Hallo again to all.
This week, we spent some idle moments in a chilled library, leafing through a precious and fragrant copy of Blagdon-Gamlen. If you're not familiar with Blagdon-Gamlen, it's the astonishing and eponymous work of an intrepid priest called Peter Eugène Blagdon-Gamlen (1927-2012), the twice-widowed and thrice-married senior priest of the Society of the Holy Cross in England. Think of his work as a Baedeker for churches—or, if you prefer, a Zagat or Michelin. Its full title is
The book delivers on its promise, marking with a D every known church with daily communion (or almost daily communion—five days a week count as Daily), an S for a Sung Eucharist on Sundays, a C for churches where confessions are heard, and an R for those where there is eucharistic reservation. Quite a lot of churches have an S, and many also a C or D. It's unusual to find a D without a C or an R, but the most coveted of designations for what were then called Full Catholic Privileges was DSCR.
In the words of the foreword to the second edition, it was created for all 'churchpeople who travel, and have no wish, when they do so, to leave their religion at home'. Wilfrid Arthur Edmund Westall noted in his foreword to the first edition just why such a book was particularly needful:
Blagdon-Gamlen was published in two editions, 1966 and 1973, each of which shows in surprising degree just how much the once-scandalous practices of the Ritualist movement had penetrated English parish life. In truth they mark a sort of Pyrrhic victory lap for Anglo-Catholicism, which had by now lost some of its naughty cachet. Wrote PEB-G:
The book served its purpose well in a time before the internet, and when party allegiances in Anglicanism meant that worshipers were perhaps more than now keen on a specific liturgical practice when they visited a church.
We hope that in our own way AO is a Blagdon-Gamlen for our time, though we follow an organising principle of comprehensiveness rather than liturgical specificity. In addition to offering a weekly essay, and providing occasional Specials on gaiters and hymns and ecclesiastical victualling, our goal is to list every Anglican parish and organisation that has a website.
We can do this best only with your help. If you find that your parish or organisation isn't listed on AO, please let us know. We'll be most happy to include it going forward, lest you be stuck somewhere else to be edified only by notices about dog licences and local [or, alas, national] elections.
And, if you like what you find here, please consider making a donation to support our work. Unlike the first two Blagdon-Gamlens, we're distributed free of charge to anyone who would like to find a church in any place. But our production and hosting costs are as real as any paper-and-glue Blagdon-Gamlen, and your help in that connection is ever welcome.
See you next week.
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