Parish of St Matthew the Apostle,
Douglas, Isle of Man
From the Archives
Items of interest from our archives:
The following was reported in the Peel City Guardian, 6 November, 1897
The Funeral of Manx National Poet T. E. Brown and Memorial Service in St. Matthew’s Church
Funeral oration by the Rev. T. A. Taggart
The funeral, which was of a very quiet description, took place at Clifton, on Wednesday morning at eleven o’clock. The mortal remains of the poet were laid to rest in the same grave that contains those of his wife, who predeceased him. At about the same time that the last rites of the Church of England were being performed in connection with the funeral of the Rev. T. E. Brown at Clifton, a memorial service was held in St. Matthew’s new church.
In St. Matthew’s Churches - old and new - the dead poet took a deep and affectionate interest., and it were only fitting that in the church now used for Divine Worship by the parishioners of St. Matthew’s there should be consecrated the memory of the most distinguished man ever given birth to in the parish. For Tom Brown was born in St. Matthew’s parish, and was baptised in old St. Matthew’s. His early education was supervised by two chaplains of St. Matthew’s, and perhaps the happiest period of a happy life - his early boyhood - was spent - or a good deal of it was - in the parish.
When Tom Brown came to manhood, and took orders, he was ever ready to take the pulpit at St. Matthew’s, and it is only a few weeks ago that he preached at the new church. Of course to such a lover of old Douglas, it was a grief that the Old Church had to go, but he was not the man to allow sentiment to stand in the way when there was an imperative demand for the building of a new church. Accordingly he threw himself heart and soul into the New Church movement, and gave it substantial aid. The last service he rendered in the New Church was the writing of the verse and prose descriptions that were such a feature of the programmes of the bazaar held last week in aid of the New Church fund.
The memorial service of Wednesday had not been well announced, and consequently it was not astonishing that the attendance was but a sparse one. The officiating clergy were: The vicar (Rev. T. A. Taggart) and the vicar of Braddan (Canon Moore). Before the clergy entered, Mr J. D. Looney, the organist of St. Matthew’s, played a funeral march on the organ. The Rev. T. A. Taggart read the opening sentences of the burial service, and after the reading the Psalms were chanted. The lesson was read by Canon Moore, and the hymn, ‘Christ will gather in His own’, was next sung. The vicar delivered a brief address, taking his text from St John’s Gospel 10 -11 ‘The Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep’. He sketched the ideal Christian life, and said that such was the life of their departed brother, who was ever trying how much he could do to serve God and his generation.
Their friend was generous to the excellences of the Manx character, but was not blind to, and was not afraid to point out the weakness of that character so that the weakness might be removed. He was a great poet and writer, and there was not a line of his writings but was pure and lofty in aim. Many a man with half his ability would be unapproachable, but he, like his Master took on the form of a servant, in order that he might be of service to his fellows. The preacher concluded by urging his hearers to take example by the pure and holy life that their illustrious countryman had led. At the end of the sermon the hymn ‘My God, my Father, while I stray’, was sung, which concluded the service. The Dead March in Saul was played on the organ as the congregation dispersed.
The Universities’ Mission to Central Africa (UMCA)
Last year we were able to present a play entitled “Saint Martin of Tour”, on behalf of funds for the Mission, which benefited to the extent of many pounds by the effort. May we solicit the interest and support of our readers in a similar undertaking and for the same object. This time the play will be “The Monks of the South.”
Waifs and Strays
We have received the following report from the matron of the Bradstock Lockett Hospital Home, with reference to a little girl who left us for the Home some months ago.
“Knowing you are interested in the case, I am writing to tell you how much she has improved since she came here. From a forlorn sad child, she is now a bright and happy child who can smile and play with other children. She has gained over four pounds in weight and her cheeks are rosy, and one would hardly recognise her.”
The Vicar is writing to express his pleasure in receiving such a report, and would like to have a contribution to send as a thank-offering for the work of the Church of England Waifs and Strays Society. The Misses A. Robinson and Gertie Radcliffe have kindly consented to organize a Silver Thimble League among us, and we hope that they will receive every encouragement in their good work. Each member of the League undertakes to provide two articles of work, either of a useful or ornamental nature, and also subscribe annually one shilling towards defraying the expenses of the League. The articles are sold annually at a small sale of work held in the School.
P.S. The Waifs and Strays Society became the Church of England Children’s Society which we still support.
Girls’ Friendly Society
The following is the programme for the month: March 6th Astronomy, March 13th Cookery, March 20th Pictures, March 27th Members Admission.
The following letter and report have been received from the London headquarters of the Coral League: “I am sending you the report of Achiliana, which you will be pleased to have. Will you kindly see that her Saint Matthew’s friends know about it as it may help to keep up their interest in the child they have adopted. People have been very generous and we are most grateful for your help; in these difficult times when our financial position is extremely grave, we simply trust that all will continue to do their level best to help us to carry on with the great work we have in hand. Yours sincerely Ethel C Douglas.” The report reads as follows: “Name of child, Achiliana; school, Lulindi; nice pleasant child; frightfully stupid at school, but quite sensible at home, I hear. She is often employed now in nursing her nephew Jermano, the son of her sister Lois. Her brother Gerard has left school and begun to work. I think she is anxious for baptism.”
Church Renewal 1820-1920
Those who were present at the Lantern Lecture given by Mr Clifton Kelway, at Noble’s Hall, on the 4th April, enjoyed a great treat. It was shown that the English church herself was Catholic, in spite of much that might appear to contradict it. Attempts to deprive her children of their heritage had failed. Men had been imprisoned and persecuted because they would obey the Church and her Prayer Book. The result, under God, was that the worship of the church today, was, generally speaking, of a very different order from that which obtained a hundred years ago.
Ascension Day and Whitsuntide
Describing St Matthew’s Church and its Chaplain some 90 years ago, a certain writer used the words: “Holy Thursday was the same as any other Thursday”. It is true that things are not as they ought to be, but, thank God, they are very much better than they have been, and the day has long since passed away when it was possible to make such a statement as the above. So far as the last Holy Thursday is concerned, we are very happy to be able to state that it was well kept by young and old; better, so far as we can judge, than on any previous occasion. A number of brass vases were presented by the scholars of the Middle School, who paid a special visit to the church on the Sunday within the Octave for the purpose of offering their gift. The kindergarten scholars and teachers made a similar present on Whit Sunday, the special purpose of their gift being the decoration of the windows of the Church, when we are keeping Festival. It was a fitting celebration of our Mother’s Birthday.
We are about to re-start our Brass Band and shall be grateful for any help our readers may give us in the form of gifts of instruments or money to purchase new ones or mend the instruments we have. If this notice meets the eye of any old bandsman who still has an instrument in his keeping, may we ask him to be good enough to return it as soon as possible to the Vicar or to Mr. Spence, who kindly placed his knowledge and experience at our disposal to put us on our feet again.
Parish Brass Band and Football Club
We had a very successful evening at the Villa Marina, on the 20th November, and are very grateful to those kind friends who helped us so splendidly by offering prizes for the occasion…We hope to collect a sufficient sum of money to enable us to pay the £30 required for the thorough overhauling of all our Band instruments, and at the same time enable St Matthew’s Albion FC to carry on.
The Anglo-Catholic Congress Film
This was shown at the Strand Cinema, on the 12th December, to an audience which must have consisted of 600 persons. The pictures themselves were very interesting illustrating as they did the story of the Catholic revival from the days of John Keble to the present day; but it was the lecture of Mr. Clifton Kelway, who, with his vast knowledge of the subject and his large experience as a lecturer, made the occasion such a memorable one.
House of Industry
The vicar had the pleasure of presiding at the New Year’s party on the 3rd January, when an enjoyable programme was provided by a number of friends of the Institution, and each of the inmates received some useful present. It must be gratifying to all who are interested in the House to note the vast improvements that have been made in recent years.
The World’s FairAlthough so far ahead, we have to keep this big event before us. November 18th to the 20th is the date, and Villa Marina the place. In a month or so, we hope to publish a full list of stall-holders, so that our friends may know to whom to send their gifts in coin or handiwork. We cannot but feel that they will be many, considering the fact that the object of the Church House for the purchase and equipment of which this grand bazaar is being held, is not solely for the benefit of the Church and its young people, but also for the sake of the sailors and those who have to spend so much of their time on the quay-side. Have you joined the Deposit Bank yet, and are you making something for the fair?
P.S. The House of Industry is now, of course, the Ellan Vannin Home. The vicars of the Douglas parishes are still ex-officio members of the Board of Directors.
The Church House was the building next to the hall which is now Milan Indian Restaurant. Saint Matthew’s Band had a band-room there and there were other recreational facilities. Father Burnett sold the building to pay for the installation of the old radiant gas fires which were fastened to the pillars, eventually some of these were used to heat the halls.
