Martyn Jarrett offers an appreciation of David Morgan whose funeral and Requiem Mass took place on Tuesday 21st December, 2021, at St Mary the Virgin, Great Bardfield, Essex.


I first encountered David just over 20 years ago, when I was elected to the General Synod in 2000. David, by contrast, was already well established as an experienced member of the Catholic Group. As I remember, he was not often a contributor to debates in the chamber but certainly had a clear grasp of issues on the agenda. In Catholic Group discussions, prior to GS debates, David would often comment forcibly on what he viewed as key issues and the appropriate tactics for addressing them.

A few years later I joined to the Church Union Council. David was then serving as its chairman. It was not an easy time. Some previously prominent members had been received into the Roman Catholic Church. Others had retired from membership. The Council included a number of members who, like me, had not served previously as members. We had, until then, little if any experience of working with one another and there was understandably a wide range of views as to how to proceed. David, with his long experience of and commitment to the Church Union, was the guardian of its history. His preliminary and understandable vision was one of reviving the Church Union as a major, if not the main, Catholic organisation, recovering a membership and influence equal to that of Forward in Faith. He was, like many in those early days, unsure of what the Society under the patronage of S Hilda and S Wilfrid was all about and how the Church Union might relate to it. 

David’s, though, was not a closed mind and gradually he became more understanding of and sympathetic to where the Catholic movement now was. He was an energetic supporter of initiatives to support the wider movement. He was a key player in securing funding for a CU Communications Officer who undertook much work for the Society, not least in editing the popular newsletter, Together. While David was determined that the Union be an independent Catholic society in its own right, he increasingly saw how its resources could advance the work of The Society.

In recent years David relinquished the chairmanship of the Church Union while remaining an active member of the Council. He had a fine grasp of the various trusts that we administered and his sharp financial acumen had played a significant part in bringing them to their present strength. His knowledge of patronage law was considerable, no doubt aided by his involvement with both the Guild of All Souls and the SMF. He would willingly travel to remote parts of the country for parish appointments where the CU had a small share of patronage within a larger benefice. When further change in the benefice and accompanying enlargement of the patronage was proposed, and he would always have concerns of the small CU patronage parishes close to his heart, ask key questions any ensuing proposals, and ensure appropriate input throughout any reorganisation. 

Underlying all this was David’s deep commitment to Catholic faith and order. For many years, together with his wife Elizabeth, he was a keen worshipper at Thaxted Parish Church. I remember with joy my own visit there to preach at the centenary celebrations of Father Conrad Noel’s institution. David and Elizabeth were actively involved. When Thaxted changed its tradition in recent years, sad as he was to make the decision, David felt he must leave the church where he had worshipped for so many years for Little Barfield, the nearest parish within the Catholic tradition to which he held. Together with Elizabeth, David was a frequent pilgrim to Walsingham. It was always good to see them at the annual Partnership Weekend.

All in all, David was one of those often unsung lay people whose work, often behind the scenes, has been of great significance in handing on the Faith from age to age. He contributed much across the years to the Catholic movement within the Church of England. Elizabeth, together with all his family, are surrounded by our love and prayers. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.