Harry Drew.

Feed my lambs : a sermon on the Bishop's pastoral letter, preached in Hawarden Parish Church, on Sunday, September 17th, 1905 (Volume Talbot Collect online

. (page 1 of 1)
Online LibraryHarry DrewFeed my lambs : a sermon on the Bishop's pastoral letter, preached in Hawarden Parish Church, on Sunday, September 17th, 1905 (Volume Talbot Collect → online text (page 1 of 1)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

L 1 B R. A FL Y









by the


Being the Sunday preceding that chosen by the Lord

Bishop of St. Asaph for Collections throughout the

Diocese on behalf of the Diocesan

Association of Schools.





'T^HIS Sermon is printed in deference to the
wishes of some whose desire I was bound
to respect.

I dedicate it, such as it is, to all Hawarden
Parishioners, whether Churchmen or Nonconformists,
who value our Schools for what they have done
in the past, for themselves or for others, who
desire them to continue that work in the future,
and who are ready to stand together for that

purpose to- da}'.


Hawarden Rectory,
Sept. 2oth, iQo^.


Pastoral Cetter.

My Dear People,

At a Meeting consisting of myself, the Dean, the Archdeacons
and the Rural Deans of this Diocese, on Tuesday, Jidy 25tli, it was
unanimously resolved to ask the Incumbents and the Churchwardens
of every parish in this Diocese to devote the whole of the OiFertories
on Sunday, September 24th, to the Diocesan Association of Schools.

[n commending this appeal, I venture very earnestly to ask for
the prayers and support of the wliole Diocese of St. Asaph. Our
Schools are a sacred trust, and the generosity and the devotion which
created and maintained them in the past, will nerve us to do our
duty by them to-day.

Tins Diocese is nobly proud of its Ciiurch Schools, numbering
as they do a larger proportion of pupils tlian the Schools of almost
any other Diocese in the Country. In 1870 there were 11,G63 child-
ren in average attendance in the Church Schools in this Diocese,
last year, there were 23,953 in average attendance, 25,594 present
at the religious examinations and 30,003 on the books. The popula-
tion of the Diocese in 1870 was 257,098, and in 1901 282,900, so
that the numbers in our Schools have increased very much more
raj)idly than the population. The following figures will enable all to
realise the magnitude of our debt to the past.

During the 40 years from 1850 to 1890 the sum of £208,755
was spent upon the building, enlarging and maintaining of our
National Schools. From 1890 to 1905 £184,918 has been spent
upon the same object. Tiie Diocese, therefore, has spent upon its
Schools, during the last 55 years £453,G75. In publishing this
figure I desire to say that it represents only the larger items of
expenditure of which a record has been kept. It does not take

account, of small expenditures which would represent a large total,
much less does it give any estimate of those A^nluntary services
which elsewhere involve a staff of paid otticials.

Why all this expenditure of money and personal services?
The answer is clear, " Feed my lamhs " was our Lord's command to
His Church. Nothing less than this could have inspired and sus-
tained the Clergy and the Teachers through good report and evil
report in carrying on the work of our Schools. I rememher the crisis
of 1870. If the vast majority of Church people had not then stood
resolutely by their Schools we should have had to-day a system of
secular Schools in tliis Diocese. It must never be forgotten that the
Church Schools have not only maintained religious teaching within
their own walls, but their existence and example have silently and
irresistibly weakened the cry for secular Schools. Let me warm your
imagination to-day with the recollection of the courjige and devotion
shewn by Churchpeople in 1870. The cry then was "You must
recognise facts, and surrender your Schools." Few, very few in this
Diocese, heeded that cry. But there is not a parish which yielded
then, where the Churchpeople to-day do not deeply regret the loss of
their Schools.

The cause of our Schools full}' justifies this unique appeal, and
I feel sure that the Churchpeople of this Diocese will be thankful
that a Sunday has been set apart for their prayers and offerings on
behalf of their Schools. God grant that we may always have printed
in our remembrance how great a trust is committed to us in the
education of our children, and that we may never cease our labour,
our care and our diligence in providing that the children of this
generation be virtuously brought up, to lead a godly and a Christian

The Palace, St. Asaph,

August 9th, 1905.



