A special word to say to the men whom we are all so glad to see back

Reading servicemen were welcomed back to church.

SERVICE of thanksgiving for safe return from war

All Service men and their friends are invited to a service of thanksgiving for safe return, which will be held in St John’s Church on Sunday evening, May 18th, at 6.30. Notices of the service will be sent out throughout the parish, but it will be a great help if readers of the magazine will also make it known… The service will be of a simple hearty character. Special hymns will be sung and special prayers and thanksgivings offered, and the vicar will have a special word to say to the men whom we are all so glad to see back.

Reading St. John parish magazine, May 1919 (D/P172/28A/24)

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Gratitude for deliverance

The Earley war memorial was on its way.

The War Memorial

The committee met on Friday 17 May.

Present: The Vicar in the chair, Mr. Churchwarden Brown, Messrs H Masters, A H Salman, G C Sturgess, T R Stevens, E Clayton Jones, H Mole, F B East, H knapman, F C Edwards, H A Box, A J H Wright, Mrs Newbury, Miss Driscoll, Miss G Fanstone, Miss Goose, Miss Type, Miss H L Stevens, Miss D Lawrence.

The architect’s design and drawings were on view and the builder’s specification and estimate were read. It was resolved unanimously that the work be carried out as soon as possible.

The Committee decided to keep the subscription list open, and to issue a subscription list with names of contributors on the completion of the work; also, that a monthly statement of sums raised should be published in the Magazine during the summer.

The Committee was of the opinion that only the names of parishioners who had laid down their lives should be inscribed on the panels, but they reserved their final decision upon this point.

The chairman urged that all contributions should be given in a spirit of thanksgiving and that this was not an occasion for an ordinary appeal for subscriptions. He thought many persons giving in such spirit would prefer to give (in whole or part) anonymously, but whether this was so or not, he hoped a sense of gratitude for deliverance would govern all gifts made.

The committee adjourned to Friday June 13.

Earley St Bartholomew parish magazine, June 1919 (D/P192/28A/15)

Full of hope and triumph

A pair of fallen brothers were remembered in Ascot.

May

The Dedication and Unveiling of the Window and Tablet in memory of Liuetenant O.W. Tottie, R.N., and 2nd Lieutenant E.H. Tottie, Northumberland Fusiliers, will take place in the Church, on Wednesday, the 14th May, at 3 o’clock.

The Rec. W.T. La Trobe Bateman, assisted by the Rector, will conduct the Service, and it is expected that representatives of the Navy and Army will be present.

All are cordially invited, and it is hoped that Sailors and Soldiers who have served in the war will come.

June

On May 14th, the Rev. W. La Trobe Bateman dedicated and unveiled the beautiful new window over the Altar in the Chapel, representing St. George, and the alabaster tablet on the wall beside it. The inscription on the latter is as follows:-

“The adjoining window is dedicated to the glory of God and in loving memory of two brothers who gave their lives for England, the one at sea, the other on land, September 22nd 1914.

“Oscar William Tottie, R.N., Lieutenant, H.M.S. Aboukir, sunk by enemy action in the North Sea. Aged 23. Eric Harold Tottie, 2nd Lieutenant, 1st Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers, died of wounds received in action at the Battle of the Aisne. Aged 19.

“They being made perfect, in a short time fulfilled in a long time.”

The service, full of hope and triumph, was attended by a large congregation, including representatives of the Navy and Army. Buglers of the Northumberland Fusiliers sounded “The Last Post” at the West door, and were answered by the “Reveille” sounded by the buglers of the Royal Navy stationed at the East end, reminding us of the “sure and certain hope of the Resurrection to Eternal Life.

Ascot section of Winkfield District Magazine, May-June 1919 (D/P 151/28A/11/5-6)

There is a new spirit amongst our young people

An elderly nonconformist clergyman had hope for the post war world and the new generation.

The Gates of Youth, By Rev. Monro Gibson, M.A., LL.D.

