Never a better moment for preaching the Christmas message of “Glory to God in the Highest and on earth peace, goodwill towards men”

Reading men were to be welcomed home.

My dear Friends…

I have received a letter from the Bishop bringing to my notice his own and the Archbishops’ suggestions for the observance of the Christmas season. He says, “As to Christmas itself, there was never a better moment for preaching the Christmas message of “Glory to God in the Highest and on earth peace, goodwill towards men”. I trust that in this connection you will lead your people in earnest prayer for the effective establishment of a League of Nations to secure a just and permanent peace.

On December 29th we are recommended by the Archbishops to make united, reverent and thankful commemoration of those who have died in the War. Sunday, January 5th, it is suggested that we should offer special thanksgiving for victory and special prayer for the statesmen assembled in the Peace Conference.’ I propose to act on these suggestions; accordingly the list of those belonging to us who have fallen in the war will be read out at Morning and Evening Prayer on the last Sunday of the year and special thanksgiving and prayer on the lines indicated will be offered on the following Sunday. The Bishop speaks also of the need of securing a hearty and religious welcome for every one of the returning soldiers in all parishes. This can only be done by the co-operation of the people. I shall be most grateful for information as to the return of soldiers and sailors, such as shall enable me to call and offer each man a personal welcome back to the parish. …

Your sincere friend and vicar,

W. Britton

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

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No government has ever had to face a greater task than that which will now come to power

The suffragan Bishop of Buckingham warned there was still a great deal of work to do.

The Bishop’s Message

The war is over and we cannot find words to express our feelings: only in our thanksgiving to Almighty God can we give utterance to the thoughts of our hearts.

The war is over, but the stupendous task remains of repairing the breaches, building up the waste places, and restoring the paths to dwell in. This can be done only if the same spirit is maintained-the unity of effort, the subordination of selfish interests, the wise leadership, the loyal co-operation, the self-sacrifice, the organization, the discipline which has brought us to victory – if this is preserved in peace. The spiritual forces of the whole world must be moved in action. The League of Nations is not a fancy of visionaries; it is a practical possibility which can be realized if Christians unite to bring it about. It is not enough to wish for it, or even to pray for it, we must work for it. Surely here the Church must make its influence felt and not be daunted by difficulties in the way.


The Marriage Laws

We have reason to be devoutly thankful that the Divorce Bill was defeated in the House of Lords, but there are strong forces at work and we must be watchful. It is indeed distressing that at such a time as this there should be such persistent efforts to lower the moral standard – for that must be the effect in spite of the specious arguments. We owe a debt to Lord Parmoor for his vigorous leading.

The General Election

No government has ever had to face a greater task than that which will now come to power. The election will be a great test of the nation’s purpose. Can we put aside all petty issues and party bitterness and selfish aims and unitedly undertake the great work of reconstruction in a manner worthy of a people that has proved itself so great? The prayers which have been such a power in the war can be no less effective in gaining the victories of peace. Here are some questions on which we hope the church may speak with a united voice, for example, the immediate need of dealing with the housing of the people, the improved standard of Wages, the Education question, and the retention of control of the liquor trade. We render humble and hearty thanks to Almighty God fo0r the great and glorious victory, and for the fidelity, courage and devotion of the allied forces.

We pray

For the great Council of the nations which shall determine the conditions of peace.

For the ministry of the crown and those upon whom rests the duty of leadership in restoring conditions of peace in all countries.

For all those who profess and call themselves Christians, that they may act accordingly to their profession.

For the Church, that it may, by wise action, have due influence in the counsels of the nation.

For our troops, that they may be strong to resist the special temptations to which they are exposed.

For the soldiers who are prepared to take Holy Orders.

For the General Election.

For the Central Board of Finance, and for success in the promotion of the Central Fund of the Church of England.

For the revival of Missionary work which has been hindered by the war.

For the Diocesan Board of Missions.

For the C.E.T.S.

For the Diocesan Inspectors.

E.D. BUCKINGHAM.

Earley St Peter parish magazine, November 1918 (D/P191/28A/25)

Among the nations of the earth, as well as at home, the old order changes and a new order begins

New voters in Maidenhead were urged to exercise their new rights wisely.

