A significant figure in the Anglican Communion in his time, Philip Strong will be remembered by few people in the Church of England today. In an age of ‘expressive individualism’ and the quest for personal fulfilment Strong’s devotion to duty marks him as the product of a very different period in time. This is someone who made a definite religious commitment at the age of 14, wrote it down and never swerved from the path he had chosen. For the distinguished Cambridge historian Owen Chadwick he was ‘the most Christian man I ever had the pleasure of knowing.’
Strong was born in 1899 and grew up in a country vicarage. He studied at Selwyn College, Cambridge, where he was friends with Malcolm Muggeridge and formed a close bond with Alec Vidler. Ordained by Hensley Henson, who was suspicious of Strong’s Anglo-Catholicism but who came to respect him, Strong served a curacy and two incumbencies in working class parishes in the North of England.
In 1936 the call came to go to Papua as the diocesan bishop. The night before his consecration Archbishop Cosmo Gordon Lang pointed to a crucifix and told Strong ‘you can thank God there will be more of that in your life than there is in mine’.
Jonathan Holland describes the challenges Strong faced as he took up his new responsibilities in this carefully researched and well-written biography.
30 June 1970: retirement of ++Philip Strong (1899-1983) as Archbp of Brisbane (1963) and Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia (1966)
— AustralianAnglican (@AustAnglican) June 30, 2016