The great gift of Peace

How would the country change now that it was at peace again?

January 1st, 1919.

My Parishioners and Friends,

Four successive years have found us in the midst of the heavy stress of war with its grievous anxieties and sorrows. A New Year opens with this war closed and our hearts full of thankfulness to the God Who has righted wrong and saved the world from its deadly peril.

November 17th found our churches filled with devout worshippers, and our Thanksgiving Service with its glorious “Te Deum” moved us, perhaps, as we have never been moved before. Even our great days of Intercession during the war scarcely seemed to bring the power and providence of God so near.

Shall not the close of the war make a fresh beginning in our relations with God. The beautiful “General Thanksgiving” in our Prayer Book teaches us to say:

“We beseech Thee, give us that due sense of all Thy mercies… that we shew forth Thy praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives.”

We often try to adjust our lives towards one another. The whole of England is trying to do it now in what we call “Social Reconstruction”. This great gift of Peace calls us to adjust our lives towards God….

May God make the year one of peace and happiness to us all, our Nation and Empire.

Your affectionate Rector,
Alfred J P Shepherd.

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

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All day without a break people were in Church praying that God would guide and strengthen our nation

St. Peter’s Day of Intercession

St. Peter’s kept Wednesday, April 17th, as a Day of Intercession for the War. There were 47 Communicants at the 7 a.m. celebration, and a great gathering of residents and workers of Furze Platt for the Intercessions at 1.45, and again at 7 p.m., and all day without a break people were in Church praying that God would guide and strengthen our nation and our men, and grant us a righteous and lasting peace.

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

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)

“1917 has been the greatest history making year of this old world’s existence”

Broad Street Congregational Church in Reading joined the National Day of Intercession with hopes that the war would end this year.

The first Sunday in the New Year, January 6th (by command of HM George V), we, in common with other churches, chapels and brotherhoods throughout the United Kingdom, are holding a special intercessory service with special prayers, etc. On that Sunday our Annual Roll Call will be held… We are expecting greetings from most of our members on active service.

Brother Harvey, our organist, has been called up for military service, and our best wishes go with him. Our sincere thanks are due to Miss E E Green, who has most kindly stepped into the breach and preside at the organ on Sunday afternoons….

1917 has been the greatest history making year of this old world’s existence. It is the prayerful hope of us all that 1918 may prove an even greater year, because in it the long prayed for, the long wished for peace has been established.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, January 1918 (D/N11/12/1/14)

“The world-wide struggle for the triumph of right and liberty is entering upon its last and most difficult phase”

The first Sunday of the year was set aside for special prayers in every church.

The Kings Proclamation

TO MY PEOPLE-

The world-wide struggle for the triumph of right and liberty is entering upon its last and most difficult phase. The enemy is striving by desperate assault and subtle intrigue to perpetuate the wrongs already committed and stem the tide of a free civilization. We have yet to complete the great task to which, more than three years ago, we dedicated ourselves.

At such a time I would call upon you to devote a special day of prayer that we may have the clear-sightedness and strength necessary to the victory of our cause. This victory will be gained only if we steadfastly remember the responsibility that rests upon us, and in a spirit of reverent obedience ask the blessing of Almighty God upon our endeavours. With hearts grateful for the Divine guidance which has led us so far toward our goal, let us seek to be enlightened in our understanding and fortified in our courage in facing the sacrifices we may yet have to make before our work is done.

I therefore hereby appoint January 6th – the first Sunday of the year – to be set aside as a special day of prayer and thanksgiving in all Churches throughout my dominions and require that this Proclamation be read at the services held on that day.

GEORGE R.I.

Reading St Mary, January 1918

6th January 1918

We shall keep January 6th, though it be the Feast of the Epiphany, as a special day of prayer in connexion with the War. I hope all our people will observe it devoutly and reverently. We are passing through a particularly anxious time, and our own splendid men and our Allies want all the force of prayer and intercession to help them in the struggle.

Speenhamland, February 1918
The first Sunday in the Year was the Feast of the Epiphany. It was also chosen by the King as the Day of National Prayer and renewed resolution to win the war and a peace which shall be lasting….