GREAT RESPONSIBILITIES. – BISHOPS’ LETTER TO NEW VOTERS

The following letter has been addressed by the Archbishops to the men and women who have become electors by virtue of the Representation of the People Act. It is signed by the two Archbishops and by all the Diocesan Bishops except those of London and Oxford, who are abroad:

Lambeth Palace, SE, Nov. 19., 1918

We Bishops of the Church of England offer our heartfelt greeting to the men and women of our nation who, in the forthcoming General Election, will exercise the franchise for the first time.

The possession of a vote in the choice of representatives of the people in Parliament is at all times a solemn trust. To you it has been committed at an hour when the nation’s responsibilities and opportunities are so great, so clear, so solemn, that the most unthinking can hardly fail to be impressed.

Here at home the most urgent problems of national welfare await solution. Arrears have to be made up; arrested progress resumed; new ventures attempted. Your help is needed in securing that long long-standing abuses are taken away and much-needed reforms are brought about to improve the health, the housing, the education, the moral standard of the nation. Your help is needed in filling our political life with that spirit of fellowship and service for the common weal which has wrought so mightily in the peoples of the Empire since we went to war. Your help is needed in making England a land to which her sons and daughters may be more and more proud and thankful to belong. We shall rise to the height of the occasion only if the energies of the whole nation are united and controlled by the force of a citizenship instructed and self-disciplined, sustained by a high ideal and devoted to the common good.

Nor can we forget that, now more than ever, our political responsibility is world-wide. Among the nations of the earth, as well as at home, the old order changes and a new order begins. It is for us as a nation to do our part in seeing that the new order shall be firmly established on the foundations of righteousness and liberty. Whatever of added influence our victory has brought us must be used to strengthen the ties which shall bind all nations in one fellowship for the peace and welfare of mankind.

Remembering these high responsibilities, you will realise that in the choice of representatives in Parliament it is not enough to be satisfied with party zeal or fluency of speech. You will wish to choose members who are marked by width of outlook, by single-minded service, and by sterling character.

God is making a new world, and He is calling upon all who, loving good and hating evil, desire to seek first His Kingdom and His Righteousness, to be His fellow-workers. If we are ready to obey the call, we may hope to do something in our generation to hasten the day when in fuller measure than we have known as yet God’s kingdom shall come and His Will be done in earth as it is in heaven.

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, December 1918 (D/P181/28A/27)

“We have no traitors in our midst worse than the so-called “pacifists,” who want peace at any price and, in many cases, are simply enemy agents.”

The fourth anniversary of the start of the war was commemorated soberly in churches throughout the county.

Sulhamstead

THE WAR

WAR COMMEMORATION

Sunday, August 4th, has been set apart for the purpose of commemorating our entry into this terrible war. We shall remind ourselves that it was impossible so long as we maintained honour, righteousness and justice to hold back. We took our place by the side of France and Belgium, not from any desire to increase our own power or raise our position in the world, but simply to prevent wrong and to work righteousness. Our objects are still the same. There is no hope for the world until the gigantic military despotism of Germany is destroyed. There will be services of Intercession at 11 a.m., St Mary’s Church, followed by the Holy Communion; 6 p.m., St Michael’s Church.

There were good attendances at the church on Sunday, August 4th, for Thanksgiving and Intercession. The offertories for the fund for assisting Prisoners of war belonging to the Royal Berks Regiment amounted to:

11 a.m. £3 11s 0 ½ d
6 p.m. £1 13s 1 ½ d
Total £5 4s 2d

Earley St Peter

August 4th

The anniversary of the proclamation of war (August4th) will this year fall on a Sunday. I do not know whether any special Order of Prayer will be issued. For myself I consider that the forms of Prayer for use in the time of War (by authority, S.P.C.K., 1S.) Contains sufficient material. But I hope all the clergy will prepare well beforehand to stimulate and satisfy the spiritual needs of their people. The collect, Epistle and Gospel for the Sunday (x. after Trinity) might well be used. Otherwise the order suggested for the last year may be used again (Forms of prayer, P. 87 FF.) with necessary changes.

