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Father Alf Clint: radical Anglo-Catholic

By Troy Duncan


Clint is best remembered for his efforts during the 1950s and 1960s to establish Christian co-operatives among Indigenous peoples in New Guinea and Australia, including at the Lockhart River, where his attempts to promote Aboriginal self-determination led to him being labelled a communist. However, little has been said about the six years that Clint spent in the mining communities of the Hunter Valley, where his reputation as one of the most radical exponents of the Social Gospel within the Anglican Church was confirmed. With little formal education, Clint could not be expected to offer local Christian Socialists the kind of intellectual support the former Warden of St John's College, Morpeth, Ernest Burgmann, provided during the depths of the Depression. However, Clint's background and temperament did enable him to emulate Burgmann's activism. Drawing on the most militant traditions within Anglo-Catholicism, Clint went beyond his pastoral duties to the poor and jobless and, like Burgmann, urged them to actively resist the capitalist forces which he believed thwarted social justice within church and state. By all accounts a man of great charm as well as feistiness, Clint enjoyed some success in encouraging working people to put their faith in the Church of England, while also sensitising colleagues to the hardships faced by coalfields people struggling with chronic joblessness and unemployment

Topics: Alf Clint, Socialism, Anglican Church, clerical activism
Publisher: NewSouth
Year: 2015
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