Wayfarers All

When in 1964 Bishop Stephen Bayne resigned as the Anglican Communion’s first executive officer, graphic tribute was paid to the liaison he had established between that body’s autonomous provinces. “He has stitched them together with his person; a flying needle traveling over 120,000 miles a year.”

Now his successor, Bishop Ralph Dean, after completing his five-year stint, is returning to British Columbia next month. Publicity has been given to the fact that during his term in office he has gone seventeen times around the world.

Not to be outdone, Dr. Eugene Carson Blake has now described himself before an American University audience as a member of the “ecumenical Jet Set.” All this emphasis on mileage made is just shrieking for a comment from lolanthe:

Tripping hither, tripping thither,

Nobody knows the why or whither …

If you ask the special function

Of our never ceasing motion,

We reply without compunction

That we haven’t any notion.

The whole thing recalled a touching little piece once seen in a local newspaper. In accepting a retirement presentation, a locomotive engineer observed that his work had taken him over a million miles. It conjured up visions: about 180 round trips between New York and San Francisco, or two jaunts to the moon and back with enough left over to circle the earth twice.…

Not so. The engineer’s charge had been a shunting locomotive that had never taken him out of the railroad sheds. The newspaper headline was “A Million Miles to Nowhere.” The moral might suggest that even those who travel hopefully in an ecumenical Jet Set age might not get anywhere. Especially if their outlook is that ascribed by Dean Inge to a certain bishop: “He has taken a first-class single ticket on the line of least resistance.” ...

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