The immediate need for comforts for the soldiers is over

A sewing group decided to move on from wartime work to raising money for the church.

CARE AND COMFORTS WORKING PARTY

On February 12th the vicar visited the Working Party to review the work that has been done since its inception in 1915, and to decide as to its future.

It was started by the Rev. T. Guy Rogers in April, 1915, as a Parochial Working Party, primarily to bring together members of St John’s and St Stephen’s congregations for friendly intercourse. This was to be fostered by a common interest, viz work for our local hospitals. The meeting was held on Wednesdays at the Institute until the Flying Corps took possession, when it adjourned to the Princes Street Mission Room. Miss Homan and Mrs Morley were in charge, and when Miss Homan left Miss Britton took her place.

£47 15s 9d has been collected in the parish for materials, and 3,572 things have been made.

The immediate need for comforts for the soldiers being over, the question arose as to whether it should come to an end, or, if not, under what conditions it should be carried on.

It was suggested that it should revert to its original name – Parochial Working Party – and that its raison d’etre should be to work on a business basis for the CMS, buying materials and making things for anyone who would give orders – all profits to go to the CMS. But the Working Party should also do any needlework when needed for either of the churches, e.g. mending communion linen, surplices and cassocks.

It should meet on Wednesdays from 2.30 to 4.30, and any member of either church should be welcomed, provided only that she could sew. These suggestions were agreed to.

Reading St. John parish magazine, May 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)

“We are all called to some sacrifice in these dark days”

T. Guy Rogers, the popular and dedicated young vicar of Reading St John, found he could no longer deny the call to serve as an army chaplain.

My dear Friends,

Since writing the Magazine something has occurred for which I must find room. I have been offered by the Chaplain General, and have accepted, an Army Chaplaincy at the Front (in France). I believe it is a call from God and cannot refuse it. It means, however, the resignation of the parish, for it would not be right for the parish to be left indefinitely without a Vicar. One must not shirk the cost in making a sacrifice, and we are all called to some sacrifice in these dark days. Of my own feelings and the love I bear the parish I cannot write. I shall have my opportunity of speaking to you before this appears in print. I sail for France, so far as I know, in a fortnight’s time. I expect to preach my last sermons at S. John’s at 11 a.m. and 6.30 p.m. on Sunday, October 10th, and at S. Stephen’s the Sunday evening previous, October 3rd. I have the Bishop’s approval and benediction. He has pressed a wish to conduct a Dismissal Service at S. John’s, which will be held on Thursday, October 7th, at 7.30pm.

I am glad to say that there is a good prospect of securing temporary help for my colleagues, and that the appointment of a suitable successor will shortly be made.

Let me commend my Aunt, Miss Homan – it is the women who always bear most of the burden – and myself to your prayers. I shall write further in next month’s Magazine. I cannot do more than state bare facts just now. It is difficult, feeling as I do, to write at all.

Your sincere friend and Vicar,

T. GUY ROGERS.

Reading St John parish magazine, October 1915 (D/P172/28A/3)

Happy in spite of all the anxieties of the moment

In the Newtown area of Reading, the Revd T. Guy Rogers was pleased with his parish’s support for the war hospitals.

My dear friends,

We had a very happy Easter in spite of all the anxieties of the moment. Our congregations were inspiring, and the presence of the Signalling Corps at the 11 a.m. service at St John’s was much appreciated. The number of Communicants in the parish (830) was, though, smaller than in recent years, rather larger than we expected on account of the number of young men now in training or at the front.

I am glad to say that as a parish, we have been able to take up an important piece of work for the Care and Comforts Committee in connection with the Reading Military Hospitals. A large parochial working party, under the charge of Miss Homan and Mrs Morley, has commenced work in the Big Hall of the Institute on Wednesday afternoons. The work will be carried out in close touch with the Care and Comforts Committee, so that such garments as are really needed and only such, will be made. I trust that the General Fund of the Committee may be so adequately supported that it may be enabled to give us a considerable grant in aid towards purchase of materials. At the same time, we shall require a good deal of money for local expenses and for the equipment of the working party, and I shall be most grateful if subscriptions may be sent to me for this purpose….

Your sincere Friend and Vicar
T Guy Rogers

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