britannic Majesty's Ambassador and Mrs. Hohler, silver candlesticks from England for the altar at Saigon.
From Mrs. H.A.F. Hohler, an altar cloth, fair linen, palls and lavabo towels.
From Mr. Charles Searles, a lectern Bible, King James Version, for the Church of the Holy Spirit, Vientiane.
From Maj-Genl. and Mrs. Alden K. Sibley, brass vases for the altar, a silver, lavabo bowl, and a large blackboard, for Saigon.
From Miss Cherry Stubbs, an organ for Trinity Church, Phnom Penh.
From St. Christopher's Church, Saigon, brass, vases and candlesticks for the Church School at Phnom Penh.
From Mr. Do Duc Tri, the donation of his services in reviewing the translation of the Offices of Instruction into Vietnamese.
From Dr. Wang Tsio Yong, a large blackboard for the Parsonage at Saigon.
For Mrs. Pell, who presided with sweet Christian grace over "Headmaster's House" at St. Andrew's School for 27 years and now presides over St. Christopher's Parsonage, I reserve some sort of special and inexpressible thanks! Finally to the good Lord who has brought us here and opened to us such a wonderful opportunity to do His work, thanks and praise, world without end!
WALDEN PELL II
26 September, 1961
SAINT CHRISTOPHER'S CHURCH SAIGON,
REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM
Parsonage: 193-B, Duong Cong Ly. Phone 25-271.
Services at the FRENCH REFORMED CHURCH, 2-bis Thong Nhut (ex. Norodom), corner of Thong Nhut and Mac Dinh Chi.
1st Sunday in the month: 8 AM and 11 AM, Holy Communion with address or sermon.
2nd and 5th Sundays in the month: 6 PM, Evening Prayer and sermon.
3rd Sunday in the month: 8 AM, Holy Communion and address; 11 AM, Morning Prayer and sermon.
4th Sunday in the month: 8 AM, Holy Communion and address; 11 AM, Morning Prayer and sermon; 6 PM, Evening Prayer and sermon.
Choir practice: Friday at 6: 15 PM, in the Church.
Instruction for Baptism and/or Confirmation: Thursday, at 5 PM for Vietnamese speakers and 6 PM for English speakers, at the Parsonage.
THE CHURCH COMMITTEE Peoples' Warden H. E. Her Britannic Majesty's Ambassador, Mr. H.A.F. Hohler. Vicar's Warden H. E. The Ambassador of the United States, Mr. Frederick E. Nolting, Jr. Hon: Secretary Hon: Assistant Secretary Mr. Frederick Jackson Cmdr. Everett A. Parke Hon: Treasurer Mr. Robert Price Col. Robert T. Bennett Miss Gabrielle Clara Col. Elliott B. Cheston Mrs. Frank D. Miller Mrs. Alden K. Sibley [left Saigon in September.] LAY READERS Major Thomas Constant Col. Frank D. Miller Cmdr. Everett A. Parke FORMER LAY READERS 1955 to April, 1957--Mr. David Royce, British Embassy
April, 1957 to December, 1957--Mr. Jo Fisher Freeman, USOM December, 1957 to July, 1959--Col. T. Burrowes, British Embassy
May, 1958 to October, 1958--H. E. Mr. Thomas le M. Carter, Canadian Delegation, ICC
January, 1959 to July, 1960--Col. Richard H. Comstock, U.S. Embassy March, 1959 to December, 1960--Mr. Ian de Leschery, Chartered Bank April, 1961 to June, 1961--Maj. Malcolm McClure, US MAAG
THE ALTAR GUILD Directress, Mrs. H.A.F. Hohler. Sub-Directresses: Mrs. F.H. Jackson, Mrs. E.A. Parke. Hon: Secretary and Treasurer, Mrs. W. Pell II. Choir Mother, Mrs. E.B. Cheston. ORGANISTS Miss Angela Faragher, Miss Lindsay Nolting, Mrs. Leonard Reynolds. Ambassador Nolting reads the Lesson at Saigon HISTORICAL NOTE
The records indicate that some sort of organized Anglican services were held at the French Reformed Church as early as 1955. Regular services on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month are recorded from 13 January, 1957, with Holy Communion celebrated by the Rt. Rev. Henry W. Baines, then Bishop of Singapore. Other visiting clergy prior to 1961 were: the Rev. Roland Koh Peck Chiang (now Bishop Suffragan in Kuala Lumpur), Archdeacon Dumper, and the Rev. Messrs Arrowsmith, Castle, Clark, Cock, Fuller, Grobecker, Oliver, Pell and Pulman. Mr. Pulman was the most frequent of these visitors.
