National Service is just now very much to the fore

Paid employment on Sundays was severely restricted before the war, but necessity was leading to relaxation of the rules. The vicar of St Luke’s in Maidenhead had his doubts.

The Vicar’s Letter

Dear Friends and parishioners,-

We have spent, I think, on the whole a very profitable Lent… The older men who were able to do so, came well to the three Services for Men; many of the younger ones, as we all know, were employed on their Country’s work elsewhere…

Just now the loss of friends is so common that I can usually make no reference to it in this Letter…

National Service is just now very much to the fore. I feel sure that the Churchpeople of this Parish will respond to any call made upon them. I ought perhaps to say, though I do it reluctantly, as it is a personal thing, that Mr. Sellors and I have both given in our names to the Bishop in case we are needed for Service elsewhere, but nothing has happened as yet. In the meanwhile and probably all the War, we are obeying the Director General’s advice and are remaining in our present work.

I have been asked to say a word or two about the difficult question of Sunday work. I suppose the old Christian rule is that works of necessity and charity are allowable…. This year I gather that during say six weeks of the sowing season, many gardens, and some farm lands, must be cultivated on Sunday. After that till Harvest, I should say that ordinary weeding, etc, could be done during the week, especially under the Daylight Saving Bill…

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar

C.E.M. FRY

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

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“If you feel satisfied, in all probability one has had too much”

Warfield churchgoers were encouraged to use Lent as a starting point for a restricted diet in the face of shortages.

VICAR’S LETTER.

MY DEAR FRIENDS AND PARISHIONERS,

I have been asked by the Secretary of the Ministry of Food to bring before my parishioners the imperative necessity of observing voluntarily the spirit and letter of Lord Devonport’s appeal. I urged this at the Morning and Evening Service last Sunday.

As loyal citizens you have been asked to save the country the enormous expense of using compulsion, which means the diversion of labour that could be more profitably employed in other directions. The Church during this season of Lent is calling us to self-control; some have always made a rule of restricting their diet in obedience to the laws of the Church on certain days and will not feel this restriction of food as other people may. We have to leave the table feeling unsatisfied, but that is an excellent thing to do. If you feel satisfied, in all probability one has had too much.

What a great thing it would be if England could accommodate herself to the present circumstances from loyalty rather than under compulsion. It is no excuse for anyone to excuse their excess because others exceed. If one man is a thief and robs his neighbour’s food, it does not make it right for others to do the like. Let us all try from our duty to God as well as our duty to our fellow man to keep under our bodies and bring them into subjection.

Yours faithfully in Christ,

WALTER THACKERAY.

* * *

As a result of a preliminary meeting in Bracknell on the subject of War Savings, a branch has been started in Warfield with its headquarters at the School. Mr. Brockbank is Hon. Secretary and Miss Leach Hon. Treasurer. It has already been doing good business. We wish to thank Lady Finlay for her encouragement of the children by giving eightpence towards the sum of 14/- saved.

Warfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, March 1917 (D/P151/28A./9/3

“This year we shall be obliged to keep Lent, whether we like it or not”

Shortages were beginning to affect everyone.

LENT

It seems that this year we shall be obliged to keep Lent, whether we like it or not. Railway travel has been curtailed, food prices are still rising, food is getting scarce, and all the efforts of the nation are to be devoted to winning the war. As Church-people we are used to the season of Lent, but there is a question whether we have kept it as we ought, in fact it is certain that many Church-people have paid very little attention to the Church’s injunctions in this respect. But we cannot disobey the State with impunity, and we should be extremely selfish if we did not do our bit to practise economy, and so help to save the Nation’s food. There are many who might, with advantage, purchase War Savings Certificates, to help the country and to make provision for the future; and we would beg all our readers to do their very utmost to carry out the Food Controller’s instructions, in the spirit in which they were issued. The Germans are not yet decisively beaten – if this is to be done, everyone of us will have to help.

We should like to offer our sincere sympathy to Mr and Mrs Savage on the untimely death of a good son and promising young soldier. Edward George Savage was confirmed at the Parish Church in 1912. He passed away from the effects of pneumonia, following upon an attack of measles… The coffin was borne by soldiers, and there was a following party of the Royal Flying Corps.

We would also offer our sincere sympathy to Mrs Manley on the death of her husband on service, as announced in the “Newbury Weekly News” of February 15th.

