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6 - A Season of Clear Shining: Married Life

Alan Argent
Affiliation:
Trinity Congregational Church, Brixton
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Summary

Just three days before her discharge from the forces, Elsie finally married John Garrington. He had contracted scarlet fever in 1939 when they had first expected to marry, at a time when his marriage to Elsie would have been acceptable to the Church of England hierarchy, that is before she had been ordained. Unfortunately once she had begun formal training for the Congregational ministry, and even more after her ordination in 1941, the situation had changed dramatically and critically for his future preferment. Clearly Garrington's intended marriage to a woman minister of any denomination would not receive the approval of his bishop. Therefore, he not only encountered the opposition of the formidable Annie Chamberlain but also that of his superiors in the Church of England. That his fiancée should have acquired such a high public profile, as a result of a heated and prolonged controversy which had involved the Archbishop of Canterbury, did not make the matter any easier, although, in essence, the principles at issue remained the same. An Anglican incumbent's wife was informally required to be active in the parish and, naturally, it was assumed that she would be a confirmed Anglican herself. Elsie's conscience and vocation would not easily allow her to fulfil these expectations, although she wrestled with the problems and later did her best to be supportive.

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Chapter
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Elsie Chamberlain
The Independent Life of a Woman Minister
, pp. 65 - 75
Publisher: Acumen Publishing
Print publication year: 2012

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