Dick Sheppard (priest)

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Hugh Richard Lawrie Sheppard.

Hugh Richard Lawrie "Dick" Sheppard (2 September 1880 – 31 October 1937) was an English Anglican priest, Dean of Canterbury and Christian pacifist.[1]

Sheppard was the younger son of Edgar Sheppard, a minor canon at the Royal Chapel of All Saints in Windsor, and Mary White. He was educated at Marlborough College and then (1901-4) Trinity Hall, Cambridge. He worked with the poor from Oxford House, Bethnal Green and then for a year as secretary to Cosmo Lang, then Bishop of Stepney. He studied for the ministry at Cuddesdon College and was ordained priest in 1908. Returning to work with the poor at Oxford House, in 1910 he suffered the first of what would prove to be recurrent breakdowns due to overwork.

With the onset of war, Sheppard spent some months as chaplain to a military hospital in France, before being sent home with exhaustion. Supported by Lang, he took the fashionable and high-profile living at St Martin-in-the-Fields, turning the church into an accessible social centre for all those in need. He married Alison Lennox, who had nursed him during his breakdowns, in 1915.

From 1924, when Sheppard provided the first service ever broadcast by the BBC, his broadcast sermons gave him national fame. However, another breakdown and acute asthma led to his resignation in 1926. Having become a pacifist, he articulated a vision of a non-institutional church in The Impatience of a Parson (1927). Sheppard was partly responsible for the annual Festival of Remembrance that takes place in the Albert Hall, London on the first Saturday in November before Remembrance Sunday. In November 1925 he wrote to The Times protesting against a proposed Charity Ball on Armistice Day. Following a nationwide response a solemn ceremony In Memory replaced the Ball.[2] Such was its resonance with the public that it became an annual event that continues to this day.

Lang, appointed Archbishop of Canterbury in 1928, supported the appointment of Sheppard as Dean of Canterbury in 1929. Although his preaching attracted huge audiences, illness once again forced resignation in 1931.

Trying to develop a public political platform for pacifism, with Herbert Gray and Maude Royden, Sheppard proposed in 1931 a Peace Army of unarmed peacemakers to stand between the Chinese and Japanese armies in Shanghai. More successfully, he issued a call for "peace pledges" in 1934. He published We Say 'No' (1935) and formally established the Peace Pledge Union in 1936. In 1937 - the year of his death aged 57 - his wife left him and students elected him Rector of Glasgow University.

His funeral in St Paul's Cathedral drew huge crowds. He is buried in the cloisters at Canterbury Cathedral.[3]

The character of the Reverend Robert Carbury in Vera Brittain's novel Born 1925 is based on Sheppard.[4]

Publications[edit]

  • The Human Parson (1925)
  • My Hopes and Fears for the Church (1930)
  • The Impatience of a Parson (1930)
  • The Psalms for modern life (1933) (illustrated by Arthur Wragg)
  • Two days before : simple thoughts about Our Lord on the cross (1935)
  • We say "No" : the plain man's guide to pacificism (1935)
  • "Introduction" to We Did Not Fight : 1914-18 experiences of war resisters by Julian Bell (1935)
  • H. R. L. Sheppard : A Note in Appreciation (1937)
  • Sheppard's Pie (1937)
  • The Root of the Matter (1937)
  • The Christian attitude to war : St. Mary Woolnoth, 26 Feb. 1937 (1937)
  • Let Us Honour Peace (1937) (with Rose Macaulay, J. D. Beresford, Gerald Heard,

Vera Brittain, Captain Philip S. Mumford, L.B. Pekin, Canon C.E. Raven, E. Graham Howe,Elizabeth Thorneycroft, and R.H. Ward).

  • More Sheppard's Pie (1938)
  • Peace : A challenge to the Church (1973)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Alan Wilkinson, Sheppard, Hugh Richard Lawrie (1880–1937), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, May 2007 accessed 17 June 2009
  2. ^ Roberts R. Ellis, 'H.R.L. Sheppard Life and Letters', John Murray, London 1942, p.145
  3. ^ Brittain, Vera (1957). "5 section 14". Testament of Experience. Golanz. 
  4. ^ Martin Ceadel, Pacifism in Britain, 1914-1945 : the defining of a faith. Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1980. ISBN 0198218826 (p.239).
  • Dick Sheppard by his friends (1938)
  • R. E. Roberts, H. R. L. Sheppard (1942) ·
  • C. S. Matthews, Dick Sheppard: man of peace (1948)
  • C. Scott, Dick Sheppard (1977) · ·
  • A. Wilkinson, Dissent or conform? War, peace and the English churches, 1900–1945 (1986)
  • A. Hastings, A history of English Christianity, 1920–1990, 3rd edn (1991)

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Iain Colquhoun
Rector of the University of Glasgow
1937—1938
Succeeded by
Archibald Sinclair