Saturday, 7 June 2014

The Country Church - an embryonic idea

In the Haslemere Educational Museum some time ago, I came across this pamphlet / leaflet / notice which to me seems to be the beginning of the discussion and formation of The Country Church on Kings Road, Haslemere.   The paper has the faint print of Godfrey Blount's vine leaf pattern to the side of text.  It's interesting to read that the meeting will be held in the country and not London "on account of the greater peace and fewer distractions".

detail from
Blount, Godfrey, Arbor Vitae, A.C. Fifield, London, 1910

"We are trying to arrange for a short Conference to take place in Haslemere during November among those who believe that there can be no escape from our present troubles except in the discovery and practice of a true religious faith.

"We adopt the term "religion" in neither an exclusively orthodox nor in an exclusively ethical sense.  Our object is to appeal to that rapidly increasing class of free thinkers who hold that a belief in God, and a dependence on His will, is not only compatible with Common-sense but absolutely essential to our welfare.

"We believe that all true civilisation must be built on that presumption, and we would invite those to whom it has become an obvious truth to meet and exchange views on the Revolution which is taking place, and on the best methods of meeting its dangers or influencing its course.

"It is proposed to hold the Conference in the Country in preference to London on account of the greater peace and fewer distractions.

Leaflet, reproduced courtesy of
Haslemere Educational Museum
"The Meetings will be as intimate and informal as possible.  It is not proposed to admit the public, nor will visitors be asked to prepare papers or addresses.  Should the advisability of this Conference appeal to you, will you let me know if you would be able to come and help our deliberations, and also give me the names of any whose presence you consider would be valuable.

"This is only a preliminary notice, since we must ascertain how our suggestions are accepted before we can issue a more definite programme.

"If the scheme has your approval, may we insert you name to that effect?

"Mr Clutton Brock, Mr Lawson Dodd, Dr Greville MacDonald, and Mr Priestly Prime have been the first to express their cordial appreciation."

detail from
Blount, Godfrey, Arbor Vitae, A.C. Fifield, London, 1910
I think I must have missed the bottom of the notice off in the copy I took, which I think must have been signed by Godfrey Blount.

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