Charles Fudge Andrews was the second warden at Pembroke House. The life of the warden is revealed through his autobiography.

In Charles Fudge Andrew’s day, Pembroke House was a mission, and the new warden was preparing to be a missionary in India.

His predecessor had been signed off due to ill-health and stress. Walworth life was extremely difficult, and wholly foreign to the early wardens. The poverty fuelled Andrew’s doubt in the integrity of faith, doubts not welcomed by his parishioners whose certainty in God compensated for the unpredictability of daily life.

The role of faith in settlement life

Would the settlements have been different had they not been instruments of organised religion? And would Pembroke House be different had it not begun as a mission, taking a clear place in the structure of organised religion?

These questions have loomed large at Pembroke House in the last decade. It recently switched its legal status from mission to settlement, and is looking to continue to play a role in a community for which faith is anathema for some, a difficult question for others, and an enduring comfort for others.

There are several ways in which faith component remains relevant but two points are central:

1. There are different levels of and types of engagement with organised religion, but most citizens continue to be challenged by, and struggle with questions that are bread and butter for organised religion. This is a struggle with meta-ethics, with how we live a good life alongside other members of our species.

2. This struggle is continuous. The church and secular ethics disrupt. Faith comforts in the context of stress, but it also requires that we engage and remain engaged with a world full of wrongs that we cannot right.

So, by one estimation, if faith had not been a part of settlement life, the founders would have invented something analogous to facilitate the conversation about the struggles to be human.

The struggle is evident in both Andrew’s life and, we can presume, in his predecessors burnout. His contemporaries share this burden. As do present day residents and workers.