The National Schools have had a bad time during the long continued frost: first of all on account of the heating apparatus misbehaving itself; and secondly, on account of the water being frozen. The Managers have endeavoured to remedy the former by adding to the boiler: it is possible that the coke does not nowadays give out so much heat, as certain properties have to be taken out for the manufacture of explosives.

The Parish Room has now been evacuated by the Military, and has returned to its usual state. The soldiers were very quiet and well behaved during their stay there. The occupation brought in a little money to the Parish Room Fund. We trust that outside people, who have been accustomed to use the room, will now appreciate the privilege more. The men who were billeted in the Parish Room desire, through the medium of the Parish Magazine, to sincerely thank all those who so kindly contributed to their comfort during their stay there.

Mrs L R Majendie would be grateful for gifts of material, such as cretonne, for the members of the Mothers’ Meetings to make “treasure bags” for wounded soldiers.

Newbury St Nicholas parish magazine, March 1917 (D/P89/28A/13)

“Many empty lorries driven by the men of the Flying Corps pass daily through the village”

Cranbourne people were invited to grow vegetables, while church services were disrupted.

For the purpose of saving fuel and light in Lent week, Evening Services will be held in the Sunday School on Wednesdays at 7 p.m., and Evensong will be said on Sundays in Church at 3 p.m. instead of 6 p.m., until we can do without the gas. It seems to be almost impossible for the Coal Merchants to deliver fuel just now, there is coke and coal at the stations, but no carts are to be had. Many empty lorries driven by the men of the Flying Corps pass daily through the village, how helpful it would be if they could “dump” a few sacks of coal for us at some central place.

Two lectures on “Vegetable cultivation in War time” have been given in the Reading Room by Mr. F. W. Custin, F.R.H.S. Unfortunately there was not the large attendance that might have been expected when all of us are being urged to add to the food supply of the nation. The lectures were most practical and helpful. Great stress was laid on the need of spraying not only potatoes, but the young vegetable plants. The lecturer gave the following recipe for a spray of paraffin emulsion:- ¼ pint of paraffin, ¼ -lb. of soft soap, 3½ -gallons of water. Mix the soft soap with a little hot water, whisk it up and then add the paraffin slowly, beating it up as it is poured in, then add the remainder of the water. This should be used for onions and celery in May and June. Potatoes should be sprayed with Bordeaux mixture at the beginning of July and also early in August. We expect the delivery of the seed potatoes at an early date.

Cranbourne section of Winkfield District Magazine, March 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/3)

It is hard for us to adequately realise the great discomforts and hardships which our brave men are facing so cheerfully this winter

Winkfield churchgoers were asked to contribute to the work of the Church Army behind the main lines.

OUR MEN WHO ARE SERVING.

The following have lately joined His Majesty’s Forces: Dick Dean, Royal Garrison Artillery, Robert Mitchell, Royal Berks Regiment, Charles Mitchell, Royal Field Artillery.

There is not much news this month from our men at the front, but we learn with regret that Corporal K. Nickless and Private J. Winnen are laid up with bad throats resulting from the extreme cold they have had to undergo in France.

It is hard for us to adequately realise the great discomforts and hardships which our brave men are facing so cheerfully this winter, but we must feel that it is a privilege to be able to do anything towards helping to make their lot easier, and so it is proposed that our Lenten self-denial savings should this year go towards the Church Army Huts at the Front. We may well hope that for such an object many more will this Lent apply for a Church Army War Work Savings Box, which can be obtained from the Vicar or the Post Office; and a leaflet in this month’s Magazine contains full information about these War Huts and the great comfort they are to our troops.

Winkfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, March 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/3)

“Remember those in tasks of peril by land and sea, in the air and beneath the water”

During Lent, the parish of Wargrave called for daily prayers for the war.

Lent Services

Daily Mattins 8 a.m. Evensong 5 .p.m.

A Bell will ring at Noon to remind everyone that the hour is observed for prayer in this time of War. There is no Service in the Church, but all who hear it are asked to pause for a few moments in their work, to remember those who are engaged in tasks of peril by land and sea, in the air and beneath the water, and to ask God to bless them.