The services were normally Evensong conducted by a Lay Reader. For Christmas and Easter there were services of "Nine Lessons and Carols".
In January, 1961, Dr. and Mrs. Pell came into residence at Saigon and on 1 February occupied the present Parsonage. Their arrival on 16 January coincided with the visit of Bishop and Mrs. Koh, and Dr. Pell presented two Chinese and one American young lady to the Bishop for Confirmation, then prepared them after the fact!
Since then there have been from one to three Anglican services every Sunday, and the Instruction Class for baptism and/or Confirmation has enrolled eight adults and 19 young people in three series of 12 sessions each.
There is a small Choir which sings at one service each Sunday.
The Episcopal Prayer Book Offices of Instruction have been translated into Vietnamese by Mr. Tran Trong Hai, with valuable assistance from the Rev. John Sawin and Mr. Do Duc Tri, and these are being printed in pamphlet form with the Vietnamese on one side of the page and the English on the other.
The congregation numbers about 140 persons, some of whom are members of ether denominations. According to diocesan policy these are welcome to receive Holy Communion at our services.
The average total Sunday attendance has been:
1961--54 + (first six months).
FROM THE REGISTER, 1961
Baptisms: 15 January, John David Worth III; 5 February, Alice Elaine Armstrong, Emile David Calfo, Jenna Elizabeth Luche, Stephen Edward Luche, Carl Arne Swanson; 1 April, Renee Chao Hsia Mei; 27 August, Laura Denise Montgomery.
Confirmations: 19 January, Ramona Gertrude Chao, Rita Ann Chao, Margaret Page Worth.
Marriages: 13 May, Flying Officer Jeffrey Richard James Lawrence and Miss Angela Faragher; 28 July, Mr. Thomas Stanley Brooks and Miss Claire Myrtle Stevenson.
Burials: 26 May, Andrew Charles Wilson.
TRINITY CHURCH PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA
Services at the U.S. INFORMATION SERVICE AUDITORIUM, opposite the U.S. Embassy, Vithei Chan Nak.
Every Sunday: 6:30 P.M., Evening Prayer and sermon.
2nd Sunday of each month: 8 A.M., Holy Communion and address.
Church School: Tuesdays at 4 P.M. at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Stuart Baron, 10 Oknha Peich.
Confirmation Class: Mondays following the 2nd Sunday in the month, at 5 P.M. in the U.S. Information Service Auditorium.
The Priest-in-Charge is available for interviews on Mondays following the 2nd Sunday in the month, between 11 A.M. and 12 noon and between 4 and 5 P.M., in the U.S. Information Service Auditorium.
Baptisms may be arranged with the Priest-in-Charge or through the Hon: Secretaries of the Church Committee.
THE CHURCH COMMITTEE Chairman H. E. The Ambassador of the United States, Mr. William C. Trimble Vice-Chairman Mr. Richard Hanbury-Tenison Joint Hon: Secretaries Mr. Peter A. Poole Mr. Leslie Taylor Hon: Treasurer Mr. John Creswell Lay Readers Mr. Stuart T. Baron Mr. Charles D. Crocker Mr. Gaylord L. Walker Directress of the Altar Guild Mrs. Eugene Marble FORMER COMMITTEE MEMBERS Hon: Secretary Lay Readers Mr. Denis Elliott Major Gilbert Grout Hon: Treasurer Mr. J. David Spangler Mr. Peter Worsdale Mrs. Gaylord L. Walker ORGANISTS Miss Joan Bentley Mr. Albert John Little, Jr. Miss Cherry Stubbs THE CHURCH SCHOOL Superintendent
Mrs. Stuart Baron
Miss Janette Irving
Miss Susan Crocker Miss Isabel Johnstone Miss Linda Crocker
The Mekong at Phnom Penh HISTORICAL NOTE
Regular weekly services were started by the Anglican congregation in Phnom-Penh on 15 June, 1959, and have continued without interruption since then. This first service was Evensong conducted by Lay Reader Major Gilbert Grout. Sometimes the services were held on Sunday, sometimes on Monday, and in either the British or U.S. Information Service auditorium. In July, 1961, the present times and place of services were permanently adopted.
