November 2007 Newsletter
Association of Contemporary Church Historians
(Arbeitsgemeinschaft kirchlicher Zeitgeschichtler)
John S. Conway, Editor. University of British Columbia
November 2007— Vol. XIII, no. 11
This month is the month for remembrance. On November 5th, we are pleased to remember Guy Fawkes, the seventeenth century’s notorious “terrorist”. He became the centrepiece of England’s most vicious outburst of deliberately organized Protestant bigotry. Church and state combined to ensure that his treason was remembered by having his effigy burnt every year on innumerable bonfires – a tradition which still continues four hundred and two years later. So it is perhaps fitting that I send you two reviews from the recent history of the Anglican Church, both of which I believe have a more positive message to convey for the present. But I also add a short piece reviewing an article by a young German scholar which exemplifies the contradictions in much of the history of the German churches during the traumatic Nazi years.
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1) Book reviews:
a) John Allen, Rabble-Rouser for Peace: Desmond Tutu
b) Andrew Chandler, The Church of Engand Commissioners
2) Journal article: H. J .Buss, An Evangelical Martyr: K.F.Stillbrink
1a) John Allen, Rabble-Rouser for Peace. The authorized biography of Desmond Tutu New York, London: Free Press 2006. 481 pp. ISBN 13 978-0-7432-6937-7
South Africa in the 1980s and 1990s was blessed with two outstanding leaders of world renown, Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. Mandela’s political achievements in bringing about the overthrow of the apartheid system and his election as the nation’s first black president have been well described in numerous biographies. Recently he was honoured by having his statue erected in London’s Parliament Square. Desmond Tutu’s achievements are less spectacular and belong more fittingly in the category of being inspirational or even “spiritual”. His biography by John Allen is therefore most valuable in letting us see how he succeeded in gaining this kind of international fame, which many consider puts him in a similar class to Martin Luther King or even Mahatma Gandhi.
The dangers of such authorized biographies are obvious. They can so easily become sanctimonious or over laudatory. But John Allen is one of South Africa’s most experienced journalists who has worked with Tutu for forty years, and was latterly director of communications for Tutu’s most notable sphere of activity, the famous Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He is therefore careful not to become unbalanced or one-sided in his presentation and skillfully interweaves quotations from Tutu’s critics or opponents, which allow his readers to judge for themselves.
In addition Allen has done extensive archival research, even obtaining material from the former regime’s security services. His acquaintance with the literature on South Africa’s recent history is exemplary, and his writing style is authoritative and convincing. He thus updates the previous excellent biography by Shirley Du Boulay written twenty years ago.
The picture Allen draws is complex. Tutu is shown to have been throughout his life – and is still – caught in an on-going state of tension between his career as a pastor and his calling as a prophet – both spent on the intrinsically dangerous fault-line between religion and politics. His success has lain in his ability to steer a careful course between being dismissed on the one hand as a religious zealot or idealistic dreamer, or on the other as a political schemer or even “terrorist” who deserved to be locked up. His opponents, as quoted by Allen, continually tried to vilify and entrap him – there is even talk of a possible assassination – but failed to do so. In part, this was because of the widespread popular support he consistently enjoyed, not just from his African followers with whom he shared their anguish over the oppressive evils of the apartheid regime, but also from the international community, especially in the Christian churches.
Tutu’s father was a teacher, and Desmond followed in his footsteps, until the South African government imposed new restrictions on Bantu education. He then turned to the Anglican Church, where he was sponsored by members of the British-based Community of the Resurrection in Johannesburg. Their ministry in the slum parishes of Sophiatown gave them a clear insight into the plight of the African urban poor. But their white skins and paternalist manners inevitably separated them from the aspirations for political freedom, increasingly being voiced by Africans. It was Tutu’s success that he combined the priestly caring habits of the Community’s leaders, especially Trevor Huddleston, with a passionate engagement with African sufferings and protest.
Shortly after Tutu’s ordination, the Community arranged for him to spend three years at King’s College, London for further theological education. They recognized his gifts as a potential African theologian – a virtually non-existent quality. In England, he was a great success. His personality expanded in an atmosphere of freedom where he and his wife Leah could walk everywhere and be respected as individuals. In addition his irrepressible sense of humour made him the life and soul of the party. He learnt how to gain and hold the sympathy of white audiences with his appeal to their consciences and his vivid evocation of African sufferings. He established good contacts in English society which were to serve him in good stead.
