An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Temple, William

(Oct. 15, 1881-Oct. 26, 1944). The only son of an Archbishop of Canterbury to become the Archbishop of Canterbury. He was born in Exeter, England. Temple was educated at Rugby and then at Balliol College, Oxford. In 1904 he became a fellow at Queen's College, Oxford. In 1906 he was refused ordination by Bishop Francis Baget of Oxford, who had doubts about Temple's theology of the Virgin Birth and the Resurrection. Temple was ordained priest in 1908. In 1910 he became the headmaster of Repton. In 1914 Temple became the rector of St. James' Church, Piccadilly. During the war years he was secretary of the Mission of Repentance and Hope. He was later the leader of the Life and Liberty Movement. On Jan. 25, 1921, he was consecrated Bishop of Manchester. He served in that position until he became Archbishop of York on Jan. 2, 1929. On Apr. 1, 1942, Temple became the ninety-eighth Archbishop of Canterbury. He served in that position until his death. He was a leader in the ecumenical movement and a strong advocate of educational and labor reform. His chief publications were Mens Creatrix (1917) and his Gifford Lectures, Nature, Man and God (1934). His sympathetic attitude toward the working-class movement led him to membership in the Labor Party in 1918. His influential Christianity and Social Order (1944) is sometimes described as a twentieth-century adaptation of Christian Socialism and one of the underpinnings of the welfare state. He was chairman of an interdenominational and international Conference on Christian Politics, Economics, and Citizenship in 1924, an Anglican delegate to the Faith and Order Conference at Lausanne in 1927, and chairman of the Faith and Order Conference at Edinburgh in 1937. He was largely responsible for the British Council of Churches and the formation of the World Council of Churches. Temple was an incarnational theologian and a leader in the social application of the gospel. He was noted for his ability to express complicated ideas clearly and persuasively.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.