The solemn Day of National Prayer, Sunday, January 6th (the Feast of the Epiphany), was well kept throughout the Parish. We all hope and pray that such a day may have strengthened our determination to persevere in carrying out the great ideals which we put before ourselves at the beginning of the War. The season of Lent, which starts on February 13th, will give us another opportunity in re-dedicating ourselves to God’s service in self-denial and self-discipline, not only for the good of our souls, but for the helping forward of our country and its Allies on their way to a lasting peace.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Church
MINISTER’S JOTTINGS
Once more at the beginning of a New Year, I desire to send a message of good-will to all our readers. Twelve months ago we were hoping that by this time the war would be over, and that we should be rejoicing in the establishment of peace. That hope has been disappointed, and the outlook at the moment is anything but promising. Still we renew our hopes today that 1918 may see the end of this terrible war, and the realisation of those ideals for which we are struggling. In the meantime let us stand firm in our faith in God, and in the conviction that the cause of righteousness must ultimately prevail.

His Majesty the King has “appointed January 6th – the first Sunday of the year – to be set aside as a special day of prayer and thanksgiving in all the Churches”, and he calls upon all his people to devote the day to special prayer for the nation. We propose to respond to the call of His Majesty at Broad Street, and to observe the day in the way he requests. I would venture, therefore, to express the hope that every member of the congregation will endeavour to be in his or her place that day, so that we may all unite in the special intercession.

Reading St SaviourThe first Sunday in the Year was the Feast of the Epiphany. It was also chosen by the King as the day of National Prayer and renewed resolution to win the war and a peace which shall be long lasting.

Community of St John Baptist, Clewer
6 January 1918

Day appointed by the King for Prayer & Thanksgiving in connection with the war. At both celebrations of the Holy Eucharist the service was of the Epiphany, but at the second one, the King’s Proclamation was read after the Creed, followed by the “Bidding Prayer”. At Matins & Evensong, the special Psalms, Prayers etc appointed in the Form of Prayer put forth for the day were used.

Florence Vansittart Neale
6 January 1918

Crowded National Prayer & Thanksgiving.

King’s proclamation printed in Wargrave parish magazine, January 1918 (D/P145/28A/31); Speenhamland parish magazine, January and February 1918 (D/P116B/28A/2); Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, January 1918 (D/N11/12/1/14); St Saviour’s section of Reading St Mary parish magazine, February 1918 (D/P98/28A/13); Annals of the Community of St John Baptist, Clewer (D/EX1675/1/14/5); Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8)

The greatest war of history still rages

The Burghfield parish magazine reported on the numbers to join up in the parish, as well as those contributing at home.

CHRISTMAS AND THE NEW YEAR
The second War Christmas has come and gone; the Angels’ message of “Peace on earth” seemed strangely out of tune with actual facts when, instead of peace, the greatest war of history still rages and there is upon the earth “distress of nations with perplexity”. Yet it served to remind us once more of what we believe was the Divine intention for mankind, and of how far, alas! man has thwarted the good purposes of God. And yet there is a sense in which the beautiful story of Bethlehem and the “Peace that passeth all understanding” must have come home to many hearts this year…

We are all, I hope, beginning the new year seriously and hopefully. The solemn act in which we are called to join on the first Sunday in the year means – in the words of our archbishop – “nothing less than the rededication to God of our life as it is, in the firm belief that He will pardon and mend and strengthen us. We brace ourselves anew, soldiers and civilians, at home and abroad, to discharge the trust of so arming and fighting and conquering as to establish hereafter among the nations of the earth a simpler life, a simpler faith, a firmer fellowship, an enduring peace”.

War Hospital Supplies Association
(Officially recognised by the War Office)

A branch in connection with Holiday House was formed early in November. Mrs George, Mrs Gripper, and Mrs Kirkwood will be glad of all the help they can get. Up to date over 400 articles have been sent into the Reading Depot. Work parties meet on Mondays, at Miss Gripper’s, and on Fridays at Holiday House, where samples and materials will be supplied. Splints, bandages, towels, pillows, bed-jackets, etc are wanted in hundreds. Contributions of money are gladly received where personal service cannot be given; and an Entertainment in aid of the fund will be given in the New Schools, by the Holiday House Dramatic Society, at the end of January.