Read on Sunday, September \']th, 1905, in all Cliun/ies
throughout the Diocese of St Asaph.

My Dear Friends,

It would be impossible, and indeed out of place, for me to take
any Text this morning, other than the words which I have just read,
and which, by the express desire of our Bishop are being read in every
Church in his Diocese to-day.

The fact that this is the first occasion within living memory on
which a I'astoral Letter has been so read within this Diocese, ought
of itself to convince Churchmen of the gravity of the situation and
the supreme importance of the subject. It is an appeal from the
Head of the Diocese — expressed in the most authoi itative way that
lies open to him — to all Avho call themselves Churchmen and by so
doing acknowledge his authority. It is an appeal to every parish to
recognize its membershi}j in the body and to render its loyal support
to tlie Diocese which, in return, desires to do all that lies in its power
for each individual ])arish according to its need. It is for us here and
elsewhere to consider how best we can respond to that call.

It so chances that this apjDeal from the Bishop falls, in our
case, upon our Dedication Sunday, and it might seem at first sight
an unsuitable subject for such an occasion. I think a very little
reflection might convince us that it is just the other way. Because
a Dedication Festival is that which calls up, year by year, all the
memories of the past, and reminds us of our oneness with that past.
In it, and through it, we offer thanksgiving to Almighty God for all
that the past has done for us ; for the gift of this ancient House of
Tra^'er ; for the i)reservation of the Faith within and around its walls
by each succeeding generation since the far distant day when Deiniol,
as we may believe, first proclaimed it on this hiil top. And among
the benefactors of the jiast, they are assuredly by no means the least,
who, in their time i)lanned and built by personal sacrifice those
Schools around us in which during the past century the children of
this parisii have received daily and systematic instruction in the
Truths of the Christian Faith. As we look around and within today,

only too conscious, alus ! of our grievous shortcouiings, we may well
ask ourselves what sort of place Hawarden would be to-day if it had
not been blessed with these eftbrts of the past. It might seem
hardly necessary to say that the Diocesan Association of Schools, to
which our ofterings are to be devoted next Simday, includes all the
Church Schools in the Diocese (numbering upwards of 70 per cent, in
our own County of Flintshire), our own of course among them.
That being so, you will I liope forgive me if I speak this morning
with special reference to the Hawarden group of Schools, occupying
as they do a most important place in the Diocese — in importance
surpassing that of any other parish within its borders.

AVe are face to face with a problem, the full meaning and
gravity of which T am very anxious that Hawarden parishioners and
Churchmen should understand. It is nothing more nor less than the
retention or abandonment of our Schools — the decision to be
made is whether we will, or will not — make sacrifices which will
secure that definite Church Teaching shall continue to be given
in them. The Schools were built for that purpose. They have been
handed on to us as a Trust. Shall we hand them on to those who
come after us as we have received them, or shall we not ? That is
the simple question. It is of the utmost concern that we should not
take a merely parochial view of this question which so deeply affects
the character of our nation in the time to come. We stand every-
where for a great principle and we must take care lest we allow any
jirivate or selfish interests to obscure that principle. It is the
principle of religious liberty — of liberty for all alike— that we should
be allowed to give to our own children in Schools which we have
built and maintained at great cost and personal sacrifice, that definite
Teaching of the Christian Faith as we have received it in our Bible
and Book of Common Prayer. We are not asking for a liberty which
we are unwilling to grant to others. On the contrary our contention
is that the Parent (and not the ratepayer as such) is the proper
perst^n to decide what religious teaching his child should or should
not receive. With a view to that, I hope there will very shortly be
issued throughout the Parish a letter from the Foundation ^Managers
asking the parents or guardians of all scholars who are not attending
any of our own Sunday Schools to let us know if they would prefer
their child to receive a plain Scripture Lesson instead of the Church
Catechism and other portions of the Book of Common Prayer at
such times as our own children are being instructed in those subjects.
In other words whether they wish them to have denominational or
undenominational teaching. It seems to me to be doing to others
exactly what we should wish them to do to ourselves if we were in
their place. I acted upon that principle to the best of my ability at
Buckley before the present Act came into force and when I was
solely responsible, in accordance with our Trust Deeds, for the
religious teaching within the Schools. It was greatly appreciated by
the Nonconformist parents and it was certainly a relief to myself.
It gives the parent that responsibility and that opportunity which
rightly belong to him. It should remove all suspicion that we have

any desire to unsettle the children from their parents' convictions.
It should make it clear that what we really do care for is freedom to
teach our own children and religious liberty for all alike.

