Now, we have to thank God for a series of victories that bring the end of the War appreciably nearer

There was optimism in Maidenhead that the end was in sight.

Dear Friends and Parishioners,

The War Intercession Services were, I understand, very well attended. Now, we have to thank God for a series of victories that bring the end of the War appreciably nearer. There is still a long row to hoe, but we do seem to feel that the work to be done, will eventually be completed to the satisfaction of all the Allies. Owing to the Fuel and Lighting Order, Week-day Evensong from September till the Spring, except on Friday, which will be unaltered, will be held in both Churches at 3 p.m….

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

WAR SAVINGS ASSOCIATION

Furze Platt residents will be glad to know how successful the Furze Platt war Savings Association continues to be. Formed in November, 1916 [sic?], it now has a membership of 107, with a total subscription to date of £958 10s 6d. The following table shows the progress made:
Members Sum subscribed
March, 1916 73 £125 1s 6d
November, 1917 82 £422 11s 6d
July, 1918 105 £941 9s 0d

Members of the Association are grateful to the Committee for their continued interest in the work, particularly to Mr Fry, the Hon. Secretary, and Mr Naylor, the Hon. Treasurer, who are always to be found in St Peter’s Room on Monday evenings for the purpose of receiving subscriptions. The good work done by Mr Hawthorne will not readily be forgotten, and it is hoped that the Chairman of the Committee, Mr Peddar, will soon recover from the illness which had laid him aside.

It will be within the recollection of subscribers to the Magazine that the sum of £110 1s has been invested in War Savings Certificates towards the Building Fund for a new Parish Room, which is so badly needed. It is hoped that it will be possible to add to this sum from time to time, so that immediately after the war the building may be put in hand.

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

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Earnest supplication that the righteous cause for which we have made such heavy sacrifices may be speedily crowned with victory, and a just and lasting Peace come quickly.

Churches in the Bracknell area commemorated the fourth anniversry of the start of the war.

August

Ascot

SUNDAY, August 4th, will be the fourth anniversary of the Declaration of War, and special forms of Prayer and Thanksgiving will be used throughout the Country on that day. The hours of service at All Saints’ will be as usual.

Bracknell

THE WAR – On Sunday, August 4th, when we shall enter on the fifth year of the War, we are called to come together to seek for God’s help and guidance, and to offer our thanksgivings for the success that has been granted to our efforts. The services will be at the usual hours, but will be of a special character. It can hardly be necessary to urge that there should be a large attendance. We need God’s continued help, and we must seek for it by persistent prayer. The collections at all the services will be for the British Red Cross Society.

Warfield

On Sunday, August 4th, the fourth anniversary of the Declaration of War, there will be celebrations of the Holy Communion at 7, 8, and 12 o’clock. Morning Prayer and Intercession Service for Children at 3. Evening Prayer, Intercession, reading of the Roll of Honour, and Sermon at 6.30. May we, like the good king Hezekiah of old, go up unto the house of the Lord, at this great crisis in our nation’s life, and spread out our cause, our troubles and anxieties, national and personal before the Lord.

Winkfield

For the first time, the 4th of August, the anniversary of the beginning of the War falls on a Sunday. The government have decided against a week day commemoration, so that the whole nation, it is hoped, will observe the occasion as a day of National Intercession to God on behalf of our country, with earnest supplication that the righteous cause for which we have made such heavy sacrifices may be speedily crowned with victory, and a just and lasting Peace come quickly.

We earnestly hope that this parish will respond, as never before, and that no family will be unrepresented in this parish church on such an occasion, when, as our Prime Minister writes:

“It is fitting that the nation should remembering the services of the men who are fighting for the preservation of civilisation, and should once more reconsecrate itself to the high ideals for the attainment of which the Allied Nations have sacrificed so much”.

The names of all our men serving at the front will be read out and commended to God in prayer, and the offertories at all the services will be devoted to fund helping to send comforts to Winkfield men now prisoners of war in Germany.

September

Bracknell

THE WAR – The Services held in August 4th – the fourth anniversary of the commencement of the War – were well attended. There were many communicants, and the church was really full, both at 11 and 6.30. The special services were used, and seemed to strike the right nore, as the services were specially earnest and reverent. The good news of the Allies’ successes deepened the feeling of thankfulness and hope in all hearts. £21 18s. was collected for the Red Cross and Prisoners of War Fund.

Cranbourne

WAR ANNIVERSARY — The services on August 4th were well attended, especially in the evening. The collections were for the Prisoners of War Fund, and amounted to £11 10s. 6d.

