Edward King Day
Today St Stephen’s House (and those who observe the black-letter feasts of the Church of England) commemorate the Right Reverend Edward King, the founder of St Stephen’s House, Regius Professor of Pastoral Theology and Canon of Christ Church, and former Principal of another theological foundation.
He is identified as a confessor because he was prosecuted for liturgical offences under the Public Worship Regulation Act 1874; Bishop King transgressed for mixing water with the wine during the preparation of the elements; making the sign of the cross when blessing the people; keeping lit candles on the altar through the entire service; leading the service ad orientam, facing toward the altar and away from the congregation; and singing the Agnus Dei (among other offences).
I’m pretty proud to work on behalf of the House that Bishop King founded — not primarily for his defence of the catholic cause in the Church of England, but particularly because, as much as he was opposed violently for his catholic ritual, he was widely admired for his humility, gentleness, his devoted ministry to men in prison, and for his commitment to serious theological education. On the 100th anniversary of King’s death, Archbishop Rowan Williams observed “King was a deep man, and he believed that clergy ought to have depth; that they ought to have the kind of training that allowed them to go deep in their own faith, and the resources of the tradition, and of the Bible, and I think he would have said that we’re very much at risk of crowding that out, of creating people who are problem-solvers rather than thinkers and reflectors.” Amen: ad multis profundi.