Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Noble Powell and the Episcopal Establishment in the Twentieth Century

Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Noble Powell and the Episcopal Establishment in the Twentieth Century

Article excerpt

DAVID HEIN. Noble Powell and the Episcopal Establishment in the Twentieth Century. Studies in Anglican History. Urbana and Chicago, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 2001. Pp. xii + 182, series introduction, introduction, index. $29.95.

I find that whenever I come upon a book with a photograph of an amiable clerical personage on the dust jacket, I begin to slide toward despair at the thought of yet another biography of a worthy-but-only-mildly-significant ecclesiastical bureaucrat by a devoted admirer. David Hein's Noble Powell and the Episcopal Establishment in the Twentieth Century does indeed bear such a cover, but certainly the similarity to traditional episcopal biographies ends there. Hein's wide knowledge of the sociocultural forces at work in the mid-twentieth century, and especially the forces that generated the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, have enabled him to illuminate an entire period of Episcopal Church history through the life and work of one man. At the same time, he is able to elucidate the virtues which marked Powell's personal approach to the episcopacy-friendship, prayerfulness, pastoral concern-allowing readers to reflect on what the church may perhaps be losing with the increasing pressure to turn bishops into CEOs.

Noble Powell (1891-1968) was often referred to as "the last bishop of the old church," that is, of an Episcopal Church convinced of its social and political hegemony, settled in its spiritual values, and essentially aristocratic in its bearing. As dean of the National Cathedral Church of SS. Peter and Paul (1937-1941) and as bishop of the diocese of Maryland (1941-1963), Powell personified these ecclesial attitudes on a national stage, serving as a calm and reassuring presence through the calamity of war and its aftermath. He was convinced that steady spiritual growth, nourished by Word and Sacrament, prayer and repentance, would sustain both church and people in difficult times, and that the role of pastoral leadership was to encourage and support that growth.

But new times were coming, times marked by the breakdown of old authorities and certainties, along with the demand for radical social realignment. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.