Warfield

It was a great pleasure to see such splendid congregations and above all so many communicants, on Sunday, August 4th, the fourth anniversary of the Declaration of War. In the evening the body of the church was quite full, and the congregation joined most heartily and earnestly in the service. The collection £6 9s. 7d. was in aid of the parochial fund for providing parcels for prisoners of war, of which Mrs. Wood is secretary.

Winkfield

The services on August 4th were well attended, especially in the evening. The offertories for Prisoners of War amounted to £12 10s and on the following Sunday £7 was raised for the Mission to Seamen.


Winkfield and Warfield Magazine, August and September 1918 (D/P 151/28A/10/7-8)

“We shall pray most earnestly that the wisdom of God may show the nations what is still hidden from their eyes, the ways that may lead them into peace”

St John’s was just one of the Reading churches united in prayer for the war to end.

Letter from the vicar

I write this on the eve of starting for a short holiday in Devonshire. I am to return in time for Sunday, August 4th, when we shall celebrate the fifth anniversary of the entry of this country into the world war which is still raging. Following the lead given by our King and the civic authorities in the chief city of our Empire and in many others, we shall observe the day as a solemn day of prayer. In the churches of our own parish the services throughout the day will be of a specially devotional character. We shall remember before God the heroic dead, with gratitude for the inspiration of their lives and with prayer that we may not falter in devotion to the ideal for which their lives were laid down. We shall pray for the heroic living, still battling on land and sea, in the air, and under the sea, for the cause which we believe God has summoned us to uphold. We shall pray for ourselves that we may be saved from selfishness and sin, uplifted to self-sacrifice and steeled to endurance; and we shall pray most earnestly that the wisdom of God may show the nations what is still hidden from their eyes, the ways that may lead them into peace, and may incline all men’s hearts everywhere to do his will.

It is estimated that on the battlefields of Europe ten millions of men have already laid down their lives. Under the shadow of this great tragedy let us draw near to our God, who alone can bring us out of the darkness, and whose law of righteousness provides the only basis upon which any permanent peace can be established.

In the afternoon all the religious bodies at our end of town are uniting in a solemn service of intercession, to be held at 3.30 pm on St John’s Lawn. I hope that the afternoon will be fine and that the greatest crowd ever seen there will assemble on the Lawn….

Your sincere friend and vicar
W Britton

UNITED SERVICE OF INETRCESSION

It is hoped that all Christian people in the east end of the town will uinite in a service of intercession on St John’s Lawn at 3.30 o’clock on Sunday, August 4th. The following congregations have been invited to take part, and up to the time of writing this, most of them, through their ministers,have accepted:

Earley, St Bartholomew’s, St Luke’s, St John’s, St Stephen’s, Wycliffe, Trinity, Wesleyan, St Andrew’s Presbyterian, Anderson Memorial, Cumberland Road, Park, King’s Road. His Worship the Mayor has kindly signified his intention to be present.

Should the weather be wet, the service will be held in St John’s Hall.

CARE AND COMFORTS WORKING PARTY

The following gifts have been received during the month:

Miss Rebbeck 5/- and material for 64 face cloths, Miss Hewett 3/6, Mrs Bowyer 5/-, Mrs Dauncey 1/-, Mrs May 2/6, Miss Bradley 2/6, Mrs Morley 10/-. In addition the members of the working party subscribe one penny per week each.

The following things have been made, 3 white shirts, 5 pairs pants, 3 cushion covers, 20 sterilizing bags, 7 treasure bags. Total 3259.

The balance sheet shows an expenditure on materials for over 3000 pieces of work, of £37 11s 4d, and subscriptions amounting to £38 4s 2d, so that the funds in hand are in a very low state just now, and the treasurer appeals for donations, however small, so that a stock of woollen stuffs for the autumn work may be obtained as soon as possible. The workers meet in the Princes Street Mission Room on Wednesdays from 2.30 to 4.30 pm, and anyone who would like to visit them at that time will be welcome.

Donations should be sent to Miss Rundell, 7 Alexandra Road.

September 1918

Letter from vicar

We must all, I think, feel stronger for the solemn and helpful services of August 4th, as we are cheered by the good news which came to us from the Western Front the same week. There is, may we not believe, more than a coincidence in this sequence of events. God does answer prayer. If our people would but turn to Him and wait upon Him in the spirit of our Day of Remembrance continually, He will hear and answer the pleadings of a penitent people who call on Him day and night. Not the least impressive of our services was the great gathering for united intercession on St John’s Lawn, when we had the satisfaction of uniting with so many of our brother Christians of all denominations in earnest prayer to God for His blessing and help….

