The first claim upon our offerings before even War Memorials

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

The Vicar’s Letter

Dear Friends and Parishioners…

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

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

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar,

C E M Fry

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

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A touching ceremony

William Hallam saw a memorial unveiled.

20th April 1919

Easter Sunday. Up at ¼ to 7. A bright day but a bitter cold wind. Wife Mur. & I to St Saviour’s Church to H.C. at 8. Then I went down to St. Paul’s at XI by myself. A large number there. After the service a new stained glass window was unveiled by Capt Wright in memory of 2 brothers- Dixon- killed in the war. Capt R. Hogson in uniform carried the cross. Quite a touching ceremony. It was such a cold wind I didn’t go out again.


Diary of William Hallam of Swindon (D/EX1415/25)

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

Soldiers were welcomed back to church.

The Vicar’s Letter

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

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

It could not be a very happy Easter for “us Germans”

There was an awkward exchange for Will Spencer in Switzerland.

Wed 16th April 1919

The first lesson for some weeks to Fraulein K Miller. When, in leaving, I wished her a happy Easter, she thanked me, but said it could not be a very happy one for “us Germans”. I had believed up till now that she was Swiss.

Diary of Will Spencer in Switzerland (D/EX801/29)

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

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

Easter

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

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

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

The vicar of Wargrave had a postwar Easter message.

Lent

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The terms of peace

A Berkshire vicar guided his flock in thoughts about how the post-war world should look.

Crazies Hill Notes

On the Sunday Evenings during Lent a course of sermons will be preached by the Vicar, Subject:- The Terms of Peace.

i. Between the Kingdoms of the World
ii. Between Capital and Labour
iii. Between Members of a Family
iv. Between God and Man
v. Between a man and his own heart

May this coming season of Lent be a time of rich blessing to us all, drawing us closer to our Lord in prayer and self-denial, so that the Easter Festival may find us prepared to rejoice in His glorious Resurrection.

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

“The wretched German private soldier had no idea that the Americans had landed in France”

Newbury people were optimistic that the tide had finally turned, thanks to our allies.

THE WAR

The latest German offensive has been seriously interfered with by a magnificent counter-attack by the French, who are reported (July 19th) to have taken prisoners 18,000 of the enemy and to have captured 100 guns.

The Americans also have had their part in this victory, and it appears that the wretched German private soldier had no idea that the Americans had landed in France, at all events in any considerable numbers, until they found them upon them.

This victory is most welcome and hopeful, and we trust that the tide is now turning.

There are still several of our young men who are missing, and of whom their friends have had no tidings. They ought, both soldiers and friends, to have our sympathy and prayers.

ROLL OF HONOUR

Sergt Stanley Nelson Gordon Giddings, Royal Berks Regt, died of wounds April 7th, 1918, aged 23.

Pte Ernest Frances [sic] Rivers, 2nd Batt. Royal Berks Regt, killed in action in France March 31st, 1918 (Easter Day).

RIP.

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

“May his sacrifice not be in vain!”

There was sad news for many Reading families.

The Vicar’s Notes

Intercessions

Let us remember in our prayers all our fighting men, especially, among the prisoners, Alfred Standbridge, of Boarded Lane, one of our server; Roy Russell, of Minster Street; Walter Nunn of Hope Street (also wounded); Frank Thomas, of Lavender Street.

The Fallen, especially Norman Day, of Anstey Road (died of wounds); Arthur Walley, of Bartlett’s Cottages, killed in action on Easter Day; George Gardiner, Of Lavender Place (died from wounds).
R.I.P.

All Saints District
List of Men Serving in His Majesty’s forces

We shall be very grateful for additions or corrections to our list so that it may be kept up to date.

We offer our deepest sympathy to one of the oldest members of the choir, Mr Sales, on the loss of a second son. Percy Sales was well known in the district and will be much missed. – R.I.P.