The congregation of about 55 adults and 35 children is now completely different in composition from the group which held the first service.
An important feature of the congregation's program is the Church School held on Tuesday afternoons, and started by Mrs. Stuart Baron. So far this is the only Church School among our congregations. The present enrolment is about 25 in three classes.
Until 1961 the congregation depended entirely on its devoted Lay Readers and any clergy who were able to visit Phnom-Penh. Bishop Baines of Singapore,
Archdeacon Dumper and "Padre" Pulman from Bangkok were the chief clerical visitors. Now the Priest-in-Charge comes over from Saigon for the week end of every 2nd Sunday in the month, arriving Saturday and leaving Tuesday; but this arrangement still leaves most of the burden on the shoulders of the Lay Readers and Church Committee.
The average total Sunday attendance has been:
1961--25 (first six months).
FROM THE REGISTER, 1961
Baptisms: 22 January, Denis Frederick Elliott; 12 February, Kim Alexandra Hughes; 10 September, Lisa Rae Garufi, Daniel Keith Ginnelly.
Confirmations: 22 January, Denis Frederick Elliott, William Neal Patterson.
CHURCH OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Lay Reader Charles Searles and the Priest-in-Charge with wounded Méo at Vientiane
Services at the INTERNATIONAL CHAPEL, Rue Phnom-Penh, courtesy of the Rev. Walton Whipple.
2nd Sunday in the month: 6 P.M., Evensong and sermon.
5th Sunday in the month: 6 P.M., Evensong and Holy Communion, with sermon.
Tuesday following the 5th Sunday in the month: 7:30 A.M., Holy Communion and address.
1st, 3rd and 4th Sundays in the month: 10:30 A.M., Protestant service conducted by Pastor Whipple, to which members of the Church of the Holy Spirit are welcome.
The Priest-in-Charge normally visits Vientiane for the weekend of the 5th Sunday in the months having five Sundays. The Clerical Visitor, the Rev. E. James Pulman of Christ Church, Bangkok, visits Vientiane for other Sundays when possible.
THE CHURCH COMMITTEE Warden
The Australian Minister,
Mr. Malcolm Morris
Hon: Secretary Hon: Assistant Secretary Mr. Colin McColl Mr. William Dunn Hon: Treasurer Directress of the Altar Guild Mr. George Roberts Mrs. Colin McColl Mr. David Campbell Mrs. G. Greenfield Mr. Thomas Rimer III LAY READERS Maj. John James Briscoe Mr. Daniel Newberry
Mr. Charles D. Searles
ORGANIST Mr. Colin McColl HISTORICAL NOTE
Previous to 1961 occasional Anglican services were held in the International Chapel, Rue Phnom-Penh, by Lay Readers and by visiting clergy such as Archdeacon Dumper and the Rev. E. James Pulman. Beginning on 12 March, 1961, the Priest-in-Charge has visited Vientiane three times. A Church Committee has been elected and the present pattern of services instituted.
Since all American dependents were evacuated to Bangkok in October, 1960, the congregation is predominantly masculine. It is composed chiefly of persons of the British Commonwealth nations and the United States. There is a close relationship between the Anglican-Episcopal congregation and, the Protestant congregation which maintains the Chapel.
Records are incomplete for the period before 1961, but the average Sunday attendance for the first six months of this year has been 24.
A SHORT GUIDE TO THE DUTIES OF CHURCH MEMBERSHIP (Issued by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York at the request of the Church Assembly).
All baptized and confirmed members of the Church must play their full part in its life and witness. That you may fulfil this duty, we call upon you:
To follow the example of Christ in home and daily life, and to bear personal witness to Him.
To be regular in private prayer day by day.
To read the Bible carefully.
To come to Church every Sunday.
To receive the Holy Communion faithfully and regularly.
To give personal service to Church, neighbours, and community.
To give money for the work of parish and diocese and for the work of the Church at home and overseas.
To uphold the standard of marriage entrusted by Christ to His Church.
To care that children are brought up to love and serve the Lord.
+ GEOFFREY CANTUAR: + CYRIL EBOR:
THE BISHOP'S LETTER Membership in the Anglican Church.
My dear People,
In this letter I propose to write about our membership in the Anglican Church and what it should mean for us.
