The new year opens bright with hope, like a glorious morning after the night of darkness and storm

Churchgoers in Warfield and Winkfield rejoiced.

Warfield

It is suggested by the Archbishops that special thanksgiving for Victory, and special prayer for the statesmen of the world assembled in the Peace Conference, should be offered on the first Sunday in the new year, January 5th. The new year opens bright with hope, like a glorious morning after the night of darkness and storm. Clouds are still in the sky, but they are broken and the sun shines through. May we render thanks and glory to God in the Highest; and pray Him to inspire men with His own Spirit of Good-will, for good-will alone can bring true and lasting peace to homes, to nations and to all mankind.

It is hoped to hold a meeting during January, to consider the raising of a War Memorial in the Parish.

Winkfield

On the first Sunday, (January 5th) in the new year, which we trust will bring us the blessing of a just and lasting Peace, it is indeed fitting that we should join with other parishes all over the land in special Thanksgivings for Victory and deliverance from our enemies, and also pray specially for our Rulers and the Statesmen of the world, that the coming Peace Conference they may be enabled to lay the foundation of the effective establishment of a League of Nations which will prevent the horrors of war in the future.

Winkfield District Magazine, January 1919 (D/P 151/28A/11)

Advertisements

It is hoped that the attendances at the Intercession Services will be as large and the progress as real as during the last four anxious years

The war might be over, but there was still plenty to pray for.

JANUARY 5TH, 1919

For four years the first Sunday in the year has been observed as a Day of Intercession for our cause in the Great War. This year the Archbishops have requested the Church to observe the day as one of Prayer for the Nation and our Allies, and to devote the offertories at all services to the Red Cross Society and the Order of St John of Jerusalem. It is hoped that the attendances at the Intercession Services will be as large and the progress as real as during the last four anxious years.

11.0 a.m St Mary’s Church, Morning Service.
11.45 a.m. St Mary’s Church, Holy Communion.
3.30 p.m. St Michael’s Church, Evening Service.
6.0 p.m. Rector’s Room, Evening Service.

Sulhamstead parish magazine, January 1919 (D/EX725/4)

A just and lasting peace

Church people prayed for a just peace to be negotiated.

Special Services

The Archbishops, feeling that there is a widespread desire that the year of victory should not pass without some united, reverent and thankful commemoration of those who have laid down their lives in the service of their country, recommend that this commemoration should be made in all churches on Sunday, December 29th. They hope further, that similarly on Sunday, January 5th, along with thanksgivings for the great victory given to our arms, prayer will be offered for the Statesmen of the world assembled at the Peace Conference, that by their efforts a just and lasting peace may be secured, and that the foundation of a new life may be laid on the basis of justice, order and righteousness.

Wokingham St Sebastian parish magazine, December 1918 (D/P154C/28A/1)

The spiritual importance of the day

August
The Anniversary of the Declaration of War falls this year upon a Sunday, and special forms of Prayer and Intercession have been put forth by the Archbishops. These we shall make use of at the services on that day.

September
The services on August 4th were deeply impressive to all who took part in them. before the sung Eucharist, the congregation, preceded by the Churchwardens, were led in procession by the Priest and Choir to the Shrine outside. There prayers were offered both for the fallen and those on Service. It was a happy thought which suggested this short act of pilgrimage; it undoubtedly helped to mark the spiritual importance of the day. We owe it to a member of the congregation. We need not add how we Clergy welcome suggestions from our laity which may add life to the Service of the Master. Another member of the congregation had, too, the satisfaction of hearing her own tune and words used as an introit.

South Ascot Parochial Magazine, August and September 1918 (D/P186/28A/18)

Time is on our side for a chance of lasting peace and assured freedom

Bad news for Caversham people was countered by hopes that the end was in sight.

“THE END IS NOT YET”

The Archbishop of York, in his new year’s letter to his Diocese after reviewing the military and economic situation to-day, says that all shows as clearly as ever that time is on our side. Therefore it is a question of steadfast endurance. Accordingly, the enemy is busy everywhere encouraging the belief that the time has come to negotiate for peace. For he knows that an inconclusive peace would leave his military system and prestige able to hold up its head and prepare for another day. Let us not fall into his trap. We want a peace that will endure.

But, continues the archbishop, I still believe what I said last year that “to negotiate about peace when the ‘will to war’ (the Prussian Spirit) is still able to vaunt its strength, would only be to give it time to renew its power and prolong its menace”….

