"Whose Byline I Had Missed" | Andrew Brown in Church Times

Mark Vernon kindly notified me about something in the latest edition of Church Times. It was a column by Andrew Brown.

A cherub for Queen Elizabeth

Brown was one of the journalists who founded the Independent, he’s a winner of the Orwell Prize, and I’ve always enjoyed his writing. In today’s column he wrote:

The former FT feature writer John-Paul Flintoff, whose byline I had missed for a few years, resurfaced in the Telegraph with a piece about recovering from a breakdown with the help of silent churches. He started to walk around London with a sketchpad and chalks, in search of beauty.

“A lot of that beauty was in the churches where I stopped to sit down particularly Holy Trinity, Sloane Square, decorated by the Pre-Raphaelites William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones. I drew that. I drew myself kneeling in prayer. I drew myself bathed in the fragmented, colourful light cast by the stained-glass windows. “The churches were mostly empty, but occasionally I met people who were friendly, without being all over me (I hadn’t been brought up religious). I picked up leaflets containing prayers, and found that by reciting them again and again I could silence the self-critical thoughts. I flicked through the Bibles on lecterns and enjoyed reading the Psalms, in which King David addresses to God his various, shifting moods of ecstasy and gnashing of teeth.”

So now he has published an illustrated book of his own psalms.

I feel (slightly, not vastly) ashamed to acknowledge how much it meant to me that anybody had missed my byline at all.