“War is dreadful, but Peace is terrible”

An army doctor was a leader in the temperance movement.

An Open-Air Meeting in connection with the St Luke’s Branch of the CETS was held in the Vicarage Garden, on Tuesday evening, June 10th, under the Presidency of the Rev. T H Thurland, the Vicar being away on holiday. The Chief Speaker was Dr Harford, General Secretary of the CETS, who first distributed the certificates, etc, won by the Band of Hope members, the handsome Challenge Banner for the Maidenhead Band of Hope competition having been won by North Town.

Dr Harford, in his address, spoke chiefly to interest the large number of juveniles present. He told them of his service for nearly four years as an eye specialist in France, and related many incidents and told of the scenes of destruction and military activities. He next quoted the remark of M. Clemenceau, French Prime Minister, that “War is dreadful, but Peace is terrible”. This meant that when at war we had got but one thing to do – to see we got it through; but in Peace everybody began to fight everybody else we had first to make a good Peace, not only in Paris, but also at home. He urged the young people to do all they could to fight against the evils caused by drink, one of the greatest curses of our land. The Doctor related an interview with the Archbishop of Canterbury relative to the coming big campaign of the CETS, the “Merrie England” Movement, in which the Society would send cinemas and lecturers around the country to give an impetus to better housing and or enlightened action as to food, health and thrift. The Society was anxious that everybody should have happy homes – not only good, decent houses, but real happy homes. As to cooking, the Doctor had a severe shock when, on asking a little boy if he liked nice puddings, and taking for granted the inevitable “Yes”, the little boy frankly replied “No, sir!” The Doctor’s point was that if the wives would only give their husbands plenty of sweet puddings, the men would not care for so much beer, in which they found the sugary element. In the new homes of Merrie England the children must be taught to play games.

Dr Harford later told some experiences as a missionary for many years in West Africa, where he was nearly eaten by cannibals. An effort was being made to suppress the use of gin out there, this spirit being the buying and selling “coinage” of the country. – (Laughter). As part of the “Merrie England” Movement, every parish was being asked to arrange a little pageant play already published as part of the local Peace celebrations; and he hoped the Maidenhead CETS would carry this out.

Reprinted from The Maidenhead Advertiser.

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

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“The London Jews’ Society has probably suffered more material damage through the war than any other of our British Missionary Societies”

A missionary organisation sheds light on the impact of war in Palestine.

LONDON JEWS’ SOCIETY

The London Jews’ Society has probably suffered more material damage through the war than any other of our British Missionary Societies. In Jerusalem, Jaffa, and Safed the Turks, whilst generally respecting the missionary buildings, have ruthlessly commandeered everything on which they could lay their hands. On the Continent, owing to so many of the mission stations being in the fighting area, and the buildings having been used for the purposes of war, much damage must necessarily have been done. Under these circumstances the committee feel that many of their supporters would like to give, in addition to their ordinary contributions, a part of their thankofferings for the blessings of victory to help this special need. They therefore earnestly appeal for Victory and Peace Thank-offerings to the War Restoration Fund at present in existence, the object of which is the restoration and re-equipment of the Society’s mission stations, hospitals and schools, not only in Palestine, but also wherever they have suffered through the War. Remembering the great spiritual debt we owe to the Jew, who has given us our Bible, our Faith and our Saviour, we heartily commend this appeal to the consideration of our people. Contributions to the LJS Victory and Peace Thankofferings should be sent to the local treasurer of the Society or to Mr W R Cory, the Society’s Accountant, 16, Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London, WC2.

Newbury St Nicolas parish magazine, January 1919 (D/P89/28A/14)

No government has ever had to face a greater task than that which will now come to power

The suffragan Bishop of Buckingham warned there was still a great deal of work to do.

The Bishop’s Message

The war is over and we cannot find words to express our feelings: only in our thanksgiving to Almighty God can we give utterance to the thoughts of our hearts.

