A Convert to the Church of Rome

29.1.1909

 

The Rev. AJP Field’s statement reprinted from the Bed’s Record.

We have to announce that the Rev’d Alfred James Perrott Field, Vicar of Ravensden, stated to his congregation on Sunday morning that he was about to be admitted into the Roman Catholic church and that the ceremony of his admission into that communion took place at the RC Church at Bedford on the next day. The presence of a policeman in uniform amongst the worshippers at Ravensden seemed to denote that something unusual was about to happen. The service proceeded as usual until the end of the second hymn, when the vicar, the Rev. AJP Field, instead of giving out the usual church notices and delivering his sermon, made the following statement.

"I am about to announce to you the reason for my leaving this parish. When I have announced it you will see that it is my bounden duty at once to resign. I hope you will believe this of me, at all events, that I am acting from conscientious motives. I hope very shortly to be received into the Church of Rome. I need to say no more."

This statement was received in silence, and after a few seconds, the Vicar said that there would be no services in the afternoon or evening. The choir boys then immediately left the church, followed by the Vicar.

Colonel Sunderland of the Grange then rose and said "I hope to open the church next Sunday. I will do my best." The worshippers soon afterwards quietly left the building.

In conversation with our correspondent Col. Sunderland expressed his satisfaction that the affair had gone off quietly but could say nothing about future services, beyond what he stated in the church. The Clerk, Mr Horrell, said that the congregation had dwindled very much lately. The total on Sunday am was 16 adults including the policeman and 16 children.

Mr Field was formally received into the church of Rome on Monday evening at the Church of the Holy Child Jesus…..

Mr Field has been in a state of doubt for a long time past, we believe, and has only recently been able to definitely make up his mind…..

The Rev AJP Field graduated at St. John’s College, Cambridge as BA in 1884 and MA in 1888 in which year he was ordained Deacon and in 1889 as Priest.

There can be no question that during his incumbency of Ravensden the Reverend gentleman has been a most zealous, hard working and self sacrificing clergyman. The Church at Ravensden has gone through a remarkable history during the last 12 years or more. Many years ago we had occasion to call attention to the dilapidated condition of the ancient fabric. Then the Revd Wood Samuel became the incumbent and made strenuous efforts to raise funds. A partial restoration was, we believe, effected in his time. The Rev. AJP Field was tireless in his appeals which were rewarded by a considerable measure of success. Substantial sums of money were raised, the chancel was thoroughly restored, the walls of the nave were strengthened and very extensive improvements were carried out, despite the very great difficulties that the Vicar had to encounter. It is not for us to discuss the reasons for the step that he has seen fit to take, but we give him credit for thorough conscientiousness, and for the great zeal and self devotion with which he took up the task of restoring Ravensden Church.

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