BURGHFIELD AND THE WAR
The “Roll of Honour” hanging on the inner doors of the church has grown steadily until it now contains more than 190 names of “Burghfield men” who either (a) are or have been actually serving during this war in some naval or military capacity, or (b) have offered themselves under Lord Derby’s Scheme, have been accepted, and are enlisted in the Reserve for service in due course. No doubt the Roll is not too exclusive. On the one hand, members of any well-known old Burghfield family have been treated as admissible (under certain conditions) for enrolment, though no longer living in the parish). And, on the other hand, it was impossible to leave out men who in fact had enlisted or been called up from the parish, although they were only temporary residents, e.g. migratory labourers, employees of private persons, etc.

But, allowing for extreme cases, it is still a goodly list; and if account is also taken of the men, numbering more than 40, who since the beginning of the war have definitely offered themselves, but have been rejected as medically unfit, and of the 20 or so who have served, but are past the age of useful service, the parish may well feel some patriotic pride, saddened though we may be by the recollection of those who have given up their lives for their country.

(more…)

“It is often more difficult to face oneself than to face the enemy”

The vicar of Warfield had some thoughts on the days following the Day of National Intercession.

VICAR’S LETTER.

MY DEAR FRIENDS AND PARISHIONERS,-

The New Year, by the wish of the King, is to begin with prayer, and a call has further been given by the Church through the Archbishops and Bishops. By the time this will be in your hands we shall, I hope, have used the days of humiliation, preparation and intercession to the best of our ability. Let us all see to it that we continue the year as we begin it.

All our Warfield men tell me when they return home what a great comfort it is to them as they constantly face death to feel that those they love at home are praying for them. Those who represent us on the battlefield have the first claim upon our prayers, but the nation at home still requires them. Holy Scripture reminds us how many a victory was lost by Israel, not because they were militarily weak, but because the nation had grievously offended God by their sins. It is often more difficult to face oneself than to face the enemy. May God give every one of us grace to face ourselves and to bring our wills into harmony with His Divine will.

Yours affectionately in Christ,

WALTER THACKERAY.

Warfield section of Winkfield District Monthly Magazine, January 1916 (D/P151/28A/8/1)

“God and Right” is the fighting motto of our sailors and soldiers

The vicar of Winkfield had some stirring words for parishioners, who had sent Christmas gifts to men at the front.

THE VICAR’S LETTER.

MY DEAR FRIENDS.

You will have already received my letter about the Day of National Intercession on January 2nd, and I sincerely hope that there will be very few this year who will have the reproach of neglecting to respond to this piece of duty to their country, the joining and offering of humble homage to Almighty God in humble recognition of our National reliance upon His overruling Hand.

We long for peace and pray it may come this year, but we believe with our whole souls that we are fighting for God and Right, and it is this that has nerved so many thousands to answer their country’s call as clear call from God, and to offer their young lives willingly, cheerfully and gladly until a just and lasting peace can be secured.
And this brings the thought, has my response to the call of God and His Church to serve in His Army against all the forces of evil, been like that? Ought not our Christian soldiering to be far more real and earnest? If “God and Right” be the fighting motto of our sailors and soldiers, shall it not also be a New Year’s motto for all of us who are pledged to serve in the Army of God. May it be yours and mine in this New Year.

Your sincere Friend and Vicar,

H. M. MAYNARD.

PARISH NOTES

The Christmas presents to our men were sent off in good time and already Mrs. Maynard has received several grateful letters with warm expressions of thanks to all kind friends in Winkfield who helped, and this proof that they were not forgotten be those at home is what seems to have been especially appreciated by the men.

Seventy-seven parcels were sent, practically all of which contained some articles of warm clothing, besides cigarettes, pipes, tobacco, chocolate, biscuits, &c., and a pocket testament and tiny prayer book.

Winkfield section of Winkfield District Monthly Magazine, January 1916 (D/P151/28A/8/1)

“God will over-rule the issues of this terrible world-war”

The war was bringing more people to the churches as they had loved ones to pray for.

Ascot

THE DAYS OF NATIONAL INTERCESSION (December 31st, January 1st and 2nd) were well responded to by our people. We were thankful for the 148 communions made on January 2nd. We were thankful also, specially thankful, for the presence of those who, for the first time for many years, worshipped with us in the Church of GOD. Let me earnestly plead with you to continue to come, now that you have “broken the ice.” May I reprint a sentence of two out of a Letter which I wrote to you all?

