St. John’s Tide poem by Evelyn Francis Capel

“In the brightness,
in the magnificence of power
shining in the sun,
the warning sounds:
Turn from the outer
To the inner,
Set the heart alight
with the flame of burning zeal
That He who comes be seen
and known – light-sender, love-giver.”

St. John’s Tide poem, by Evelyn Francis Cape

More about Evelyn Francis Capel :

“In Stuttgart in 1922, a German evangelical minister, Friedrich Rittelmeyer, having been inspired by lectures given by Rudolph Steiner, founded the Christian Community, a movement for religious renewal with a priesthood of women as well as men. In June 1939 in London, Evelyn Capel, who has died aged 88, became the first English woman priest ordained within it to celebrate the sacraments.

A writer, lecturer and traveller, she had the rank of colonel in the Allied Control Commission in post-war Germany, helping to rebuild Christian groups and churches of all denominations. Later, she helped to establish the Christian Community in South Africa.

She was born in Stow-on-the-Wold in Gloucestershire. One of five sisters, she came from a non-conformist religious background, and was brilliant at school – she was first in all England in her school certificate. She read modern history at Somerville College, Oxford, and became a management trainee with the catering firm J Lyons, where a lucrative future beckoned.

But Capel had already come across Steiner’s ideas and, after becoming acquainted with the Christian Community through Kenneth Walsh, she joined, training at its Stuttgart seminary and becoming fluent in German. Soon after ordination she returned from London to the seminary in Germany, but, with the approach of the second world war, moved to Holland, catching a flight back to England three days after the declaration of hostilities.

She was one of the small group of priests in this country who ensured that the Christian Community’s communion service was celebrated every single day from the time the community was banned in Germany in 1941 until it was able to make a new start in 1945.

During the war Capel travelled around Britain to support the community’s scattered congregations around. With peace, she was one of the first priests to go to the continent to visit the community’s congregations. In her Allied Control Commission work she was associated with Walsh, who developed the idea of twinning German and British towns as a way of building social, cultural and commercial bridges between the two countries.

In 1951, Capel married Samuel Derry, the manager of Rudolf Steiner House. Her London base was Temple Lodge, Hammersmith, which has become a unique place among Christian Community centres, with its publishing house (Temple Lodge Publishing), bookshop, guest house and vegetarian restaurant, which, in 1993, won a Time Out magazine award.

Derry died in 1960 and, in 1967, Evelyn married Herbert Capel. She was a prolific writer; her books include A Woman In The Priesthood, which is housed in the House of Commons library.

Capel was a wonderful pastor, helping people in crises, always recognising their free individuality, and a lively, humorous lecturer. Only two years before retirement, aged 84, she gave a course on spiritual counselling in Sao Paolo, Brazil.

Her husband predeceased her. She had no children.

The Rev Evelyn Francis Capel, priest, born 23 March 1911; died 5 January 2000″

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