Fr. Gresham Kirky
This is to let you know that Fr Gresham Kirkby died yesterday 10th August at 11am, 13 hours before his 90th birthday. He was the longest serving priest in the East End of London in recent years, having been parish priest of St Paul's, Bow Common from 1950 to about 1993! He was the first parish priest of the C of E to go to prison for anti-nuclear activities, in 1961 I think, when he spent a week in Brixton after a Committee of 100 demonstration.
He was a forward looking liturgist and, with his architect friends Robert Maguire and Keith Murray, designed the new church, consecrated in 1961, asking the question 'What will Christian worship be like in the year 2000, and how can we design a church to fit that?'
He was a founder member of the Jubilee Group, and had been chair of the Socialist Chistian League in the 1950s. He spent much of his life writing and revising the same article on the Kingdom of God as a hope for this world -versions appeared in 1955, 1975, 1977 and 1983. (The latter is on the Anglo-Catholic Socialism Website). He was still revising it and other things until a few days before he died.
He was a lifelong anarchist communist. When the Bishop of London visited him two days before his death, he told me that Gresham had 'proclaimed his undying faith in anarchy'.He influenced many people in a unique way.
His funeral will be at St Mary's Church, Bourne Street, London (a few minutes from Sloane Square station) on Tuesday 22nd August at 2pm.
Ken Leech