Fr Blagdon-Gamlen’s Church Travellers’ Directory featured on our church blog several years ago, and it’s still regularly consulted on the blog. In the directory the good father listed “The Names of Anglican Churches in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, where may be found a Daily Celebration of the Holy Communion, a Sung Eucharist on all Sundays, Fixed Times when Confessions may be heard, and continuous Reservation of the Blessed Sacrament.” We posted the 1973 edition online – you can consult Fr Blagdon-Gamlen’s directory here.
Now, for those with an interest in such recherché aspects of church life, especially in its Anglo Catholic form we are pleased to travel back in time from the 1973 edition of the Church Traveller’s Directory. We go back to 1931 and The ECU Church Guide for Tourists edited by Fr Arnold Pinchard, secretary of the English Church Union (ECU), an Anglo Catholic body in the Church of England. The guide was intended for those ‘visiting a new neighbourhood’ or even for those wishing to find a ‘place in which to settle.’
The guide helped the enquirer to find churches where the Eucharist was celebrated each week, and also those where the Sacrament was reserved, confessions heard, and a Sung Eucharist on a Sunday and weekday celebrations.
The process of compilation was for branch secretaries of the ECU to consult local incumbents for the information which was then sent off to ECU headquarters and the Guide was then edited and published.
Inevitably this system had shortfalls. Some incumbents didn’t respond, and some secretaries were not as efficient as others. Consequently the absence of a church in the listing does not mean that church did not enjoy the privileges listed by the ECU. The list is more of those which definitely did have the features. So in our own case, St Chrysostom’s, is not listed and yet there was at the time a daily celebration of Mass and a Sung Sunday Mass.
The guide helps us see how the pattern of worship, and the focus of what is central for worship has changed over the years, both locally and nationally.
Enough! We now present the guide.
Click here to see the ECU Church Guide for Tourists 1931 (pdf) – please note to add this to the blog we have had to compress the file so it is not as clear as we would like it to be.
† Indicates Churches in the list with a Choral Celebration on a Sunday
‡ Indicates that Confessions are heard at fixed times
⁕ Indicates a daily celebration
and continuous reservation is also indicated.
Your comments are welcome in the comments below.