Wargrave parish magazine, March 1917 (D/P145/28A/31)

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)

“It is what a nation gives that makes it great”

Maidenhead Congregational Church and St Peter’s Church in Earley supported calls to restrict food consumption, warning of the potential consequences if people did not pitch in voluntarily.

Maidenhead Congregational Church

FOOD ECONOMY.

The Food Controller is making urgent appeals to us all for voluntary limitation of consumption, and for aid where possible in increased food production. And the Prime Minister has specially asked for the fullest co-operation of all member of the Free Churches in carrying forward the great National campaign for economy and increased production. Our readers will forgive us for saying a few words here in response to their appeal.

The fact that the food situation is serious should be clearly grasped by every one. We have always been accustomed to unrestricted purchasing so long as we had the money, and cannot easily imagine a condition of things in which money will not purchase. But with proper precaution now the plans of the enemy will be frustrated. The nation has been placed upon its honour to observe the scale of dietry which Lord Davenport [sic] has published. He has warned us that the machinery to bring into operation a system of compulsory rationing is being organised, and will be used if the voluntary system fails.

Surely there is no one who needs force in such a cause as this. We are rather proud to have some part in the privations and pains which our brothers are bearing in the field and on the sea. The forcible words of Mr. Lloyd George are worth quoting again:

“You cannot have absolute equality of sacrifice in a war. That is impossible. But you can have equal readiness to sacrifice from all… Let the nation as a whole place its comforts, its luxuries, its indulgences, its elegances, on a national altar, consecrated by such sacrifices as these men have made. Let us proclaim during the war a National Lent. The nation will be better and stronger for it, mentally and morally as well as physically. It will strengthen its fibre, it will ennoble its spirit. Without it we shall not get the full benefit of this struggle…. Unless the nation as a whole shoulders part of the burden of victory it will not profit by the triumph, for it is not what a nation gains, it is what a nation gives that makes it great.”

Earley St Peter

THE VICAR’S LETTER

My dear friends

During the whole of this month we shall be keeping Lent and it is the duty of us all to make it a real time of repentance and preparation for Holy Week and Easter. We have today received an appeal to the Nation from the Food Controller, Lord Devonport, containing a quotation from a speech of Mr Lloyd George, headed “A National Lent”. The appeal has been sent to all incumbents with a request that they will lay it before their people…

Mr Lloyd George alludes to abstinence from food only, but what a blessing it would be for our nation if it could keep a really National Lent in the best sense, humbling itself, as a whole, before God and truly repenting of its sins.

Lord Devonport, in his circular, further remarks that from an ethical as well as national point of view self control is of infinitely greater value than enforced discipline: there is no one who will not heartily agree with him, but it should be laid to heart that if the former fails the latter becomes absolutely necessary, from whatever point of view we regard it.

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, March 1917 (D/N33/12/1/5); Earley St Peter parish magazine, March 1917 (D/P191/28A/24)

We shall never regret complying with the new restrictions

The new food restrictions were a worry in Cookham Dean, especially for the poorer who were already struggling.

The Vicar’s Letter

I expect we are all, more or less, feeling worried about the Food Regulations, not that we do not wish to do all we can do to support the Government’s arrangements at such a crisis, but the difficulty is, how to do it. In households where, as is the case with so many of you, there is never too great a supply of food, it must be most anxious work to know how best to carry out the regulations.

Let us try loyally and conscientiously to do our best: after all what is the inconvenience that we have to put up with compared with what our Allies in Belgium, France, Serbia and Roumania [sic] have had to suffer. If, as we are assured over and over again by those in authority, it is one of the ways that we can each one do our best to assure ourselves and our Allies of Victory, for which we long and pray, let us do our part as cheerfully and uncomplainingly as our brave men in their trenches and in the North Sea are doing theirs. We shall never, never regret it.

Notices

The week-day collections during Lent (apart from Ash Wednesday and Good Friday) will be given to the National Institute for the Blind, which is doing so much at the present time for those of our wounded soldiers who have alas lost their sight.

Cookham Dean parish magazine, February 1917 (D/P43B/28A/11)

Remember the men who by air and sea and land, are enduring great hardships for our sakes

A Maidenhead church urged prayer for those serving abroad.

