AN EXPERIMENT IN EAST LONDON.
- [To THE EDITOR OF THE "SPECTATOR.".] SIR,—The Church and Chapel census has drawn attention to a fact long patent in East London. The people do not worship. A large congregation may assemble in a church or in a chapel, new efforts like those made by the Salvation Army may draw crowds together, but in each case it is rather to hear a preacher than to worship God. The belief that the people do need to worship—need, that is to say, to find some expression for the "buried life "—has induced us to make a new experiment. By means of an address to the men and women of East London, re- minding them that they had that within them of which, in their busy lives, they were not conscious, we invited them to a special service on Sunday evenings, at 8.30. They came in fair num- bers. As far as we could judge by their silence, their strained attention, and their signs of devotion, they entered into the spirit of the service. There was prayer, singing—both of hymns and of selections from oratorios—music, and readings from the Bible and modern poetry. The whole lasted an hoar, but opportunities were given every twenty minutes to enable those who were tired to leave the church.
For myself, I think the experiment worth a trial. It is some- thing to show that we Churchmen are trying to find forms which accord both with the thought and the taste of the age ; it is much more, if we can remind people that the light is within themselves, and that they must look for guidance not where they can hear a preacher, but where they can hear God. To carry out this experiment, help of many kinds is necessary. It is in the hope that such help may be forthcoming from your readers, that I ask you the favour of inserting this letter.— I am, Sir, &c.,
St. Iude'e Vicarage, Whitechapel. Etuttrm, A. BA.RNETT.