|The Rushden Echo and Argus, 1st February, 1952, transcribed by Jim Hollis
Rushden Rector’s Premonition - Asks: ‘How much longer shall we meet?’
Members of St. Mary’s Church, Rushden, were yesterday speculating on a letter written by the Rector, the Rev. Edwin A. Green.
Leading contribution to the church magazine for February, the letter is dated Jan. 21st.
“I wonder,” writes the Rector, “how much longer we shall be able to worship together in our beautiful Parish Church. I have a presentiment that the time is short and the reasons, apart from the presentiment, I will not give now.”
The letter goes on to discuss church attendance and asks: “Would you mind very much if there was no further opportunity to go and worship in the church where many generations have worshipped before you over a period of more than 700 years?”
Acknowledging the loyalty of some, the Rector continues:
“But others, many of the 600 whose names are on the Electoral Roll, never darken the church doors from one year’s end to the other; some come very occasionally, and if the church depended on the support they give we should have no heat and warmth, no light, no verger, and no staff, so the church would have to close its doors. Now that, I’m sure, would be a great grief to everyone, but if that is the case, ought not everyone who feels that way, to do something about it, to come to church, and support the church, rather than leave it for a small minority to shoulder the burden?
“I should like again to appeal to you all to think this matter through. A wireless service may be beautiful, but it’s a question whether it’s true worship for the majority who listen in, and anyway, it costs nothing, and certainly doesn’t help your church. Sunday by Sunday sermons are prepared and preached, Sunday by Sunday the choir leads the worship, and the morning and evening prayer is conducted, but all this may come to an end, and the time, when we continue to worship together, may be very short.”
Concluding the letter is an appeal for financial support through the new “share plan” and there is a reminder that Lent offers “another opportunity to repent.”
The letter has aroused interest because of three possible constructions (a) that Mr. Green plans to leave the parish; (b) that the church may close through lack of support; (c) that the Rector may be referring to the Second Advent, a subject on which he often speaks and writes.
On inquiry at the Rectory yesterday the “Echo and Argus” was informed that Mr. Green had gone to London for the day.