Rev. John 'Jack' Copley Winslow
- Born: 18 Aug 1882, Hanworth, Middx
- Died: 1 Apr 1974, Godalming, Surrey aged 91
1891 Census; Living as son (age 8) at The Rectory, Hanworth, Middx with parents, 4 x sisters and 3 x servants. Middle initial 'C'.
1901 Census; Living as student and boarder (age 18) at Eton College. PoB Hanworth, Middx and middle name given as 'Copley'.
Joint author (with Verrier Elwin) of 'Gandhi; the dawn of Indian freedom' (1931) and other books inc ;
'The Lee Abbey Story' (1956), 'When I Awake', 'Confession and Absolution', 'Why I Believe In The Oxford Group' (1934), 'The Eucharist In India' (1920), 'The Indian Mystic' (1926), 'The Church In Action' (1936)
Wrote of number of Hymns.
He spent a year at Wells Theological College, Salisbury. He was made deacon in 1907, ordained 1908. He was at St. Augustines, Canterbury as a lecturer for three years
The legacy of John Copley Winslow. (1882-1974), International Bulletin of Missionary Research, January 01, 1997 "J. C. Winslow is listed by mission historian Eric Sharpe as deserving special attention for a fuller understanding of missions in India during the turbulent interwar period. During a twenty-year missionary career (1914-1934), Winslow forged a new type of contact between religions and was variously acclaimed as a "Catholic-minded Sadhu Sundar Singh," a "great Indo-Anglican mystic," and a pioneer of indigenization. Yet, with the exception of two unpublished works on Christa Seva Sangh, the ashram community founded by Winslow, there is surprisingly little written about him. Like many missionaries of the period, Winslow is in danger of becoming, in John K. Fairbank's ... "
John 'Jack' Copley Winslow (1882-1974) came from a family with a tradition of evangelical work. His great-grandmother, Mary Winslow, authored 'Life and Letters,' a favorite among 19th-century evangelists. His father was an Anglican clergyman in Middlesex, and he himself was ordained a priest in 1908. In 1914, he went to India as a missionary. He met and was deeply influenced by Narayan Vaman Tilak. His mission in India is the best example of contextualization of the Gospel, the fruits of which included a liturgy fashioned to reflect the Eastern culture and the Christa Seva Sangh ashram.
Jack Winslow (John Copley) b Hanworth, Middx, 18 Aug 1882. Sch. Eton, Balliol, Oxf. Ord. C/E; lecturer at St.Augustine's Coll. Canterbury, missionary to India, chaplain to Bryanston School, '42-'48, chaplain to Lee Abbey, N Devon '48-'62 and Godalming, Surrey 1 Apr 1974.
John (Jack) Copley Winslow (b. Hanworth, Middlesex, England, 1882; d. Godalming, Surrey, England, 1974) wrote this hymn of dedication and first published it in his Garland of Verse (1961). Alterations to the text have been made in various hymnals, including the Psalter Hymnal. Winslow was educated at Balliol College in Oxford and Wells Theological College, and was ordained a priest in the Church of England in 1908. After serving at Wimbledon and lecturing at St. Augustine's College in Canterbury, he worked as a missionary in India (1914-1934). He returned to England and served as parish priest and chaplain at a number of churches, including Lee Abbey in Lynton (1948-1962). His publications include The Church in Action (1936), The Christian Approach to the Hindus (1958), and Modern Miracles (1968). His hymns were published in Hymns Ancient and Modern (1950) as well as in various other hymnals.
From address at Malvern Abbey "Our next hymn was written by Jack Winslow, a man who was a missionary in India and then became one of the first Chaplains at Lee Abbey - and if you haven't already booked in on our Priory weekend away at this very special place on the N Devon coast next July - do it soon! Something Jack Winslow often wrote and taught about was the importance for all Christians of having a morning time of prayer and Bible Study - a Quiet Time - set apart at the start of every day. He kept an hour of what he called 'the Morning Watch', but if that seems too daunting it's better to start with less and build it up, rather than start big then give up... Winslow once wrote: "If I can really say with the prophet Isaiah (50:4) ' Morning by morning the Lord wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught', then I find that I begin at once to go forward. I grow in understanding of God as I meditate on the Bible." Winslow went on: "Since I learnt morning by morning to commit the day to God, to try to see His plan for each day so far as He chose to show it, and to wait for whatever orders He might wish to give me, life has had for me a thrill and a purpose such as it never had before..."* Maybe some of us have fallen out of the habit of having a morning Quiet Time alone with the Lord; or maybe it's something we've never really tried to do regularly. Here's a 'new term' challenge for us all: let's try it. Let's set the alarm clock to wake ourselves up a little earlier and give some quality time to God first thing every day - and see what happens. Now let's sing Jack Winslow's hymn: "
1 Lord of creation, to you be all praise!
Most mighty your working, most wondrous your ways!
You reign in a glory no tongue e'er can tell;
you deign in the heart of the humble to dwell.
2 Lord of all power, I give you my will,
in joyful obedience your tasks to fulfill.
Your bondage is freedom, your service is song;
and, held in your keeping, my weakness is strong.
3 Lord of all wisdom, I give you my mind,
rich truth that surpasses our knowledge to find.
What eye has not seen and what ear never heard
is taught by your Spirit and shines from your Word.
4 Lord of all bounty, I give you my heart;
I praise and adore you for all you impart;
your love to inflame me, your counsel to guide,
your presence to shield me whate'er may betide..