“We shall not deserve victory till, not one or two here and there, but parish after parish, throughout the length and breadth of the Land, lifts up a united voice in prayer to the King of Kings; the Lord of Heaven and earth, that He Who alone is All-Powerful, will over-rule the issues of this terrible world-war to the bringing about, in HIS own way, of a Christian and permanant peace… I make a special appeal to those among ourselves, who have grown into the custom of never coming to GOD’S House to offer HIM a single prayer. It is a difficult thing (I know it, and believe me, I feel with you the difficulty) to break through the habit of years, and to commence all over again… For the sake of our country and ourselves, in loyalty to our Lord JESUS Christ and in loyalty to our dear English Land, I call upon you to rally with a new and consecrated enthusiasm round HIS Altar and within HIS Sanctuary…”

Cranbourne

The Services in connection with the Days of Intercession were: – Friday, December 31st, 7.0p.m., Service of preparation; January 1st, Celebrations of the Holy Communion at 8 a.m. and 11 a.m., with Intercessions each hour from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. On Sunday, January 2nd, Celebrations of the Holy Communion at 8 a.m.and 12 noon, and the other usual services, with a Special Service of Intercessions at 6.30. These services were well attended, the collections were for the Red Cross Society, and amounted to £8 13s. 9d.

The hours of the Weekly Intercession Services have been altered, and are now as follows: Wednesday at 11 a.m., Litany of Intercession; Friday, at 2.30p.m., Special intercessions.

Ascot and Cranbourne sections of the Winkfield District Magazine, February 1916 D/P151/28A/8/2

The second Day of National Intercession: a help which all can give but a power which none can measure

As a new calendar year dawned there was another national Day of Intercession. Florence Vansittart Neale helped with the recruitment of worshippers in Bisham.

2 January 1916
Special day for Intercessions & celebrations. Had been round to people & asked them to come, so had quite good congregations. Special psalms & lessons & hymns. National Anthem, & chain of prayer from 8 o’clock.

The call was reported in detail in the Winkfield magazine:

MESSAGE FROM THE ARCHBISHOPS

The following notice is issued by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York:

The first Sunday of this year (January 3rd, 1915) was observed as a special Day of Intercession in connection with the war. It is proposed that the opening of the coming year shall in all our parishes be marked in a similar way, Sunday, January 2nd 1916, being set apart in our Churches and Cathedrals for solemn intercession to Almighty God and for thankful recognition of the devotion that has been forthcoming in the manhood and womanhood of our country. With a view to really thoughtful use of so solemn an occasion we propose that wherever possible the observance should begin on the two preceding days; that Friday, December 31st, the closing day of the year, should be kept as a day of self-denial and of penitence for the manifold sins and shortcomings whereof we are conscious as people; and that on Saturday (New Year’s Day), at such times as may be most convenient, Services should be held and opportunity given for quiet in preparation for the Holy Communion and other Services of the Sunday thus specially appointed.

We are permitted to state that this proposed observance of the opening Sunday of the New Year meets with the entire approbation and endorsement of his Majesty the King.

We have already communicated to the authorities of other religious denominations in England the proposal we are making for the observation in this way of the opening days of the coming year, and it is our hope that the whole nation may thus be moved at a solemn hour to turn to Him Who is our Hope and Strength.

RANDALL CANTUAR.
COSMO EBOR.

In Wargrave, the parish magazine advertised the events:

The Red Cross
All the Collections on Sunday, January 2nd, the Day of National Intercession, will be given to the British Red Cross Society.

Three Solemn Days
The last day of the year, Friday, December 31st, will be observed as a day of humble confession of penitence and intercession in regard to the War. Saturday, January 1st, may be observed as a day of special preparation for the Communion on Sunday. Sunday, January 2nd, will be observed as a Day of National Intercession.

The Services on Sunday, January 2nd, will be as follows- Holy Communion 8 a.m., preceded by Litany 7.45 a.m. and 12 o’clock. Mattins and Sermon at 11a.m. Children’s Service at 2.30 p.m. Evensong 6.30. The Sermons will be preached by the Rev, A. H, Austen-Leigh. A special character will be given to all the services.

It is hoped that no one will neglect to do his part in the work of Prayer, it is a help which all can give but of a power which none can measure.

The next issue reported:

British Red Cross Society
The Church Collections on the Day of National Intercession amounted to £22 13s. 3d. and were given to the Joint Committee of the British Red Cross Society and the British Order of St. John of Jerusalem.