On his return to South Africa in 1967 he was briefly attached to the Anglican theological seminary for black students. This too was subject to the oppressive restrictions of the apartheid government. Tutu was soon personally confronted with the intimidating tactics of the police. It was here, Allen suggests, that Tutu recognized the need to transform his burning sense of injustice into a creative ministry to the victims of violence. But his next posting from 1972-75 was as vice-director of the World Council of Churches’ Theological Education Fund, based in London. Here he gained a most significant overview of the needs of the whole African continent, and in particular of the need to develop an African theology of liberation which would be authentic. Political freedom, already achieved in many parts of the continent, had to be matched by cultural change which would reflect a true emancipation from European models. He resolutely opposed the view of some missionaries that Africans had first to become westerners before they could become Christians.
But Tutu’s energies were never fully devoted to exploring this new theological frontier. He remained attached to the traditional formsof language and piety, especially in the Anglican church. In part, this enabled him to relate so well to his white South African, European and North American supporters.
In 1975 Tutu was elected to be the first African Dean of Johannesburg, but only a year later was chosen to be Bishop of Lesotho, in the nearby black-ruled mountainous and poverty-stricken enclave. Two years later he returned to the more strategic post as executive director of the South African Council of Churches, again based in Johannesburg, which gave him a highly visible platform both nationally and internationally. Here he used his oratorical skills in addressing both black and white audiences, and became one of the best known advocates of the World Council of Churches’ plea for solidarity with the world’s poor and marginalized as “the voice of the voiceless”.
In so doing, he circumspectly steered through the dangerous waters of political controversy. He knew full well the risks he ran in alienating not only the government by his outspoken attacks on the state’s injustices, but also the militant blacks, no longer ready to listen to a message of peace. It was a daunting challenge to uphold the Christian hope of liberation not only for the oppressed but also for the oppressors. Confrontation had to be matched with dialogue in the hope of gaining some alleviation from a rigidly biased government.
This balancing act was enormously helped by Tutu’s being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in October 1984. Allen suggests that the Norwegian selection committee was strongly influenced by the need to widen its horizons and to show its regard for campaigners for human rights as an integral part of the peace process. After the awful riots in Soweto and the repressive responses of the government, South Africa seemed to be the right place, despite the limited impact of the award being given to another black activist, Albert Luthuli two decades earlier. But there were several candidates for this honour. In Allen’s view, Tutu was chosen as the man whose political reputation was the least controversial. But certainly, as the Committee later acknowledged, their hope was that this presentation would help in the process of obtaining political change in South Africa.
The Nobel Prize gave Tutu a world fame, which he was soon to exploit. His growing prominence produced a sharply polarized reaction. His supporters around the world loved and admired him for his inspirational leadership. White supremacists regarded him as a dangerously turbulent priest, and even threatened him with death. But he himself increasingly saw himself as a reconciler, seeking the goal of racial harmony. Yet he could also appear in contradictory guises. “One week he makes a speech of Christian love and the next week he makes a speech which sends a shiver down the spines of white Christians”. Or as another witness recalled: “One minute he seems to be whipping up a riot. The next minute he has stopped it cold. And then he has his audience laughing”. Hence the somewhat ambivalent title of this book, which might seem to cast doubt on whether peace is best served by the kind of rabble-rousing at which Tutu excelled.
There can be no doubt that Tutu was genuinely outraged by the inflexible and discriminatory policies of the government. His speeches during the 1980s took on a note of angry defiance. But he stopped short of openly advocating violence, even at the risk of being dismissed as irrelevant. The courage needed to adopt such a precarious stance is well attested by his biographer. He relied extensively on his intuition, or, as he believed, the call of God. Yet he could also be willful and obstinate, much to the distress of those who had to work with him. But many of these faults could be ascribed to his innate anger against the oppressive system under which he lived.