The Vicar’s Letter

Dear Friends and Parishioners,-

This will be a very brief letter. Lent will soon be here. Let us make good use of it! I propose to have the usual services, save only that I shall not have more than four or five Men’s Services, as so few men are left with us.…

Lastly, may I ask you all to make of this Lent a second time of National Mission, and above all to remember before God on Friday nights and Sunday evenings, and at other times, the men who by air and sea and land, are enduring great hardships for our sakes.

I remain,

Your faithful friend and Vicar

C.E.M. FRY

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

A tribute of respect to Kitchener

Bracknell people shared in the national mourning for Lord Kitchener, and in an age before televised services, did their best to replicate his official memorial service. Meanwhile patriotic efforts had replaced charity for the East End.

A Memorial Service for Lord Kitchener was held at noon on June 13th in Bracknell Church. The service was, as far as possible, the same as that held at the same hour in S. Paul’s Cathedral, the same hymns and psalms, and the Dead March played solemnly in the middle of the service. There was quite a large congregation, and all felt glad to be able to join together in paying a tribute of respect to the memory of the great man who had done such good service so devotedly to his country.

Owing to people being so busy over war work, it was felt that it was almost impossible to arrange a Lent Working party for the Isle of Dogs this year; but Mrs. Sheppee most kindly collected 43 garments and sent them to Mr. Mirrilees last month. We have received a very grateful letter of thanks from him.

Bracknell section of Warfield District Magazine, July 2016 (D/P151/28A/8/7)

A single cabbage helps the war

Sulhamstead people were supporting the war effort in their vegetable gardens, while rejoicing in good news of local soldiers.

THE WAR
Lieutenant H. A. Grimshaw has been mentioned in Sir John French’s despatches. This makes the second time that he has been so honoured. He has also been awarded the additional honour of the Military Cross.

It is with great thankfulness that the news has been received that Lieutenant Albert Marsh, RNR, of the “Tera”, sunk in the Mediterranean Sea, is safe, although held a prisoner.

ROLL OF HONOUR
George Derring, second footman at Folley [sic] Farm when the war broke out, was killed by the bursting of a shell at the Front in France.

VEGETABLES FOR THE SOLDIERS’ HOSPITALS
It is a bad time of the year for vegetables, but the Boy Scouts are trying to send a hamper to Reading every week. If any have got vegetables they would like to give to the hospitals, and would send them to the School on Mondays, or leave word at the School in the previous week, a Scout would fetch them. The hamper goes on Tuesdays. A single cabbage, half a dozen potatoes, etc, soon swell the contents.

THE LIGHTING ORDER
This order will not affect our Lower End Service as the room is furnished with dark green curtains, but it will prevent services being held on week days in Lent in the Church or School, and accordingly special meetings will be held in the large room at the Rectory on Thursdays at 7 pm.

Sulhamstead parish magazine, March 1916 (D/EX725/3)

Thrift will help win the war

The rector of Burghfield urged his flock to exercise self-denial as the war continued.

My dear people

As spring is the season of nature’s growth and renewal, so should the sacred season of Lent be one of growth and renewal and advance in the spiritual life.

There is more than ever need this year to [practice that self-discipline, self-denial and self-control to which the season always calls us; more than ever need to “get us to our God right humbly”, and to lay to heart and profit by the lessons which He would teach us through the continued strain and stress of the world-war.

The victory for which we hope and pray is still delayed, and each one of us should be doing something to help to secure that victory and to make ourselves worthy of it. Let us therefore use this Lenten season as an opportunity of re-consecration of ourselves to God in body, soul and spirit…

Your friend and Pastor
William H.George

THRIFT
Thrift is always praiseworthy, but just now it is a necessity, first because it will help to win the war, and secondly because we ought to be saving up against the hard times which our leaders tell us are bound to come after the war. We hope that many of our parishioners will buy the new War Savings Certificates which can be had for 15/6 each at any money-order office. Every such certificate entitles the purchaser to £1 at the end of 5 years, or, if required, it can be withdrawn at any time with interest added to the date of withdrawal.

Burghfield parish magazine, March 1916 (DEX725/3)

Intercessions for those on whom the war has brought suffering

The Lent season was an opportunity for deeper reflection on the war in Wargrave.

Lent Services

Mattins and Evensong will be said daily at the Parish Church at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Daily Evensong at 7 p.m. is a service of special intercession for all those upon whom the War has brought danger and suffering. It is hoped that many parishioners will make a new effort to attend, and thus to strengthen the hands of those at the front who so much rely upon our sustained interest and prayers.