If we are hereafter to say of war “never again” I cannot tell how I would shrink from this conclusion when I think of the sorrows and sacrifices, many of which I cannot share, which it involves. But we seem to be drawn to it by all that we owe to the memories of the past and the hopes of the future. These, then, seem to be the alternatives between which 1918 must decide – either faltering of spirit with its attendant divisions and recriminations, and as a result some kind of inconclusive peace, or firmness of spirit with its attendant unity and trust. And as its ultimate result, a decision which will give the world a chance of lasting peace and assured freedom.

REV.T. BRANCKER

It is with very much regret that we announce that Mr. Brancker has been invalided home, and will probably have to resign his Chaplaincy. On leaving here he was at first appointed a chaplain to a Military Hospital at Sheffield. After some months there he was sent to France, but he had not been abroad more than a few weeks when an attack of his old enemy gastritis caused him to be sent back home to a hospital in England, but this time as a patient. He is now undergoing treatment at his home, but it will be some months at least before he is able once more to undertake ordinary Parish work. We all extend to him our sincerest sympathy and wish him a speedy and complete recovery.

Parish Church (St. Peter’s)
Notes

The war continues to take its dreadful toll of human lives, and among them is that of L./Cpl. A.G.W. Gibbons (Artists’ Rifles), of 33, South View Avenue, on July 16th. The only son of one of our most devoted Church Families, a server and Sunday School Teacher; he gave high promise of future usefulness. And therefore, there is more than ordinary sorrow at his death, and more than ordinary sympathy with his bereaved parents. – R.I.P.

Caversham parish magazine, January 1918 (D/P162/28A/7)

The great cause for which we are fighting – the cause of liberty, justice, peace and the fellowship of nations

Churches in the Bracknell area joined in the National Day of Intercession.

Ascot

Sunday, January 6th (The Epiphany) has been appointed as a day of Special Prayer for the War and the alms at all services will be for the Red Cross Fund.


Bracknell

‘THE WAR.—In accordance with the King’s Proclamation the first Sunday in the New Year, January 6th,the Feast of the Epiphany, will be observed as a special day of Prayer and Thanksgiving in Bracknell. The services in the Church will be held at the usual hours, but special forms of prayer will be used, and every one who desires to seek the help of God in these anxious times should make a point of being present. The collections will be given to the Red Cross Society.

Cranbourne

THE DAY OF NATIONAL PRAYER.
As we all know, the 1st Sunday in the New Year has been appointed as a “Day for Intercession on behalf of the Nation and Empire in this Time of War.” There will be celebrations of the Holy Communion as 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. Special forms of Prayer and Thanksgiving have been issued under the authority of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and will be used at our services. January 6th is the Feast of the Epiphany. The idea of the Epiphany is the manifestation of God among all nations nations, and our Bishop has pointed out “how deeply we stand in need of such a manifestation to day, and how “the great cause for which we are fighting – the cause of liberty, justice, peace and the fellowship of nations – would truly, if it were realised, be a manifestation of God, and a preperation for the Kingdom of Christ, for which our most earnest and constant prayers are needed.

It is to be hoped that, whatever the weather is, none of us will be absent from the services on January 6th, but that we shall, as a Parish kneel before the Throne of Grace and offer up our petitions to Him who judges the peoples of the world, and is our only refuge and strength, and a very present help in time of trouble.

Winkfield

VICAR’s LETTER.

My Dear Friends,

Once again the New Year will find us in the midst of the horrors of war, and in our King’s words, “this world wide struggle for the triumph of right and liberty is entering on its last and most difficult phase when we shall need our courage fortified to face the sacrifices we may yet hace to make before our work is done.”

Very justly does the King call upon all his people to make the first Sunday of the New Year a Day of special Prayer and Thanksgiving, a day of National Intercession to Gon on Behalf of our Country, for the great casuse of rightousness entrusted to us, and for the men (so many of them near and dear to us in Winkfield) who are fighting for it on sea and land.

We all long for a victorious Peace, but can we expect that almighty God will, as a matter of course, give it us, if we do not think it worth while to ask Him for it by humble and united Public Prayer; for until we, as a whole Nation, realise our need od something more that material force, we do not deserve to win.

It is then a real patriotic duty for every man and woman to attend their Parish Church on January 6th and take their part in this National wave of Intercession. Our Sailors and Soldiers have a right to expect our prayers; and the help and co-operation of those who seldom or never go to Church or Chapel is specially asked on this great and solemn occasion.

