“This is my parish”, said the Reverend Father, his beer half drunk, his cigarette pointing to the bar.”
The title under one of the photos says, “THE CHURCH MUST COME TO THE PEOPLE.” IN A SOHO PUBLIC-HOUSE, THE REV. TONY REID TAKES A BEER AND TALKS ABOUT CHRISTIANITY”. The article, which Jonny Baker and I found on display this week at the new photographers gallery in London, is from Picture Post, 1955. I sneaked a photo or two and these will enlarge if you click on them.
Rev. Tony Reid was given freedom for his missional work in the pubs by Father Patrick McLaughlin, the Rector of St Annes in Soho who founded The Society of St Annes in the clergy house that was bombed out during the war.
According to Wikipedia, “The Society was begun late in 1942, when McLaughlin and Shaw asked the Bishop of London (Geoffrey Fisher, later Archbishop of Canterbury) for permission to use the St Anne’s clergy house as a kind of mission centre for thinking pagans”. The Society drew a lot of key thinkers including CS Lewis. Sounds like it was good soil for the mission action that came during the 50’s. Always good to see talk lead to action.
Best quote for me from that Picture Post article is toward the end:
“It was in Brussels in the 1930's that he [Patrick McLaughlin] saw the church in social action. He spent some weeks studying the process of going out to the people, of taking your empty church as a fact, but your parish as the real and living church.”
My questions for the mission geeks out there:
1. What Catholic mission(s) did he see in Brussels in the 1930s that so inspired him?
2. What ever happened to Rev. Tony Reid?