Anglo Catholicism in Newbury RIP

My brother has always been an avid church spotter and liturgist. Yes I know, we’ve tried taking him to a doctor…

I remember he once read the Church Times and saw an advertisement for ‘Sung Parish Mass’ at an Anglican Church. This was most unusual for us because we did not realise there were people who believed themselves to be Catholics within the Anglican Communion.

So one Sunday we hopped on a train to investigate St John’s, Newbury- an impressive church by Dykes Bower that incorporates 3.5 million bricks.

The parish was led by Father Bernard Dagnall and was under the jurisdiction of the Flying Bishop of Ebbsfleet.

Sadly, however things have changed since the retirement of Father Dagnall. The resolutions have been dropped and the parish priest is called Deborah, the first female priest in the history of the parish i.e. 156 years.


The incumbent vicar of the Benefice of St George’s and St John’s, the Rev Paul Cowan said: “I’m delighted that Debbie accepted the role.

“She is extremely personable and I’m sure will be able to bring a lot to the role. The resolution allowing only men to be ordained at St John’s was rescinded around 18 months ago.

“I would like to compliment the congregation of St John’s for their openness to change.”


The congregation obviously didn’t believe in what Father Dagnall had been preaching all those years.

Perhaps the Anglican creed should begin, “I believe in one vicar…?” rather than any concrete acclamation of Faith?

How many more Anglo Catholic churches will fall into a similar situation?





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