My Dear Friends

The first Sunday of this month, August the 4th, is the anniversary of the war. I wonder what we should all have felt if on August 4th 1914, we had thought it would have continued up to this time. Lord Kitchener indeed said three years and enrolled his army for that time, but such is a contingency seemed impossible to the generality of our countrymen, many of whom thought that the first battle of the Marne was the beginning of the end.

Who then dreamt of the collapse of Russia, or of the entry of America into the war? Who for a moment imagined that Germany would descend to the depths of degradation to which she has sunk in the eyes of the world by her false dealings and her barbarities. Who had any conception of the miseries, the losses, the bereavements, of the greatest war that the world has ever seen? (more…)

The General Memorial should in every way take precedence of individual memorials

The parish of Wargrave made some decisions about future war memorials.

War Memorials

The Bishop wrote a letter to the Diocese, in October, 1917, in which he said:-

“Experience has already shown that it is most desirable that local effort should be concentrated on one common Memorial. It is also important to consider carefully the nature of any proposal made, and to obtain competent advice, if possible on the spot, so that every memorial should be worthy of the occasion and permanent in character. To obtain satisfactory results, some delay and great care are imperative.”

The Bishop also commended to the Diocese a memorandum drawn up by an Advisory Committee on the subject. The first three points are as follows:-

(1) Advice should be sought when a Memorial is first proposed, and before the question of the form it should take is decided.

(2) The Committee urges the importance of concentrating upon one common design and the avoidance, if possible, of several small Memorials. The best and most permanent Memorial is that which best harmonizes with the building or surroundings in which it is placed. It is not intended to exclude separate Memorials erected under one common scheme, e.g. the fitting up of a chapel.

(3) The creation of a united Memorial should be postponed until the end of the War, though it may be of importance to decide beforehand what form it should take.

The General Memorial

A General Memorial to those, from the Parish of Wargrave, who give their lives for their Country is already secured, in the Parish Church, by the erection of the East Window. But it will not be completed until the end of the War. It is necessarily incomplete until the record of names has been inscribed, and a sum of money has been set apart for that purpose. But the East Window is the gift of one donor and there is no doubt that many others would like to join together in the completion of the Memorial. The form which such Complete Memorial will take is at present undecided, except that a list of the names will be incorporated in it. There are, unfortunately, already as many as thirty-nine names on this Roll of Honour. So long a list necessarily affects the question of design and treatment.

If many people wished to join in erecting such a General Memorial in the Parish Church after the War, they might determine, instead of merely erecting a tablet, to embellish some portion of the Church with carved wood and sculptured stone, so as to establish a Place of Memorial, or even a Memorial Chapel to those who shall have fallen which could express in the most permanent form the affection and gratitude of those for whom they died.

One generous offer has already been made which confirms the probability of such a plan. If anything of the kind is at all likely to become the general wish of the parish, it is very important that the Vicar and Churchwardens should not allow any individual monuments to be now erected which would afterwards impede an artist in planning a general design.

Individual Memorials

Everyone will agree that the General Memorial should have precedence of all individual memorials, it is therefore necessary to decide at once upon the part of the Church where the General Memorial shall be placed.

But it may well happen that some parishioners may wish to erect Individual Memorials in the actual part of the Church which is thus reserved. They may feel that they wish their particular memorials to be incorporated in the general one, while preserving the individual character of their personal tribute. If this be so they must either defer the design and erection of their Memorials until the General Memorial is taken in hand, or we must now form some idea of what the General Memorial is to be and choose our Artist, so that he may take charge at once. He would then only allow such Individual Memorials as would fit into his general design and harmonise with it.

And, apart from this particular matter of War Memorials, there is a real need for the expert advice of an Artist in the case of any application for the erection of a monument. A Parish Church is designed as one whole, to which all features should happily contribute. It would be quite possible to introduce a monument which, though beautiful in itself, would be generally regretted as out of harmony with the view of the building as a whole. And even if a monument were unobjectionable in this respect there are questions of style, material, and treatment which require expert knowledge.

The decision itself rests with the Vicar, but he needs expert advice to enable him to decide in a way which will secure general approval in the years to come. It therefore seems best to choose some one Artist, who will be generally acceptable to the Parish, and to ask him to act as our adviser to whom all designs for proposed memorials may be submitted.