We would also offer our deepest sympathy to Mrs. Austen Leigh and family on the death of her youngest son Acting Captain Arthur Alexander Austen Leigh who was killed in action on May 11th. – R.I.P.

S. Saviours District
R.I.P.

Frank Chard, an old S. Saviours lad, has laid down his life in France. He had served in the army for some time during the war and had only recently returned to the front after his marriage. We feel much with his wife and family who mourn his loss, and also with the army who have lost in him a good soldier. May his sacrifice not be in vain!


Lads Club

We are very sorry to hear that Bert Griffin is dangerously ill in hospital in France; we hope his slight improvement will be maintained. Ben Josey is still very ill. G. Mittam, W. Sawyer are slowly recovering from their wounds. L. Shipway has quite recovered and others who are in H.M.Forces are doing well.

Our Soldiers

Edward James Bonny and Frederick Hearn are prisoners and Charles and James Wayman are missing. William Jessy and Arthur Dye and George Ward are sick, and Tom Josey wounded. They need our prayers.

Sidesman

Mr George Wells has to rejoin the Army at the end of May, but tho’ we shall lose his faithful services for the time being, we shall count him as one of our S. Saviour’s Sidesmen, and one and all wish him well.

Reading St Mary parish magazine, June 1918 (D/P98/28A/13)

Easter eggs for wounded soldiers

Hundreds of eggs were donated as a special Easter gift for wounded soldiers. (They were real eggs not chocolate ones!)

Crazies Hill Notes

Mrs. Woodward once again made a collection of Easter eggs for wounded soldiers and is to be congratulated upon the success of her efforts. In money no less than £4 1s. was offered for this worthy object and 109 eggs were given in addition. 331 eggs were purchased with the money so generously given and a total of 440 eggs were distributed as follows: –

Wargrave Hospital 140
No. 1 War Hospital at Reading 100
Henley Hospital 100
3rd London General Hospital, Wandsworth 100

It is to the last named Hospital that the work done by the Crazies Hill Working Party is sent.

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

“The bomb passed through the bows, exploding on the other side”

Three of the Sisters of the Community of St John Baptist, whose base was at Clewer, were shipwrecked on their way home from India thanks to enemy action.

April, 1918
My dear Associates

You will all be interested to hear that we have just welcomed home from Calcutta Sister Alexandrina, Sister Marion Edith and Sister Edith Helen after a really perilous voyage. The only route available was via Colombo, which they reached by train from Calcutta. The first part of the voyage through the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea was very enjoyable, smooth and lovely weather.

Good Friday was spent in the harbour of Suez, and Port Said was reached on Sunday morning. Along the banks of the Suez Canal they saw many races of the recent fighting in Egypt – deserted trenches and dug-outs, and in one place a camp of a considerable size, but their own course was perfectly uneventful.

After waiting four days at Port Said, their steamer joined a large convoy of vessels bound for England, protected by several destroyers and sloops. All went well during the first six days, and then, at 7 a.m. on a date I am not allowed to mention, the ship was struck by a torpedo. Mercifully no one was seriously injured, the bomb having passed through the bows, exploding on the other side.

Fearing another attack, the Captain immediately transferred all the passengers to the boats, and after rowing about on a rough sea for two hours, a sloop picked them up, and conveyed them to Bizerta, a French town on the coast of North Africa, the actual site of ancient Carthage, about four hours by rail from Tunis. At once everything was done on a most generous scale for their comfort and protection, and four days later a mail boat from Tunis conveyed all the passengers to Marseilles, and from there the homeward journey was continued via Paris, Havre and Southampton….

Letters to Associates of the Community of St John Baptist (D/EX1675/1/24/6)

“The War Cloud looms still larger before our eyes”

The vicar of Maidenhead saw people being spurred by the war to religious commitment.

