The notice earlier this month came as quite a surprise to me, as it has to many of you, our readers.

That said, everything has an expiration date and now the English Churchman and St James’ Chronicle has arrived at its appointed time. Two hundred and sixty two years was not a bad innings.  As Editor, it has been my immense privilege to oversee its publication these last two and a half years.  

When I was being interviewed for the position, I told the Trustee body that bringing a more focused Anglican perspective might lose up to 50% of our readership.  I received every indication that this would be ok.  In the end, we only lost 29% of paying subscribers but gained several thousand regular readers via the internet.  While we fell short of my initial prognostication, we failed to monetise its online potential.

The goal set out for me was to present the news affecting the Church of England and maintain the editorial stance in agreement with the Articles of Religion and the Book of Homilies, the Formularies of the Church of England as a Reformed and Protestant Church.  Upon acceptance of the editor’s post, I was even required to subscribe to this position, ex animo.  I readily and happily did so, since they are the theological commitments I had already vowed to uphold—to preach, teach, and confess the same.

I have kept and will maintain those vows.

Producing a fortnightly publication without editorial and reporting staff to share the workload is like getting on a motorised treadmill. You cannot get off and you cannot just stop without busting your nose.  Others might liken it to being a dairy farmer.  You cannot take time off because the cows have to be milked twice a day no matter what.

I want to say thanks for our office secretary, Anna and our graphic designer Stephen.  They have been excellent and efficient colleagues throughout, and a pleasure to know, and work alongside

It would be the height of ingratitude for me to not say thanks to all those contributors who gave of their time and talent to see that the English Churchman was worth reading.  Without question, it has been the one place where a thinking, Bible believing member of the Church of England could reliably turn for news, features, and analysis always informed by the Formularies of the Church. A debt of gratitude is owed to Prudence Dailey, the Northern Churchman, Peter Sanlon, Anglican Futures, Edward Keene, Chuck Collins, and Mark Pickles.  Thanks!

George Conger at Anglican Ink and David Virtue at Virtue Online have to be thanked for sharing insights and stories from venues we could not get to.

Perhaps the most unsung hero that needs to be mentioned is our web designer David McJunkin.   A generous Christian benefactor paid all the expenses in setting up the website that so many have marvelled at and Mr McJunkin bore with me until I learned how to operate the interface.  We thank him too.

Do pray for those responsible for now running the English Churchman Trust. Their names are listed on the back page of this issue. They have a big job managing the considerable resources for which they are entrusted.

I would be a heel if I did not say a collective thanks to all those who have written personally to me since the news was published.  Your emails have been a great encouragement and I hope to be able to answer all of them in coming weeks.

Lastly, I would encourage you not to grow weary in doing good. Keep holding to the Formularies of the Church of England and praying for the General Synod.  In spite of all the bad news, there are hundreds, if not thousands of congregations around the nation seeking with all their heart to be faithful to Jesus.  We should all do likewise.

As for what lies ahead for me—Lord willing, I shall go to see our grandchildren.  I have not seen them in three years and as good as Zoom is, it is not the same.  After that, Lord willing, I hope to return to pastoral ministry.

The writings of that giant of the Church, Bishop JC Ryle, are always close to my heart. Here is the closing portion from his final published address: “Cling to the old Church of England… cling to its Bible, its Prayer-book, and its Articles. Let no charitable institution suffer. Consider the many poor and needy. Support missionary work at home and abroad. Help the underpaid clergy. Never forget that the principles of the Protestant Reformation made this country what she is, and let nothing ever tempt you to forsake them.”

So, until we meet on the other side of the Jordan, “The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; The Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”