South Sea islanders’ condemnation of the war reported to Maidenhead churchgoers

Members of Maidenhead Congregational (now United Reformed Church) heard first-hand about how the war was affecting distant parts of the world thanks to their support of mission work overseas.  The December 1914 church magazine reprinted letters from the missionaries they supported in the South Pacific and Morocco. Both had been affected by the war in different ways, and the South Sea Islanders had an uncomfortable message for the west:

OUR MISSIONARY

Mr. Eastman’s latest letter contains an interesting account of his work in the village chapels of Raratonga. He appeals for rolls of Sunday School pictures, small picture cards or leaflets, or other illustrations of Bible subjects. The war has its effect even among the South Sea Islands. Mr. Eastman says,

Our mail service has been disorganized, and there are rumours that our own mission ship has been commandeered for government service between Samoa and Fiji, so that we may not receive our expected supplies and stores. German cruisers have bombarded Papeetè in the neighbouring island of Tahiti, and have attempted to intercept the mail steamers which call here.…

Our people here find it hard to understand how it is the great so-called Christian nations should be engaged in such terrible strife. One man said to me the other day that “the white men have no pity”; another said the Christians had become like heathen.

OUR OTHER MISSIONARY

Miss Wilkinson has been living since July last at Arzila in Morocco, with her cousin, Miss Jennings, who is a missionary in the service of the North African Mission, and is not only rejoicing in the pure air and interesting surroundings, but is also helping strenuously in the work of the mission. In a letter enclosing a contribution to the Thanksgiving Fund, Miss Wilkinson says,

We happened to be in Tangier when the German Consulate was seized by native troops under the command of the French, and the consul and his staff marched down to the port, and put on board a man-of-war.

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, December 1914 (D/N33/12/1/4)

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