One of the sacrifices which the war calls upon us to make

Clergy who had volunteered to become chaplains to the armed forces left vacancies at home, which other clergymen were asked to fill.

As many of our readers know, the Rev. P.L. Tomkins is leaving the Parish at the beginning of June. When Mr. Tomkins volunteered for National Service he had in intention of severing his connection with Bracknell, but the work which the Bishop assigned to him is to help in a Parish in Newbury, where help is greatly needed, and where the Bishop wished him to stay for so long a period that there was no alternative but for Mr. Tomkins to give up his home here and move his possessions to Newbury. It is with very great that we shall part with so old a friend. He has worked here for nearly ten years, and he will be greatly missed. Our prayers and good wishes will follow him and Mrs. Tomkins in the new home to which they are going.

His departure will leave Bracknell less well provided with Clergy than it has been hitherto, but this is one of the sacrifices which the war calls upon us to make.

Bracknell section of Winkfield District Magazine, June 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/6)

Maintain unity of spirit and the will of sacrifice in the allied nations

The Bishop asked Berkshire churchgoers to pray for the war to end successfully.

THE BISHOP’S MESSAGE

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

Your prayers are specially asked

For the maintenance in the allied nations of unity of spirit and the will of sacrifice.

For the prosecution and ending of the war in the Name of God, and of Liberty.

For the chaplains, doctors, nurses, the RAMC and the ASC…

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

Wise dealing with the Liquor question

The Bishop asked Berkshire churchgoers to pray for Russia, our ally in the throes of revolution, and for the question of alcohol restrictions at home.

THE BISHOP’S MESSAGE

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

Your prayers are specially asked

For the Russian people and Government and Church

For the Chaplains to the troops, especially those who have gone from this diocese.

For parishes whence clergy have gone on National service, that their spiritual interests may not suffer.

For wise dealing by the Government with the Liquor question…


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

Pray that we may receive in safety the things which we need from beyond the seas

The Bishop of Oxford shared a prayer for the protection of the food supply, while being concerned for Russia following the revolution.

THE BISHOP’S MESSAGE

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

Your prayers are specially asked

For the Russian people and Government and the Russian Church…

The following prayer for the maintenance of our food supplies is recommended for use and may be used in church:

O GOD, Heavenly Father, Who by Thy Son Jesus Christ hast promised to all them that seek Thy Kingdom and the Righteousness thereof, all things necessary to their bodily sustenance; teach us so to seek Thy Kingdom and Righteousness that we may be worthy to claim Thy Promise. Bless the use of the land for the provision of food, and grant to us abundant crops: and of Thy great mercy, protect, we humbly pray Thee, our merchant ships, and those of our Allies, and of the neutral nations, against the attacks of our enemies; that so we may receive in safety the things which we need from beyond the seas; and may praise Thee always for Thy goodness and loving kindness towards us: through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

C. OXON.

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

‘I may have to “join up” at any time now’

The curate at Dedworth had applied for service as an army chaplain.

All Saints’, Dedworth

The Rector warned you last month that owing to the call the Country is making upon able-bodied men for National Service, a member of this staff might be withdrawn from Parish work which would mean the cutting down of the number of Services held in the Parish.

Since that date I have been recommended by the Bishop of the Diocese to the Chaplain General as an Army Chaplain, and have also had some correspondence with the latter. It is therefore possible that I may have to “join up” at any time now, or on the other hand nothing may come of these negotiations.

But if the former be the case we hope to make arrangements for at least an early Celebration of the Holy Communion every Sunday and a sung Evensong at All Saints. The Sung Eucharist would have to be given up for the time being. Should these changes come to pass I do most earnestly hope that you will make real use of the opportunities for worship offered you, and do your utmost to “keep things going” until, please God, I return.

Clewer parish magazine (D/P39/28A/9)

National Service is just now very much to the fore

Paid employment on Sundays was severely restricted before the war, but necessity was leading to relaxation of the rules. The vicar of St Luke’s in Maidenhead had his doubts.

