We must now let the men whose names have been held in honour realise that we are just as keenly interested in them in peace as we were in war

Churches were asked to welcome home soldiers.

THE CHURCH AND THE ARMY

RETURN OF MEN FROM THE FRONT

The Archbishop of Canterbury earnestly commends to the clergy and laity of his diocese some suggestions adapted from a like paper issued in another diocese.

The Roll of Honour, which has, as I hope and believe, has been placed practically in every church in the diocese, was meant to be an outward and visible sign of the interest of the Church as a whole in each man whose name was found upon it. Prayers, contant prayers, were to be offered for him. This obligation the Church has fulfilled, and numbers of men are returning for whom we have prayed. We must now let the men whose names have been thus held in honour realise that we are just as keenly interested in them in peace as we were in war. We can do this in various ways.

1. A “Welcome Home Committee” should be formed at once in every parish, consisting of the clergy together with a number of communicants, both men and women.
2. The Committee should undertake the work of according a warm welcome to all the men living in the parish on their return from the Front, whether they are Churchmen or not.
3. As far as is possible someone should be appointed in every street (or district) in any large parish to act as “Watcher” on behalf of the committee in that street, who should notify its secretary immediately on the return of any man living within it.
4. On notification of the return home of any man the Committee should appoint someone to visit him at once and extend in the name of the Church a warm welcome home.

The man concerned should be treated as circumstances and common sense may dictate. Different methods would naturally be adopted with regard to communicants and those who are not, but the welcome to each would be equally warm. The incumbent might arrange for a Celebration to which the communicant, his family and any friends could be invited, and at which they could unitedly offer their thanksgiving for his safe return and also rededicate their lived to the service of God, the Church and the Country. Regarding the non-communicants, special attention should be paid to the men who signed the War Roll Pledge issued at the front, and whose names have been sent already to the incumbents. This privilege might appropriately be placed in the hands of the local branch of the CEMS, if its membership is sufficient to deal with the situation. The problem will be treated differently in a small country parish and in a town parish; but in both alike:

1. No man should return without the Church making some effort to give him a welcome.
2. The whole body of communicants should be encouraged to take an interest in the men for whom they have prayed for four years.
3. The scheme should be put into operation at once.
4. Special Services for the returned men might appropriately be held at suitable intervals.

Newbury St Nicolas parish magazine, February 1919 (D/P89/28A/14)

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