In Reading, St John’s parish magazine also announced the day:

THE DAY OF INTERCESSION
Again we are called by the Archbishop and Bishops to make the first Sunday of the year, i.e. January 2nd, a day of prayer and intercession for our nation. We are called also to observe the last day of the Old Year as one of penitence, and the intervening day as one of preparation, in so far as shall be possible for us.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale (D/EX73/3/17/8); Winkfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, December 1915 (D/P151/28A/7/12); Wargrave parish magazines, January and February 1916 (D/P145/28A/31); Reading St. John parish magazine, January 1916 (D/P172/28A/24)

“We will keep the Home fires burning and the Church bells ringing till our lads come home”

The vicar of Winkfield drew parishioners’ attention to the spiritual needs of men at the front.

THE VICAR’S LETTER

MY DEAR FRIENDS,

I think most of us know that we are sending to all the men from our parish now serving in the Army or Navy, Christmas greetings accompanied by a present, to let them know that whilst they are spending Christmas far away they are not forgotten by those at home. Each man will receive with is present a Christmas card with the words “We will keep the Home fires burning and the Church bells ringing till our lads come home,” and also the message, which I ask you to specially note “We are praying for you at our Christmas Communion.” Those of us who have relations at the front will hardly need to be invited to come to Church on Christmas Day and there, especially in Holy Communion, the Lord’s own Service, commend their dear ones to His keeping; but I trust there will be but few in the parish who will not make a point of attending Divine Service on such a solemn and unique Christmas as this will be, to remember in earnest prayer those who cannot be with us in the home circle.

I want to draw the attention of those who have relatives serving to the article on “The Little Calendar.” One of these calendars, together with a pocket Testament and Prayer Book will be sent in each Christmas parcel to our men, and I should be glad to supply any who would like one of these calendars in order to read the same passage daily and use the same prayer as a bond between themselves and their absent loved ones.

In closing let me commend to your thoughtful consideration the message from the Archbishops urging us to make the first Sunday in the New Year a special day of Intercession in connection with the War. Notices of Services will be issued later.
Your sincere Friend and Vicar,
H.M. MAYNARD

* * *

THE LITTLE CALENDAR.

The other day, when one of our Army Chaplains was home for a short furlough, he mentioned a difficulty met by men on active service who were trying to lead a Christian life. They wished to read a few verses of the Bible every day. But the various Bible Reading Unions all chose passages from all over the Bible, and a Testament was as much as they could conveniently carry. Moreover, the Prayer Book Calendar Lessons were generally too long. So there was a need for a series of Short Readings, confined to the New Testament.

This want THE LITTLE CALENDAR is intended to meet. On Sundays and Holydays the Reading is usually from the Epistle or Gospel. On other days the Readings are for several days nearly consecutive, and month by month they illustrate some aspect of Christian Calling.

Much Bible Reading is of little profit, because the pith and marrow of it is not gathered up into prayer; and much prayer is stale and unhelpful because it has no fresh inspiration behind it. So a reference to some suitable Prayer Book prayer follows each reading. In this way the reading can be made more practical, and some of the wealth of devotional material in the Prayer Book can be illuminated by the lamp of God’s Word.

It is suggested also that THE LITTLE CALENDAR may serve as a bond between the absent. If soldiers and sailors on active service knew that their friends at home were daily reading the same passage and using the same prayer, it would make the Communion of Saints a more real and stronger thing, and as THE LITTLE CALENDAR, though specially prepared for soldiers and sailors, has nothing in it that is not adapted for general use, it is hoped that other people may like to use it, and be glad to think of those who are using it too.

Winkfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, December 1915 (D/P151/28A/7/12)

“The spirit arrayed against us threatens the very foundations of civilised order”

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York issued a general pastoral letter to members of the Church of England, challenging them to support the war effort. The Winkfield church magazine printed it in full:

The ARCHBISHOPS’ PASTORAL LETTER

BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

God is laying upon us, at this hour in our lives, a great trust. Never in the world’s history have such things happened as are happening now. And our Heavenly father trusts us to face the solemn hour in quietness and confidence, with unshakeable resolve, in the power of prayerful hope.

The Bishops of our English Dioceses at their Whitsuntide meeting resolved, in words now made public, that we should do what in us lies to rally Christian folk to loyal service and persistent prayer. At their united wish we give you this message.