The Vicar’s letter

Dear Friends and Parishioners,-

… The War Cloud looms still larger before our eyes, but, please God, this may be the crisis of the struggle. We all need to pray for steadfastness, both for our men abroad and ourselves. We must try to be growingly thoughtful one for another, the young as well as the old; and at home we ought to lend the Country all we can save, whether through War Saving Certificates or in some other way.

The Lent Services have been well attended; I hope Easter will have been the same. More and more those who have any character of their own, whether men or women, are being led to feel the need of God’s aid to quit them bravely in the trials and temptations of life.…

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar
C.E.M. FRY

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

Such days as England never experienced before

The spring of 1918 saw a new onslaught at the front.

THE GERMAN FURY.

We have been passing through such days as England never experienced before. Defeat and disaster has seemed to be within measurable distance. If the British lines had been broken through, and the enemy had gained the coast; it is hard to see how we could have avoided surrender.

But through all our terrors and alarms we have never really believed that surrender was possible, not only because we trusted in the unconquerable British Army, but because we trusted in God. As the struggle lengthens out, and privations increase, our hope of endurance and final victory depends even more upon this flaming certainty, that this is the sacred cause of righteousness and God. We shall be traitors to heaven and earth if we allow war-weariness to abate our fixed resolve to continue to the end. Let us be quite sure that the end will be as we desire. It must be, because there is a justice immanent in things, and because God has bidden us defend the right. To leave our task half done would be to leave the world so shadowed by a great evil, that life would be monstrously burdened and spoiled, and happiness and rest for the nations would be impossible.

The nation is being called to still greater sacrifices, and every one of us must give his answer with a whole heart. Already there has been a wealth of sacrifice on all hands greater than we could have dreamed possible. Even we who thought best of our countrymen never guessed of the magnificent capacity for self-denial and service. And if more is demanded, shall we not all be ready? Whatever it is, economy in food or dress, or the rendering of such services in any form as may be in our power, or the brave bearing of the long strain, we must realise that our little counts, and that we shall never respect ourselves again if we do not play our part well now.

Almost every preacher during this Eastertide seems to have likened the anguish of the nation to Christ’s Gethsemane and sacrifice. Surely the resemblance is a real one. If we take it aright, the whole strife and agony of the nation to-day is of a piece with the cross of Christ. Christ’s cross was a voluntary suffering for the advantage of the race. And if we will consciously take it so, our suffering is a willing burden and anguish for the sake of the world and its peace. All those who have willingly risen up and taken arms against the monstrous scourge that threatens us, though some of them had perhaps little thought of religion, are really fighting in Christ’s cause against Antichrist.

And let those who believe in prayer pray. “More things are wrought by prayer than this world knows of.” Shall not the need of to-day teach us to pray with new faith and insistency? So let us pass through these days of pain as Christians should, in the trust that God is, that God sees, that God works, that right is right, and that right is might.

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, April 1918 (D/N33/12/1/5)

Savings for the Church Army Hut Fund

The parish of Reading St Mary devoted Lent collections to the Church Army’s work with soldiers behind the lines.

Lenten Savings for the Church Army Hut Fund should be sent in to the Priest-in-Charge at the Vestry at any of the services about Easter time. The boxes provided are much too large to go into the alms bags. Of course, any who prefer to give paper money or cheques may enclose them in envelopes and place them in the alms bags as usual, with the words “Church Army Hut Fund” written on the outside.

Reading St Mary parish magazine (D/P116B/28A/2)

This time of great national anxiety

It was another worrying Easter.

The services on Good Friday and Easter Sunday were well attended and it was satisfactory to notice that at this time of great national anxiety a larger number than usual came to meet our Risen Saviour in his Holy Communion, and pray for their loved ones at His service. In spite of the shortages and high prices many offerings of beautiful flowers were brought to the Church, which looked its best, thanks to the care and taster of those who so lovingly arranged them.

Ascot section of Winkfield and Warfield Magazine, May 1918 (D/P 151/28A/10/5)