Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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Chap. XIII.] Church Gatherings, various.                  163
upheld ever since ; that there are too many societies oloiug the same work, and that rival societies to whom such a remark applies should not be encouraged, especially in the same town. Moreover the C.P. A.S. is older in point of date than the A.C.S. by 4 years, the latter having been started to be more " churchy," and to compete with the former. The ostensible ground for the foundation of the second society deserves note in the light of present-day methods. The C.P.A.S. from the very first recognised the necessity of employing lay-workers as well as clerical. This idea was so distasteful to some of the most influential supporters of the C.P.A.S., including the Bishops of London (Blomfield) and Exeter (Philpotts), and Mr. Gladstone, that they determined to secede and split the interests of the Church in Home Missions Work by starting another organisation to do the same work.
I recall several instances of special open-air services in East-Bourne. Of these the most important was that held on Sunday, July 17, 1899 for the men assembled in charge of the animals and property connected with the Agricultural Show then going on, which had been opened the day before by the late King, then Prince of Wales.
During the summer of 1897, a Clergyman named Sortwell was in charge of the Parish Church in the absence of the Vicar. He was a man of great preaching powers and got the ear of the working classes. Special services for men only were carried on in the Church on Sunday afternoons, and as the weather became very hot in July he asked for the use of private gardens wherein to hold open-air services. Mr. Gilbert offered the Manor House lawn, and I offered the Northfield Grange garden which included a secluded sheltered area well suited, and indeed often used, for open-air meetings. Mr. Sortwell brought his flock to us on July 11, 18, and 25. The attendance which began at 200, reached on the 3rd week GOO. Then on the next Sunday the service was held at the Manor House with an attendance quite as large. The next following Sundays, August 8 and 15, were wet, and so the scheme came to an end. But it was a decided success. No damage was done. Music was supplied by
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