After ten months of war we see more clearly than at first the greatness and the severity of the ordeal which is putting the spirit of our nation to the test. What is at stake is not only the honour of our plighted word, but our safety and freedom, and the place entrusted to us among the nations of the earth. The spirit arrayed against us threatens the very foundations of civilised order in Christendom. It wields immense and ruthless power. It can only be decisively rolled back if we, for our part, concentrate the whole strength of body, mind, soul which our nation, our Empire, holds.

We therefore look with confidence to the Government, deliberately chosen to represent us all, that it shall take, and take with courage, whatever steps it considers necessary to summon and control every possible resource which we have of body and brain, of wealth and industry. We solemnly call upon all members of the Church, and urge upon all our fellow citizens, to meet with glad and unstinted response whatever demands of service or of sacrifice the Government decides to make. A great war righteously waged calls out that spirit of willing sacrifice with a plainness and an intensity which nothing else can rival. On behalf of righteousness and in our country’s cause there is no one, there is nothing, too dear or too sacred to be offered. God has taught us. Let us obey. By what we give and by what we are may His will be done.

But we have more to say, and it matters most of all. It is the office of the Church of Christ to quicken and to guide the spiritual forces on which the strength, the steadfastness, and the nobility of the national sprit depend.

Are these forces as alert, as watchful, as persistent now as they ought to be? We have cause to fear that they have languished a little since the earlier weeks of the war. A reaction comes, and it may be that the Whitsuntide message of the Holy Spirit’s call is falling upon ears which have become less swift to hear. The reiterations of many months have been allowed to mar and dull the eagerness with which we prayed when the leaves were yellow last autumn.

We are girding ourselves afresh for the material conflict, and for providing whatever is needed to ensure its full and final success, but we lack determination and persistence in the output of our spiritual force. Foremost therein we place unhesitatingly the power or prayer. Twice since the war began we have bid people set apart a day for solemn Intercession. Successive Forms of Prayer which we put forth have been everywhere used to help the spirit of prayer, which we trust has taken a wider range and found more free and varied utterance. What we chiefly need at present is not a new appointment of special days or a new set of published forms. Rather we want a more literal fulfilment of the plain duty of “continuing instant in prayer.” The duty lies imperatively upon all of us who profess and call themselves Christians; but it grows incalculably in weight by the solemnity of these tremendous weeks of tense conflict, of crushing bereavement, and of continuous suspense and strain. Are the Christian people of our land putting into the high service of prayer anything like the energy and resolution, or the sacrifice of time and thought which in many quarters are forthcoming with a ready will for other branches of national service?

Remember always that prayer means something even larger and deeper than asking wisdom for our King and his Ministers, protection for our sailors and soldiers, comfort for the anxious and bereaved, victory for the cause of our nation and its Allies. Prayer implies a reverent sense of the Sovereignty of God, a hold even when we are bewildered in the darkness and confusion upon the certainty that He is set in the Throne judging right. And prayer means- for without which we dare not come into His Presence – the humble, deliberate, heartfelt confession of our sins – sins of selfishness and self-indulgence, sins of hardness and complacency, sins of sheer laziness and lack of thought. We have in days of quiet made too little of the claim of God upon our lives. Can we wonder that in stern hours like this it is hard to kindle afresh the deep and simple thoughts which we have allowed to grow languid and uncertain? But such rekindling there must be. Give earnest heed to this most sacred of all duties. Set yourselves, in the midst of all the exigencies and passions of war, to be loyal to the Spirit of Christ. Strive to keep openness of mind and soul for such message as the Holy Spirit may reveal to us at an hour when God is judging what is base and inspiring what is best in England’s life. He may speak in the ordered ministry of Word and Sacrament, or in the roar of battle, or in the silence of a shadowed home. He does, for we have all seen it, give, to those who lie open to His gift, courage and understanding and patience and high hope. “O put your trust in Him always, ye people, pour out your hearts before Him; for God is our hope.”

RANDALL CANTUAR.

COSMO EBOR.

Winkfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, July 1915 (D/P151/28A/7/5)

A true sense of hope

The vicar of Warfield was pleased that worshippers were all committed to prayers of intercession for the war.

VICAR’S LETTER.