I am now about as far away from the gates of Youth as any one in this world can well be, but the remarkable thing is that the father I go from them, the increasing distance, instead of making them look smaller, makes them seem larger and ever larger – so much so that in my old age I confess to a great and increasing longing to help my young friends to see what a glorious, magnificent life which is opening before them.

The adventure of life begins with the dawn of personal responsibility. In childhood we are in a garden, a Garden of Eden, let us say, sheltered, secluded, happy in its limitations; but sooner or later the gates of Eden open outwards, and the world is all before us with its continents and islands, its seas and oceans, its illimitable possibilities; its fearful risks on the one hand, its great reaches on the other.

Difference between Men and Animals

Herein lies the immense difference between the life of man and that of lower animals. They have each their limits imposed on them by nature. In every case there is growth along certain fixed lines, and up to certain fixed limits; but in no case is there any possibility of a development at all corresponding to that of the boy into a Shakespeare or a Newton, or the girl into a Florence Nightingale or a Catherine Booth; and that altogether irrespective of the infinities and eternities which lie beyond. On the other hand, there is no peril corresponding to that which may transform a noble youth into a Judas or a Kaiser or a sot.

These things being so, there is call for the most earnest thought in passing through these fateful Gates. It will not do simply to yield to the impulse of the moment as if it did not matter much how you set out or what you were aiming at. I do think, however, that there are some warnings which, though very much needed four years ago, are not called for now. For there is a new spirit amongst our young people. There has been a high summons to whole-souled devotion to a great cause, and to that summons there has been a noble response, so that I believe there are very few young men or young women either, who would be willing now to welcome a life of self-indulgence or pleasure-seeking or easy-going mediocracy; and those who would still prefer that kind of thing are too far down to be likely to be reached by any high appeal. The great majority now, I am sure, demand the strenuous life, the life of active service with something in it of adventure or peril, calling for courage, resourcefulness, sacrifice if need be. The cricket pitch and the golf course, the dance and the supper party may still find a corner in life but only a corner. Surely the feeling now is practically universal that to put one’s life into any such things as these is despicable in the last degree. How encouraging it is to find that when there is a call for volunteers to an enterprise which means almost certain death, like the attack ion Zeebrugge or the final Voyage of The Vindictive, every one is not only ready but is disappointed if he cannot be accepted.

A New World

You may say: It is the War that has done this, and we are all very glad that it has come to an end. Yes: but is there any reason why the spirit the War has called forth should come to an end with it? By no means. We are constantly reminded that it is a new world we are entering into, with greater opportunities, nobler prospects and more difficult problems that we have ever known; and there will be a new call for the exercise of all the noblest faculties the War has evoked, and for many others for which even its multiplied demands have not afforded scope and opportunity. Surely it is not without significance that a man who represents so large and in many respects so unpromising a constituency as H. G. Wells has done should even passionately urge the claims of the Kingdom of God upon the service of us all, and especially of our young people who will be the chief agents in the new developments before us. We have all along had before s the call to “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness,” to make that the great ambition of our lives; but so far it has kindled the souls of only a very small minority. May it not now “catch on,” to use the common phrase, and gather itself the patriotism, the enthusiasm, the devotion, courage and self-sacrifice of the generation now coming on the scene.

Moreover, we are now apparently entering on a new era of democracy whose success will depend not on a small number of super-men or heroes of the Nietschean or Carlylean type to subdue the masses to their will; but on the people, each with his share of responsibility, every one with his full share of opportunity, with education that will open up fields of service to every variety of talent, and with institutions that will give full scope for its exercise. Even as things have been in the world, our young people have had much encouragement to put forth every effort in the beginning of life to train their powers for usefulness; but it is more worth while now than ever it was before. In the old Book of Proverbs it is written, “A man’s gift maketh room for him.” True now in a fuller sense than when the wise man wrote it down, it will still be more so in the days that are coming. Therefore I would congratulate our young people especially on the prospect before them, entering on life in times like these which are more full of portent and of promise than even those of which the poet Wordsworth wrote:

“Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
But to be young was very heaven.”