The Parish Brass Band
The instruments have been thoroughly overhauled, and were no sooner in our hands than they were in use. The players, under the capable and painstaking tuition of Mr. Spence, are making excellent progress. We are badly in need of more instruments. If others would follow the example of a gentleman who recently presented us with an instrument, we would be very grateful.
We are happy to be able to say that the 10th June was very faithfully observed…. There was continuous intercession for the conversion of our land. There must have been an average of a dozen persons in Church during the whole time until midnight, when the responsibility of maintaining the intercession passed to the faithful on the other side of the water. The alms, amounting to £2. 13s, are to be sent to the Anglo-Catholic Congress Committee for the training of candidates for the sacred ministry.
Guilds of the B.V. and St Joseph
A meeting of members was held on the 30th May, when the Vicar gave an appropriate address and admitted nine new members.
Every August for the last eleven years we have run a Camp for our Sunday School children. Before the Great War swallowed up so many of our boys in Camps of quite a different kind, we had CLB Camps at Andreas, Perwick Bay, and Port St Mary. Three times we have shared our pleasures with parishes across the water, in that way giving pleasure to about sixty Englanders. On an average we have taken forty into the country every year - a week for girls, and a week for boys. People say, ‘How is it done?’ Its early history had its birth in the Vicarage kitchen, for with the first treck went nearly all the Vicarage pots and pans, and rugs and blankets too. By the kindness of friends, gifts and a few subscriptions, we now have the tenancy for some years of the Old School House at Ballaugh. We charge 5s per head for a Camp week, which includes travelling. Again, the uninitiated ask, ‘How is it done?’ First, the Camp mother is one who has had long experience in ‘making a dinner for a big family of what some people would throw into the dust bin!’ Economy of scraps is the first thing. The generosity of people in the country in gifts of ‘kind’ is the next thing, including picnics, etc., which all save on the food bill. The kind gifts from a few men in business in Douglas, who know something of our work, all help the feeding department. And last, but not least, the paying guest fees of the ‘home party’ - that is the vicarage party, who have, since the youngest boy was three years old, camped with the rest; and as they grew old enough, have joined the ‘staff’, and so given up two weeks of the summer holidays to help to ‘run the Camp’, ending up with a free week for real fun when the Vicar has been able to be with us, which he has always managed until the last two years; his work has been organiser of outings, etc. Last, but not least, what we have missed so much this year and last, were the services he held daily in the Camp, whenever we have been, that was always catered for, and the happiness, joy, and geniality of our Camp centered in and radiated from that early morning worship. The days are spent in bathing, picnics, tales round the Camp fire, concerts, games, parades, orderly duties, and fun of all sorts - wet days no exception! And ‘that’s how it’s done.’ One who visited the Camp as a camper was heard to remark, ‘Now this is what I call ideal community life’ - and they had all things in common.
Special date to remember, Patronal Festival September 21st
With our Patronal Festival recommences, year by year, our winter’s campaign. Let us try and start together ‘with a long pull, and a strong pull’, not frittering away in a week or two. Just as the summer season is for making money, our harvest of visitors is short, so our season for harvesting souls, our own and others, is short; the winter is soon gone, and we have much to do. Every year the ‘season’ is responsible for some back slides, and we know it. It is hard to get into the swing of regular hours and duties towards God. September 21st (St Matthew’s Day) is our rallying date….Preparation for St Matthew’s day begins now, with a resolution to go one better than this time last year towards making our little Island the House of Saints that it was in days of long ago. The very names, the ancient stones, the kiels, cry out to us today:-
Faith of our Fathers, faith and prayer
Shall win our country back to thee.
Faith of our Fathers! Holy Faith!
We will be true to thee till death.
English Church Union
A very successful Festival was held on the 4th September, when a large number of members attended from all parts of the Island. The programme for the winter’s session is already in hand, and the secretary is to be congratulated not only on the excellence of the programme itself, but on the early date at which it has been placed in the hands of the members. The opening meeting of the session will take place on the 29th October, when the Vicar has been asked to give an address on ‘The Practical Life of a Catholic’.
On Sunday afternoon, October 5th, we hope to re-open our Bible class. The subject will be ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’. The loan of copies of Bunyan’s masterpiece will be gratefully acknowledged. Any girls over seventeen will be welcomed at the Schools at 3.45 o’clock. We are hoping to see many new members. Officers, treasurer, registrar, secretary, pianist, and album keeper will be selected at this meeting. The treasurer’s account shows £2 subscribed to UMCA since Christmas; the secretary’s record shows a very regular attendance of senior members, but a most irregular attendance of juniors. We began the year with 34 members. For the sake of some whose time is limited, we hope to close the Class by 4.20, so hoping to make for regularity. The album is a great feature of our Bible Class; in it the secretary writes notes of the lesson, and pictures to illustrate it are pasted every week opposite the notes. Mr Lewthwaite, Duke Street, has made us a specially large scrap book of brown paper for the purpose. Postcards, sketches, and etchings, culled from many sources, fill the pages. We owe a debt of gratitude to some fellow-members of the National Home Reading Union, London, for the loan of study books and portfolios of illustrations and cuttings. -(NB -Would the members who borrowed ‘Omar K’ and ‘Fairie Queene’ please return.)
The feast of St Matthew falls at a very awkward time for many. The 21st September is just about the time when the season ends, and the local holidays begin. Nevertheless, the Festival was duly kept and the services well attended. It is usual to have a luncheon in the School on this occasion, but as the Festival fell on a Sunday this year we had to forgo this pleasant extra. On the evening of the 21st the Vicar read the sermon preached by Bishop Wilson at the dedication of our Mother Church on that day 216 years ago. It was long, and must have taken ¾ of an hour to deliver, but its faithful teaching of the Catholic Faith on the authority of the Church, and the Apostolic Ministry, the necessity of the Sacraments and the Ministry of the Holy Angels, the duty of worship and the reverent conduct of the worshipper, made it well worth while.
Lecture at Villa Marina
On the 19th and 20th January the Rev Father Vernon of the Society of the Divine Compassion is giving two addresses at Villa Marina on ‘The Catholic Religion’. We hope that all our readers will attend and do their utmost to ensure a large audience. The lecturer belongs to one of our Church’s Religious Orders, and is a well-known Missioner across the water, where it is no uncommon thing for him to address vast audiences of working people, who have been deeply impressed by his ability and fervour.
On the 7th December Dr Tootell, Mus.Doc., Dunelin, FRCO gave a most excellent recital, consisting of six items by some of the great organists and musicians, chosen with that taste and played with that ability which we have learnt to look for from him. Miss L. Kaneen was the vocalist on this occasion, and sang her two solos, ‘O rest in the Lord’ and ‘Abide with me’, with great clearness and devotional feeling. The collection is to be devoted to the purchase of new Prayer Books and Hymn books for use in the church.
Memorial to the late Miss M.L. Wood
We are very pleased to be able to announce that a beautiful stained glass window is to be erected in the Lady Chapel by His Worship the High Bailiff of Douglas (R.D. Farrant, Esq.), as a trustee of the Murray Estate, in memory of our dear old friend and fellow-worshipper, Miss M.L. Wood. We are very grateful to him for helping us in this way to commemorate one to whom we of St Matthew’s, and indeed the whole Island, owed so much. The work is being done by Morris and Company, of Merton Abbey, which was founded in 1861 by William Morris, the poet, to carry out his great revival of the decorative arts. It will be remembered that our beautiful window over the High Altar was the work of this firm.
The Church Institute and the Sailors’ Room
We have already commenced work on the new building, and, if all goes well, the opening ought to take place in the second or third week in December. When it is known that the purchase money of the building itself is £1400, and that the cost of the work, which we are at present taking in hand, will amount to over £1100 it will be realised that we are in need of all the help we can obtain. We are hoping that we may shortly receive substantial help and encouragement in the form of donations from the charitable persons in the town who have realised that we are doing the work not only for the benefit of the people connected with the church, but for the comfort and welfare of the sailors, porters and coal-heavers, who have to spend much of their time on the Quayside, and have no place in which to meet and find shelter, particularly through the winter months.
(This is now the Indian restaurant next door. Father Burnett sold it to pay for gas heaters which were fixed to the pillars in church. Ed.)
Never did the church look more beautiful and never was it more eloquent of thankfulness and devotion than on Thursday, the 1st October, when we began our harvest festival. Large numbers of people gathered for the tea, so excellently prepared by the ladies, at six o’clock. This was followed by Evensong…..The festival was continued over the Sunday….At the close of Evensong, a most delightful organ recital was given by Dr. Tootell, who enabled us to realise the truth of the words of Carlyle, who described music as
‘an inarticulate, unfathomable speech, which leads us to the edge of the infinite, and lets us for moments gaze into it.’
