Gratitude for deliverance from the German menace

The War Memorial

The committee met on June 13.

Present: The vicar, the Rev. H B Mead, the two churchwardens, Messrs F B East, W B Waters, H Masters, E Long, G C Sturgess, H B Mole, E Clayton Jones, A H Salman, J A Murray, H Knapman, T R Stevens, F C Edwards, G C Love. Ladies: D A Lawrence, G Fanstone, E Type, N Driscoll, A L Martin, H L Stevens, S Goose, B Newbery. The appointment of Mr Richard Brown and Mr Frank B East as joint treasurers of the fund met with approbation. The newly elected treasurers proceeded to receive the first payments, and a first and most gratifying instalment, in cash and promises, the amount of £407 8s 1d was returned. It was resolved to ask the builder to proceed with the work with as little delay as possible. The committee adjourned to Friday 18 July.

This glorious start, recorded above, may rightly call for a word in these pages. There are hundreds of people round about the church who may like to have a share in this Memorial; and the generosity of the first givers will, we hope, move them to follow their example. As we may have said before, we do not want to beg anyone to give to our memorial porch; we only desire to ask them to decide whether or not they will show their gratitude for deliverance from the German menace in this way. Those who have given, and those who mean to give, know that a considerable sum must be yet obtained if the architect’s fee and builders expenses are to be met. We have a large and determined committee, and they may be relied upon to bring the matter under the notice of the parishioners and worshippers of the church. Outside these there are but a few that can be approached; the amount must be raised amongst ourselves, and we are confident that it will be raised.

Earley St Bartholomew parish magazine, July 1919 (D/P192/28A/15)

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Gratitude for deliverance

The Earley war memorial was on its way.

The War Memorial

The committee met on Friday 17 May.

Present: The Vicar in the chair, Mr. Churchwarden Brown, Messrs H Masters, A H Salman, G C Sturgess, T R Stevens, E Clayton Jones, H Mole, F B East, H knapman, F C Edwards, H A Box, A J H Wright, Mrs Newbury, Miss Driscoll, Miss G Fanstone, Miss Goose, Miss Type, Miss H L Stevens, Miss D Lawrence.

The architect’s design and drawings were on view and the builder’s specification and estimate were read. It was resolved unanimously that the work be carried out as soon as possible.

The Committee decided to keep the subscription list open, and to issue a subscription list with names of contributors on the completion of the work; also, that a monthly statement of sums raised should be published in the Magazine during the summer.

The Committee was of the opinion that only the names of parishioners who had laid down their lives should be inscribed on the panels, but they reserved their final decision upon this point.

The chairman urged that all contributions should be given in a spirit of thanksgiving and that this was not an occasion for an ordinary appeal for subscriptions. He thought many persons giving in such spirit would prefer to give (in whole or part) anonymously, but whether this was so or not, he hoped a sense of gratitude for deliverance would govern all gifts made.

The committee adjourned to Friday June 13.

Earley St Bartholomew parish magazine, June 1919 (D/P192/28A/15)

“A rebuilt organ, although it would be a good thankoffering for peace, would not be suitable as a memorial”

How best to recognise the service of the country’s fallen, and those returning alive?

St John’s Parochial Church Council

The fourth meeting of the Parochial Church Council was held at the Princes Street Room on Monday, January 20th, 1919, at 8.15 p.m….

Mr W. H. Pountney moved the following resolution: That the question of providing a new organ for St John’s Church be re-opened by this Council; and a scheme devised forthwith to secure the end in view in memory of those who have fallen in the great war, as a thanksgiving for the blessing of peace, and as a matter of expediency.

This was seconded pro forma by Mr Aldridge.

… This was seconded by Mr Sutton, supported by Miss Sutton, Mr Fanstone, Mr Churchill and Dr Murrell, and Mr F. Winter, several of the speakers saying that whatever was done as a War memorial should be something in connection with both churches, and not for St John’s only. The vicar said he thought the form of memorial should be in accordance with the views of the relations of those who had given their lives, and that a rebuilt organ, although it would be a good thankoffering for peace, would not be suitable as a memorial…

Mr Haslam then moved the following resolution: That a committee be formed to consider the best form for a Memorial to those parishioners or members of the congregations who have given their lives for their God, King and Country in the great war, and to report to this Council.

Mr L. G. Sutton seconded this resolution and it was carried unanimously.

The following committee was elected to carry it into effect: the vicar, the churchwardens, Mr L G Sutton, Mr H A Kingham, Mr F H Wright, Mr Fanstone, Mr Murrell, Miss Britton and Miss Winter.

Mr E C Pearce moved the following resolution, which was seconded by Mr H R Sutton, and carried unanimously:

That a committee be formed to consider and report to the vicar how best to welcome the men and women returning from War Service to the parish, and to take steps to attach them if possible to the parish life.

The following committee was elected to carry this into effect: the vicar, Mr E C Pearce, Mr H R Sutton, Mr W Wing, Mr Fanstone, Miss Simmonds, Miss Rundell, and Cap. Blandy, with power to confer with others.


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

Simple, honest and personal work among the troops

Reading St John’s parishioners were very sorry to lose their vicar, Guy Rogers, to an army chaplaincy. They made sure he (and his housekeeper) got a good sendoff.