I can only solemnly repeat what I wrote last year that I should not like to have on my own conscience the responsibility which that man or woman takes who could help their Country by joining in this movement, and yet is too careless and indifferent to do so.

If you belevie in God, and have any love for your Country, come and help.

Your sincere Friend and Vicar,

H.M. Maynard

The Services on January 6th will be:

8 a.m., Holy Communion.
11 a.m. Service and Holy Communion.
6.30 p.m. Special Intercession Service (copies of which will be provided.)

Bracknell, February

The Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving in connection with the War on January 6th was fairly well kept in Bracknell. The congregations were larger than usual in the morning and evening, and in the afternoon a considerably number of people attended the special service. The weather was bad and hindered some who would have wished to be present, but it was a little disappointing not to have had quite crowded congregations on such a day.

Winkfield and Warfield Magazine, January 1918 (D/P 151/281/10)

“Our earnest approach to and intercession with God is the most powerful weapon we can use for the destruction of German oppression”

Churches in the Bracknell area joined in the commemoration of the war’s third aniversary.

Bracknell

THE WAR.

Special Services have been arranged for Sunday, August 5th, the anniversary of the commencement of the war. As we enter on the fourth year of this terrible conflict we shall greatly desire to come together to entreat God to give us His blessing, to crown our efforts with victory, and to give His mighty protection to our Sailors and Soldiers. Let us not be weary of praying. There will be special prayers at the Holy Communion and at Morning and Evening Prayer.


Winkfield

SPECIAL NOTICE.

On Sunday, August 5th, there will be special Services of Prayer and Intercession to mark the third anniversary of the War. There will be celebrations of Holy Communion at 8 at S. Mary the Less, and midday at the Parish Church. The preacher morning and evening will be Rev. Walter Weston, and the offertories will be given to the Missions to Seamen.

Warfield

MY DEAR FRIENDS AND PARISHIONERS.-

There is one thought that will fill our minds at the beginning of this month, the third anniversary of the war. The Archbishops have set forth a special set of Services for use on the 4th and 5th; and having the further approval of our own Bishop, they will be used in this parish on those days. On Saturday there will be a special celebration of Holy Communion at 7 o’clock and at 8 o’clock; matins at 10 and Evensong at 3p.m. There will further be an open air Service at 8 p.m. at the Cross Roads near the Brownlow Hall, with procession along the Street and back to the Hall. On Sunday the services will be at the usual hours with special lessons. I sincerely hope that every parishioner will make a point of seeking God’s help at this time in a real spirit of unity and brotherhood, remembering that our earnest approach to and intercession with God is the most powerful weapon we can use for the destruction of German oppression and support of our brothers fighting in foreign lands. When you have read this letter, at once make up your minds what you will do in this respect and resolve to carry it out. Should Saturday evening be wet, the service will be held at the same hour in the Parish Church. Let us all do our best for a Service of one heart and one mind.

Yours affectionately in Christ,

WALTER THACKERAY

Winkfield District Magazine, August 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/8)

This awful anniversary – the end is not yet in sight

The third anniversary of the start of the war was a time for reflection.

Reading St Giles
August

Saturday, August the 4th, will be the 3rd Anniversary of the declaration of the War, and the beginning of a 4TH Year. There will be celebrations of the Eucharist at 6.45, 7.30& 8 a.m. I hope that a great many will endeavour to be present to pray and intercede.
I propose on the following day, Sunday the 5th, to have a solemn requiem at 11a.m. for the fallen in the War. If any relatives or friends wish for the mention of names will they please send them into me by August 4th. At evensong, on Sunday the 5th, the special form of intercession put forth by the Archbishop will be used.

September

I was very thankful to see in August 4th, the 3rd Anniversary of the war, so many present at the Eucharist to intercede for our sailors and soldiers, and to pray for Victory and a righteous peace. The number of communions made was nearly four times as large as last year.

Broad Street Congregational Church

AUGUST THE FOURTH

Saturday, August 4th, will bring the third anniversary of the declaration of war, and in this connection a service arranged by the Reading Free Church Council will be held in our church beginning at 3 p.m. The service will be largely intercessory, and it will be conducted by ministers representing the various Free Churches in the town, those having promised to take part being the Rev. J A Alderson (President of the Council), Rev. T W Beck (Wesleyan), Rev. J Carter (Primitive Methodist), Rev. W C King (Baptist), Rev. J Mitchell (Presbyterian), and Rev. E J Perry, BD (Congregational).

