The Anglican Sense of “Implicit Religion”

A Tribute to Edward Bailey


  • Timothy Jenkins Jesus College, University of Cambridge



Implicit Religion, Edward Bailey, Anglican Roots of Implicit


The origin of Edward Bailey’s concern, which he came to name “implicit religion,” was his lived experience as an Anglican priest of what the Prayer Book Ordinal call the “cure of souls.” Anglican ministry is based in a pastoral concern for the ordinary lives of— in principle—all the people living in the parish. This concern has typically been expressed by the Anglican clergy and laity in the forms of verse, prose and music; Bailey attempted to give this focus a sociological form. The context of this project is described. This subject-matter has meant his ideas have been both fruitful and elusive; in particular, the many attempts to “operationalize” them and give them clearer academic focus have sometimes failed, in part because of the deliberately anti-theological cast of the contemporary sociological discipline, and in part because of the resolutely non-theological nature of contemporary Anglican thought. In this tribute, I explore some of the implications of this analysis.


Bailey, Edward. 1997. Implicit Religion in Contemporary Society. Kampen, The Netherlands: Kok Pharos Publishing House.

Brown, Callum. 2009. The Death of Christian Britain: Understanding Secularisation 1800–2000. Abington: Routledge.

Thornton, Martin. 1960. Essays in Pastoral Reconstruction. London: S.P.C.K.



How to Cite

Jenkins, T. (2016). The Anglican Sense of “Implicit Religion”: A Tribute to Edward Bailey. Implicit Religion, 19(1), 49–54.