Friday, 21 May 2010

Free Protestant Episcopal Church of England

Bloomsbury People has featured a number of stories about Bishop Andrew McLaglen, the father of Hollywood star, Victor McLaglen. Andrew McLagen was consecrated in November 1897 as bishop of the Free Protestant Episcopal Church of England (later known as the Evangelical Church of England). This church was formally dissolved in 1997 although it remains active in the US and Canada.

I have just been contacted by Bishop Edwin Follick, Director of University Libraries and University Chaplain, South Baylo University, Anaheim, California. He writes: 'Your article relating to Bishop McLaglen was so well done and afforded special insight into missionary activities related to Africa. After graduating from the Free Protestant Episcopal Seminary in London (Bishop Follick was consecrated on 28 August 1968), it fell upon me to serve as a director of education under the Bishop Primus, Charles Dennis Boltwood. The educational ministry included James Martin Bible College and St Andrew's Correspondence College, for the training of an indigenous pastorate to serve the local churches.

The Free Church is ongoing, and undoubtedly continues in service within the United Kingdom. A schismatic bishop from Germany did apparently attempt to disestablish the church and replace it with an "international" prefix hopefully perhaps trying to bring some good intention to revitalize the mission. With many of the clergy not versed in legal matters and a vacuum in leadership the usual issues of social disorganization appear. Fortunately, one of the bishops in Canada, Bishop Darrel D Hockley, literally is the consummate historian of the church.

I do have a real love of history [BA Cal State Los Angeles 1956, MA Pepperdine 1957] with majors in history and sociology. Thus, your work at the University of London is so important to record our past progress and mistakes - we don't mind repeating the progress but need to minimize the mistakes! Thus, a copy of this email is being sent to Bishop Hockley and for sure he would be able to shed far more light on the history of the church than me.

Please do feel free to post any message from me on the Bloomsbury People blog. Working in an Asian university and going to lunch with my deputy, Dr Kwang-hee Park, I jested that we should be in a pub watching the boats move past on the River Thames and enjoy the food with a pint of stout. Of course we repaired to an elegant Asian restaurant for wonderful food. But with respect for past delightful experiences the nostalgia does come through. My appreciation for your interest in the past of the now ambient Bloomsbury district.

The Most Reverend Edwin Follick is Primus and Bishop of California.

From knowing absolutely nothing about Bishop Andrew McLaglen's background when the first blog about him was posted on 6 August 2009, other than the fact he had been an apprentice missionary in Bloomsbury from 1877-1879, the Bloomsbury Project now has a link to the church.

I couldn't find a suitable picture unfortunately, but perhaps Bishop Ed will kindly send me one.