The Vicar’s Letter

Dear Friends and parishioners,-

We have spent, I think, on the whole a very profitable Lent… The older men who were able to do so, came well to the three Services for Men; many of the younger ones, as we all know, were employed on their Country’s work elsewhere…

Just now the loss of friends is so common that I can usually make no reference to it in this Letter…

National Service is just now very much to the fore. I feel sure that the Churchpeople of this Parish will respond to any call made upon them. I ought perhaps to say, though I do it reluctantly, as it is a personal thing, that Mr. Sellors and I have both given in our names to the Bishop in case we are needed for Service elsewhere, but nothing has happened as yet. In the meanwhile and probably all the War, we are obeying the Director General’s advice and are remaining in our present work.

I have been asked to say a word or two about the difficult question of Sunday work. I suppose the old Christian rule is that works of necessity and charity are allowable…. This year I gather that during say six weeks of the sowing season, many gardens, and some farm lands, must be cultivated on Sunday. After that till Harvest, I should say that ordinary weeding, etc, could be done during the week, especially under the Daylight Saving Bill…

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar

C.E.M. FRY

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, April 1917 (D/P181/28A/26)

Who are willing to offer themselves?

Clergy were expected to answer the call of the new National Service Scheme as well as laymen.

National Service.

We all know that the Country is calling upon able-bodied persons both men and women from the age of 18 to 61, to volunteer for National Service. It is a call addressed to the Clergy as well as the Laity. Our Bishop is making enquiries of the Clergy in his Diocese to ascertain who are willing to offer themselves, either for spiritual or secular work. The decision rests with him as to which and how many of the Clergy, who volunteer, can be spared from the Diocese. If any member of our staff of Clergy is thus withdrawn from Parish work, we must be prepared to reduce some of the Services and make the best use of our diminished opportunities. Perhaps, as things are, we have too many Services in the various Districts, and a little concentration would not be a bad thing for us. It is sometimes found to be the case that those who have fewer facilities for Public Worship make a better use of them than those who have too many. If the Bishop therefore counsels a temporary reduction in the staff of Clergy in this Parish, we must readily submit to it.

The War Shrines.

All the money needed for the War Shrines in Clewer Village and Clewer New Town has now been subscribed. Any money subsequently sent will be given to the permanent Memorial which we hope to have erected in the Church when the War is over.

Clewer St Andrew parish magazine, March 1917 (D/P39/28A/9)

For the deepening of the spirit of self-sacrifice

The Bishop of Oxford’s latest message:

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 those who travel by sea, especially the Bishop of Buckingham:
And for the prisoners of war:

For the deepening of the spirit of self-sacrifice and the desire for purity, temperance and justice in the nation:

For glad correspondence on the part of all with the demand for national service, and for wisdom in freeing the clergy for exceptional kinds of service:…

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

“Every one of us has volunteered to go as an Army Chaplain”

The need for army chaplains was rising.

RECTOR’S LETTER (EXTRACT)

My Dear Friends,

As you are well aware the need of the moment is general enlistment for National Service. The Director-General treats the doctors and the clergy as special classes whose “services are required in particular directions.” The clergy have to make their offer of service through their Bishops. The Bishop of Oxford has sent a letter to his clergy in which he points out that “in the case of the clergy our national service is primarily that to which our ordination has pledged us.”

When the Bishop was here on the occasion of the Confirmation he informed me that there was great need of Army Chaplains, for though many clergy had volunteered, not all were considered suitable for the work. He also told me that he wanted one at least of the clergy working in this parish for service elsewhere. I am glad to say that every one of us has volunteered to go as an Army Chaplain or in fact do whatever the Bishop Requires. I have sent him our “forms of offer,” and he is going to select whichever of us he thinks is most suitable for the desired work and can be best spared from the parish.