Reading St. John parish magazines, August and September 1918 (D/P172/28A/24)

“May this terrible war not last another year, but may the world be blest once more with peace, but this time for evermore”

Here is our diarists’ take on the war’s fourth anniversary:

Joan Daniels of Reading
August 4th Sunday

The fourth anniversary of the war & therefore Remembrance Day so Mummie, Elsie, Ruth & I went to church to intercession service.

May this terrible war not last another year, but may the world be blest once more with peace, but this time for evermore….

War news still splendid, we have now advanced 30 miles at some points.

Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey
4 August 1918

½ an hour too early for early church – then went again at 11. Nice little service – Intercessions to Russian hymn.

William Hallam of Swindon
4th August 1918

Wife & Marj. to St. Sav. at 8 to H.C. & I went to St Paul’s at XI.

F & L. went up to Lockinge at 3 o’clock.

To-night we had a cake for tea with currants in, the first time since before Xmas.

Diaries of Joan Daniels (D/EX1341/1); Florence Vansittart neale (D/EX73/3/17/8); and William Hallam (D/EX1415/25)

“We have no traitors in our midst worse than the so-called “pacifists,” who want peace at any price and, in many cases, are simply enemy agents.”

The fourth anniversary of the start of the war was commemorated soberly in churches throughout the county.

Sulhamstead

THE WAR

WAR COMMEMORATION

Sunday, August 4th, has been set apart for the purpose of commemorating our entry into this terrible war. We shall remind ourselves that it was impossible so long as we maintained honour, righteousness and justice to hold back. We took our place by the side of France and Belgium, not from any desire to increase our own power or raise our position in the world, but simply to prevent wrong and to work righteousness. Our objects are still the same. There is no hope for the world until the gigantic military despotism of Germany is destroyed. There will be services of Intercession at 11 a.m., St Mary’s Church, followed by the Holy Communion; 6 p.m., St Michael’s Church.

There were good attendances at the church on Sunday, August 4th, for Thanksgiving and Intercession. The offertories for the fund for assisting Prisoners of war belonging to the Royal Berks Regiment amounted to:

11 a.m. £3 11s 0 ½ d
6 p.m. £1 13s 1 ½ d
Total £5 4s 2d

Earley St Peter

August 4th

The anniversary of the proclamation of war (August4th) will this year fall on a Sunday. I do not know whether any special Order of Prayer will be issued. For myself I consider that the forms of Prayer for use in the time of War (by authority, S.P.C.K., 1S.) Contains sufficient material. But I hope all the clergy will prepare well beforehand to stimulate and satisfy the spiritual needs of their people. The collect, Epistle and Gospel for the Sunday (x. after Trinity) might well be used. Otherwise the order suggested for the last year may be used again (Forms of prayer, P. 87 FF.) with necessary changes.

My Dear Friends

The first Sunday of this month, August the 4th, is the anniversary of the war. I wonder what we should all have felt if on August 4th 1914, we had thought it would have continued up to this time. Lord Kitchener indeed said three years and enrolled his army for that time, but such is a contingency seemed impossible to the generality of our countrymen, many of whom thought that the first battle of the Marne was the beginning of the end.

Who then dreamt of the collapse of Russia, or of the entry of America into the war? Who for a moment imagined that Germany would descend to the depths of degradation to which she has sunk in the eyes of the world by her false dealings and her barbarities. Who had any conception of the miseries, the losses, the bereavements, of the greatest war that the world has ever seen? (more…)

The greatest and best help we can give our soldiers and sailors

St Mark’s Church in the parish of Reading St Mary was focussing on prayers for the war.

S. Marks District
Day of Intercession for the War

Wednesday, May 22nd, was observed as a day of continuous prayer. We are thankful to say the chain was not broken throughout the day and there were quite good numbers present at the Intercession services. Besides being the greatest and best help we can give our soldiers and sailors, such a day proves the value of having a church in our midst, where we can just drop in for a few quiet moments of prayer and recollection of God’s presence – may many more learn to make use of it in this way. We shall hope to have another Day of Intercession shortly.

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

“This must be done before the war is over and the war-work dropped”

The Church of England hoped to use the groundswell of voluntary work supporting the war effort as a springboard for religious purposes at a later date.

OXFORD DIOCESAN BOARD OF MISSIONS

The autumn effort in relation to the war.

In some ways this is a bad time for a Missionary Effort, but not in all ways. In order to point out one advantage of making the Effort before the end of the war the Executive Committee has unanimously passed the following Resolution:

The main aim of the Autumn Missionary Effort must be so to influence members of the Church that the services they are now rendering to King and Country (in prayer, gifts and in personal work), shall after the war be as far as possible conserved and transformed to service for the extension of God’s Kingdom.”