The following extract is from the Isle of Man Examiner 12th February 1926
St. Matthew’s Sailors’ Room
The new church institute and sailors’ shelter adjoining St. Matthew’s Schoolrooms were opened by the Lieut. Governor on Thursday week. The premises were acquired and converted out of the proceeds of the bazaar held by the workers of St. Matthew’s Church just over a year ago, and comprise a large room in the basement for the young men’s club, and a similar spacious room on the ground floor for the use of seamen and quay workers. Lack of funds has delayed alterations to the upper part of the building but it is hoped that clubrooms for girls will be provided at no far distant date.
The purchase price of the building was £1,450, of which sum £700 has been paid; the cost of altering and renovating was £1.125, and about £300 is still required to meet the latter liability. The vicar invites anyone who would care to assist in furnishing the premises to communicate with him.
The Sunday School Festival
The Manx Church Magazine, when the vicar of St. Matthew's was the Rev. Theodore H. E. Japing, B.A
Father Waggett’s visit is not likely to be forgotten. His subject, ‘The Church a Divine Revelation’ was handled as few even such learned scholars could do, interspersed with delightful humour and illustrations. Do you know he spoke for 50 minutes on Sunday night, and yet many of us said we wanted more. It was good to know he has promised to come again if at all possible, and he was so delighted with the evident signs of life and progress in St. Matthew’s.
The Manx Church Magazine, when the vicar of St. Matthew's was the Rev. Theodore H. E. Japing, B.A
On January 13th I shall have completed my second year’s ministry amongst you. Sometimes the period seems far longer, so much has occurred; sometimes far shorter, the time has sped by and so much remains to be done. Both for my wife and myself the years have been happy ones, and we look hopefully to the future. But with regard to the ministry, many - very many - have helped, encouraged, prayed; some have just looked on and waited for signs of progress or retrogression; some have criticised and discouraged. To the first I would say from the bottom of my heart ‘Thank you’; their friendship and cooperation has been invaluable. Of the rest I would say, I am hopeful that the love of Christ will yet constrain them to do many things which otherwise they might not do, so that His Kingdom may come ‘on earth as it is in Heaven’.
Emmanuel. ‘God with us’ be our watchword!
In accordance with the directions in our Prayer Book, the Vicar will be in Church for the purpose of administering ‘absolution, together with ghostly counsel or advice’ on Saturdays at 2.30 and 8 pm and at other times by appointment.
Gifts to the Church
A new alms box for our Tract Rack was kindly made by Mr. W Gill. The Vicar desires to acknowledge a donation of £5 from Mrs. Fenton and £1 14s 7d in the box for the special Church Expenses Deficit Fund. Thanks are due to the children, who brought 147 eggs, two apples and a chocolate hen to our Easter Gift Service, thus giving cheer to many of our sick and poor. The number of eggs contributed last year was 102.
The event to which we are all looking forward to this month is our annual Sunday School Festival on Sunday, June 30th. Our preacher this year will be the Rev. Cyril Bickersteth, of the London House of the Community of the Resurrection. He is well known throughout the Anglican communion, and may be remembered by many of us as the author of two delightful little books ‘Letters to a Godson’. I personally have always had a sincere affectionate regard for him, because on the few occasions I have heard him preach, or otherwise come into contact with his sympathetic personality, it has always brought real spiritual help. Moreover he is intensely fond of children, and at his own request he will preach not only morning and evening, but address the Sunday scholars in the afternoon as well. I feel sure that everyone will make a special effort to be present at the services, and I know that those who have not done so will be very sorry for it afterwards.
My dear Friends,
Since I last wrote to you my wife and I have returned from a delightful holiday in Devonshire. The scenery round Torquay is very beautiful, indeed reputed to be some of the loveliest in England, but not more so than our Island. Indeed we remarked many times that nothing could compare with the glorious view of Douglas Bay from the sea, or the wonderful variety of some of our glens, and by contrast wild mountain scenery or rockbound coasts. The great pity is that so much here is spoilt by rude and vulgar advertisements, automatic machines and certain ugly wooden or corrugated iron erections. A wise and tactful committee for the preservation of natural scenic beauty, similar to those in certain parts of the mainland, if given sufficient power, might do wonderful work here.
Churches with services similar to those at St Matthew’s abound in the South, and it was encouraging to find in how many the Lord’s own service (Holy Communion) was evidently regarded as the chief act of worship on the Lord’s Day, just as it used to be in the time of the Holy Apostles.
My dear Friends,
Sometimes I view with trembling anxiety the tendencies of the present day. It is in just such a time of careless forgetfulness of God, ‘happy-go-lucky’ drifting away from His counsels, lukewarmness and overwhelming materialism, that we are told He may come again. How shall we stand in that day? I bid you dear friends of generous hearts and willing works, and you also whom I have prepared for Confirmation, and you all who look upon St Matthew’s as your home, and yet only come now and then even to the Lord’s Service, not to repress the best instincts of your souls, nor fail to heed the still small voice of conscience directing attention to spiritual things. Let us make the month of December a time of new endeavour, so that Christmas may find us rejoicing in the newborn King
Our new curate.
We welcome in our midst the Reverend Sydney Victor Pressley, appointed assistant curate of our parish. He comes to us after six years’ careful training at Kelham Theological College, that great centre of Catholic influence worked by the Society of the Sacred Mission. We wish him not only happiness, but God’s grace in fostering his vocation and then surely his ministry at Saint Matthew’s will be richly blessed.
My dear friends,
Perhaps the most important local event during the present month will be the Anglo-Catholic School of Religion, to be held on February 21st – 24th. The subjects chosen concern us all, to whatever school of thought we belong and I feel sure that all who come will benefit by the instruction to be given. We all need to know clearly and definitely the reasons for the Faith, but this knowledge can only be gained by taking the trouble to learn and such connected course of instruction is one of the best ways of acquiring this knowledge.
Seamen’s Hot-pot and SmokerAs usual, this even, held on January 27th, was most enjoyable, over eighty men sitting down to a sumptuous meal, provided by members of the congregation. A very jolly smoking concert followed, in which many of the seamen themselves took part. It has been decided to redecorate the Seamen’s Shelter and to carry out certain other improvements. We should be glad to receive donations from any who are interested in the work amongst seamen. Our thanks are due to all who, by donations or by work, helped to make the hot-pot supper so enjoyable. We also desire to thank Captain Pugh for the gift of many interesting magazines.
(The Seamen’s Shelter was the building next to the Church Hall. Its original use and intention declined and it was used as a Band Room and for other recreational uses until sold by Father Burnett. For a long time it was used by the Manx Farmers and it was then sold to Mr Gubay who made it into a restaurant with various different tenants. The money from the sale was used by Father Burnett to buy the old radiant gas heaters which were on each of the pillars in church. When the new system was installed some of the gas fires were put in the halls.)
Kindness to Animals
As in past years, Sunday, July 13th, will be observed as our ‘Animal Sunday’ when our duty to our animal friends will be the subject of the sermon, and special intercessions will be offered. The celebrant and preacher at the 11 o’clock Sung Eucharist will be the Rev. J.N.E. Tredennick, Principal of Bishop Wilson Theological College.
My dear Friends, - I trust everyone of us has been spiritually strengthened and encouraged by our Patronal Festival. The visit of our Bishop with his encouraging message, and that of the Rev. Hugh Taggart, made it indeed a time of special significance. Father Taggarts sermon on our Festival Sunday, tracing out the wonderful history of St. Matthew’s in the past, was particularly appropriate. All his earnest exhortations as well as his genial, sympathetic personality, was a delight to those who came. Naturally, the church was crowded, not only by St. Matthew’s people. but by many who came out of sheer affection for their dear old friend, but to many of these latter our beautiful Sung Eucharist made perhaps little or no appeal.. Nevertheless, we were glad to see them, for the Church opens her doors to everyone. But now that our Patronal Festival is over, let us hope it was the beginning of a revival of spiritual energy and renewed enthusiasm. Let us say to ourselves, quite candidly, it is not by any spasmodic efforts, or occasional waves of attendance that our church can go forward. St. Matthew’s cannot rely on those who make their spiritual fervour or co-operation depend upon choice human leadership, whether clerical or lay. St. Matthew’s depends upon those whose faithful allegiance is to their Divine Saviour, and whose faith in Mother Church is strong, active and enduring. Such people are not far to seek, and there are also the other sort, who just look in and criticise.
Bur even as St. Matthew’s has great traditions, so let us remember it has a great part to play in the future. Our Church stands for truths which have in many places been misunderstood, forgotten or neglected. At times we suffer persecution, ridicule and even contempt. Let us rejoice if these are suffered for righteousness sake. Let us not shrink from such things in the future. Let us by precept and constant practice be true to our belief in the Sacraments, in the church as a Divine Society, not a human organisation, and in the full Catholic Faith once delivered to the saints. Thus will the Grace of God continue, and we need not fear.