Both last year and the year before similar services were held, and they were attended by large congregations. We hope it may be the same again this year.

Wargrave
August 4th and 5th, 1917:

These are days to be much observed with prayer being the third Anniversary of the declaration of War.

Saturday, August 4th, Holy Communion at the Parish Church 8.a.m. Mattins 10.a.m. Evensong 7.p.m. Special forms of prayer.

Sunday, August 5th, Services as usual: Special forms of prayer.

Cranbourne

In connection with the third Anniversary of the Declaration of War the special Forms of Prayer issued by the Archbishops were said in Church, and also at a united Service held in the Sunday School after Evensong. To this service our Wesleyan friends came in large numbers, and the address was given by the Rev. J.S. Hollingworth.

Earley St Peter

The Vicar’s Letter

My dear friends,

On August 4th we shall have reached the third anniversary of the commencement of the war, and we hope that all will observe it on Sunday, August 5th, and make the day a time for earnest prayer that peace may be restored. Three years ago there were comparatively few thought that it would have lasted so long. We feel as sure as ever that our cause will finally triumph, but the end is not yet in sight, and we have still to go on working and enduring, with a full trust that all will come right in God’s good time. It is true that as the writer of the Book of Proverbs says, “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick”; but we forget the second half of the verse, “but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life” – that desire with us is a just and secure peace, under which we pray that the world will be restored and revivified; but we must each do our part.

From a secular point of view there are not many who are not working for their country and doing their best, but can we say that the nation as a whole is doing its best from a spiritual point of view, as a profesedly Christian nation? Are there not many among ourselves who, though deeply sincere at first, have gradually fallen back into the ruts of carelessness and indifference, and ought not what our Bishop calls this “awful anniversary” to give us cause to think very seriously on our position nationally and individually?

Your friend and vicar,
W W Fowler.

THE BISHOP’S MESSAGE

The following extracts are from the Bishop’s message in the August Diocesan Magazine:

Your prayers are specially asked

For our country and our allies, and for the whole world at the beginning of the fourth year of the war.
For victory and peace.
For a settlement in Ireland…

THE OBSERVANCE OF AUGUST 4-5

Before the Magazine reaches you, you will have in your hands the prayers and suggestions for prayer put out by the archbishops, with the consent of the diocesan bishops, for this awful anniversary. I have not anything to add to what is there suggested, there is abundant need that we should call to prayer all who believe in its power – that is all who believe in our Lord. And there is abundant need also that we should do all that lies in our power to maintain the spirit of our nation at its best level, at the level at which it can pray to God as we Christians have been taught to believe in Him.

A PRAYER FOR GIRLS WORKING IN MUNITIONS AND ON THE LAND

O most merciful Father, we beseech Thee to bless and protect the Girls, who have gone to work in the Munition Factories and on the land. Preserve them from all evil. Keep them in good health. Comfort them with Thy presence when they are lonely, and homesick, and tired. Grant that their influence may be for good, and that by their lives they may lead others nearer to Thee. Very specially we ask for a blessing on the work of the Church among them. Grant that we at home may realise how much there is to do, and that we may not fail in sacrifice, and work, and prayer. For Jesus Christ’s sake.
Amen.

C. OXON.

Reading St Giles parish magazines, August and September 1917 (D/P96/28A/32); Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, August 1917 (D/N11/12/1/14); Wargrave parish magazine, August 1917 (D/P145/28A/31); Cranbourne section of Winkfield District Magazine, September 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/9)Earley St Peter parish magazines, 1917 (D/P191/28A/24)

Thankful recognition of the devotion which has been shown by the manhood and the womanhood of our country

The Bishop of Oxford urged Berkshire people to take part in the Day of National Prayer on 31 December.

Wokingham

Day of National Prayer.

The following announcement is made by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York:-

In accordance with what was done throughout England on the first Sunday of the years 1915 and 1916, it is proposed that in the Cathedrals and parish churches of England on Sunday, December 31st next, special prayer should be offered in connection with the war, and thankful recognition made of the devotion which has been shown by the manhood and the womanhood of our country.

Reading

December 31st

The last day in the year will be observed as a day of special prayer and thanksgiving in connection with the War. The collections at all the services will be given to the Red Cross Society and the Order of the Society of S. John of Jerusalem, in accordance with the wishes expressed by the Archbishop.