ILLUSTRATIONS

1. Prayer. One Deanery has already decided that War Intercession Services shall be continued after the war as Intercession Services on behalf of the Church Overseas.

2. Gifts. Regular or occasional subscriptions to war Funds (Red Cross, Belgian Relief, etc, would naturally cease after the war. The Autumn effort should encourage resolutions to continue such subscriptions (in part at least) after the war, for the unceasing frontier warfare of the Church.

3. Personal Service. Not a few Territorials in India who have visited Missions there, mean after the war to give themselves to missionary work. In some cases Red Cross and other Working Parties have already decided to continue to meet after the war, in support of Medical Missions. How many of our Nurses might put their trained experience at the disposal of Medical Missions!

The opportunity is great. If quite a small fraction of the voluntary war-work now being done were by-and-by transferred to the cause of Missions, the help given to the Church overseas would be multiplied many times!

Would it not be well for the parochial clergy earnestly to consider how best to bring this thought before each of their parishioners? Only this must be done before the war is over and the war-work dropped.

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

“Days & nights in water and mud is very trying”

An army chaplain reported on his experiences with men just back from the front lines for a short break.

19 October 1917

Mother received a letter from the Sub-Warden on the 17th inst. from which the following are extracts:

“We have just emerged from a very uncomfortable and strenuous time, & are resting in a little French village. The men are splendid, but it was heart-breaking to see them all getting out of the train which brought them straight from the front…

With considerable difficulty we managed to have thin blankets for them all to get into and fall asleep. Already food and rest have changed them wonderfully, & their poor feet are better. Days & nights in water and mud is very trying.

I shall never forget a Mass in a crowded dugout the day before they went in. Halfway through the service, 2 officers managed to slip into the doorway; there was no other spot. I remember them so well crouching in a very uncomfortable position, and shutting out all of what little light could get in. Only the 2 candles on the altar. They made their Communion. It was their Viaticum. GOD rest their souls!”

Annals of the Community of St John Baptist, Clewer (D/EX1675/1/14/5)

“Personally, my hopes lie in the Constituent Assembly choosing a Constitutional Monarchy” in Russia

Customary insistence that churchgoers should wear their Sunday best had gone by the wayside.

Dear Friends and Parishioners,-

This short line comes to greet you in the midst of what I hope will be pleasant summer weather. The very beauty of Nature around us must make us in our green Island think of the goodness of God’s bounty to us all ; and it must in our thankfulness suggest to us how great our sympathy should be with all those of our kith and kin, who in weariness too often, in hardship too frequent, are on our behalf in the shell-scarred, dusty, noisome trenches of many foreign lands.

I would not exhort, as Vicar, for just now we are all very ready to stir each other up to action, but I would rather beg of you as a fellow worshipper, that we should try not to grow weary or fainthearted in our prayers for those we love, whether at home or in Church. St Luke’s Church is open always from 8 am to 6 pm, later on Fridays and Sundays; St Peter’s is open, too. Those who cannot find a quiet corner at home, can find one there. Working clothes do not matter; God wants our hearts, not fine clothes.

There is, too, the War Shrine to provide a centre for our prayers. And many could come to the weekly Friday Intercession Service. We have to remember that life is not the only boon we can ask for those we love but that honour, purity, and straightforwardness are even greater things. I think we are all doing this pretty well; but I suppose we could none of us honestly say we could not do a great deal better…

Now may I say one ward as regards Treats, etc. The War certainly imposes on us the need for great economy. All expenses should, so far as possible, be cut down. But the War has already lasted nearly three years, and owing to the Republican disorder in Russia, the hope of an early Peace has faded away; though the entry of the United States into the War has made more certain than ever before a full and final victory. We must all hope for a speedy settlement in the land of our great Russian Ally; personally, my hopes lie in the Constituent Assembly choosing a Constitutional Monarchy.

So, many children are fast growing up without much memory of the peaceful days before the War. For them there should be, I think, very simple and economic Treats. I hope those who agree with me will support our Sunday School Fund during this month. I feel that the Mothers are another class who should have some little outing, as cheap as possible, of course, still a little change from the daily work and anxiety…

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar

C.E.M. FRY

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

War loans purchased with legacy

William Hallam cleared an outstanding debt by buying war loans for his brother.

William Hallam
3rd April 1917

I received my Certificate of War Loan Stock for 50£ from Simonds at Wantage, and 50£ for my bro Geo. Purchased with the legacy of 100£ from my father so I am out of his debt now.