Our special visitor for the ECU Festival was Rev. W.J. Crouch, organizing Secretary from London who preached at the Sung Eucharist and at the meeting gave an instructive address on the recent Lambeth Conference. How thankful we ought to be that the dangerous pitfalls of that Conference were averted and that our Bishops as a whole stood firm for the Catholic faith and practice. Miss McKnight, who had attended the Anglo-Catholic Congress in London, gave a vivid description of that inspiring event, and made us all long to have been present. As we go to press, it is encouraging to record a general re-awakening of enthusiasm and activity after the summer months and the same spirit of harmony and good fellowship prevails, which is so characteristic a feature of St. Matthews.
Just as we go to press, I have had a delightful surprise. I had invited my friend Canon Cooper, the Rector of Prestwick, Manchester, to conduct a retreat in St Matthew’s on December 3rd and 4th, but remembering the dreadful crossing he had last year in September and the serious effects it had on him, it was almost too good to expect he would accept. Now, however, he has written a most kind letter, saying he is looking forward to his visit with much pleasure.
The idea of a retreat arose from one or two members of our congregation, who suggested that I should conduct one. It is true I have done so on a very few occasions before coming to the Island, but I do not feel so competent to do so, and perhaps my ministry mat not be entirely helpful to everyone. We know each other very well, and therefore our faults and failings are constantly evident. A more unfamiliar voice can speak with such freshness.
A retreat is for those who really desire to serve our Lord and to know His will. I am persuaded that there are several in our congregation who really do desire this and only wish they knew how to do it better. Will you pray for God’s blessing on our conductor in his preparation?
The Anglo Catholic Centenary
It is generally agreed that the Oxford movement which brought about the great Anglo Catholic revival in our Church, originated in the famous Assize sermon, preached by John Keble in the University of Oxford on July 14th 1833. We are now therefore within two years of that centenary and already men in various quarters have been considering how best to organise a suitable and impressive celebration of it.
We are glad to note a strong desire on the part of churchmen of every school of thought to observe the centenary, but all will agree it is especially OUR task in the Island, as a centre of Catholic Faith and practice, to plan a worthy celebration. The centenary year ought to mean very great things to us.
As in other Catholic parishes throughout the British Isles, a start has been made at Saint Matthew’s by enrolling all those who wish to join the movement and presenting all such members with a special badge of membership at a cost of 1s each, which we hope they will wear constantly and interest others. A great membership is essential and we trust that every single member of Saint Matthew’s may be relied upon to join.
Remember the centenary preparations in your prayers and at the Holy Communion when offered with special intention for the movement. Enrol now for the centenary. The vicar will gladly supply membership badge and prayer card on receipt of name and address together with 1s. A meeting of all enrolled members to form plans for our local celebration of the centenary year will be announced in due course.
Since my last letter my wife and I have returned from a very enjoyable holiday in Yorkshire, during which we visited several seaside resorts - Scarborough, Whitby, Filey, and also Morecambe. It is natural to draw comparisons with our rivals, and we returned convinced that for beauty and variety of scenery the Isle of Man far excels them all. We are both of us enthusiasts for Manxland, and I might add, the Manx people, amongst whom we have found so many good friends. But comparing our town in Douglas with those I have mentioned, I am bound to admit that we have far too much bare concrete promenade, unrelieved by trees, grass plots and flower beds such as are found in other places. Similar arcades to the one we possess outside the Villa Marina (an undoubted improvement) are adorned in these towns with a profusion of plants and flowering baskets. The result is perfectly delightful, and I can’t help thinking that if we would really improve the attractiveness of our town, there is hardly a better method.
The churches in Scarborough seem very much alive, and it is encouraging to find so many in which the Lord’s own service (Holy Communion) is given the chief place., just as it used to be in the time of the Apostles. That, too, is the case in York Cathedral, where the type of service in its ceremonial is almost exactly the same as our own. After a varied experience in different churches, it was nevertheless a delight to get back to our dear church by the harbour, where the spirit of reverence and worship is so manifest, and to services in which the whole congregation seems to join with heart and soul.
The following extracts are taken from The Manx Church Magazine and other sources, when the vicar of St. Matthew's was the Rev. Lewis Cecil Watson, A.K .C.A and the Assistant Curate was the Rev. J. Kirkpatrick, B.A.
From the Isle of Man Times:
After the official and legal ceremonies, the Bishop, addressing the congregation, said there was probably no task resting on a bishop which was more solemn and responsible than choosing a new vicar, and he assured the parish of St. Matthew’s that he had only one motive in choosing Mr Watson - to secure a parish priest who, above everything else, desired to consecrate his life for the good of the people and for the deepest spiritual interests of the place. Mr Watson had been commended to him by varying types of clergyman including the present headmaster of Eton. For many years Mr and Mrs Watson were responsible for the splendid piece of work done by the Eton school, known as the Eton Mission, in one of the most congested and poorest parts of the great city of London. They would have in their new vicar one of very rich experience in parish work, and in administrative and organising work, and one with a very good academic record. But he had the greatest essential of all; he was a man of definite spiritual conviction, whose aim would be to bring the people committed to his charge to a knowledge of God in Jesus Christ.
My dear People,
The Nativity pageant was performed with great reverence and beauty by our Communicants, and this was helped by a splendid team of workers who put in many hours of devoted service voluntarily. The Pageant has made a great impression on all who saw it, and I have had innumerable expressions of gratitude for the spiritual help it has given them, and the many mental pictures of the Bible scenes of Christ’s birth. Many people went away with tears in their eyes and felt they had been to Bethlehem. It was quite evident our message ‘got across’, as we say, and the Press accounts showed this quite clearly. It was, therefore, amazing that some people took the opportunity, through the newspaper correspondence, not only to belittle the Pageant and the spirit in which it was produced and acted, but to make this beautiful and reverent act of worship another opportunity for an attack on St Matthew’s. Personally, I get rather tired of these one-sided attacks. People imagine that because there are only one or two churches on the Island like St Matthew’s that we are most peculiar, when as a matter of fact there are hundreds like us in England, and the Anglo-Catholic movement grows.
The aim of the movement with which St Matthew’s is identified is nothing less than bringing men, women and children through the full faith of Christendom to the love and service of the Incarnate Son of God.
I believe that the Catholic way - a definite way of life - of Prayer, of Communion, of the daily offering of the Holy Sacrifice, of a living fellowship with the Saints and all the blessed dead - is an assured and tested way whereby the redeemed may find union with their Saviour and Redeemer. That is the way for me, and the way you have been led in the past, and it is up that way I shall try to lead you, however haltingly, whilst I remain
Your Vicar and sincere friend,
Lewis C Watson
My dear People,
My first thought is to wish you a happy and prosperous New Year. A New Year is always full of hope. Time passes, and we do not get younger. Familiar faces that were with us last New Year’s Day are missing. This reminds us of the transistoriness of life which is just a journey to a fuller and happier life beyond. This fuller life can only become an accomplished fact if all our hopes and aspirations are centred on Him who is our Hope. In the Festival of Christmas we have had placed before us the humble picture of the condescending Love of God Incarnate in order that a fallen world may have Hope.Advent has not been kept as well as I should have hoped, and many people have been absent from church. I am sure that the weather and sickness have played a large part in this; indeed it has been an unfortunate time for me, for I have been laid aside for two weeks or more, and I have had to leave many things undone. May I thank all those that have kindly inquired or sent tokens of esteem and all who have kindly taken services for me? It is in times of sickness when one realises one’s true friends.
THE SALE OF WORK
The Press gave us excellent reports, but one or two people should be mentioned who are not members of our congregation. We were grateful to our two openers, Mr Clegg and Mr Farrant, who spent a lot of time and money at the Sale. We were fortunate in securing the kindly services of Mr F.D. Johnson to auction the pictures given by Her Majesty the Queen. We were also glad to see Mrs Stanton Jones among the purchasers and many other well known ladies who came to show their sympathy. We were sorry that Mr Gale, the verger, could not be with us during the Sale owing to an accident sustained whilst erecting the stalls. We must congratulate the coupon sellers (especially Mr Duggan) on their energy and powers of persuasion in selling coupons. Finally we must say a very big ‘Thank you’ to the band led by Mr Bert Ralph and obtained through the kindness of Mr H Harris.
Lewis C Watson
My dear people,
Easter will probably be over before you read this. I hope and trust that
those who have been so regular during Lent will keep it up after Easter
for that is always the test. Many devout people make an effort during Lent,
but slack off when Easter is over. But Lent is surely meant to help us after
Easter as well as before.