Earley

THE BISHOP’S MESSAGE

The following extracts are from the Bishop’s message in the December Diocesan Magazine:

Your prayers are specially asked
For the good hand of God upon us in the war.
For our allies, and especially for the Roumanians [sic] and the Belgians…
For the day of prayer concerning the war (December 31st).

THE DAY OF PRAYER FOR THE NATION AT WAR

December 31st has been fixed as a day of prayer. You will not need material to help your devotion, as, I think, we have sufficient. But, as the strain of the war increases and there are no signs of the end, we need to be more than ever faithful and importunate in common prayer.

C. OXON

LIST OF MEN SERVING IN HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES

The following additional names have been added to our prayer list:
Victor Jennings, Charles Bowden, Walter Ravening, Cecil Ravening, William Parsons, Joseph Cane, Frederick Brooker, Percy Brooker, Henry Furnell, Charles Smith, Frederick Smithers.

In addition to those already mentioned we especially commend the following to your prayers:

Sick: Frederick Allen, William Worsfold.
Killed: Stephen Ravening, Arthur Furnell, Frank Furnell, Thomas Brooker, Albert Hall.
Missing: Allan Smit.

Wokingham St Sebastian parish magazine, December 1916 (D/P154C/28A/1); Reading St Mary parish magazine, December 1916 (D/P98/28A/14); Earley parish magazine, December 1916 (D/P191/28A/23/12)

“Before the sun sets, the man whom you wish to help may have passed away from earth and from the reach of your help”

The Church of England Men’s Society helped support soldiers by their work (alongside similar organisations) providing places of rest and recreation behind the lines.

C.E.M.S.
S. Giles Branch

A Meeting of the branch will be held in the parish room, on Tuesday, December 12th at 8.30 p.m., to consider the report of the Annual Conference. Any member wishing to read the report before that meeting, I would be pleased to send a copy.

The Archbishop of York appeals for subscriptions for more huts for our troops. Lieut. Stanley, the agent in charge of the C.E.M.S. on the western front, speaking at the Manchester Conference, said,

“You as a society have provided a most noble work in providing huts at the front, a long chain of huts from Ypres in the north to the banks of the Somme in the south. You were asked to provide a sum of £12,000. Up to date, September 27th, you have provided £16,180. I am going to ask you to double those figures. We have been asked to supply 80 huts at once. The huts are essential. Do not delay. Before the sun sets, the man whom you wish to help may have passed away from earth and from the reach of your help.”

The President of the Reading federation, the Rev.F.J.C. Gillmor, will be pleased to receive subscriptions for the above, or may be sent to the hon. Secretary of the branch,

H.J. HILDERLEY, 65 Pell Street.

Reading St Giles parish magazine, December 1916 (D/P96/28A/33)

Let us be worthy of their sacrifice

Burghfield faced up to the National Mission, as family members were at the front.

THE NATIONAL MISSION OF REPENTANCE AND HOPE

It is doubtful whether the Church of England has ever been called to a task so great as that to which we are now summoned by the Archbishops. There have been great movements within the Church; but this is a movement of the whole Church, a call to discharge that mission to the nation, as a nation, with which it is entrusted. The times require such an effort; the horizon of men’s thoughts has been suddenly and immensely expanded; we are conscious, as most of us were not two years ago, of our membership in the nation, and of the responsibility of our nation in the world. Our sons and brothers at the Front are serving the nation and helping it to meet its responsibility, at the risk of their lives; many of them in doing so are finding a new realisation of God. We at home must seek from God the power to rise to new heights so that we may be worthy of their sacrifice and provide for them on their return a home that will sustain their spirit of devotion to duty and service to God.

But to this end we must first take stock of ourselves. Very much has come to light which shows the need for amendment and renewal of life. It is sad to find how little of the manhood of the nation, as represented by the men in training camps and the like, is really touched by the Church. We have not brought home the message with which we are entrusted as it needs to be brought home. We must seek in prayer and meditation and conference to find the cause of our ineffectiveness where it exists, so that we may repent of it and remove it where it lies in ourselves as individuals or as members of the Church in our neighbourhood.

If we will do that, there is before us a great hope – the hope of an England leavened and guided in regard to its whole life, domestic, social, industrial, political, international, by a Church whose members have sought the will of God in humility and prayer, and are ready to witness together to the Majesty of God and to His redeeming love in Christ. It is a time for prayer, for teaching, for witness; may God give us all faith that we may pray, knowledge that we may teach, and courage that we may witness – all these according to His Will and to the praise of His glory.