It is still too early to say how much Tutu’s influence can be credited in bringing about the downfall of white supremacy rule in South Africa, or more particularly the prevention of bloodshed in the process. Certainly his commitment to inter-racial reconciliation became more pronounced as his responsibilities grew. His short tenure as Bishop of Johannesburg was followed by a decade as Archbishop of Cape Town. In both spheres he was much engaged in his pastoral role of seeking peaceful change as well as presenting South Africa’s case to sympathetic audiences abroad, especially in the United States. Allen gives a full description of Tutu’s largely unsuccessful attempts to persuade the U.S. government, particularly under Ronald Reagan, to impose punitive economic sanctions on South Africa. But among the more liberal sections of the community he was wildly popular Allen also pays tribute to Tutu’s solidarity with the blackvictims of violence by attending and speaking at innumerable funerals. He was appalled by the thought that South Africa might be engulfed in flames, and sought to moderate counsels of extremism. He remained a pastor whose humility, dedication and commitment was placed in the service of those suffering on the front line of injustice. His emphasis on the need for discipline in a non-violent struggle was remarkable. His ability to maintain such a stance, despite all the frustrations anad apparent lack of success, has to be seen as one of his main achievements.
The other notable achievement was his success in chairing the post-liberation Truth and Reconciliation Commission. His contribution was to lend his undoubted reputation to what might have been a highly divisive policy, or turned into a vindictive witch hunt. But Tutu managed to bring about a constructive atmosphere of reconciliation through amnesty of the wrong-doers, both black and white, and through forgiveness by those wronged. This was for Tutu a gospel imperative. He singled out witnesses who embraced forgiveness, and made their stories his leitmotif. Even if the chief politicians of white South Africa could not be brought to acknowledge how misguided their policies had been, the whole process can be judged to have had a salubrious, even redemptive effect. It has established a model which the world may well want to adopt elsewhere.
Following his retirement, Tutu wanted more time for meditation and prayer. But there were rival attractions, such as the innumerable invitations to speak, which were also lucrative. He enjoyed the limelight, the first-class air travel and the publicity his appearances evoked. But he also welcomed the opportunity to protest against injustice, or to expound the gospel in its contemporary, often political, setting. Allen entitles his final chapter: “The International Icon”, which aptly summarizes Tutu’s status in recent years. As the most prominent exponent of the power of moral leadership, Tutu embodies a Christian faith which is both active and yet “spiritual”. His vision of reconciliation which can heal society’s wounds and his embodiment of an African model for human community living in peace will surely be regarded as a legacy of great significance.
1b) Andrew Chandler, The Church of England in the Twentieth Century: The Church Commissioners and the politics of reform, 1948-1998, Woodbridge. U.K.: Boydell Press 2006, xii + 542 pp. ISBN 978-1-84383-1655.
The Church of England is a venerable institution. Over the centuries it has garnered a treasury of riches, both spiritual and material. Andrew Chandler’s concern is with the latter, or more specifically with the management of the central funds held by the church during the latter half of the twentieth century. In 1948, the gifts of earlier benefactors and grants from Parliament, made in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, were amalgamated and placed under the jurisdiction of a body known as the Church Commissioners. Their responsibilities were wide, even awesome. Their mandate was to provide support for the cure of souls in the Church of England. This was interpreted as the use of the proceeds of their endowments to support the clergy and make their ministry more effective. Chandler’s achievement is to chronicle the next fifty years of the Commissioners’ activities, on the basis of full access to the voluminous papers this bureaucracy created. The story is complex, at times dramatic, and full of intriguing surprises. Chandler’s style is incisive. His judgments are eminently fair. And he manages to keep his balance and not be overwhelmed by the amount of detail. This is not a book for beginners. A knowledge of the Church of England’s structures is required. But the book’s length is justified, not merely because the story has not been told before, but because the complexity and the interwovenness of the structures, both of church and state, need sufficient space to be understood.
In the aftermath of the Second World War and the Great Depression, all sections of English society needed a fresh start. The Church of England had its established place in society. It had a representative of the church in nearly every village – though many of them were pitifully paid. It had thousands of ancient churches – no fewer than 8000 dating from the later Middle Ages – most of which needed repair and upkeep. It had 43 dioceses across the face of England, each with its own bishop and cathedral – often scenically beautiful but also nearly bankrupt. The Church Commissioners were the only group which had an independent source of funds, and a bureaucracy based in London. Its leaders were drawn from the civil service, and their mindset was administratively bureaucratic. So they set to work.