I have been kept very busy these last few weeks in sick visiting, and it is a cause of thankfulness that so many look for the ministrations of the priest. At one time there were no less than seven people attached to St Matthew’s in one ward in the Hospital. Two men asked to have their Communions, and this needed some courage, I am sure, in days that can hardly be called the ‘age of faith’. In passing may I pay a tribute to the members and staff at the Hospital, and the readiness to help to prepare patients for their Communions. This understanding of the Matron, Sisters and Nurses is a great help in the common task of healing body and soul.
I am beginning Confirmation classes immediately after Easter. This year I propose to have an even longer preparation than last year because I find after even the most careful preparation some have not fully understood their obligations.
THE PARISH BAND
The annual meeting was held last month, and an excellent state of affairs was shown. The uniforms have all been paid for, and the debt on the instruments is being gradually reduced. Under the able conductorship of Mr T. Lewin, the Band has progressed, and there is a splendid team spirit and plenty of new blood, if the noise on certain nights is anything to go by! May the recruits soon learn to play the cornets!
My dear People,
The first thing I must refer to is that Fr. Taggart has written to say he cannot come to our Patronal Festival but he has offered to come to our Children’s Festival. I have written accepting his offer and asking him to open our garden fete as he did last year.. It will be a good opportunity for his friends to meet him again, and he will receive a warm welcome to his old parish.. The garden fete will be in aid of the New Electric Blower and New Boiler Fund.
THE CHOIR AND BAND are to be congratulated on their successes in the Manx Guild. The choir won the Sharp Column for the first time. And the band quartette won the first prize for the first time. The Girl Guide Troop put up a splendid performance in the country dancing and were bracketed third.
This was kept as usual, with the exception that on Rogation Sunday we went to the Quayside in procession to ask for God’s blessing on the visiting industry and the fishermen and boatmen. Another year I hope to organise this on a larger scale.
My dear People,
We have had our children’s Festival, which was a most happy day. We had the pleasure of a visit from Fr. Taggart, who, although far from well, preached two fine sermons and spoke very nicely to our children. The outdoor procession through the streets was most beautiful and well organized. I should like to express my appreciation to the parents of our children who saw to it that the children looked their best that day. In their pretty frocks and hats, carrying new nosegays of flowers, the little ones holding on to the banner streamers and the wee ones holding little banners. All helped to make the procession a beautiful sight. There were crowds of people to witness the children’s witness to their Lord and His Church, and I have never seen more cameras busy. I think these outdoor witnesses are a great help, and they teach and encourage the children not to be afraid of witnessing to their faith in the open. We sang our Festival hymns at two stations and these were appreciated by the people in the vicinity. The band was in particularly good form and was a great help as usual. Altogether it was a happy day.
My Dear People,
I hope Mr. Kirkpatrick will be ordained priest shortly, and I hope you will all pray for him that his ministry may have God’s blessing and he may be a blessing to many souls and be a good priest. ‘The office and work of a priest in the ‘Church of God’ entails great responsibilities, as you will see if you read carefully the ‘Ordering of Priests’ in your Prayer Book. It means something more than being merely popular. A man may be quite a good preacher and quite good at games or he may be a ‘good fellow’ socially, and yet be a failure as a priest. A priest is one who has a ‘cure of souls’, and therefore must have in his heart a deep longing to bring people to Christ. He must be prepared to give himself up entirely to that work, for that is his ‘calling’. It does not mean a 48-hour week but it means at any time, day or night, he may be on duty. There is much more one could say on ‘the work and office of a priest’, but I only want to ask you to pray for Mr. Kirkpatrick that he may be a ‘good priest’.
My Dear People,
By the time you receive your magazine I shall be far away for my holidays. The first two weeks will be a ‘busman’s holiday’ as I am organising the annual Summer School of the UMCA (Universities Mission to Central Africa) this year at Abingdon-on-the-Thames. It is nine years since I organised the first one. We then had 32 students for the inside of a week. It has grown to such an extent that this year we shall have 96 staff and students the first week and about 86 the second week. I have been honoured this year by being asked to be the chaplain the second week. The school is being held at one of the boarding schools run by the ‘Wantage Sisters’, and is delightfully situated and only four miles from Oxford. My wife is being responsible for the catering. This will be a huge task, but she always has a willing band of voluntary helpers. It will be hard work, but it is a great change from parochial life, and the delightful atmosphere of friendliness of scores of people all keen about missions and keen to know more about Africa is stimulating and refreshing in spite of the organising work
My dear Friends,
Our Patronal Festival is over and we have had a happy time. Our numbers can never be very great because it falls just at the end of the season, when everyone is tired and many are just going away or are already away. This year the day coincided with the opening of our organ with its new electric blowing apparatus. It was a joy to hear it once again, and the choir evidently appreciated it, if the singing was anything to go by. Most of you will have read in the leaflet I sent round for the Patronal Festival the position with regard to the heating and lighting of our Church and Schools. After a very long discussion the Council decided to reheat the Church by a hot-water radiator system which would, at the same time, keep the Schools warm. This new system will cost £212 and has been placed in the hands of Messrs Todhunter and Eliot. The Council decided to relight the Church and Schools by electricity.
We have come round once again to the month when we remember those who gave their lives in the Great War. This November 11th falls on a Sunday, so that our Sung Eucharist will be a Requiem in Thanksgiving for those who lost their lives for their country. We sometimes wonder if it was in vain when we think of the unsettled state of Europe, yet no sacrifice for a noble and righteous cause is in vain. Nothing could seem so utterly hopeless as the innocent Christ on the Cross, yet his supreme sacrifice of love can ‘ draw all men ’ if only He can be lifted up for all men to see.
The arrangements for Armistice Day will be seen below.
The installation of the heating system and the electric lighting of church and schools should be well on the way to completion by the time you read this.
The collecting boxes for our ‘ Christmas Gift ’ to the church will also be out. If you have not got one, will you ask for one?
Lewis C Watson
November 18th - At the request of several people, a performance of the musical works of B. E. Sargeaunt, Esq., M.V.O.,O.B.E., will be rendered after Evensong in church. The collection will be given to the Lighting and Heating Fund. The Vicar hopes that all our people will come and hear the work of the Vicar ’ s warden.
November 28th- Church Union. Address on ‘ The Canon Law ’ by the Ven. Archdeacon of Craven.
November 29th, St Andrew ’ s Eve - All day of intercession for Foreign Missions.
November 30th, St. Andrew ’ s Day - Holy Communion, 8 and 9.15.
We are now approaching the season of Advent, when we think of the coming of the Lord Christ. Advent is the beginning of the Church’s year, and the Church begins once again (through the Collects, Epistles, and Gospels) to go through the chief events in the life of Christ. We find that the chief note of Advent is that of repentance as a means of preparing our hearts for the coming of Christ. This should always be a perpetual state of the soul, but as the physical body needs tonics now and again, so the soul needs fresh stirring, and Advent is one of those seasons in the life of the Christian when we are bidden to think of the Incarnation, or what we call the Coming of Christ, the Son of God, into this world of sin. The world today thinks little of sin or as a kind of disease, and therefore true repentance is hardly ever sincerely sought. Repentance is a matter of the will, not of the feelings. To put it shortly, repentance is sorrow for sin, confession of sin, and a desire to avoid sin, and all this for the love of God. Let us then, once again, look into our own lives this Advent and see what is in them that offends the love of God., and let us turn our wills as well as our affections to God by prayer, self-examination, confession, and resolve to try and do better. We shall then find, if we are faithful, that we have made some advance in the spiritual life.
I am sending out a special leaflet with the arrangements for Advent, and it will probably be enclosed with the Magazine.
With all good wishes for a happy Christmas,
Your sincere friend and Vicar,
Lewis C Watson
ADVENT LANTERN SERVICES
We shall have some lantern services after Evensong on Sunday nights in Advent and Tuesdays in Advent for children. The pictures will be beautifully coloured ones.
My dear people,
I expect most of you will know that I am going out to Central Africa, for a trip of four months, to the Universities Mission to Central Africa. A member of the UMCA Council offered to pay all my expenses if I would go. It so happened that the only time that I could visit Central Africa (when the rains are over) is the summer when most of you are busy with visitors. I felt that I could not shirk what seemed to me a great opportunity of widening my own knowledge of the mission which I have loved and worked for so long, and which you have supported for so many years. I consulted the Bishop, and he readily consented, and has given me leave of absence, and very kindly looks upon it as an honour for the Diocese that I should be asked to go. I shall sail on the last day of April, and shall visit the Dioceses of Zanzibar and Masasi, and return in early September.
