Frederick Roth Webber


Rev Roy Coates had an excellent presentation on the Father Frederick Roth Webber. One particular quote on the introduction of individual cups I wanted to share:

The question of such things as individual communion cups does not come within the scope of this discussion. An age that takes delight in carillons that contain no bells, and church organs that contain no pipes need not be criticized for celebrating Holy Communion without a chalice. We are saying nothing against bell-less carillons and pipeless organs, nor chalice less celebrations of holy Communion either. For those who can find spiritual edification in such things, they may go as far as they like, for this is a land of religious freedom. It is possible that the day may come when the Christian’s devotion will be stirred by the sight of a clergy-man in his Talar, carrying a twenty-four inch chromium plated tray, with fifty little liquor glasses neatly reposing in a series of round holes in the tray, holding the tray out to a row of faithful believers, and saying the inspired Words of Institution over them as they tilt back their heads as though at the bar or a public house; and the sexton, also in a black Talar, following with another tray, into which the empty liquor glasses are clicking. The least that one may say is that Andrew White McCollough was correct in saying, “How different the method now!” Certain church periodicals are lending a willing hand to popularize this form of celebration by means of many and conspicuous advertisements, so what may one do? Theologically there is nothing that may be said, for the Blessed Sacrament does not depend for its validity upon the type of communion-ware that we use. Many of us prefer the traditional chalice, just as we prefer genuine candles on the altar instead of glass candles with flame-tipped electric bulbs, and a vestryman stooping down at the Epistle end of the altar and snapping on a switch with a resounding click. But perhaps we are a bit old fashioned in such things. The world today is a different world...

Father Webber had the foresight to foresee the issues that "online worship" would bring to us:

...and there are people who predict in all seriousness that one central broadcasting station will do away eventually with churches. Even now there is said to be a device under construction, composed of a broadcasting unit in which are a number of sound films. One may sit in comfort in his living room, or even lie abed on Sunday, and by revolving a dial somewhat like that of an automatic telephone, he may bring in through his radio any sort of synthetic religion that he may desire at the moment. A pontifical High Mass, with ornate music by Italian composers, a solemn Celebration with Plainsong setting, a Low Mass, an Anglo-Catholic service recorded in All Saints’ or St. Alban’s Holborn, Morning Prayer recorded at the Chapel Royal, a Salvation Army Service, a Lutheran High Mass from Lund Cathedral, a Christian Science hour, a Wesleyan service from Bessborough Road Chapel, a preaching service with hymns from an American theological seminary, a Watchtower service, or a rousing sermon with humans and trombone accompaniment from a revival tabernacle—in fact, anything that one may wish. With daily television broadcasts months ago in London, we may expect the same thing here, as an aid to what we have described. This is what a mechanized age assures us will be our religion of tomorrow