Their authority derived from a Board, over ninety strong, on which were represented all sections of the church, also officials from the government, the ancient universities and sundry other interests. It was chaired by the Archbishop of Canterbury himself. Luckily for this fledgling experiment, the then Archbishop Fisher took a keen interest, was easily available, recognized the issues and encouraged the bureaucrats. Chandler obviously disagrees with those critics who were to denigrate Fisher for his “dull schoolmasterly” style and his lack of ecumenical vision. But in practical terms he was the right man.
The church after the war faced horrendous problems, all of which would cost money. The resources from past centuries had been carefully hoarded, but the Commissioners’ staff recognized from the first that more was required. They embraced the post-war climate of expansion, made shrewd investments in thriving companies and housing estates, sold off marginal and agricultural properties, and sought to become the model of capitalist enterprise – all for the benefit of the clergy and their dependents. But there were limits. The Board of Governors prohibited certain categories of firms, such as armament manufacturers, or the makers of alcohol and tobacco. Even if profitable, these would not be approved of. Their Assets Committee was composed of experienced financial experts, many of whom also sat in the Church Assembly, later the General Synod. All were convinced that modernization was the way to improve the lot of the poorer clergy, whose penury had been a scandal for generations. As a national body they sought to implement schemes for equalization of the clergy’s stipends, and particularly to help the poorer dioceses to make step by step improvements.
In earlier years, many parishes had been supported by lay patrons – usually local aristocrats – who paid the vicar’s salary and maintained the vicarage. But with the post-war economic changes, the increased mobility of the population, the rapid growth of new towns and the needs of the urban populations, such a system would no longer work. At the same time, the laity in the past had rarely been motivated to contribute themselves. The Church of England had pockets of wealth, to be sure, but this didn’t trickle down to those who needed it most. The Commissioners saw their duty in reforming the system for the benefit of those at the bottom. In four decades they were to be remarkably successful. Their income rose more rapidly than the often precipitous rate of inflation, so that they could keep pace with the frequent demands of their beneficiaries. Their expertise came to be seen as beyond criticism, and their confident pride in their own achievements was undoubted.
But as their financial gains grew, so did expectations. Chandler gives a perceptive picture of how their horizons expanded, to include the repair of dilapidated vicarages and the care of redundant churches. On the personnel side, they saw the justice of including part-time clergy and non-ordained church workers. Above all, they were persuaded that they should contribute to a much more generous pension scheme, nationally funded and covering widows and dependents. These projects involved vast, often incalculable commitments. But with their portfolio’s value rising rapidly, and with rents and dividends flowing in, the managers were confident the targets could be met. Their achievements and style of operation were practical and mundane. While theologians might paint images of the Christian church in rich colours and poetic eloquence, the Church Commissioners’ preoccupation with the ongoing realities of money and bricks and mortar demanded a less exciting vocabulary. Chandler’s success is that he describes these unspectacular but necessary facets of the Church’s life with clarity, and conveys to the reader the sense of successes achieved.
But they were not allowed to boast. The Church of England’s leaders felt the ambivalence of an ever-more wealthy church, even if the resources were humanely spent. Such worldliness seemed to contradict the Church’s spiritual calling. And in part this reticence was responsible for the absence of any effective scrutiny of what the Commissioners, or more specifically its Assets Committee, were doing. Chandler lays some of the blame for the lack of interest in such matters on the shoulders of the later Archbishops, particularly Ramsay and Runcie, whose godly leadership was more directed to the devotional and missionary tasks confronting the Church, But the Synod was also at fault. Its preoccupation with the affairs of the Commissioners was more political than financial. Contention over their investment policies in countries with despotic regimes, such as South Africa, generated a great deal of heated debate. Simplistic and sweeping remedies were often proposed without fully realizing the consequences. But how to sort out the ethical issues in the complex and interlocking world of international banking was not easy. And satisfaction was rarely gained, or consciences eased by the results.
During the 1970s the economic climate improved. The Assets Committee now began to look for more ambitious schemes. They were already one of the largest institutional investors and major landowners in the country. They now drew up plans to advance considerable amounts of their capital to undertake large-scale developments, such as office blocks, shopping malls and entertainment complexes, including several in the United States, whose future looked so promising. And if investment cash was short, they were ready to borrow it from the banks to seize the opportunities offered. These were speculative tactics, but at first they succeeded. In Chandler’s view, the managers became over confident in their own abilities, and had no one to warn them of the potential dangers. They were not dishonest, but were misled by their over-optimistic partners, particularly in the United States. In the mid-1980s too many of these ventures fell apart as the economy went into recession.