Burghfield parish magazine, June 1916 (D/EX725/3)

God has brought judgement on the earth

A special prayer was issued for the National Mission:

The National Mission

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have issued the following Collect, it may well be used daily in private prayer:-

LORD GOD ALMIGHTY, who hast brought Thy judgements upon all the earth, that the inhabitants of the world may learn righteousness: We entreat Thy Divine Majesty so to turn the hearts of the people of this land, that sorrowing for our sins with true repentance, and trusting in the hope of Thy salvation we may be renewed to do Thee service and shew forth Thy praise from one generation to another, through JESUS CHRIST our LORD. AMEN.

Wargrave parish magazine, June 1916 (D/P145/28A/31)

We at home must rise to new heights so that we may be worthy of their sacrifice

The National Mission called people at home to respond to the war by turning to God.

THE NATIONAL MISSION

It is doubtful whether the Church of England has ever been called to a task so great as that to which we are now summoned by the Archbishops. There have been great movements within the Church; but this is a movement of the whole Church, a call to discharge that mission to the nation, as a nation, with which it is entrusted. The times require such an effort; the horizon of men’s thoughts has been suddenly and immensely expanded; we are conscious, as most of us were not two years ago, of our membership in the nation, and of the responsibility of our nation in the world. Our sons and brothers at the Front are serving their nation and helping it to meet its responsibility, at the risk of their lives; many of them in doing so are finding a new realization of God.

We at home must seek from God the power to rise to new heights so that we may be worthy of their sacrifice and provide for them on their return a home that will sustain their spirit of devotion to duty and service to God.

But to this end we must first take stock of ourselves. Very much has come to light which shows the need for amendment and renewal of life. It is sad to find how little the manhood of the nation, as represented by the men in training camps and the like, is really touched by the Church. We have not brought home the message with which we are entrusted as it needs to be brought home. We must seek in prayer and meditation and conference to find the cause of our ineffectiveness where it exists, so that we may repent of it and remove it where it lies in ourselves as individuals or as members of the Church in our neighbourhood.

If we will do that, there is before us a great hope – the hope of an England leavened and guided in regard to its whole life, domestic, social, industrial, political, international, by a Church whose members have sought the will of God in humility and prayer, and are ready to witness together to the Majesty of God and to His redeeming Love in Christ. It is a time for prayer, for teaching, for witness; may God give us all faith that we may pray, knowledge that we may teach, and courage that we may witness- all these according to His will and to the praise of His glory.

Literature connected with the National Mission is issued by the S.P.C.K. Anyone who sends to S.P.C.K., Northumberland Avenue, London, W.C., the sum of 2s.6d. will receive all papers and pamphlets that are issued until the sum is exhausted.

Winkfield District magazine, May 1916 (D/P151/28A/5); Wokingham St Sebastian parish magazine, May 1916 (D/P154C/28A/1)

“We shall need some adventurous courage”

The Bishop of Oxford was at best a grudging supporter of the proposals for a National Mission in response to the war.

LENT

We would call especial attention to the Bishop’s Message regarding the National Mission to be held in all parishes in October or November next; and also to our list of Lenten services which will be found inserted in this number of the magazine. Never has there been a time in the history of our nation when more prayer and self-denial were needed, and it is to be feared that this is by no means realized by a large majority of our countrymen; it behoves all Church people, therefore, to make an especial effort to keep the Lenten season.

THE BISHOP’S MESSAGE

The following extracts are from the Bishop’s message in the March Diocesan Magazine:

Your prayers are specially asked,
For the good hand of God upon us in the war.
For the spiritual enterprise of the National Mission,
That the clergy may prepare themselves,
That the faithful may be filled with zeal,
That expectation may be aroused,
That those who guide may be filled with wisdom and courage.

THE NATIONAL MISSION OF REPENTANCE AND HOPE

It has been decided by the Archbishops, after much consultation, and with the general consent of the Bishops, that there shall be held in October or November of this year “A National Mission of Repentance and Hope”, which will doubtless be commonly called “The National Mission”. Some of us have been somewhat critical of the proposal. But now that it has been decided to hold it, and a letter from the Archbishops has been issued, it behoves us all to arrest our critical faculties and to turn the opportunity to the best spiritual purpose.

