"In the middle of the 17th Century the Church of England was not so much in steep decline as dead and gone. It had been officially abolished by the Government of Oliver Cromwell. Use of the Prayer Book was illegal, the bishops had been abolished, the Anglican clergy turned out of their homes. The celebration of Christmas had been suppressed. It was forbidden even to say even the Lord’s Prayer in church since it was a written prayer. Most people at the time believed that Anglicanism was over, and consigned to the dustbin of history.
But in the middle of all this, one fellow built a quintessentially Anglican Church when everyone told him that it would only be torn down, and that all his hopes and dreams for renewal and restoration would come to nothing. When he died, his neighbors put a marble plaque over the west door of the church.
“In the year 1653 when all things sacred were throughout the Nation either demolished or profaned, Sir Robert Shirley, Baronet, founded this church, whose singular praise it is to have done the best things in the worst times and hoped them in the most calamitous. The righteous shall be had in everlasting remembrance.”
So may they speak of us."
Rt. Rev'd Anthony Burton, "Rector’s Remarks at the Dedication and Grand Opening of the New Buildings" Church of the Incarnation, Dallas, 12 Jan, 2016