PRESENTATION TO THE VICAR AND MISS HOMAN
St John’s Hall was crowded by parishioners on Saturday evening, the 9th October, when a Presentation was made to the Vicar on his resignation of the Parish, and to Miss Homan.

595 subscriptions were received and the gifts were as follows:

An Illuminated Address:
To the Reverend Travers Guy Rogers, BD, Vicar of St John the Evangelist (with St Stephen’s), Reading.
You have been led under Divine Guidance to resign this benefice so that you might respond to the call to take up the special work of an Army Chaplain to the troops at the front.
We recognise in this a call from God to ourselves to make a sacrifice which costs us much…
Signed on behalf of the Subscribers
H. Reginald Sutton
Frank Winter
Churchwardens

An Album containing the names of the Subscribers
Chaplain’s Uniform
A Pair of Field Glasses
A Purse containing a Cheque for £111
A Cheque for Miss Homan to purchase a Fur Coat or such other article as she may desire.

The Mayor presided and was supported on the platform by the Churchwardens and most of the Sidesmen and Members of the Church Board; and after he had spoken other speeches were made by Mr H. R. Sutton, Mr C. Pearce, Mr Fanstone and Mr F. Winter.

The Rev. T. Guy Rogers, who was wearing the uniform which had been presented to him, thanked them all most heartily for the very kind gifts they had presented to him and Miss Holman. The money would be a real help to him, because the income of a chaplain made no allowance for extras – indeed it was considerably less than the income he had enjoyed at home; and therefore the generosity they had shown in the matter relieved him of all financial anxiety for the time being. He was very glad too that they had presented him with his uniform, and that the Maltese cross was on it; for he loved to think that he was going, under the symbol of the Cross, to be an ambassador of Christ on their behalf. On the following Tuesday evening, all being well, he sailed from Folkestone to Boulogne, thence to make the best of his way to the headquarters of the British Army and report himself as one unit, and there he would receive his job. What his job would be, he had not the least idea; but it was his earnest hope to be allowed to do some simple, honest and personal work amongst the troops, trying to make them feel at any rate that in their chaplain they had a friend. He wanted to be a help to men who were going through so much for us, and to do something definite in the way of work for Christ.

Reading St John parish magazine, November 1915 (D/P172/28A/24)

“The Germans are murderers, not clean soldiers”

A selection of letters from Reading soldiers at the Front, in England, and in Egypt, which were printed in their home church’s magazine.

Letter From the Front. Come out and help.
When we are out of the trenches on a Sunday (like to-day) we have a short service which come as a luxury and which reminds me of old times when singing in the choir at S. Stephen’s. I had a scarf sent out to me by my sister which was made at the Girls’ Club, I understand, but it is very handy when we have nights out, which we often do, for it is very cold at nights. We have been out here practically eight weeks, and I suppose have seen as much of the trenches as any battalion out here during that short time. I never thought that when I went to see you when home on leave from Chelmsford that we should have been up in the firing line so quick as we were….

We are always thinking of all the friends and people we have left behind, and I know that you are thinking of us while we are away from everybody doing our bit. I hear that you call the names out on a Sunday and I know that there are quite a number, but I hope that before long that list will be twice as long, for the more men and young chaps we get out here the sooner it will end, and I am sure that we all want to see that as soon as possible.
G. KING.

Poisonous Gases.
Just at present we are having a very troublesome time with the Germans. They are trying their very hardest to break through and we have very hard work to keep them back because they are using those poisonous gases which is something terrible for our poor men, and you can’t do anything at all with them. I think myself that the Germans are murderers, not clean soldiers.
L.H. CROOK. (more…)

A Bible for a church’s ‘old boys’ at the Front

St John’s Church in Reading was anxious to provide spiritual sustenance for the young men it had sent off to war:

The War

We publish a further list of boys or ‘old boys’ connected with our congregations who are now in training or actually engaged in active service on behalf of the Empire. We are always glad to hear news of our boys and they are constantly remembered by us in prayer. George Townsend, Cyril Keatly, Alfred Richard Allum, Horace Arthur Church, Albert Stevens, William Ernest Charles Egan, Arthur John Robert Egan, Albert Fanstone, Ralph Shepherd, Sidney J Luker, Viney Flint, Percy Froude, William Grantham, Arthur Walters, J J Cooper, A Beckett, Walter Crane, Basil Sutton, Edmund Terry, John Edwin Hopcraft, Durward Sydney Hopcraft, James Lyons, William Lyons, – Allaway, A Blake, T J Blake, O L Stagg, W Phipps, A Phipps, Lionel Dymore-Brown, Hugh Dymore-Brown, Arthur Robotham, Arthur Richard Penson, E W Hunt, Victor Fowler, J H Cane.

The Clergy will be very glad to write to any of our lads and to enclose an attractive little copy of S. John’s gospel, which contains also hymns with their tunes and pictures, and Lord Roberts’ letter to the troops, if they are asked to do so. Will parents and friends please communicate with whichever of the clergy knew the young man, giving the full address on paper. In cases where the young man is unknown to the present staff the Vicar will be glad to write.”

Reading St John parish magazine, November 1914 (D/P172/28A/23, p. 4)