" A city set on a hill cannot be hid." Therefore 1 am anxious
beyond everything that the Churchmen in this famous and historic
place should realize their personal responsibility at this time with
regard to the children of the parish. Our attitude at this moment,
what we do or decline to do, is bound to have a far-reaching effect
upon others. The Diocese is looking anxiously towards us. Shall we
flinch from what is required of us 'I I trust not, for our own sakes as
well as for the honour of the parish. But it is idle to speak of a
desire to retain the Schools if that desire does not stir us to make
such eftbrt and sacrifice as is necessary if it is to be fulfilled. Tt
would indeed be a lamentable reproach if the result of all the gifts
and labours of the past ; this Parish Church with its daughter
Churches ; the revenues attached to the Benefice by reason of which
parishioners have hitherto been entirely absolved from contributing
one farthing towards the stipends of the Ckrgy ; the Schools that
have been built and maintained very largely by the munificence of
one family — I say it would indeed be a lamentable reproach if the
result of all this munificence of the past should be the production of
a generation that showed itself incapable, in easier and more luxurious
days, of rising to any serious act of sacrifice when the call was made
upon it.

What is the history of our Schools 1 Briefly this : — Early in the
last century, when the State neither did nor cared anything about
Ediication, Schools were built in this parish, in some cases entirely, in
others very largely, by the generosity of the Glynne family. The
Boys' School was erected in 1816. In the same year the Tithe Barn
belonging to the Benefice was adapted, so far as was possible with
such a building, for Scliool purposes, and has been so used ever since,
first for girls and infants, and then, since the seventies, for girls alone.
In 1825 Broughton School was built within a year of the erection of
the Church. The same thing happened at St. John's in 1844. These
four Schools are privately owned, and their owners might at any time
close them for Day School purposes if they so desired. Three out of
the four were built by the Glynne family, and were maintained by
that family for a length of time. In 1840, 1848, and 1856, the present
Schools in Buckley (then an integral part of this parish, just as
Broughton, St. John's, and Sealand are to-day) were erected ; the first
entirely, the others largely by the contributions of the same family.
So things continued until the passing of the first great Education
Act of 1870 in Mr. Gladstone's first Ministry. That Act brought
about the first Ed\ication Crisis in this parish, jiist as the Act of 1902
has brought about an even greater crisis. There are those here to-day
who can well remember what happened on that occasion ; how it was
mainly if not entirel} owing to the personal advocacy of Mr. Gladstone
himself that the existing Schools were saved to the Church, and how
the parishioners by miited efibrt built the Supplementary Schools that
were needed at Shotton, Ewloc, Sandycroft, and in Hawarden itself.

A still greater crisis is upon us now, and the future character and wel-
fare of this parish its dependent upon our answer. Everywhere school
fabrics are required to be brought up to a pro})er standard of efficiency
and sanitary condition. We have travelled a long way in educational
and sanitary knowledge since the time wlien the Hawarden Boys'
School was erected. Xo one who had any practical knowledge of
School life and School work would tell us that our fabrics are in a
satisfactory condition today. Indeed, we ought to be profoundly
dissatisfied with them as they now are, and we owe it io those who
laboured so hai'd for them in the past to deal with them thoroughly
and without delay.