It is indeed true as it always was, that “strait is the gate, and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life”; but now that there is this new spirit in the land for enduring hardness, for concentration of energy, for ventures of faith and courage, and now that the life which is set before us, which and full as it has always been, promises to be richer and fuller than ever, we may hope that it will no longer be true that “few there be that find it,” but that multitudes of our young people, young men and young women, will press through the gates into the new life.

Newbury and Thatcham Congregational Magazine, May 1919 (D/N32/12/1/1/1)

Missing since March 1918

Hope was lost at last for two Ascot men.

Mr and Mrs J. Smith received news on 8th April from the War Office, that their son, Sidney Alfred Smith, 2/4 Oxford and Bucks L.I., who has been missing since 21st March, 1918, was now reported as killed, and on the 1st May, Mr. and Mrs. Bowyer received the same news as regards to their son Harry Bowyer, 5th Berks (transferred to Oxford and Bucks L.I.) He, too had been missing since 21st March, 1918. A Memorial Service for those soldiers was held on Sunday afternoon, May 4th, which was largely attended by relatives and friends of the respective families.

Cranbourne section of Winkfield District Magazine, June 1919 (D/P 151/28A/11/6)

Join with us in raising this memorial

Plans for a memorial porch were afoot at an Earley church.

The Porch

The committee appointed to raise funds for the memorial porch will be meeting almost immediately to see the plans the architect is preparing. What we hope to have is a porch with a chamber above it, in which some of our most precious possessions may be kept. It is hardly considered that we have at present no room for many of our treasures; the vestry is quite overcrowded, and so too is the rood loft. It may be that in the new arrangement of the chairs at the west end, and when the principal entrance to the church is by way of the north porch, room may be found where at present the old choir seats are placed. If so, this space curtained off, and the chamber over the porch will provide all that the church can ever require. We much hope the architect’s plans will give satisfaction and that the people will contribute as liberally as they can. The parish is divided up into districts with accredited collectors as follows (list of streets and names follows). There remain a few streets without a collector, but this will be put right. It is possible that some of our friends at a distance may, after reading our appeal, like to join with us in raising this memorial. We shall be very glad if they do.

Earley St Bartholomew parish magazine, May 1919 (D/P192/28A/15)

A welcome to returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen of the Parish

Church of England Men’s Society

On April 29th, the CEMS decided to arrange a welcome to returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen of the Parish, on the Vicarage Lawn on Saturday, June 14th. It is hoped to have a concert, a band, and light refreshments.

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, May 1919 (D/P181/28A/28)

The first claim upon our offerings before even War Memorials

Parochial Church Councils, still the central meeting for all Anglican churches, were a post-war innovation.

The Vicar’s Letter

Dear Friends and Parishioners…

On Easter Tuesday [22 April] at 8 pm the Easter Vestry will be held in the Parish Room at the Vicarage; it will be followed immediately by the Easter Meeting of Parochial Church Electors. I hope for a very good muster at the Meeting, as if enough support is given, we hope to start a Parochial Church Council for this Parish. The Councillors would have to be Communicants, the Electors have to be confirmed and eligible for Holy Communion. If we decide, now our Sailors, Soldiers, and Airmen are many of them home again, to form such a Council, the Election would probably be held at a later date, probably early in May. The Council, like the Sub-Council or Church Committee at St Paul’s, would probably consist of men and women in equal numbers, but the Clergy and Churchwardens would sit ex-officio. It has been suggested that it might be a good thing if the various Church organisations were asked to nominate Candidates. For example, the Choir, Sidesmen, CEMS, Mothers’ Union, Sunday School Teachers, etc, might propose names. In this way we should get a Council that, while we hope it would still be ornamental, would also be useful. Please think this plan over.

