(Telegraph) Canon Donald Allchin RIP

Posted by Kendall Harmon

He was ordained in 1956, and during a four-year curacy at St Mary Abbots Church in Kensington completed an Oxford BLitt on the revival of Anglican religious orders in the 19th century. This was subsequently published as The Silent Rebellion (1958) and remains the standard work on its subject.

From 1960 to 1969 Allchin was at Pusey House, Oxford, as a member of a chapter of priests, known as Librarians, who provide a centre of Anglo-Catholic worship and spirituality for the university. During this time he co-wrote The Rediscovery of Newman (1967), heralding a revived interest in one of the great figures of the 19th-century Church.

On one of his many visits to the United States he met Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk whose writings on spirituality, combined with a radical political outlook, had made him internationally famous. A strong friendship ensued, and after Merton's death in 1968 their exchanges of letters were published. Allchin became the first president of a Thomas Merton Society formed in Britain.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / FuneralsMinistry of the OrdainedSpirituality/Prayer* Theology

6 Comments
Posted February 24, 2011 at 3:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Terry Tee wrote:

A wonderful man and a true follower of Christ.  Anglicans might like to know that it was when he was a visiting professor at GTS that he first met Thomas Merton.  Donald was generous in his time given to helping and encouraging young people contemplating ministry, Christian service or the study of theology.

February 24, 9:07 pm | [comment link]
2. David Hein wrote:

No. 1: Yes to all that you say. Donald called me a year or so ago quite out of the blue. I found him to be wholly unpretentious and kind-hearted and generous. It wasn’t totally out of the blue; I had been in contact with him about writing a chapter for a book I was planning to do. But I never expected him to call. It was one of those rare calls in which the recipient starts off rather taken aback—but is then put at his ease.

It must have been interesting to be in Oxford in the early 1960s when Allchin was at Pusey House, Farrer was at Keble, and so forth.

I am sorry to hear of Donald Allchin’s death and so sorry I never got to meet him in person. At least we have his books still with us. I don’t remember that the article I just read mentioned Participation in God; that’s a slim but important volume.

February 25, 12:12 am | [comment link]
3. Dan Crawford wrote:

His writing was a very important factor in my becoming an Anglican. May he rest in peace.

February 25, 12:14 am | [comment link]
4. MichaelA wrote:

What were Allchin’s views on ordaining women to the priesthood?

I am intrigued because of his at times close association with Michael Ramsay and Robert Runcie, both of whom supported female ordination (albeit often quietly) during their tenures as Archbishops of Canterbury.

Runcie was also believed to privately favour the ordination of practicing homosexuals to the priesthood, and is said to have personally ordained some of them to the priesthood of the CofE whilst he was ABC.

I note that Allchin attended Cuddesdon College which is now known as a bastion of liberalism in the Church of England. But I would have thought that, when he attended Cuddesdon in the 1940s, that was not so. I believe the rot set in at Cuddesdon in 1960 when Robert Runcie took over as principal.

But that then brings me back to the question: What were Allchin’s views on ordination of women and how did this sit with his association with Ramsay and Runcie?

February 25, 3:53 am | [comment link]
5. driver8 wrote:

Cuddesdon was (in)famous for being rather like an austere monastery - until Runcie became Principal in 1960. For better or worse Cuddesdon became, and has remained eve since, a bastion of modernist catholicism. “Monastic” is not quite its reputation in the decades since…

February 25, 10:51 am | [comment link]
6. nwlayman wrote:

I met Fr. Allchin in 1985.  What a kind and friendly man he was.  Very learned and enthusiastic.  I got to see him in Canterbury, where he grabbed a large ring of keys and led me through parts of the cathedral that were being renovated and had been off limits to tourists for a while.
  One of his stories involved a visit to the US in the early 80’s.  He was staying with a friend, an Episcopal cleric, who had a couple of high school age daughters.  He said they were very bored with having another of their dad’s clergy friends around.  He was mostly ignored until he happened to mention he was acquainted with Princess Diana…Then, he said, they thought I was fascinating!

February 25, 12:23 pm | [comment link]
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