Although we had extremely bad weather when the Bishop came (for the first time) to our Sung Eucharist, there was quite a good congregation to welcome him and hear his message. He dedicated our heating and lighting systems, which are most affective.. It was a great joy to me, and I know to all who were present, to have him with us at our Sung Eucharist for although our service is elaborate, he felt that everything was done reverently and in a spirit of devotion to the Lord Christ, and I hope he will come and worship with us again in the near future.
( In 1965 UMCA merged with Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts to form the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel which St. Matthew's still supports)
“EAGER HEART”, a Christmas Mystery Play, will be given by Communicant members of the Church in Church at 8.15 pm, on Monday, January 7th (children and adults); Tuesday, 8th, and Thursday, 9th January. I hope that not only St Matthew’s people will come but that others will support us in these efforts to set forth the beautiful story of Christmas in a devotional and artistic manner. Mrs. Watson has had a long and unique experience in the production of these Nativity plays. The dresses are all designed by her and many are of Eastern origin. The gorgeous coloured wings are her own original design and make. This year the play is quite different from the pageant performed the last two years, and is in story form. The Bishop has promised, if possible, to come on Tuesday, 8th January, and read the Prologue and Epilogue to the play. And the Vicar of St George’s on Thursday, 9th. Admission will be by programme (1/- and 6d), and 1/- programmes may be booked at Messrs Blakemore’s and Miss Kirton. This method is necessary, not to make money out of it, but because the seating is limited and the expenses of production heavy.
I had to write the notes for January before the Christmas festival had taken place. We had a beautiful Midnight Eucharist. There is something very beautiful to receive the Lord Christ in the early hours of Christmas morning when all the world is still. The peace and quiet of that time enables us to concentrate on the extension of the Incarnation which we have in the Eucharist. The Crib was again beautifully decorated, and many found it an aid to prayer and devotion.
Our Christmas play is now over for this year. It was a particularly beautiful presentation, and the story of Eager Heart gripped in its telling simplicity all who came to see it.
I should like to express the thanks of Mrs Watson and myself to the many people who kindly wrote and expressed their appreciation of its reverence and beauty. That is the best thanks that we could have for having these Christmas plays. I am grateful for the attendance and sympathy of Lady Butler, the Bishop and Mrs Stanton Jones, and the clergy of Douglas who urged their people to go.
The players responded splendidly, and with great patience to long rehearsals; the singers who never get a real chance of seeing the play were most self-sacrificing; and the orchestra was a great help to our local musicians. Then there were the men of the congregation who gave their time and labour in putting up the stage; Mr Pascoe and his men did their electrical work with great effect and keen interest. A word must be said, too, about Messrs Blakemore’s and Miss Kirton who undertake all the booking of seats free of charge. All helped willingly to make the play a success.
A beautiful service was held on January 21st when the Deemsters, Mayor, and other members of the legal profession came to St Matthew’s Church. This was the first time they had done so as a corporate body. The procession was very impressive indeed and the Church was more or less full for the occasion.
I shall be away for a few days in February when I have been asked to conduct a missionary school in Carlisle.
Your sincere Friend and Vicar,LEWIS C WATSON
The church, as the Body of Christ, calls you each year during Lent to ‘take stock’ of your spiritual life and to make a spiritual ‘spring cleaning’ of your soul. Half the churches today live on stunts, and we might almost say ‘the church that doesn’t advertise is lost’. It is pathetic how in these modern days the church and her parsons and ministers have to strain every nerve to get a few extra people to come to church or any place of worship even on a Sunday. We advertise, send our special appeals, cajole plead, send personal invitations and the like, to try and persuade people to come to God’s House. But think of the early church when her members were persecuted, driven about from place to place and put to death. Read Acts 2 verse 42, ‘They continued steadfastly in the Apostles doctrine and fellowship and in breaking of bread and in prayers.’
Let every confirmed Christian who reads these words ask himself or herself - ‘Have I the steadfastness and fervour of the early Christians? Do I hear the Apostles’ doctrine every Lord’s Day or only when it suits me? Do I join the fellowship of Christians all worshipping and praising God Sunday by Sunday? Do I continue in prayer, or have I given them up or say them perfunctorily?’
Lent has not been so good this year as in past years. We have had splendid women’s services on Mondays. These are a great feature of our Lenten observance, and we were very much helped by the addresses of Father Leadley Brown and the Vicar of St Thomas’s. The lantern services should have been better attended
We had a beautiful Confirmation service, and the Bishop was at his best, and all those concerned would take to heart his fatherly and spiritual advice. We had Canon Spanton with us, and he was very much touched not only with the simplicity of the service, but with the deliberate care the Bishop took in confirming each candidate. As the confirmation was in Holy Week, we postponed the social welcome into the family of St. Matthew till Easter Monday. There were not as many present as I had hoped, but all who took the trouble to come were rewarded by some delightful music from Miss Ryding’s trio, and community singing. Canon Stanton gave away the Confirmation certificates, and gave delightful reminiscences of Manxland as he knew it fifty years ago. The first Communion of the newly-confirmed was a beautiful service on Maundy Thursday at 7 a.m. on the day of the institution of the Blessed Sacrament. It was nice to see so many friends and relations present supporting the candidates with their prayers. The Communion was followed by the usual parish breakfast, a delightful kind of Agape. I only hope that the latest full members of the Church will be faithful and persevere ‘unto their lives’ end.’
The outdoor procession on Good Friday had to be curtailed a little on account of the rain; but I was glad to see the Band, servers and congregation, who were not afraid to turn out and give the witness in spite of the rain, and we had the church nearly full for the lantern service. The annual witness in the open-air is really valuable, I am sure, in showing that the church is not afraid to go out and preach Christ crucified.
The Church was beautifully decorated for Easter, and, as usual, we had glorious services. There is a triumphant note about Easter which tells us in no uncertain way of the reality of Christ’s Resurrection and the hope it gives to us.
Your Friend and Vicar,
Lewis C. Watson
My Dear People,
I write this two days before I sail for Africa. May I ask you all to back up my colleague whilst I am away. I have arranged for two priests to come and help Father Kirkpatrick - one in July and another in August.
The Bishop has kindly promised to come and preach whilst I am away. Other clergy have offered to help by preaching. I am grateful for the friendly spirit shown by my brother clergy.
The Missionary Festival was not well supported even by the churches in Douglas, and it is disappointing to bring first rate speakers from England and not to have more than 350 people in the hall. Perhaps the chief reason for the poor attendance was the fact that several diocesan functions were too near. We must hope that next year there will be some real co-ordination.
The Girls’ Friendly Society Rally and Pageant was a great success, though here again it seemed to be a mistake to have the two events together. However, we are all grateful for the fine message of the pageant and the magnificent co-operation of all branches of the GFS in the Island. It speaks well for the real friendly spirit that all worked hard for its success, and I know that not only those who saw it, but those who organised it, were impressed by the real Christian spirit of unity shown by all the members. Personally, if I had not been sure of the value of the GFS, the pageant would have convinced me.
I shall be glad of your prayers, whilst I am away in Africa, for health and strength to get through my journeying, and I shall look forward to being amongst you once again.
Will you tell Father Kirkpatrick (4, Westminster Terrace), of any case of illness. He will be in charge during my absence. May God bless you.
sincere Friend and Vicar,
LEWIS C WATSON
Isle of Man Examiner, 28 June, 1935
St. Matthew’s American Tea
As a means of reducing the debt on St. Matthew’s Church in connection with the new lighting and heating, which have been installed at a cost of £500, an American tea and sale of goods took place in the Schools yesterday. The function, which could not be held in the open air at The Hermitage, owing to the uncertainty of the weather was organised by Mrs L.C.Watson, wife of the vicar, and was declared open by Mrs R.D.Farrant, who was accompanied by the Deemster. Mrs Farrant was introduced by Mr. B.E.Sargeaunt, M.V.O., O.B.E., and thanked on the motion of Mr Mark Carine, seconded by Miss Taylor of Castletown. Mrs Drinkwater and Mrs Sargeaunt had charge of the flower and garden produce stall, Mrs A. Rowell gave the sweet stall, and Miss Dawson and Miss Cox supervised the general stall, while refreshments were served under the direction of Mrs Thornton, Mrs Duggan, Mrs Cain and Mrs J.D.Fell. An excellent display of dramatic dancing was given by the pupils of the St. Aubyn School of Dancing and Mrs.A.D.Kenna. The display was repeated in the evening, when the programme was supplemented by selections by St. Matthew’s Brass Band.
PICNICS - Both the Choir and the Mothers’ Union had ideal weather for their trips round the Island, and everybody had a really jolly time.
The Sunday School, unfortunately, was not so lucky when it went to Silverdale, for rain set in at lunch time and grew worse as the day went on. Although (for a wonder!) nobody managed to fall into the lake, most of us were wet enough just through being on top of it. Still, the youngest element, at any rate, made the best of things, and we came back quite cheerily, many of us ending the day in the comfort of ‘the Pictures.’
