As I explained earlier (see After Cambridge), I had ceased to be a Baptist and now attended a Methodist Church (Hinde Street, W.1) whilst teaching at Dorking Grammar School (1968). It was here that I met my wife, Kathy. I had grasped as a result of my Cambridge theological education the individualist character of so-called 'believers' baptism that ignored the corporate aspect of salvation and the mystical Body of Christ (Cambridge: Theology). The theological reason for joining this Central London Church with its great circle of friends was the ecumenism of the 1960s and the conviction that Methodism was in process of returning to the Church of England, the church of its fathers and of Wesley's ordation. It seemed to me that membership of the Methodist Church was the painless way for someone from a free Church background like me back to a growing Christian unity which would not stop there but conclude with final re-union with the Catholic Church. The Second Vatican Council, with the Decree on Ecumenism, had taken place, and ARCIC was in progress (1967-). Everything was in a state of change in which all things seemed possible. My hopes were to be frustrated when, in 1972 the Church of England rejected the covenant that would have lead to Anglican Methodist reunion with a mutual recognition of Orders and sacraments, albeit through an act of episcopal reconciliation requiring the imposition of hands: Anglo catholicism was clearly still a force in the Church of England before the return of large numbers to the unity of the Catholic Church had left the present Anglo catholic rump.

I had remained a Methodist none the less, a local preacher, fascinated by the aims of the Methodist Sacramental Fellowship whose purple coloured pamphlet had proclaimed the objective of 'Catholic Growth in Methodism.' And so, come 1980, with Britain in economic crisis and with Thatcher in power (See Life, After Cambridge), and with so many opportunities drying up, and following and interview in London at the Association of Commonwealth universities, we came to Australia (See Career, Australia).

Here the Methodism that I knew in England had disappeared into the Australian Uniting Church. The Australian Presbyterians, Methodist, and Congregationalists had formed this Church in a spirit of what I found to be naive ecumenism. The sacramental theology of Wesley was a 'High' theology and having nothing to do with a Calvinist or Zwinglian symbolic and personalized view that was compatible with communion wine adminstered in small individual glasses (inkwells) that was the Uniting Church practice in my experience. Here was a view of Methodism as though it had been simply part of Protestant non-conformity that I could not accept.
As such it seemed very pointless, and with no hope of fulfilling further unions (despite intentionally calling itself 'uniting' rather than 'united.'
And so we turned to the Anglican Church of Australia.
We had watched the in flight movie on our Quantas airoplane as we approached Townsville 'Escape from Alcatraz' which captured our mood as we escaped from Thatcher's England. We attended briefly the 'Uniting' Church and then showed up at St Matthew's Mundingburra in the Anglican Church of Australia.

 

st matts

my life thereafter