In a variety of ways it does a great deal of social service similar to that of gilds of help. Its administration has always been in the hands of laymen, and it works through local "conferences" or branches, the general council having been suspended because it declined to accept a cardinal as its official head.
At home a Union for Social Service was formed in 1906, the natural outcome of Thomas Jackson's efforts for the hungry and distressed in Clapton and Whitechapel, and of similar work at St George's Hall, Southwark.
It shared to the full in all the quickening that transformed so many departments of civilization during that epoch, and has been specially influenced by the missionary enterprise, the discoveries of science, the fuller knowledge of the Bible, the awakened zeal for social service.
The claims of self-culture and of social service may when considered in the abstract or in some hypothetical case appear antagonistic and irreconcilable.
For just as there is no self-realization which does not involve self-sacrifice, so there is no room for that species of egoism within the confines of morality which is incompatible with social service.