5 Lord of all being, I give you my all;
if ever I disown you, I stumble and fall;
but sworn in glad service your word to obey,
I walk in your freedom the rest of the way.
From History of the Third Order by Hugh Beach, Sept 2000;
"Jack Winslow (fl. 1906-62)
The story now moves to India. I have always been struck by the way in which Indian spirituality, or that of the East more generally, appeals to some of the finest Christian minds. I am thinking, for example, of Fr. Bede Griffiths and Thomas Merton in our own time. This tale is of a generation earlier. Jack Winslow was the son of a vicar in West London, related to the Charringtons a wealthy brewing family, and more distantly to one of the Pilgrim Fathers. He was sent to Eton, which he did not much like and then to Balliol College Oxford to read Classics in which he took second class honours. He went on to theological college at Wells, was ordained in 1907, served as a curate at Wimbledon and as a lecturer at the
theological college at St. Augustine's Canterbury. So far his story is completely run of the mill. In 1914 he felt called to serve as a missionary in India, joined the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG) and stayed with them for eight years, mainly at Ahmednagar. He loved India, wanted to become 'an Indian to the Indians' and believed that the Christian missionaries had failed to offer 'the gift of real love and equal friendship'. He was impressed by the asceticism of the Indian sages and admired their distinctive community, the ashram. On leave in England, on 12 August 1919 sitting quietly in a vicarage garden, he heard an 'imperious voice' telling him to set up a Christian ashram. And three years later, on St. Barnabas' Day (11 June) 1922, at St. Barnabas' Church (an SPG outstation), he inaugurated a new Community. It called itself the Christa Seva Sangha which means Christ-Service-Society. The members were Fr. Jack and five Indians. Their ideal was the development of Indian ways for the expression of Christian life and worship.
One of their models was the sannaysi, the Indian ascetic in a saffron robe. So the Sangha wore a plain white robe with a saffron girdle. Their patron saint was - not surprisingly - St. Barnabas. Fr. Jack was elected head (known as the acharya) and their constitution was approved by Bishop Palmer of Bombay, so they were quite pukka. They shared their few possessions, pitched their bedding on verandahs and ate chupattis, green vegetables, rice, lentils, oil and clarified butter - at a cost of about 21/2 p. a day. They lived the full life of prayer (with a liturgy in Marathi and English), bible study and service to the sick, suffering and needy. One of the Indian brothers was married and lived in a tiny house nearby. They shared in the evangelistic work of the district, though this was less of a focus than the life and service. They moved house almost every year, living for a while in a Muslim tomb. After four years of this two of the brothers left and the rest went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Winslow went on to London to raise funds and volunteers, in both of which he was successful. A well-wisher gave him £1000, enough to buy land and build a permanent ashram. This was duly located at Poona, one of the great intellectual centres of India. And three brilliant young Oxbridge graduates went back with him in 1927, to be followed shortly afterwards by five others. One of these was William Strowan Algernon Amherst Robertson - of whom more later.
Four of the new recruits were priests and four laymen. Three of each stayed and were soon joined by more Indians. After three more years (i.e.1930) the Sangha was some thirty strong. In 1928 came crucial changes. Bishop Palmer blessed the new ashram on Michaelmas Day. St. Francis was adopted as joint Patron Saint. And the Sangha was divided into a First and a Third Order. I'll tell you why these things happened in a moment. The First Order were specifically members of the Poona ashram, the Third Order soon
took on the character of other Third Orders out in the community. One of the main works of the Sangha was to provide a hostel for Indian Christian students in two rented bungalows near the ashram. About twenty students lived there, including some Muslims and Hindus, dining together on vegetarian food and with daily prayers and eucharist in which all faiths could join. The students ran schools for poor children. There were weekly visits to a leper asylum and work in the villages, spreading knowledge of hygiene as well as of the Gospel. The importance of the life was still emphasised. Winslow wrote: "Unless the church can produce Christian Yogis, masters in the spiritual life, who are competent to direct others in the discipline and science of the mystical way, she will fail to attract the choicest spirits of Hinduism". The tradition of married brothers continued, but the original
pre-Franciscan group found it difficult to fit in and after four years moved to a separate ashram at Aundh. They did not long survive. But the Poona community kept going, with a slightly modified name (the Christa Prema Seva Sangha) for another thirty years. Recently it has been revived. Only last month I met the present acharya, Bishop Ernest Talibuddin, a man of great charm, at a conference at Coventry.
One of Winslow's great commitments had been to Indian independence, the movement for which was rapidly gaining strength in the 1930s. He also played a part in the first discussions towards the formation of the Church of South India. A very far-sighted man. But in 1934 he resigned as acharya and left India for good. Some of the Third Order members of the Sangha were in England by then and helped to foster the vocation of tertiaries. But Fr. Jack himself became much involved with the Oxford Group movement, served a number of curacies in England, had two spells of duty as chaplain of Bryanston School and for fourteen years was the chaplain of Lee Abbey. Like the ashram it was run by a community of single and married people with a vision -in this case the renewal of the church. He retired in 1962. Like Adderley, Fr. Jack founded a Community and then moved on. Like Adderley, his Community was not specifically Franciscan - at least to begin with. Like the Society of the Divine Compassion, the Sangha represented a fusion (some might say a confusion) of the best in the evangelical and the catholic traditions in the Episcopal church. And in the formation of Third Orders in the Church of England both played a seminal part."