Let anyone visit a modern Elementary School, such as he
might find in Wrexham or Liverpool, and then come back and see
the conditions under which our Teachers and our Boys and Girls in
Hawarden itself are working. He would see how manifestly mifair it
is to them that such conditions should continue — how impossible to
expect it can any longer be permitted. There is no body of public
servants in this Country doing a more splendid and responsible work
than the Elementary School Teachers. In their hands lies very
largely the moulding of the generation that is to succeed i;s, more
largely than perhaps some of them suspect. They are entitled to our
warmest sympathy and to our best support. Neither is there a
greater duty inciimbent upon us all than to see that our children
have in their School surroundings, in whicli so many of the critical
years of life are passed, the best possible chances of growing up to be
good and useful citizens in body, mind and spirit. I say without
hesitation, that at present in our Parish, neither Teachers nor
Scholars have what is really due to them. Do not misunderstand me
or think that I am making any kind of reflection upon the past. Far
from it. Xobody kno«s better than I do how courageously and
persistently the late Rector struggled for the Schools both in main-
tenance and enlargement : what toil and anxiety it involved. I will
go further and say that but for his courage and persistence, the
Schools would not be ours to day. But owing to the heavy burden
of annual maintenance, which now is entirely removed from our
shoulders, it was not possible to do things then in such a way as to
mean finality. That is what we ought to aim a now. I want to
look it fairly and fully in the face in the case of all our Schools, and
in the case of each and all so to deal as that they may be luimbered
among the best Schools in this County ; a happiness and comfort
to those who are obliged to spend their da^s within them, and
a just source of pride to ourselves and to those who come after
us. If I have any knowledge about anything, I can really claim to
know something about the practical working of Schools, and what
they ought to be. I have had the closest daily experience for upwards
of 20 years, and have spent an immense amount of time and labour
on the subject in the last 8 of those years. I think I may say I
know better than anyone else what is the true condition of the
Hawarden Schools, and what ought to be done. I am confident we
can carry it through if the parishioners will support me. I want at

any rate to make 1113^ own position perfectly clear to all. \ was well
aware of the inii)encling crisis months before I came into residence.
Indeed it was becanse I knew of the diflficulties, and felt that it
might be less hard for nie than for a stranger to find a way throngh
those difficulties that made it seem right for me to come and try to
carry on a work so consecrated by the toil of others. To expect me
to come here, after our struggles (thank God an entirely successful
one) in the daughter parish of Buckley, and negociate the surrender
of any of the Schools in the mother parish, would be to expect an
impossibility. I am ready to make any personal sacrifice that lies
in my power, but I am not prepared to sacrifice the Schools. With
them I stand or fall.

Profoundly convinced as I am of the future welfare of this
parish being vitally connected with their continuance, I could not
with any sense of happiness or hopefulness attempt to discharge the
duties of what is from the nature of the case, a difficult and onerous
responsil)ility if what I regard as the central fortress for the mainten-
ance of religion and morality is taken from me.

Can we raise £5000 amongst ourselves for this purpose 1 I feel
almost ashamed to ask such a question as if there could be any doubt
about it. Of course we can if only we have the will and set about it
determined to see it through.

Will you allow me to make a suggestion as to the kind of way
in which, by united effort, such a task can be faced and accomplished 1
There is no novelty about the plan. It has been adopted again and
again and with success by others not more fortunately situated than
oiu'selves. There are some 9000 people in this Parish. Let us spread
our contribution over a period of say three years. If 500 individuals
would undertake to give 10/- annually for the three years (i.e. a little
more than 2d. w" ^kly) ; if 100 would in the same way give £1 ; if
25 would give £2 ; if 20 would give £5 ; 10 people, ilO ; 5 people,
£25 ; 3 ]jeople, £hO ; 4 people, £100 ; and one could be founcl ready
to give £250 for four years, then our goal would be practically
reached. 1 do not of course mean these numbers and figures to be
rigidly followed. Smaller as well as larger sums would be thankfully
received. I merely suggest them as lines upon which we might
successfully work.

It is perfectly true that if we stand together in this matter and
contribute as God has blessed us, we must not expect to receive 5% for
our money. But there are investments better, more blessed and
more enduring than those that add money to our income. There will
be the abiding hajDpiness of knowing that we have done our best as
Christians and as Churchmen, in the gravest crisis that ever con-
fronted us, to bring up our children in the faith we have received
from our fathers.

Could we make a better resolution in this our Dedication
Festival, Avhen we recall what has been done for us in the past, a
resolution more acceptable to God, more bracing to ourselves than
this — that we will, with His grace assisting us, together take up this
task and carry it through 1


Phii^i^ipson & Gor,DKR,

. . Chkstkr.



Online LibraryHarry DrewFeed my lambs : a sermon on the Bishop's pastoral letter, preached in Hawarden Parish Church, on Sunday, September 17th, 1905 (Volume Talbot Collect → online text (page 1 of 1)