Processions: A dissertation together with practical suggestions

I have recently acquired a short book published in 1932 by Bishop Colin Dunlop (1897-1968) who was, in 1955, appointed as the first chair of the Liturgical Commission of the Church of England. In his short book ‘Processions: A dissertation

together with practical suggestions’ he outlines the nature of religious procession historically and in current form. He is critical of the decline of the proper use of procession and makes a series of suggestions of how it can be reinstated as, “a liturgical means of leading modern congregations into a more ready understanding of the Christian faith” (p. 9).

In the first section of the book Dunlop charts the history of processions. He makes the link between processions and pilgrimages in that processions had a purpose and were directional.

“Plainly these processions are not mere marching for the sake of marching; they are made in order to arrive at certain holy places; on arrival lessons are read and prayers are said appropriate to the place and season at which the visit is made” (p. 11)

Indeed, this is something that I have been reflecting on in terms of defining a procession and there seems to be a general agreement that a procession leads somewhere. However, he comments that processions have shifted from plain to becoming more lavish and whilst he is not critical of this necessarily he appears to be more aggrieved with processions that have no purpose. He speaks of processions that take place within churches and how they often end up where they started – for him this is not defined as a procession. He draws on the 1883 work of Canon T. A Lacey ‘ The Liturgical Use of the Litany and quotes him directly…

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Manchester and Salford Whit Walks: A really potted history

Whilst this is by no means a comprehensive history of the Whit Walks, I thought I best provide a bit more context for the posts in this blog. There are a few more comprehensive overviews out there I would recommend Canon Jim Burns’ book if you can get hold of a copy as the most interesting overview complete with personal reflections from people who have walked over the years (available in Manchester Central Library). I do intend to try and develop a fuller explanation – we have gathered over 200 years of news archives related to the Whit Walks in Manchester which we are in the process of making sense of. Below is work that is pretty much pasted from a conference paper I delivered so is a really condensed explanation! Here is a picture of my Grandma doing the Whit Walks in Denton (South-East-ish of Manchester)….

Alice Platt (my grandma) taking part in Denton’s Whit Walks

During the beginnings of industrialisation in Lancashire, the Whitsun holiday was seen as one of the most important times of the working classes calendar (Fielding, 1989). The Walks were traditionally undertaken on Whit Friday for the Catholic churches and Whit Monday for the Anglican churches during the religious festival of Pentecost. Pentecost celebrates the decent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles as described in The Act of the Apostles in the New Testament. Fielding states that the first Anglican walk took place in Manchester in 1801 with the Catholics following the tradition by 1844 (Fielding, 1989).

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St George’s Day Parade, Manchester 2017

Today was St George’s Day parade in the city centre of Manchester. The parade begins in the North of the city centre, works it way through the Northern Quarter across Piccadilly and back round. I need to do a little bit more research into this parade in terms of how it is developed and who is involved but it had a strong North Manchester vibe in the sense that there was a celebration of 10 years of Miles Platting heading the parade. The parade is also raising money for the Ancoats Dispensary Trust  so there is a link geographically to where the parade begins. I have wanted to look at the parades from this area for a while as the Manchester Italian Catholic Association walks come through this area as well. This area of the city is under redevelopment and there has been criticism that the gentrification is alienating the older communities. Ancoats tops the so-called ‘hippest hangout’ index. 

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Gallery

The story of a street

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When I started working at Manchester Met I met up with some friends of mine who are theatre makers. We had a great conversation about our shared interests in communities and how people use spaces. We all got busy and whilst the ideas were still bubbling under, we never took anything forward. Fast forward to December 2016…we decided to play with some of those ideas further.

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Processions of Witness

It is a huge oversight on my part but I have not blogged for a while! There are probably 2 reasons:

1) I got a new job so have been settling in to that – new teaching means I spend a lifetime writing powerpoints

2) I am a sufferer of impostor syndrome so occasionally turn to mush and am unable to communicate my ideas with any confidence!

Anyway, time to get this old thing back on the road!

Myself and a colleague here at MMU, Dr. Tim Edensor, put together a proposal for a small study which has been awarded a pot of funding (maybe enough to get half the interviews transcribed…but that is better than nothing). Here are the details to whet your appetite!

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