THE CHILDREN’S FESTIVAL - Father Lovell, of St Paul’s, Stoneycroft, gave excellent addresses to our children on this occasion. We should like to say ‘Thank you’ to him for coming to help us. The services were really beautiful, and the Outdoor Procession particularly impressive. The Band was a great help to us in our singing as we went round the parish. Altogether it was a day to be remembered.
BAZAAR - In order to complete the payment for the heating, electric light, and electric organ-blower, it has been found necessary to have a bazaar in November of next year. Bazaar bank deposit books are now in circulation. Will you please ask for one?
Your sincere Friend and Vicar,
LEWIS C WATSON
This is just a few lines to let you know how I am getting on. I am now on the boat going from Zanzibar to Lindi. It is a small coastal steamer which is very slow indeed. We have the wind and current against us, so are doing not much more than three or four knots an hour. I am having a wonderful time and am keeping quite fit in spite of the heat. I have visited most of the places that UMCA has in the Zanzibar diocese, Dar-es-Salaam, Zanzibar, Tanga, Msalabani, Korogwe, Kideleko, Vugiri, Kwa Mkono, Mkuzi, Hegongo, Tongwe, Kiwanda. I have been much impressed by the efficiency of the work, the loneliness of the European staff, the wonderful work of the African teachers, often struggling alone as Christians in districts full of witchcraft and Mohammedanism. They not only teach in the schools themselves, very often understaffed, but they act as catechists when the school work is over and look up the Christians and the lapsed communicants and those under public penance, and reserve any difficult cases for when the priest or European teacher comes round. They make wonderful teachers and often have to manage three and sometimes four classes at a time. The Africans’ thirst for knowledge is amazing, and at some schools there will be over 200 children, although there is no compulsory system of education…..
The medical work on the mainland is very wonderful. I sat in one of the dispensaries for a morning and saw the nurse assisted by two African dispensary boys, deal with 120 cases, several of whom needed injections for various diseases like yaws, which is a terrible disease which breaks out in ulcers. Then bilharzia is a disease which they get bathing in rivers, the snails infect the water. They have to have a course of 12 injections. Often the nurse has to do minor operations like opening up abscesses. Difficult cases she has to keep until the only mission doctor comes round. If they can’t wait, the nurse has to hire porters to carry the patients to Msalabani, where the doctor has the chief operating theatre. I saw one poor woman who had internal swelling who had walked all night from the hills with her husband to the hospital. The nurse didn’t like to deal with her, so she had to hire porters and send her in a machila (a kind of framework on poles) 18 miles to the doctor, who would have to be sent for at Korogwe, two hours away by train (two trains a day). It would take about six hours to carry the sick woman in, because the way is only by single paths sometimes.
… In one village I met a medicine man with his bag of tricks. At first he didn’t want to come. However, I persuaded him to let me see his medicines, which were black seeds wrapped up in husks. He had a prescription which was merely a lot of paint daub and scribbles. I learnt afterwards that he was a witch doctor as well. He was an evil-looking man.
Yours very sincerely,
Lewis C. Watson
My dear People,
November is an autumn month when we think of falling leaves. It is also a month when we think of souls gone on. There are the Saints whom we remember on All Saints Day. These the Church believes are in heaven itself, ‘having washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.’ Then on All Souls Day we think of our own ‘near and dear’ ones who are ‘at rest’ and in Paradise waiting for that great day when Christ will come again to judge the world. We do not know much about the state of the ‘blessed dead’, but we can pray for them just as we did when they lived on earth; for we still love them and they love us. They know more than we know, having experienced death itself and we are quite sure their souls live, and therefore they can help us on earth as we can help them in Paradise.
Our annual Requiem will be held on November 6th, when the names of all who have ‘passed on’ will be read out, and we will offer the Holy Sacrifice on their behalf.
Then there is Armistice Day - another day fraught with poignant memories. We shall keep November 10th as Armistice Sunday, and as usual we shall lay a wreath on our beautiful War Memorial after the Sung Eucharist, and read the names of the fallen. On Armistice Day itself the Two Minutes Silence will be kept in church. There will be a celebration of Holy Communion at 10.45 and the Silence will be observed in the midst of the Lord’s Service, when we will offer the sacrifice the fallen made in union with the greatest sacrifice ever made. It is terrible to think that whilst the Great War is fresh in our memories, a great Christian nation is not only sacrificing its own men, but a Christian nation is attacking a defenceless little nation. All members of the Church of England should be glad that our Archbishops have given such a lead in the expression of horror that Christian’s should feel that the spirit of war is once again let loose. Let us pray that the war may be brought to a speedy end.
I have decided to do without a curate for some time in order to help our church funds to regain their proper balance. It will mean heavy work for me but I do not mind it so long as I have good health, and I know that I shall have the backing of the congregation.
The Daily Eucharist will be kept going, for I place a great value on the offering of the Lord’s Service day by day. We get little time for prayer and intercession therefore it will help all of us to know the world’s needs, the needs of the diocese and parish are remembered day by day at the altar, and that the sick and dying may not only be prayed for but ministered to from the altar. It may interest you all to know that at on average the Sacrament is taken once or twice a week to the sick and dying. I am always glad to go any time of day or night to the sick and I shall be grateful if you will keep me informed of those who are sick.
Your sincere Friend and Vicar,
Lewis C Watson
My dear People,
Advent Sunday falls on December 1st, and the season of Advent comes round year by year to all God’s children as a time of reflection on the Second Advent. As we approach the delightful festival of Christmas, with its memories of childhood, we recall the advent of the King of Kings, the Child of Bethlehem, born in a stable, for ‘us men and for our salvation’. The thought of the Christ Child should humble us and remind us of our unworthiness to approach Him. Our unworthiness will call forth our repentance, for so often we forget to let the Holy Child lead us into the paths of righteousness.
As Advent season approaches let us learn afresh to be more worthy of the greatest of all Christmas gifts - the Son of God Incarnate.
There are many communicants who have not yet approached God’s altar, and the ‘season’ finished. Do not put it off, for here we receive the Divine Life which ‘strengthens and refreshes us’.
May I wish you all a happy Christmas when that time comes round.
Very sincerely yours,
LEWIS C. WATSON
ALL HALLOWS PARTY. This was a great success, both for the adults and children, though the numbers were not so many as in previous years, but everyone entered into the fun of the evening.
ARRANGEMENTS FOR CHRISTMAS. Christmas Eve (December 24th); Blessing of the Crib, 11-45. Christmas Day (December 25th); Mid-night Eucharist (Those who wish to communicate at this service are required to have cards of permission - these can be obtained from the Vicar); Holy Communion at 8.00am; Sung Eucharist, Procession, and Sermon at 11 am.
DAY OF PRAYER FOR THE CONVERSION OF ENGLAND AND THE ISLE OF MAN. December 12th. A full 24 hours’ Day of Prayer will be kept on December 12th for the conversion of our country to the Faith. Particulars will be given on separate leaflets.
The Manx Church Magazine
My dear People,
We’ve had a quiet Advent with no special services. One outstanding event was the 24 hours of continuous intercession for the conversion of the world. There was a splendid response. The stimulus for this act of devotion and intercession was the Fiery Cross Association of the Church Union. Some 14 servers kept the watch through the night and there was not a break during the 24 hours. About 60 people took part. One can feel happy about a church when so many will come and spend half-an-hour to intercede for the conversion of the world. This day was only two weeks after we had kept the St Andrew’s Day of Intercession for Missions. Incidentally, I never cease to wonder why this day is not more universally kept in the diocese.
I have been deeply gratified by the expressions of approval at my remarks on the Mayor’s Sunday about public decency. There is no doubt that the public generally is alive to the question and determined that something must be done about it, and we ought to be grateful to the Press for their leading articles on the subject. I can assure you that the matter is not being dropped.
When the Christmas festivals are over, we must settle down seriously to work for the bazaar. This will be held on November 24th, 25th, and 26th, in St George’s Schools by the kindness of the Vicar and wardens of St Georges.
With all good wishes for a very happy New Year,
Very sincerely yours,
LEWIS C. WATSON
The Manx Church Magazine
My dear People,
The Christmas festivities are almost all over, though the mothers’, G.F.S. and lads’ parties are still to come. The services on Christmas Day were well attended, and our communions were quite up to the average. We had our Christmas party which was very successful, the tree being particularly beautiful. We were indebted to Mrs A. D. Kenna and her pupils for a delightful cabaret show prior to the lighting of the tree.
The Crib is always a great feature of our church at Christmas and Epiphany-tide, and it is nice to see how many people use it as an aid to devotion. We really ought to get a larger set of figures for next year. I wonder if anyone will offer a set? If they are procured unpainted, the price is quite reasonable, and they can be painted.