The last quarter of the book takes on a much more dramatic tone. Chandler portrays the agonizing dilemmas of the church authorities. For the first time in decades, their commitments outstripped their resources. The value of their portfolio took a staggering nose-dive, as did the income derived from it. There were loud screams of outrage that the Church should have “lostä so much of its inheritance. It was not enough for the bureaucrats to argue that this was only a temporary setback, and that recovery would eventually happen. In the meanwhile, the pensioners had to be supported, the clergy’s incomes sustained and the whole apparatus re-examined. Alarm bells rang in the Church’s General Synod, and even in the House of Commons, where some percipient members knew enough to ask penetrating questions about the Commissioners’ investment strategies. The feeling mounted that for too long the Commissioners had been a secretive bureaucratic body making major decisions on their own. Reform was called for.
This was only one part of a wider assessment of where the Church of England stood. It was undeniable that its membership had declined, its position in society had weakened, its faithful attachment to historic traditions was no longer as accepted by the general population. The new Archbishop of Canterbury, Carey, was a resolute Evangelical, but even his example could hardly settle the question of the Church’s future. Internally there was much dissension, even turmoil. What should the priorities be? Each diocese had its own opinion, each affected group its own remedy. As Chandler rightly points out, it was debatable whether all this discussion achieved anything fundamental beyond the generation of piles of new papers and an increasingly oppressive quality of self-absorption. It did not get the Church Commissioners out of their old binds.
The Archbishops established a new Commission to review the whole situation. It sought to clear the Church’s decision-making bodies of ambiguity and confusion, principally by amalgamating them under a new Archbishops’ Council. As for the Commissioners, their functions would be cut down, their authority transformed and their assets subjected to a powerful Audit Committee. Not surprisingly these suggestions gave rise to a “cacophony of debate”.
This all took time to sort out, despite the pressure for speedy action. Not until 1998 did Parliament approve what the General Synod had passed, namely the establishment of the Archbishops’ Council as part of the National Institutions Measure of 1998. Its responsibilities included the allocation and distribution of the Commissioners’ revenues, but still gave priority to the care of souls in parishes where such assistance was most required.
It is still too early to say how this new arrangement will work. But Chandler’s masterly account of the fifty years of the Church Commissioners pays tribute to their successes as well as acknowledging their shortcomings. His assessments are eminently fair, all the more because he recognizes that the historian’s duty is not to become overwhelmed by the weight of archival records. This study will certainly stand the test of time. It will not need to be done again. The clarity of Chandler’s descriptions, and the generosity of his sentiments are significant contributions to the book’s merits. Above all, he makes the intricacies of the Church of England’s internal affairs available to the wider audience. This is no small feat, and it is one for which we can be most grateful.
2) Hansjörg Buss, Ein Märtyrer des Evangelische Kirche. Anmerkungen zu dem Lübecker Pastor Karl Friedrich Stellbrink. In Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft, Vol. 55, no 7/8, July/August 2007, pp. 624-644.
Martyrs are usually defined as those who have been put to death by wicked men or oppressive rulers as witnesses to their faith in Jesus Christ. In the early church, the fate of these men and women at the hands of the Roman or pagan authorities was recognized as exemplary sacrifices whose blood built up the church. So too, in later centuries, Protestant martyrs were found amongst those who perished at the stake after proclaiming their confidence in God’s mercy. But in more recent times, this concept of martyrdom has been questioned. Is a public confession of faith at the moment of death mandatory? Or is it enough that the martyr should have lived a dedicated life in the service of the Church? Is the nature of the so-called crime for which he or she was executed by orders of the state a relevant factor?