I wish, however, to point out that since the war began we have been one short of the proper number of clergy for this parish, and Mr. Neison in consequence has been doing double work at S. John’s. When our staff is reduced still further it will be impossible to continue the number of services which have been somewhat lavishly provided in this parish, but if the laity have to an extra half mile to Church or get up somewhat earlier I hope they will do so cheerfully.

Pharaoh tried to make the Israelites supply an undiminished “tale of bricks,” after he had cut off the necessary provision of straw, but the final result was disastrous for Pharaoh, and I intend to profit from his example.

I regret to say that I omitted last month to include among the Honours won by Caversham men, the military cross bestowed upon the Rev. W.M. Austin for the part he played in helping to defeat the Prussian guard at the Thiepval on August last. Mr. Austin has now risen to the rank of acting Major in the 1st Wiltshire Regt., and has written to his mother expressing the grateful thanks of the men of his regiment for the socks (70 pairs), cigarettes and tobacco so kindly forwarded by friends.

Caversham parish magazine, March 1917 (D/P162/28A/7)

Pray for the cadets training in Oxford

The Bishop continued to direct churchgoers’ thoughts and prayers for the war.

The Bishop’s Message

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

Your prayers are specially asked

For the good hand of God upon us in the war, and for peace.
For the Cadets in Oxford and all the troops in the diocese.
For the Chaplains in Navy and Army, especially those from the diocese…

The Missionary Festival

It will be readily understood why we have thought it right, under the restriction of railway travelling, to abandon the Diocesan Missionary Festival and substitute local efforts.

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

The spiritual welfare of those who are so ready to give their lives in the great cause

Reading churchgoers were asked to contribute towards the cost of building a chapel at the closest army camp.

The Vicar’s Notes
Best greetings and blessings to all the parish for the New Year. There seem to be real signs at last of the prospect of peace. God grant that, when it comes, it may be real and lasting.

The Following Appeal comes from the Bishop of Buckingham.

Halton Camp.

With the approach of winter the problem of holding the church parade Services for this large camp has become acute. The accommodation provided by the Churches in the immediate neighbourhood, and by the Y.M.C.A. huts (which are readily lent for the purpose, and which are doing such excellent work), is quite insufficient for the purpose. With the present accommodation it would require many more parades than are possible every Sunday to take in all the troops attending Church.

It is proposed therefore to erect a large wooden building capable of holding 1,000 to 1,500 men, such has been found suitable in other large camps. The primary objective would be to make provision for the Church services during the winter, but the building would also be available for other purposes. It is estimated that the cost of such a building would be £1,000. Voluntary help would be given by qualified architects among the troops and Royal Engineers.

This is the only large camp in the Diocese of Oxford, and we feel that the Church people of the Diocese will be desirous of showing their interest in the spiritual welfare of those who are so ready to give their lives in the great cause by making by making a prompt and adequate answer to this appeal. It is most desirable that the matter should be put in hand at once, before the severe weather sets in.

The scheme has the hearty approval of the General Officer Commanding and the Bishop of Oxford and the Bishop of Buckingham.

Subscriptions will be thankfully received by the Senior Chaplain, the Rev. P.W.N. Shirley, Halton Camp, Bucks, or by the Bishop of Buckingham, Beaconsfield.

Sympathy

During the past month there has been an exceptional amount of sickness and a large number of deaths. Our deepest sympathy is given to all those who have suffered the loss of those near and dear to them. May the divine comforter bring them every consolation and support in their time of sorrow.

Reading St Mary parish magazine, January 1917 (D/P96/28A/15)

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)

We do not forget

The Bishop congratulated the Revd T Guy Rogers, the Reading vicar turned army chaplain, on being awarded a medal for bravery.

THE BISHOP’S MESSAGE

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

Your prayers are asked especially
For the good hand of God upon us in the war.
For our allies and especially for Roumania [sic].
For the National Mission…

Your thanksgivings are asked…
For the liberation of the Missionaries in German East Africa.