Some of you may feel like saying "Why should it mean anything to us? We in the East are not concerned about the old divisions among Christians in Europe. Let us have a united Church on the basis of faith in Christ alone and sit loose to all denominational differences!" It is impossible not to sympathize with that attitude, yet I believe it has great dangers. It would mean, in fact, union on a watered-down basis: the distinctive traditions of great Christian communions would be lost; sacramental life would be an optional extra for those who like that sort of thing; and "faith in Christ alone" might well turn cut to be little more than respect for a great religious teacher of the past. The World Council of Churches has firmly set itself against that kind of undenominationalism. It stands for Christian unity on the basis of each Church bringing its full heritage into the union, insofar as that heritage accords with Scripture and represents a true insight into the Christian revelation. And it is that kind of unity after which the Negotiating Committee in Malaya is striving. It is a long, hard road to travel, much longer and harder than the other, but infinitely more worth-while in the goal towards which under God we shall move.
Meanwhile, as the Archbishop of Canterbury said in his Enthronement sermon, "we must be sure first what we have and where we stand" in our own Anglican Church. God, we believe, has overruled our history in his providence and given us a rich and varied inheritance in the total life of Christendom. The Archbishop summed up that inheritance in his sermon in three sentences, and I cannot do better than make his sentences the pegs on which I hang my letter.
First, he said, we are a Church reformed and scriptural: let there be no doubt about that." It is sometimes said that the Church of England broke with the authority of the Pope, just because the latter would not give Henry VIII a "divorce". Such a view is very superficial. It ignores the fact that in the 16th century there was a widespread reaction from the corruptions of the medieval Church and a return to the Bible. The Church of England shared in this great movement of the Reformation and its formularies bear clear witness to the principle that "the Holy Scriptures contain sufficiently all doctrine required of necessity for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ." We are not committed to any particular view as to how God inspired the Bible, nor do we look to the New Testament for a detailed pattern of ministry or worship,
in the way that the Jews looked to the Law of Moses. But we do believe, with the rest of Christendom, that here in the Scriptures is the record of God's revealing and redeeming acts, here particularly is the apostolic testimony to the life and teaching, the saving Death and glorious Resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord, here the Word of God speaks to our hearts as we study the Bible with prayer and understanding.
"We rejoice, too," said the Archbishop in our Catholic continuity. "We have always recognized that the New Testament was given in the context of the life of the Church in the first generations and cannot rightly be understood if that fact is forgotten. We have taken into account the teaching of the Fathers, held to the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds and administered the sacraments of the Gospel, not just as helpful symbols, but as real channels of God's grace and mercy to those who faithfully receive them. In the ups and downs of the Reformation period we held to the threefold ministry of bishop, priest and deacon in the historic succession and we held to the tradition of liturgical worship in the setting of the Church's year.
"No less must we cherish" continued Dr. Ramsey "that quest of intellectual freedom, that passion for truth which has marked our great thinkers and teachers". We sometimes seem an untidy Church, allowing doubtful opinions too easily. But if Christian thinkers are to wrestle with the thought of their age and commend the Christian faith to their generation, they must have freedom. We must trust Our Lord's promise that the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth.
Does the above sound a bit remote from ordinary Church members? Well, what does belonging to our Church mean for them? It means, first, taking a regular part in the worship of the Church, following the services in the Prayer Book and learning to value the treasure that is there in praise and adoration, penitence and thanksgiving, Scripture reading and intercession--and supremely, of course, in the celebration of the Holy Communion. No doubt the language of our forms of worship needs simplifying and modernising for the Church in this part of the world, but there is much that we can learn from them even as they stand.
Secondly, it means taking an active part in the life of our local congregation, being willing, if asked, to serve on the Parochial Church Council, to help with Sunday School or Youth Fellowship, to sing in the choir. It means doing this, without worrying overmuch about whether there is more ceremonial here or less there than we are used to, and without the narrow partisanship which leads some in this country to deny the name "Christian" to any who do not talk exactly the same language or share precisely the same approach to Christ as theirs.
It means too the outward look--outward in love and understanding to other Churches, outward in evangelistic zeal to the many in this land to whom we can preach the Gospel but who have not yet heard or responded.
Loyalty to Christ--that of course always comes first. But, after that, loyalty to the branch of Christ's Church to which we belong and which in its comprehensiveness holds much in trust for the future Church in this area.
Your affectionate Bishop,
+ KENNETH SINGAPORE AND MALAYA