On Wednesdays the Vicar will give a course of addresses at Crazies Hill, at 3 p.m. to the working party, and at Hare Hatch, at 6.30 p.m.

The Vicar will read to the Surgical Dressing Emergency Society on Thursdays at 11.30 a.m.

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

“We shall need some adventurous courage”

The Bishop of Oxford was at best a grudging supporter of the proposals for a National Mission in response to the war.

LENT

We would call especial attention to the Bishop’s Message regarding the National Mission to be held in all parishes in October or November next; and also to our list of Lenten services which will be found inserted in this number of the magazine. Never has there been a time in the history of our nation when more prayer and self-denial were needed, and it is to be feared that this is by no means realized by a large majority of our countrymen; it behoves all Church people, therefore, to make an especial effort to keep the Lenten season.

THE BISHOP’S MESSAGE

The following extracts are from the Bishop’s message in the March Diocesan Magazine:

Your prayers are specially asked,
For the good hand of God upon us in the war.
For the spiritual enterprise of the National Mission,
That the clergy may prepare themselves,
That the faithful may be filled with zeal,
That expectation may be aroused,
That those who guide may be filled with wisdom and courage.

THE NATIONAL MISSION OF REPENTANCE AND HOPE

It has been decided by the Archbishops, after much consultation, and with the general consent of the Bishops, that there shall be held in October or November of this year “A National Mission of Repentance and Hope”, which will doubtless be commonly called “The National Mission”. Some of us have been somewhat critical of the proposal. But now that it has been decided to hold it, and a letter from the Archbishops has been issued, it behoves us all to arrest our critical faculties and to turn the opportunity to the best spiritual purpose.

What concerns the method of the mission and its details will in the main be left to each diocese and parish to determine. We shall all need to be adaptable, and we shall need some adventurous courage. But it is desired that the plan of each diocese and parish shall conform to this outline: that the earlier part of this year should be given to preparing spiritually the clergy and the faithful church people, men and women; and that the great effort of the prepared Church should be in October or November next, and should be devoted to the awakening to the call of God of all that great body of people who, with more or less reality of allegiance, belong to the Church. The Mission will be purely a Church Mission to those who belong to us. But it is anticipated that a similar effort will be made at the same time by other bodies of Christians.

Of the motives of the mission I said enough, perhaps, last month. By way of preparation for it, I am taking the following steps:

1. I am summoning the parochial clergy into Retreat in the first week of August, July 31st-August 4th, at Bradfield and Radley Colleges. In answer to many questions I would say that I hope to arrange that the assistant clergy (or those whom it is necessary to leave behind in the parishes) should come into Retreat in the following week.

2. I hereby ask each Rural Dean to form a Mission Committee of clergy, laymen, and laywomen in his Rural Deanery, and when they come to the Rural Deans’ meeting on May 8th to come ready with suggestions and to bring the names of one priest, one layman and one laywoman whom I can summon to whatever general meeting may prove to be necessary.

3. I am hoping that shortly before Easter the Bishop of London, the Chairman of the Central Council of the Mission, will come to address all those who can gather to listen to him in Oxford or Reading.

4. I am summoning the Society of Mission Clergy to take counsel on March 2nd.

5. I hope to get the main lines of our arrangements fixed at the Rural Dean’s meeting on May 8th.

6. I want all who will do so to say daily the Collect for the 4th Sunday in Advent or the 1st Sunday after Epiphany.

FASTING AND THRIFT

The nation is being called to thrift on grounds of public economy under the burden of war. This year, as every year, the church is calling us to fast in Lent. The two calls reinforce one another. Let us be serious this year in keeping Lent. I note in The Times of February 23, “Two more meatless days have been added to the Berlin regime, making four in all” (in the week). We could most of us, I think, observe three meatless days in Lent.

SUNDAY EVENING SERVICES

Whatever expedient we adopt to meet the requirements which the dangers of air raids at night have rendered necessary, I hope that we shall see to it that the spiritual profit of the people is provided for. An earlier Evensong in church and a later Mission service in the school might be profitable for the parish until the days gain their full length.

Earley St Peter parish magazine, March 1916 (D/P191/28A/23/1)