The Meeting of Parishioners

In the face of these difficulties the Vicar and Churchwardens invited the Parishioners to meet them on Friday, July 19th, in the Parish Room. The Vicar explained the situation and asked for some guidance as to their wishes.

There was a unanimous feeling that the General Memorial should in every way take precedence of individual memorials, that the general supervision should be entrusted to one Artist, and that the form of which the General Memorial should take should be deferred until the Artist’s views could be known. But it was unanimously resolved:-

“That the East End of the South Aisle be set apart for Memorials to those who have fallen in the Great War.”

The Vicar then submitted the name of Sir Charles Nicholson to the meeting. He explained that the Churchwardens and he had no special knowledge and no prejudice for or against any particular name, but they had done all they could to find the man best suited for the task. In the course of these enquiries this name gradually took precedence, and when they consulted the Church Crafts League, (as suggested by the Diocesan Advisory Committee), the Secretary wrote as follows:-

“Our correspondence re the proposed decorative work in your Church was considered at our Committee Meeting yesterday and it was the unanimous opinion that you could not do better than consult Sir Charles Nicholson.”

The Meeting, after some discussion, unanimously resolved:-

“That the name of Sir Charles Nicholson, Bart., F.R.I.B.A., submitted to the Parishioners in accordance with the notice convening the meeting, be adopted subject to the support of the Building Committee.’

Wargrave parish magazine, August 1918 (D/P145/28A/31)

Our manifold necessities in the Great War

The Bishop’s Message

The following extracts are from the bishop’s message in the July Diocesan Magazine:

Your prayers are specially asked

For the supply of our manifold necessities in the Great War.

For all the great sufferers in body, mind and estate.

For Russia and the Russian Church.

For Serbia and the Serbian Students among us.

For Ireland.

Earley St Peter parish magazine (D/P191/28A/25)

“Every war memorial should be worthy of the occasion and permanent in character.”

The Bishop issued some guidance as to suitable war memorials in Berkshire churches.

War Memorials

My dear Sir,

I commend to your notice the enclosed suggestions which have been drawn up by the Advisory Committee for War Memorials in this Diocese. Experience has already shown that it is most desirable that local effort should be concentrated on one common Memorial. It is also important to consider carefully the nature of any proposal made, and to obtain competent advice, if possible on the spot, so that every memorial should be worthy of the occasion and permanent in character. To obtain satisfactory results, some delay and great care are imperative. This I sincerely hope that, before determining upon any memorial, you will consult the Advisory Committee. The Secretary is the Rev. William C. Emeris, The Vicarage, Burford, Oxon.
Believe me to be, yours faithfully, C. Oxon.

The Advisory Committee for War Memorials in the Oxford Diocese desires to make the following suggestions.

(1) Advice should be sought when a Memorial is first proposed, and before the question of the form it should take is decided.

(2) The Committee urges the importance of concentrating upon one common design and the avoidance, if possible, of several small Memorials. The best and most permanent Memorial is that which best harmonizes with the building or surroundings in which it is placed. It is not intended to exclude separate Memorials erected under one common scheme, e.g., the fitting up of a chapel.

(3) The erection of a united Memorial should be postponed until the end of the war, though it may be of importance to decide beforehand what form it should take.

(4) The character of the Church (e.g., whether ancient or modern, whether of stone or brick) should be taken into consideration before deciding upon the best form of Memorial. In old Churches preference should be given to the replacing of the ancient ornaments of the Church, rather than to the erection of new monuments. As instances the following are suggested: the restoration of altars to their original dimensions, the re-erection of screens, both chancel and parclose, of roods and lots, canopied font covers, good bells, worthy “ornaments of the Church and of the ministers thereof”, such as the Prayer Book contemplates, and Churchyard Crosses.

(5) Local materials should in most cases be preferred to those brought from a distance. Lacquered brass or copper ornaments are deprecated, also designs submitted by Church furnishing firms.

(6) Special attention should be given to lettering. Roman characters should be preferred to Gothic. It is important to choose such material and lettering as will last for many hundred years. Quality, simplicity and permanence should be the guiding principles in carrying out the work.

(7) Where it is proposed to place the chief memorial in the open air, it is advisable that a record of names should also be preserved within the Church, engrossed on Vellum, in book form or otherwise.