THE DIFFICULTY ABOUT EVENING SERVICES

I most heartily trust that neither in town parishes nor in country parishes will the evening service on Sundays be abandoned without a very strong effort to carry it on under conditions of lighting which the police can sanction…

THE DEFINITION OF RESIDENCE FOR PURPOSES OF BANNS

I wish to call attention again to the ruling under which I act, given by my Chancellor… to the effect that a person’s normal home where he or she is known may be reckoned as place of residence, though the person in question is at the moment absent whether on military service or for some other purpose.

We are all delighted to know that Mr Guy Rogers has been given the Military Cross. We do not forget him.

COMFORTS FOR THE TROOPS

I have received a letter from the Director General of Voluntary Organisations expressing great anxiety as to the sufficient supply of comforts for the troops, such as mittens, mufflers, helmets and socks, especially the three first. I am asked to ‘secure the co-operation of the clergy’ in my dioceses to make the anxiety known. The following are depots of the V.O.A. in this diocese…

Berkshire: W. C. Blandy, esq, 1 Friar Street, Reading…
Reading: D. Haslam, jun., esq, 16 Duke Street, Reading…

C. OXON

LIST OF MEN SERVING IN HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES

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

William Monger, George Slaughter, William Hewett, Harold Hales, Cecil Hales, William Brown, Albert Bishop, George O’Dell, Frederick Eady, Herbert Ballard, Alfred Clibbon, George Breakspear, Albert Gray, Harry Rixon, Walter Rosser, Rupert Wigmore, William Butler, Walter Drown, Percy Prater.

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

Killed: Percy Wyer, Walter May, Ernest Bishop.
Sick: Edward Iles, Charles Webb, William Wright.
Wounded: William Holmes, Frank, Fowler, Harry Merry, Arthur Morrice, Leonard Strong.
Wounded and Missing: Frank Snellgrove.
Missing: Edward Taylor.

CONCERT IN ST PETER’S HALL

On Wednesday, November 29th, there will be a concert in St Peter’s Hall to help provide funds for giving a Christmas Dinner and Entertainment to a party of Wounded Soldiers. Mr E. Love and party are working up an excellent programme, and we hope our readers will help to make the concert a great success by supporting it as much as they can.

Earley parish magazine, November 1916 (D/P191/28A/23/11)

Soldiers are confirmed

Soldiers were among the young churchgoers seeking to be confirmed in the Church of England as they embarked on the danger of active service.

The Confirmation

The Confirmation was held on Sunday, November 26th, too late to mention in the December magazine. A fair number of Candidates came from St. Luke’s, a good many from St Mary’s, and some from Stubbings, and one from Wooburn, Bucks. Owing to the War, and to the shortness of Clerical Staff, there were not quite so many Boys as usual, but about the same number of Girls and Women. What was, however, very encouraging, was to see six adult Men confirmed, five being Soldiers. The Bishop of Oxford took the Confirmation, and gave, as he always does at this service particularly, two very striking and helpful Addresses.

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, January 1917 (D/P181/28A/26)

In the near future there will be probably many applications for permission to erect ugly and inartistic war memorials and monuments

There was concern that war memorials should be in good taste. Faculties are official authorisation from the diocese required of all alterations to Anglican church buildings.

RECTOR’S LETTER (EXTRACT)

I have received a letter from the Bishop pointing out that in the near future there will be probably many applications for permission to erect in Churches war memorials and monuments. The Bishop desires that Incumbents should guard against the introduction of such ugly or inartistic monuments as were in past years placed in many of our Churches and Cathedrals. And in order to ensure that future memorials should be both artistic and suitable to the Church in which they are to be placed, he has appointed a committee to advise parents and relatives upon these points. I will therefore refer any suggested monument, as far as Caversham is concerned, to this committee before advising application for a faculty.


Caversham parish magazine, November 1916 (D/P162/28A/13)