Florence Vansittart Neale
3 April 1917

Intercession service – very short.

Diaries of William Hallam (D/EX1415/26); and Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8)

We all need so much help in this troublous time

The vicar of Maidenhead St Luke urged parishioners to commit themselves to God, with the usual Lent self-denial double by the nation’s needs.

Dear Friends and Parishioners, –

The Lenten Season calls us as Church-people to make sacrifices, even of innocent pleasures, so that we may by self-discipline train ourselves to be soldiers of Jesus Christ. The Nation this Spring reinforces the call of the Church. Let us each make up our mind to forego some luxury or pleasure, young and old alike. One may give up sugar, another beer or whiskey, another tobacco, another dancing, another perhaps entertainments. All of these seem trivial things, but I suppose little things are harder to forego than great… And prayer and worship are called for…

May I ask all who can do so – and many can find time if they try – to come to one or other week-day Service, as a definite act of trust in God, Whose help we all need so much in this troublous time, both for ourselves, and for those we love in hardship and danger overseas. We have only arranged three special Services for Men at present, on account of the stress of the war. I hope they will be well attended. The Friday-afternoon services will, we trust, meet specially the needs of the older members of the congregation, to whom darkness is an obstacle. The Wednesday-night Services at 8, and the Friday War Intercession at 7 will, I earnestly hope, be made use of by very many.

If any require an object for their self-denial, I can suggest two: first a Church one – the Free Will Offering Fund, which much needs new members; secondly a State one – War Saving Certificates…

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar

C.E.M. FRY

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

Offerings for the suffering Belgian children

Cranbourne churchgoers and Sunday School children were moved by the sufferings of children in wartorn Belgium.

The collections for the Red Cross and Order of St. John in Jerusalem at the Intercession Services on December 31st amounted to £8 13s. 4d. The purses for offerings for the suffering Belgian children were also received the same day. The children of the Sunday School and some members of the congregation had passed these round the dinner table on Christmas Day. The children’s contribution amounted to £1 0s. 9d. and that of the congregation to £4 10s. 9d., making a total of £5 11s. 6d. We received a most grateful letter of thanks from the London Committee.

Cranbourne section of Winkfield District Magazine, February 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/2)

“May 1917 bring peace, a real lasting peace”

New Year’s Eve, and Florence Vansittart Neale was one of a handful praying for the war in Bisham.

31 December 1916

Services Intercession & the OX – very few there…

Oh! May 1917 bring peace, a real lasting peace.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8)

Two sons lost within one year

A number of men from the village of Crazies Hill had been killed, but there was happier news for one family, whose son had been awarded a medal for heroism.

Crazies Hill Notes

Much sympathy is felt for Mr. and Mrs. Light who have lost two sons in the war. Harry, 2nd Royal Berks was killed in action on September 25th of last year, and James Henry, 2/ 4th Oxon and Bucks, was killed in action on August 21st this year.

This double loss, coming in the course of one year, has evoked the deepest sympathy for the family. We trust they will be comforted in this thought and be supported and helped by our prayers for those in bereavement or sorrow.

Much sympathy is also felt for Mrs. Morse whose husband was killed in action on July 27th last.

In addition to those on our list of those who have given their lives for their country, and whom we remember before God at our Intercession Services are the names of Thomas Barrett, Ernest Edwards, Fred Eggerton, William Gray, Cyril Henry, Albert Nicholls, and Frank Silver.

We are pleased to state that since our last issue Lance- Corporal Herbert Richard Plested of the 1st Royal Berks. Regt. has received the Military Medal.

Wargrave parish magazine, October 1916 (D/P145/28A/31)

The war’s anniversary should be seriously observed

The second anniversary of the war was cue for sober reflection.

Reading St John

ANNIVERSARY OF THE DECLARATION OF WAR

As nearly all the clergy of the diocese will be in Retreat on August 4th, it will not be possible to observe this anniversary by special services in church or elsewhere. We shall mark the anniversary in our two churches by giving a special character to the services of the following Sunday, August 6th. Intercessions will be held at all the services, and we hope that the day will be seriously observed by all our people.


Bracknell

On August 4th, the day of the Anniversary of the declaration of War, a special Service of Intercession was held in the Church at 8p.m. There was a fairly large congregation, though on such an occasion it would have been fitting if the Church had been full. The special prayers were repeated on the following Sunday, both at Morning and Evening prayer.

Reading St. John parish magazine, August 1916 (D/P172/28A/24); Bracknell section of Winkfield District Magazine, September 1916 (D/P151/28A/8/9)