(8) Even for the simplest ornaments of the Church and Minister it is desirable that the services of an architect or artist, and not a firm of Church Furnishers, should be employed. The Church Crafts League, Church House, Westminster, is always ready to suggest names of competent artists and craftsmen.

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, June 1918 (D/P181/28A/27)

Balance sheets are delightful things now-a-days

Newbury’s clergymen were rejected for war work, while the parish magazine was at risk.

THE WAR

There are reported Missing – Alfred Dennis, William Smith, Mr Barlow, and Mr Marshall; Wounded – Ernest Giggs; Gassed – Jack Smart; Prisoners – Jack Cooke and William Selwyn. We offer our sympathy to the relatives and friends.

The clergy of the diocese have received a Form from the Bishop on which they could offer for War Service. The Rector stated on his Form that he would be prepared to go to a Church Army Hut for several months if the work of the Parish could be provided for; and he has received the following reply through the Bishop’s Secretary: “The Bishop says stay where you are”.

Mr Marle offered to go to a YMCA Hut for four months, but received the reply: “The Bishop certainly thinks that you should stay where you are”.

As with our food, our clothes, and our boots, so with our paper. We are continually being faced with a new situation. After urging our readers to continue to take in the Parish Magazine, we have received a communication from the publishers of the Dawn of Day [insert] that there is serious shortage of paper, or that there will be, asking us to cut down our number of copies. However, it appears that our circulation has been so far reduced that we shall not have to ask any of our subscribers not to subscribe; but whether we shall be able to make both ends meet at the end of the year is doubtful. Balance sheets are delightful things now-a-days.

Newbury St Nicholas parish magazine, June 1918(D/P89/28A/13)

Immediate help in an emergency

With many clergy acting as army chaplains, a former chaplain who had got stuck in England when the war started was helping out a Berkshire church.

Crazies Hill Notes

General sympathy is felt for the Rev. W. G. Smylie who has had a serious breakdown of health, which occurred quite suddenly the first week In March. He is now at the Bournemouth Hydro and the doctor gives a very good report of his progress. It is hoped that he will return in a month’s time thoroughly restored to strength.

The Bishop referred the Vicar to the Diocesan Clerical Agency for immediate help in the emergency. The Agency is in constant communication with a number of Clergy all of whom are licensed by the Bishop of Oxford for work in this diocese. The Vicar was thus introduced to the Rev. C. S. G. Lutz who was a tutor with Mr. Pritchard in Wargrave many years ago. Mr Lutz has been an Army Chaplain in Malta and Gibraltar. At the time of outbreak of war he held an S.P.G Chaplaincy on the Continent but was in England on leave.

Wargrave parish magazine, April 1918 (D/P145/28A/31)

During the war we all have to make ourselves responsible for more than we could rightly undertake in time of peace

The new vicar of Wargrave took on a new role as school inspector for church schools, mainly because his ownership of a horse meant he had transport denied to others.

Diocesan Inspection

There is one General Diocesan Inspector in this diocese who gives his whole time to the work, but the area of the three counties is so large that he can only visit one in each year. He is therefore assisted in each Deanery by an Honorary Inspector, appointed by the Bishop, who examines the Schools in two out of every three years.

The Vicar resigned this office when he left the parish of Medmenham in the Deanery of Wycombe. He has been asked to resume it in this Deanery. There are twenty-six schools to be inspected in the sixteen parishes of this Sonning Deanery. Somebody must do the work and it requires somebody with a horse, (even motor cars cannot run without petrol). So the Vicar has felt that it would not be right to decline. It is very congenial work, but acceptance of any additional task seems to require a word of explanation when we are shorthanded here and the things already left undone are evidence that the Vicar has no time to spare.

The fact is that during the war we all have to make ourselves responsible for more than we could rightly undertake in time of peace. And if we happen to have experience which makes a particular task lighter than it would be to a new hand it is not fair to decline it, unless it is an absolute impossibility. This work is done in the morning in the Schools and late at night at home so it will not much interfere with parochial visiting.

Wargrave parish magazine, February 1918 (D/P145/28A/31)

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)

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

The Bishop of Oxford had special instructions for the Day of National Prayer.

