Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Walter Frere: Scholar, Monk, Bishop

Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Walter Frere: Scholar, Monk, Bishop

Article excerpt

Walter Frere: Scholar, Monk, Bishop. Edited by Benjamin Gordon-Taylor and Nicolas Stebbing CR. (Norwich, England: Canterbury Press 2011, Pp xiv, 255. £18.99.)

The photograph of Walter Frere on the cover of this collection of essays displays a figure at once lean, patrician, ascetic, and yet with eyes that twinkle mischievously. Clearly an intriguing and complex character. Gordon-Taylor and Stebbing, who teach at the College of the Resurrection, Mirfield, England, have done a great service in bringing this sadly overlooked Anglican apologist from the second generation of die AngloCatholic movement in the Church of England to the notice of current readers. Ten scholarly essays by priests or companions of the community seek to make this remarkable priest-monk (1863-1938) better known and demonstrate the range of his ability: as liturgist, ecumenist, co-founder of the Community of the Resurrection (CR) , musicologist, Reformation historian, bishop, and Christian socialist. Together they paint a picture of a man who was of his time and class yet prophetic and innovative, not covering over the inconsistencies but allowing his mercurial character to shine through.

Frere as theological educator was a pioneer, setting the formation of candidates within the context of a religious community, creating an integrated curriculum, and ensuring that ordinands were versed in forming incarnational persons equipped for missional ministries. Moreover, he ensured that candidates from poor backgrounds were able to engage in ministerial training, arguing for a sea-change in attitudes towards the funding of theological education. And yet through all this, his donnish background can be heard.

A pioneer likewise in ecumenical dialogue on a number of fronts from the Christian East to Cornish Methodism, Frere's interest in the former deserves more detailed treatment than is offered here. However, his participation in the Anglo-Roman Catholic Malines Conversations is fully dealt with in Bernard Barlow's chapter, where the claim is made that these set the groundwork for the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) talks. …

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