Another great feature of St Matthew’s at this season of Christmas is the Nativity Play which we do each year. This is valued by many people quite outside our congregation, and is a means of bringing the Bible story of the Incarnation more clearly before our eyes. This year we did a more difficult play, and a fine setting for the angels’ choir was provided which made the play more beautiful than ever. We did not have such large audiences as usual, and this is perhaps because we put the play a week later than usual. There was a wonderful team spirit shown, not only in the actual performances themselves, but in the preparation. The servers did all the work on the big elaborate stage, putting it up and taking it down, and much self-sacrifice was shown. It was a very moving sight the Sunday before our first performance to see over 60 communicants present at 8.00am to pray for God’s blessing on the play and those who took part in it. The play is worth doing, if only to produce such devotion as has been shown. We are looking forward to going down to Ramsey (St Paul’s) with the play on the 30th January.
Very sincerely yours,
LEWIS C. WATSON
The Manx Church Magazine
My dear People,
This letter must be confined to just a few lines because I am on holiday.
We had a very successful UMCA Summer School at Whitby, when we had about 90 the first week and 80 the second. On the whole, the weather was fine. The school, in its recreation time, visited Whitby Abbey, where the great Abbess Hilda trained the very first Christian girls in the north. We visited Lastingham Abbey, which is still used as a Church and saw the beautiful Norman crypt, one of the most perfect in England. Then we had another glorious excursion over the Whitby moors to see Rievaux Abbey and Byland Abbey. These ruins make one very sad at the destruction and deformation at one period of our history, and reminded one of the horrible things going on in Spain today. We were looked after by the Sisters of the Holy Paraclete, a religious community dedicated to the teaching of girls. As we looked across from the refectory of the school which these good Sisters run, to the ruined Abbey, one could not but be thankful to the fine and growing work these Sisters are doing for girls’ education in England, both secondary and elementary. And also for their work in Accra, in West Africa, and that the work of St Hilda begun so many centuries ago is still being carried on today.
Now, with regard to our Patronal Festival. We shall have a visit from Father Agliouby, the vicar of St Frideswide, Poplar. He will preach on Sunday evening, September 20th and at our Sung Eucharist on St Matthew’s Day. I am not sure whether we shall be able to have our usual luncheon owing to Mrs Watson’s illness but we must have some public function in the evening.
I think I told you that the Father Agliouby was at the Eton Mission in East London when Mrs Watson and I were there, and he has worked in East London all his ministerial life. He is an eloquent preacher, and is going to spend a week of his holidays on the Island. Incidentally, his brother is the Bishop of Accra in West Africa. I hope you will all do your upmost to come to the Patronal Festival.
Then you will not forget Father Sedding, of the Cowley Fathers - a society of Mission priests - is coming to St Matthew’s for the weekend of October 3-5. He will preach morning and evening, conduct a Quiet Afternoon on the Monday, October 5th and speak to our youth in the evening. If you are going away at all please could you arrange to go after his visit?
Your sincere Friend and Vicar,
Lewis C Watson
My dear People,
Our Patronal Festival is now over, and it has been a particularly happy one. We all appreciated the visit of Father Aglionby, and those of us who heard his two sermons will not easily forget them. It was his first visit to the Island and our church and he was impressed, as all are, by the beauty of both of them. In his sermons he emphasised the fact that we are surrounded by a great number of saints who were ordinary people like ourselves, and are helped by their prayers. The secret of their lives, was fourfold. They were: 1) They had a vision of God; 2) They were great lovers of Jesus; 3) They had a great belief in God and his grace; 4) They persevered to the end. At the lunch that followed the Sung Eucharist on St Matthew’s Day, he pointed out that the greatest work we were doing was the daily offering of the Holy Eucharist, and he gave us much encouragement.
VISIT OF FATHER SEDDING, SSJE
I have already announced the visit of this well known mission priest. I hope you have all made a note of the date - October 4th and 5th. May I urge you all, if you can, to take advantage of the Quiet Day he will conduct on the Monday, from 3 to 6pm. If this catches the eye of any who are not members of our church, we should be glad to welcome any people who would like to avail themselves of such an opportunity. Many of you are physically tired after a heavy season, and I am sure you will find this Quiet Day a great help to your spiritual life. We all need a fresh vision from time to time and Father Sedding will help us to catch a fresh vision.
‘IDEAL HOME’ BAZAAR, NOVEMBER 24-26
Our Bazaar will be an ‘Ideal Home’ one in November. The idea is to fit up St George’s Hall, as far as is possible, as an ideal home, with its various rooms. Each room will try to sell the various articles which would be found in that room. Next month more particulars of the arrangements will be published. Will everyone try to make something for one of the rooms. Some of the rooms will be: Living-room, Bathroom, China Cupboard, Clothes Press, Linen Cupboard, Nursery, Kitchen, Garden-room, Larder, Store Cupboard, ‘Glory Hole’, Dining-room, Christmas Tree. The Bazaar is only two months from now so please get busy in a final effort.
Your sincere Friend and Vicar,
Lewis C Watson
Isle of Man Times, 3 September, 1938 (from the i museum, Douglas)
Rev. H.S.Taggart at St. Matthew’s shakes hands with Large Congregation
After the service at which he preached at St. Matthew’s Church on Sunday evening, the Rev H.S.Taggart stood in the porch and shook hands with each member of the congregation.
Vicar for many years (and his father before him) at St. Matthew’s, he was without doubt the most popular clergyman in the Isle of Man, and many of his old friends, who held him in great affection, attended the service. Father and son took part. The Rev. J Paul Taggart of Grantham, son of the Rev. H.S.Taggart, read the lessons.
A welcome to them was given by the Rev. L.C.Watson, the present vicar.
At the beginning of his sermon, the Rev.H.S.Taggart spoke of the pleasure it was to see so many of his friends again, and his thankfulness for the privilege of being allowed to worship once again ‘in these dear walls’. He preached a heartening sermon, pointing out that it was the Christian’s faith not to despair of the present and desire the past, but in the knowledge that Christ lived, to look forward with hope to the future.
The Manx Fisherman’s Evening Hymn was sung during the service. The St. Matthew’s Band played selections outside the church.
Isle of Man Examiner, 18 November 1938 (from the imuseum, Douglas)
Manx Servers For London Festival
At the monthly meeting of the St. Maughold Chapter, which followed, it was decided to send two representatives to attend the festival of the G.S.S. in London on December 2nd, when altar servers from all parts of the country will take part.
The servers nominated were Bros. Harold Broadbent (St. Matthew’s), and Sydney Boulton (St. Paul’s Ramsey), with Bro. Robert Cubbon of St Matthew’s as the deputy representative.
It was also suggested that the monthly gathering of the Guild in December should take the form of a Sung Eucharist at Ramsey on the morning of December 27th, to be followed by the monthly meeting of the Guild at which the London representatives will give their report.
Isle of Man Examiner, 12 October 1956 (from the imuseum, Douglas)
A Monk at St. Matthew’s
A youngish - looking fellow, in black habit, leaned over the pulpit in St. Matthew’s Church, Douglas, on Sunday, and talked earnestly to the congregation. He told them of his plans for the Liturgical Mission to be held in the parish.
Later as he met the congregation in the Church Hall and smoked his pipe, he gave his hearers some words of wisdom as to the methods of visiting and other information concerning the modern approach to a mission of this kind.
This Missioner-designate, who next spring will be accompanied by a lay brother - Brother Benedict, whom he described as a good type of Lancastrian - is Father Gabriel Sanford, and he is being sent to St. Matthew’s following an approach by the Vicar (Rev. B. P. Burnett) to the Community of the Resurrection, Mirfield, one of the best known of Anglican Communities, famed for its missionary and social work, which is run on monastic lines. Father Trevor Huddleston, who has been causing the spotlight to fall on apartheid and other problems in South Africa, belongs to this community.
Father Sanford came to the Island on Saturday, on the Manxman, and on board met the skipper, Capt. P. J. Bridson, who is a member of St. Matthew’s congregation. On Sunday after names of visitors and helpers had been enrolled, he told his hearers that the Mission will be a ‘flop’ unless people pray for it each day and there is much advanced preparation.
The Liturgical Mission is being held in connection with the Forward Movement or diocesan mission throughout the Island which has been initiated by the Lord Bishop.
Not only was last Sunday a day of preparation for the Mission at St. Matthew’s, but it was also the harvest festival. There were about fifty communicants at 8 a.m., and there was a High Mass at 11 a.m., those taking part being the Vicar and the Curate (Rev. Stephen Freshwater) and Father Sanford. Following Solemn Evensong and Procession, the parishioners met in the Church Hall, and after a cup of tea Father Sanford gave his talk and answered questions.