THE BISHOP’S MESSAGE

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

Your prayers are specially asked:

That the nation as a whole may respond to the King’s summons to prayer on Jan. 6th.
For this nation and for our Allies, especially for Italy, Russia, Serbia and Roumania, and for Ireland.
For victory and peace.
For the munition worked, especially in our diocese.
For the wounded soldiers.
For those whom we have sent to minister to our troops in soul and body….

THE DAY OF NATIONAL PRAYER (JAN. 6)

I could have wished that the last Sunday of the year could have been appointed and not the Festival of the Epiphany. But Jan. 6 is appointed, and we must respond zealously to the King’s summons. Of course the proper Service of Epiphany must be retained, but

(i) At the Holy Communion, the collect, O God, the Ruler of all kings and people, should be said before the Blessing, and at the offertory the people should be bidden to pray according to the needs of the time for the nation and its allies with some fulness [sic].

(ii) In the Litany I sanction (for this special occasion) the substitution for the words ‘the Lords of the Council and all the nobility’, the words ‘the prime minister, the other ministers of the Crown, and all who hold command in the King’s forces’, and after the versicle ‘that it may please thee to bless and keep all thy people’, the additional versicles, ‘that it may please thee to enlighten the understanding and to fortify the courage of our whole nation and Empire’, and ‘that it may please thee to grant thy blessing to all our allies and to defend and restore their lands’. (This change and these added versicles might be printed on slips for the congregation or notified before the beginning of the Litany.)

(iii) The sermons should bring out the idea of the Epiphany as the manifestation of God among all nations, show how deeply we stand in need of such a manifestation today, and impress upon the people that 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 preparation for the kingdom of Christ, for which our most earnest and constant prayers are needed. The King’s proclamation should also be read. (It was in the newspapers on Nov. 8th.)

(iv) I would suggest that if there is a celebration of Holy Communion at 11, it be preceded by the Litany with the special versicles; and if the service at 11 is commonly morning prayer, that on this occasion (morning prayer having been already said in full at an earlier hour) there should be a special service which might run thus:

Hymn – Hail to the Lord’s Anointed.
Sermon to guide the thoughts and prayers of the day.
The Litany as above.
(Before the prayer of St Chrysostom) Psalms 46 and 72
A lesson, Isaiah xi to verse 11.

The parish roll of men serving their country should be read, and additional intercessions (such as are not included in the Litany) offered with spaces for silent prayer. One or two other hymns might be interspersed, and the concluding prayers of the Litany said.

(v) Evensong might be said up to the third collect (Psalms 46 and 72), followed by a sermon and special intercessions. Of suggestions for intercessions we have a sufficient store.

If a special form of prayer is issued with the authority of the Archbishops for the whole country, it is sanctioned for use in the diocese, and will modify the above directions.

C. OXON

Earley St Peter parish magazine, December 1917 (D/P191/28A/24)

Our fourth war-time Christmas: a joy none can take from us

Food shortages, and the use of adulterated products, had one unexpected casualty – the quality of communion bread. The vicar of Cookham Dean reflected on the fourth Christmas of the war.

The Vicar’s Letter

Since the war began I have found increasing difficulty to obtain bread suitable for use at the Holy Communion. For years I have had a special loaf sent every week from Edinburgh, but it is impossible to depend now upon its quality, and some of the ingredients with which bread is at present made are quite unsuitable for the holy purpose for which it is used. For a long time past I have used, both for sick people and on Saints’ Days, wafer bread, made as the Prayer Book directs, ‘of the best and purest wheaten flour’: Its use secures reverence, and its quality never varies, so that from Advent Sunday onward I intend to use it on Sundays also: I am obtaining it for the present from the same place that supplies the Bishop with that used by him in the Palace Chapel at Cuddesdon.


The Vicar’s Letter

This will be our fourth war-time Christmas. As each year goes on one realises how less like Christmases of former days each succeeding one becomes; and yet, beneath all the changes and turmoil of war, there must ever be the gladdening in our hearts at the thought of the Redemption of the World by our Lord Jesus Christ. We must be ready to offer our worship at the Manger Throne, and find the same comfort and the same grace as ever before at the Altar Throne if our hearts have been duly prepared in Advent by penitence and faith to seek Him, and receive Him there.