MY DEAR FRIENDS AND PARISHIONERS,-

We are now on the threshold of another year, which I trust we are beginning with a true sense of hope. The Christmas message of “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good-will” puts our thoughts in the right attitude, that is, Give God his right place and peace will follow to all those who do so. It is a great comfort to feel that almost the entire congregation wait for the special intercession for those at the front at the close of the evening service each Sunday; we are all feeling our share in the great war.

On the first Sunday in January we shall all have our prayers specially centred on the trial through which our nation is passing at this time. The King has specially asked that all who employ Sunday labour will do their utmost to reduce the same to a minimum that all may have an opportunity of joining in the great act of prayer. Our Bishop has asked us to make the preceding day a day of abstinence that our prayers may be more acceptable and our thoughts less distracted from the great spiritual effort on the following day. Let us further ask God that what we begin on the first Sunday of the New year may be faithfully continued by us, that in the words of the prophet “we give Him no rest till He make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.”

Yours affectionately in Christ,
WALTER THACKERAY.

Warfield section of Winkfield District Magazine (D/P151/28A/7)

The lessons of this devastating war

The vicar of Winkfield had some thoughts for parishioners.

VICAR’S LETTER.

MY DEAR FRIENDS.

I have already sent you a long letter about the great Day of National Intercession on January 3rd, which letter you will have received before you get this number of the Magazine; and so it only remains for me to wish you now a truly Happy New Year, and to express the hope which is close in all our hearts that before 1915 closes, we shall be enjoying once more the blessings of Peace.

Meantime let us try to learn the lessons that God would teach us by the trial of this devastating war. May it not be that this terrible scourge has been allowed by God, not only as a trial of our faith but also to wake us up to realities, to a recognition of out shortcomings, of the immorality, the irreligion, the forgetfulness of God, and the want of love and gratitude to Him for His continued daily mercies which we have been to apt to take as a matter of course.

But out of evil he can and does bring good; already there are signs of a reawakening of true religion in the Nation, the old surface of life has passed away, she has been stirred to the depths, and the lines by Mr. Alfred Noyes aptly sum up the position.

“Thou, whose deep ways are in the sea,
Whose footsteps are not known;
To-day a world that turned from Thee
Is waiting- at Thy Throne.”

Yes, we may well hope and pray that our people will emerge from this war disciplined and purified, a strong sober nation with the fear of God before her eyes.

And now let me sum up my good wishes to you all for the New Year in the words of “St. Patricks” Prayer.

The strength of God pilot you
The power of God preserve you
The wisdom of God instruct you
The hand of God defend you
The way of God guide you.

Your sincere Friend and Vicar,
H. M. MAYNARD.

Winkfield section of Winkfield District Monthly Magazine, January 1915 (D/P151/28A/7/1)

Lantern lectures on the war

Lectures on the war were offered to both civilians and servicemen in Winkfield.

PARISH NOTES
C. E. M. S.
The usual monthly meeting was held at the Vicarage on Wednesday, Dec. 18th at 8.15 p. m. After joining in Intercessions for the War… the Vicar then explained that he was anxious to make the great day of National Intercession on Jan. 3rd as widely known as possible, and it was arranged that, as the magazine would come out too late for the purpose, the members should take round a special letter on the subject to every household in the parish.

The members are to be congratulated on the success of their house to house collection for the Belgian Refugee Fund, since their efforts resulted in the raising of £17 1s. 10d.

We have now sent up to this fund the sum of £22 13s. 10d., made up as follows:
£ s. d.
C. E. M. S. collection 17 1 10
Donation from Choir Men 2 0 0
Choir Girls of S. Mary the Less (in lieu of having their Annual Treat on Nov. 5th) 1 10 0
Offertory at Church Parade (Dec. 6) 2 2 0

A Public Lecture on the War, illustrated by 80 Lantern Views was given on Dec. 2nd in the Parish Room at 8 o’clock when the chair was taken by Lord George Pratt. The members of the C. E. M. S. worked hard to sell the tickets, with the result that the attendance was very good, and after all expenses had been paid the sum of £4 8s. 4d. was sent to the Prince of Wales Fund.

Another War Lecture entitled “How the British soldier fights” was given on Dec. 15th. This was a free lecture for “service men” only and about 70 attended.

Our warm thanks are due to the Secretary of the C. E. M. S. for kindly working the lantern at both these lectures.

Winkfield section of Winkfield District Monthly Magazine, January 1915 (D/P151/28A/7/1)