A good man in his day and for ours

A good man in his day and for ours Bishop Edward King in later life.

A Love Surpassing Knowledge: The Spirituality of Edward King, by Michael Marshall, with a foreword by Archbishop Stephen Cottrell (Gracewing, £14.99)

Gracewing for over 30 years has been providing books that explore aspects of Catholicism. But now they are broad minded enough editorially to find Catholicism outside the Catholic Church.

Victorian Britain was the era of the ‘muscular Christianity’ of Charles Kingsley with its contempt for Catholicism, and also the heyday of the ‘squarson’, the vicar who combined a role as a local landlord with a formal ecclesiastical presence in a district for the Church of England.

In contrast Bishop Edward King stood out, both in his term as Regius Professor of Pastoral Theology at Oxford and subsequently as Bishop of Lincoln.

He directed those he was involved with both as teacher and pastor towards another, more spiritual way. His ideas may still have something to say to many today, both within and without the Anglican community.

“Organisation,” observed King, “does not produce life, though new life may produce organisation: the secret of the power is the life”, from which he thought all else followed. That is certainly a thought many might ponder today: institutional changes are not a full answer.

Though Edward King was very much a man of his day, with a deep influence over the Oxford Movement, the author sees him as “Perhaps the Church of England’s most loved bishop in any age, [whose] rich spirituality reaches out to us today and resonates with our deepest needs”.

Also available: Edward King Teacher: Pastor, Bishop, Saint by Bishop Michael Marshall (Gracewing, £30.00). The author (a former Bishop of Woolwich and Director of the Anglican Institute in St Louis, Missouri) provides a full length biography from up to date sources, which will provide those unfamiliar with the Anglo-Catholic movement with an account of the setting in which King’s spirituality must be understood.

The recent paperback version enlarges the scope of the original edition to discuss Kings’ influence on the Episcopal Church in the United States in the 19th Century.