Some of the dear lads from the village will spend their Christmas very near to Bethlehem: What an un-looked-for experience for them! May they, and we, and all our dear ones, far and near, bound together in love for Him who was born at Bethlehem – ‘born for us’- find in His Presence a joy none can take from us, and thus realise in a very true way a happy Christmas.

Cookham Dean parish magazine, December 1917 (D/P43B/28A/11)

A large number of people seem hardly to notice that there is a war at all

The vicar of Earley issued a reproach to those at home not supporting the war but behaving with only their own interest at heart.

The Vicar’s Letter

My dear friends

Winter is fast coming upon us and during the cold and wet days and nights our thoughts naturally go forth to our men fighting for us at the front; and when we think of them and all they have to endure, how can we grumble, as many are grumbling, at the increasing difficulty of obtaining many of the necessaries of life, and how can we be self-indulgent and wasteful, as so many are, in spite of all appeals for economy.

A large number of people seem hardly to notice that there is a war at all; we have hardly yet felt its real pinch, and if all will but share alike, there is no need why we should feel it to a greater extent than we do at present. We are not speaking of Reading or any part of it, for we believe that Reading as a whole has set a very good example, but there are always some people who think only of themselves, and the appeals from the authorities show that the need for self-denial is very great.

We heartily congratulate Mr Sarjeant, our people’s churchwarden, on being elected for a second time to fill the office of Mayor of the borough; he has carried out his arduous duties to the satisfaction of all, and Mrs Sarjeant has ably helped him as Mayoress: may it fall to her lot this coming year to preside at our town’s celebration of peace….

Your friend and vicar
W W Fowler

THE BISHOP’S MESSAGE

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

your prayers are asked
For the Irish Convention and the maintenance throughout our own country of the spirit of unity.
For the upholding of the courage and determination of the Allies.
For those suffering from raids…

C. OXON.

LIST OF MEN SERVING IN HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES

The following additional names have been added to our prayer list:

Frank Hamblin, Frederick Argent, John Bolton, Frederick Winkworth, Albert Neill, George Bolton, Reginald Taylor, Herbert Guy, Albert May, William Allen.

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

SICK OR WOUNDED – George Cane, John Rosser, Harold Jones, Harry Rixon, Victor Gaines.

MISSING – Norman Black.

KILLED – Leonard Dann, Allan Smit, Frederick Nunn.

Earley St Peter parish magazine, November 1917 (D/P191/28A/24)

A new readiness to face a new world

The Bishop of Oxford observed the terrible toll the war was taking at home, but had hopes for a brighter future.

THE BISHOP’S MESSAGE

The following extracts are from the Bishop’s message in the October Diocesan magazine:

Your prayers are specially asked…
For the work among the munition workers…
For peace in Ireland and the Irish Conference.
With regard to the European war, for victory and peace, and for the maintenance of the spirit of the nation.

We are settling down to our winter’s work with the horror of the war still upon us and no speedy prospect of relief. Besides the grave anxiety of the war, we have manifold discouragements which specially affect the country clergy. The population of the villages is, in most cases, even disastrously reduced; the number of children we have to deal with so much smaller; the young and middle-aged men almost all absent at the war. Then prices are very high and means slender. In vicarage after vicarage, all the household and garden work falls upon the Vicar and his family, and perhaps they are not used to it….

But behind all these causes of anxiety and depression, we should be able to discern a purpose of God… The great ideas of human fellowship and mutual service are taking firmer root – fellowship and mutual service among nations and classes and individuals. The minds of men are moving with unusual rapidity. There is quite a new readiness to face a new world. It ought to stir us to a profound thankfulness to believe that we can help in the reconstruction of our country and the world; all the more that what is wanted in nothing else whatever but the bringing out into prominence and effect of the root ideas of Christianity about human life….

And surely nowhere is the necessity for social reconstruction and re-equipment more manifold than in the villages. I do not think it is too much to say that in the replenishing of the villages, and the lifting of the life there on to the new level of spiritual and social equality of consideration, independence and brotherhood, lies the only hope for the country…

Depend upon it we shall be really wanted in the exciting days that are coming…

C. OXON.

Earley St Peter parish magazine, October 1917 (D/P191/28A/24)