Such were the questions raised in the 1990s when the decision was taken by the authorities of Westminster Abbey in London to commemorate ten Christian martyrs of the twentieth century with sculptures placed on the Abbey’s west portico. Amongst them was Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the only Protestant German to be so honoured. But few of those who today visit this memorial could know that Bonhoeffer’s reputation was, for many years, a matter of dispute. At the time of his death, and for at least thirty years, he was seen by many Germans, including prominent members of his own Evangelical Church, not as a Christian martyr, but as a political traitor. His association with the organizers of the 20 July 1944 plot to assassinate Hitler, his imprisonment and subsequent execution in April 1945, were regarded as evidence of his disloyalty to the nation and its leader. His punishment was therefore deserved. Attempts to vindicate his conduct, and to elevate him to martyr status were therefore wrong-headed. The majority of the church conservatives could not understand, let alone condone, such treachery from one of their clergy. Only in more recent years has this pejorative verdict been revised, and Bonhoeffer’s status been fully rehabilitated both at home and in the ecumenical community.
But there is another case which is still more troublesome. Hansjörg Buss has written a masterly article about the fate of Karl Friedrich Stillbrink, who was a pastor of the Lübeck Evangelical Church. He has the unique distinction of being the one and only Evangelical Church pastor in the Nazi era to be arraigned before the Volksgerichtshof (the People’s Court), the Nazi agency notorious for its fanaticism and brutality, convicted of treason and sentenced to be executed under the guillotine. He was accused of engaging in “seditious acts undermining the military forces, linked with treacherous behaviour towards the nation through encouragement of the enemy by listening to forbidden radio broadcasts” (Zersetzung der Wehrkraft in Verbindung mit landesverrätischer Feindbegünstigung und Rundfunkverbrechen). The Gestapo’s case was straightforward. In April 1942 Lübeck was heavily bombed. On the following Palm Sunday Stillbrink had declared in a sermon that this was a divine punishment for the sins of Lübeck, its people and its government. He was denounced to the Gestapo by a member of the congregation, and shortly afterwards was taken into custody, never to return. His trial, in June 1943, was held together with three Roman Catholic chaplains, also from Lübeck, who were accused of similar crimes. All four were sentenced to death and executed six months later in Hamburg. Stillbrink left behind a sick wife and three children.
As could be expected, Stillbrink’s execution was an embarrassment to his clerical colleagues. The majority of the Lübeck pastors belonged to the “German Christians”, and were fervent supporters of the Nazi regime. They were predictably shocked by Stillbrink’s behaviour, and regarded his punishment as deserved. Public figures such as the clergy were expected to uphold the national cause, especially in war-time. If anyone deliberately engaged in forbidden activities such as listening to enemy radio broadcasts, and spread these defeatist views around, they could expect little sympathy. In addition Stillbrink had already isolated himself from most of his colleagues amongst the pastorate. His reputation was that of a brusque and uncooperative loner, consumed with the importance of his own ideas. His previous history was complex and idiosyncratic. He had been appointed to a German-speaking parish in Brazil, but returned to Germany in 1933 convinced that the Nazi takeover was a blessing from God. However, he soon became disillusioned and was to make no secret of his hostile attitude. He had never shown any sympathy for the Confessing Church, and later began to argue in favour of the “German Church movement” which advocated a “blood and soil” theology and sought to purge all non-German elements from the church, especially the Jews. He was known to hold strongly antisemitic views. And finally he had never hidden his vocal opposition to the Nazis’ aggressive conduct of the war. In short, his opinions, both theological and political, veered from one extreme to another. At every twist he defended his views with incorrigible dogmatism. He was indeed an odd man out. There could be therefore no expression of support for such a character.
In May 1945 the church situation in Lübeck altered radically. The surviving members of the Confessing Church immediately took over control, and ejected a quarter of the clergy on the grounds of their Nazi sympathies. But what to do about Stillbrink? While the Catholic authorities in the city made large-scale plans for the commemoration of these victims of Nazi injustice, the Protestants were in a virtually insoluble quandary. Stillbrink’s heretical and disloyal behaviour had made him a most unsuitable person to be commemorated for the sacrifice of his life. Was he a martyr? Even now, sixty years later, the Church in Lübeck, now incorporated into the North Elbian Church, has its doubts. Public commemoration is largely left up to the Catholics, while Stillbrink is remembered only as one who gave up his life for the truth as he saw it.
In the wider German public, let alone in the ecumenical fraternity abroad, it is safe to say that no one has ever heard of Karl Friedrich Stillbrink. Buss’ contribution is therefore a valuable addition to the rounding out of local church histories and filling in previously ignored gaps.
Every best wish