Saturday, May 10, 2014

When some Church of England congregations were divided by sex

I have a soft spot for All Saints, Margaret Street, which is an extraordinary Victorian church just to the north of Oxford Street. It is so High it makes the Pope look like a Strict Baptist.

Recently the blog Ordinariate Pilgrim wrote about it and cast some light on an aspect of High Anglicanism of which I was not aware:
About fifty years ago “gender segregation” came to an end at All Saints’, Margaret Street, in London’s West End. For many years the congregation had divided, male and female, on either side of the nave in the front part of the church. This had been one of those examples of ‘correctness’ which the Catholic revival in the Church of England, the ‘Oxford Movement’, had sought to encourage. 
In the early 60′s I went with my aunt to the celebration of Candlemas on 2nd February. Although the custom of separation had been given up I seem to remember that she was the only woman sitting on our side of the church.

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