Lastly, may I press on you the urgent need of supporting the Free-Will Offering Fund for the maintenance of the Assistant Clergy. We have (may I say what they cannot say?) most earnest and capable shepherds and priests in Mr King-Gill and Mr Thurland; but quite apart from any question of personal excellences, the first claim upon our offerings before even War Memorials or Parish Organisations is the proper support of the Ministry. I try to do what I can personally, sometimes I have to do rather more than I can afford. May I, therefore, with clean hands, urge upon every Communicant and regular worshipper the need, not so much of a large as a regular contribution to the Free-Will Offering Funds…

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar,

C E M Fry

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, April 1919 (D/P181/28A/28)

“I trust there are many amongst those now returned from Active Service who are hoping to make their Easter Communion”

Soldiers were welcomed back to church.

The Vicar’s Letter

I trust there are many amongst those now returned from Active Service who are hoping to make their Easter Communion. I propose to have a Service of Preparation for any such on the Thursday in Holy Week, April 17th, at 8 p.m., gladly of course welcoming any other men, old or young, who may like to join us.

Cookham Dean parish magazine, April 1919 (D/P43B/28A/11)

“It is an appalling thought that a nation lately saved by the sacrifice of so many noble lives should be ready to run the risk of civil war”

The vicar of Stratfield Mortimer was disappointed by attitudes after the war.

Easter

At the moment of writing, the whole country is in a state of uncertainty and anxiety as to the future. It is an appalling thought that a nation lately saved by the sacrifice of so many noble lives should be ready to run the risk of civil war. There appears to be a terrible spirit of “grab” abroad, which is a melancholy thing to have to show as a result of the shining examples of self-sacrifice so recently given. The war did not bring us back to God, and it may be there are yet more terrible lessons before us. Will all Christians make a special effort this Holy Week to meditate upon the Divine Sacrifice and pray for something of the same spirit of love in our country?

Stratfield Mortimer parish magazine, April 1919 (D/P120/28A/14)

Red hot with enthusiasm and ideas for reconstruction

Soldiers wanted to change life at home.

BROTHERHOOD NOTES

Reconstruction is the word in everybody’s mouth today, and it is most essential that we of the Brotherhood should reconstruct our society.

To reconstruct is to rebuild. The foundation of our society is sound; it is the superstructure that requires rebuilding.

We have a large number of our members back from the front, red hot with enthusiasm and ideas, and we hope to harness and put into working order the lessons they have learnt “over there” – such as fellowship and mutual help.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, April 1919 (D/N11/12/1/14)

“It is not only the world of nature that is pulsing with the promise of new life, we are all hoping to see a better world after the terrible days of war”

The vicar of Wargrave had a postwar Easter message.

Lent

Easter comes late this year and “Lent”, which means “Spring” should be full of the promise of its name. But it is not only the world of nature that is pulsing with the promise of new life, we are all hoping to see a better world after the terrible days of war. So our thoughts turn to the Terms of Peace and we pray for the statesmen concerned that they may be filled with the Spirit of wisdom and counsel.

We could not find a better subject for Lenten thought, prayer and effort than the Terms of Peace.

When we think of the Paris Conference we pray for such a Peace as may advance the Kingdom of God. We know that God rules over the affairs of men and is working His purpose out through human history. The policy of nations may be so directed as to obstruct His purpose. When this is so we learn from history that man may obstruct but cannot frustrate God’s will. God overrules the stubborn policy of Pharraoh and with a mighty hand He brings His people out. But it is also true that the policy of nations may be harmonious with the will of God. It is so when the endeavour is to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free and to break every yoke. “Happy is that people; that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people whose God is the Lord.”

When we think of Industrial Peace in our own country we know the terms upon which it can be secured, they are to be found within the circle of family life, where they are reorganised as being ordained of God. For by one Spirit are we all baptised into one body. And whether one member suffer all members suffer with it; or one member be honoured; all members rejoice with it. “Let nothing be done through strife of vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love.”

When we think of inward troubles, each one of the plague of his own heart, we know Who has made Peace through the blood of His cross. The terms are open to us without money and without price. “Come now, let us reason together, such the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” “Repent and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so injury shall not be your ruin.”

“Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”.

The Book of Revelation has a special message for such times as we have passed through during the last four years but it is not easy to understand. Perhaps there are some people who will like to make it a subject of special reading during Lent.

Wargrave parish magazine, March 1919 (D/P145/28A/31)

The difficult problems – International, Industrial, and Moral, that face our Country

The Vicar’s Letter

Dear Friends and Parishioners

May we all pray for a spirit of self-denial and sympathy, that we may understand the difficult problems – International, Industrial, and Moral, that face our Country, and for strength to play our small part in helping to solve them! I venture to appeal to all, especially to those Confirmed during the War, lads and girls alike, to remember that in partaking reverently and regularly of Holy Communion, they will get just that aid we all need to quit [sic] us like men and be strong. In Lent, there is an opportunity for a fresh start, let us see that we make it.

I remain, Your faithful friends and Vicar,

C E M Fry

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, March 1919 (D/P181/28A/28)

A united Act of thanksgiving for the deliverance from the grave peril which threatened the lives and liberties of Englishmen

The war memorial porch at St Bartholomew’s would be quite expensive.

The [war memorial] committee met on March 19 and in spite of the snow and cold all were present except Rev. H B Mead, Mr R Brown, Mr Walters, Mr Love, Mr Long, Miss Type, and Miss Goose. Mr Box was elected onto the committee. Much useful work was done and the following leaflet for distribution was approved:-

S Bartholomew’s Parish War Memorial

It was resolved at a general meeting of parishioners on March 13, of which public notice was given, to make a united Act of thanksgiving for the deliverance from the grave peril which threatened the lives and liberties of Englishmen, and issued in the Great War. The meeting decided to build a beautiful and commodious North Porch on the London Road side of S Bartholomew’s church, and to inscribe on its walls the names of all the men connected with this parish who had laid down their lives in the War.

It was further determined to invite contributions from all persons living in the parish or worshipping at the church, who are disposed to take part in this common Act of Thanksgiving, as a lasting memorial of their sacrifice.

£500 is asked for.

Donations should be entered in the book of an accredited collector. A balance sheet of all the receipts and expenditure will be issued by the committee.

Signed E J Norris Chairman of Committee

The next meeting of the committee was fixed for April 9 at 7pm in the parish hall.

Earley St Bartholomew parish magazine, April 1919 (D/P192/28A/15)

We have passed through dark days, and darker still may be the days to come

The post-war picture was gloomy.

Visit of the Rev. Dr. Selbie.

When, owing to the Railway Strike, Dr. Selbie was unable to be present at the Pastor’s Recognition Service, he promised to come to us in the New Year. Thus it was, that on Sunday, March 16th, we had the great privilege of listening to him.

The sermon in the morning was based upon Haggai ii, 9- “The glory of this latter house shall be greater than the former.” It was, said the doctor, a sermon on Reconstruction. The Jews had returned from their long captivity to find Jerusalem a ruin, and their land in the hands of aliens. Under the leadership of Nehemiah and others, they set to work and first built the temple and restored the worship of Jehovah. The people had a mind to work and their first work was that of spiritual reconstruction.

We are living in tremendous times, far more so than most of us realised. We have passed through long years of terrible war and terrible loss. The work of reconstruction lay before us. Were we prepared to undertake the work? More important still, was the temple of God to be the first consideration? With 90 per cent of our population non-Christian, how could this be? We have passed through dark days, and darker still may be the days to come. But the Christian is essentially an optimist. God’s will must be done, if not by us then by some other hands. To us, as to the ancient Jews, comes the assurance that “the glory of the latter house shall be greater than the former.

There was a prophetic power in the doctor’s utterances. His picture of the present time was dark, his condemnation of much which passes for Christianity severe, but above all was the assurance of the love of God, and of the ultimate victory of righteousness over evil.

Thatcham Congregational Church section of Newbury and Thatcham Congregational Magazine, May 1919 (D/N32/12/1/1/1)