What concerns the method of the mission and its details will in the main be left to each diocese and parish to determine. We shall all need to be adaptable, and we shall need some adventurous courage. But it is desired that the plan of each diocese and parish shall conform to this outline: that the earlier part of this year should be given to preparing spiritually the clergy and the faithful church people, men and women; and that the great effort of the prepared Church should be in October or November next, and should be devoted to the awakening to the call of God of all that great body of people who, with more or less reality of allegiance, belong to the Church. The Mission will be purely a Church Mission to those who belong to us. But it is anticipated that a similar effort will be made at the same time by other bodies of Christians.

Of the motives of the mission I said enough, perhaps, last month. By way of preparation for it, I am taking the following steps:

1. I am summoning the parochial clergy into Retreat in the first week of August, July 31st-August 4th, at Bradfield and Radley Colleges. In answer to many questions I would say that I hope to arrange that the assistant clergy (or those whom it is necessary to leave behind in the parishes) should come into Retreat in the following week.

2. I hereby ask each Rural Dean to form a Mission Committee of clergy, laymen, and laywomen in his Rural Deanery, and when they come to the Rural Deans’ meeting on May 8th to come ready with suggestions and to bring the names of one priest, one layman and one laywoman whom I can summon to whatever general meeting may prove to be necessary.

3. I am hoping that shortly before Easter the Bishop of London, the Chairman of the Central Council of the Mission, will come to address all those who can gather to listen to him in Oxford or Reading.

4. I am summoning the Society of Mission Clergy to take counsel on March 2nd.

5. I hope to get the main lines of our arrangements fixed at the Rural Dean’s meeting on May 8th.

6. I want all who will do so to say daily the Collect for the 4th Sunday in Advent or the 1st Sunday after Epiphany.

FASTING AND THRIFT

The nation is being called to thrift on grounds of public economy under the burden of war. This year, as every year, the church is calling us to fast in Lent. The two calls reinforce one another. Let us be serious this year in keeping Lent. I note in The Times of February 23, “Two more meatless days have been added to the Berlin regime, making four in all” (in the week). We could most of us, I think, observe three meatless days in Lent.

SUNDAY EVENING SERVICES

Whatever expedient we adopt to meet the requirements which the dangers of air raids at night have rendered necessary, I hope that we shall see to it that the spiritual profit of the people is provided for. An earlier Evensong in church and a later Mission service in the school might be profitable for the parish until the days gain their full length.

Earley St Peter parish magazine, March 1916 (D/P191/28A/23/1)

The nation must return to God, to support soldiers coming home

Across the country, the Church of England was planning a National Mission to rally the nation in this difficult time. The Bishop of Oxford wrote to his clergy, in a letter published in the Wargrave parish magazine.

The Bishop in a letter to his Clergy, dated February 12th, 1916, writes:

It has been decided by the Archbishops, with the general consent of the Bishops, that there shall be held in October or November this year ‘A National Mission of Repentance and Hope’, which will doubtless be commonly called the ‘National Mission’.

What concerns the method of the mission and its details will in the main be left to each diocese and parish to determine. We shall all need to be adaptable, and we shall need some adventurous courage. But it is desired that the plan of each diocese and parish should conform to this outline:- that the earlier part of this year should be given to preparing spiritually the Clergy and the faithful Church people, men and women; and that the final effort of the prepared Church should be in October or November next, and should be devoted to the awakening to the call of God of all that great body of people who, with more or less reality of allegiance, belong to the Church. The Mission will be purely a Church Mission to those who belong to us. But it is anticipated that a similar effort will be made at the same time by other bodies of Christians.

We all feel deeply the need of a return to God on the part of the Nation, the need of a deep national repentance if the prayers of the Nation are to be heard. We feel that there must be a new spirit of reverence and sympathy in our towns and villages if the returning soldiers are to be welcomed home with the sort of welcome which is likely to keep alive in them whatever good resolutions they have formed in their hours of peril. And, as concerns our Church-goers, we recognise to the full the need of conversion of for the mass of our Church people, and of a quite new desire to understand the faith and to seek the Sacraments.

In special preparation for this Mission the Bishop has summoned all his Clergy to a solemn time of spiritual retirement from July 31st to August 4th, to be spent at Radley or Bradfield, and he begs them to exhort their people in Lent and to guide them in prayer and penitence, that the coming season may be a great time of spiritual recovery in every parish.

Wargrave parish church magazine, March 1916 (D/P145/28A/31)