The war is over, but the stupendous task remains of repairing the breaches, building up the waste places, and restoring the paths to dwell in. This can be done only if the same spirit is maintained-the unity of effort, the subordination of selfish interests, the wise leadership, the loyal co-operation, the self-sacrifice, the organization, the discipline which has brought us to victory – if this is preserved in peace. The spiritual forces of the whole world must be moved in action. The League of Nations is not a fancy of visionaries; it is a practical possibility which can be realized if Christians unite to bring it about. It is not enough to wish for it, or even to pray for it, we must work for it. Surely here the Church must make its influence felt and not be daunted by difficulties in the way.


The Marriage Laws

We have reason to be devoutly thankful that the Divorce Bill was defeated in the House of Lords, but there are strong forces at work and we must be watchful. It is indeed distressing that at such a time as this there should be such persistent efforts to lower the moral standard – for that must be the effect in spite of the specious arguments. We owe a debt to Lord Parmoor for his vigorous leading.

The General Election

No government has ever had to face a greater task than that which will now come to power. The election will be a great test of the nation’s purpose. Can we put aside all petty issues and party bitterness and selfish aims and unitedly undertake the great work of reconstruction in a manner worthy of a people that has proved itself so great? The prayers which have been such a power in the war can be no less effective in gaining the victories of peace. Here are some questions on which we hope the church may speak with a united voice, for example, the immediate need of dealing with the housing of the people, the improved standard of Wages, the Education question, and the retention of control of the liquor trade. We render humble and hearty thanks to Almighty God fo0r the great and glorious victory, and for the fidelity, courage and devotion of the allied forces.

We pray

For the great Council of the nations which shall determine the conditions of peace.

For the ministry of the crown and those upon whom rests the duty of leadership in restoring conditions of peace in all countries.

For all those who profess and call themselves Christians, that they may act accordingly to their profession.

For the Church, that it may, by wise action, have due influence in the counsels of the nation.

For our troops, that they may be strong to resist the special temptations to which they are exposed.

For the soldiers who are prepared to take Holy Orders.

For the General Election.

For the Central Board of Finance, and for success in the promotion of the Central Fund of the Church of England.

For the revival of Missionary work which has been hindered by the war.

For the Diocesan Board of Missions.

For the C.E.T.S.

For the Diocesan Inspectors.

E.D. BUCKINGHAM.

Earley St Peter parish magazine, November 1918 (D/P191/28A/25)

Alas! glorious victories cost precious lives!

There was news of several Maidenhead men, one of whom had paid the ultimate price while taking part in an important operation.

OUR SOLDEIRS.

Reginald Hill is at a Convalescent Home, but he has not quite done with the Hospital yet. However, he hopes to say farewell to his friends at Sheffield in a month or so. Ernest Bristow has not yet been able to make the promised move to Cliveden, apparently because there has been a slight set-back in the healing process. But he is in excellent spirits. Harold Islip is in Hospital in France, suffering from a slight attack of trench fever. He expects shortly to return to England to be trained for a Commission. Wilfrid Collins has returned to Canada. Cecil Meade has been invalided home from Salonika, with a touch of malaria. He is reporting himself immediately, but does not expect to return to the East. Benjamin Gibbons is out of hospital again, and has been sent to Ireland. Herbert Brand has been gazetted 2nd Lieut. in the Staffordshires. Alfred Vardy went over to France at the beginning of April. Harry Baldwin has been home on leave, and anticipates being sent on active service (naval) very shortly. Wallace Mattingley, after a year’s training at Sandhurt, has received a Commission in the King’s Own Scottish Borderers.

We deeply regret to record the death of Arthur Ada, who was killed in the attack upon Zeebrugge on the night of Monday, April 22nd. Alas! glorious victories cost precious lives! We sympathise deeply with his sorrowing friends and relatives. There will be a touch of pride and admiration in the recollection of him when the manner of his death is recalled. It is said that before the operation actually took place everyone was informed quite clearly of the risk, but that no one backed out. The body was brought to Maidenhead for burial, and after a service in the Baptist Chapel (where Mr. Ada was organist), conducted by Revs. T. W. Way and T. F. Lewis, the interment was made at the Cemetery. Mr. Ada at one time contemplated offering himself for Missionary service.

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

Busily engaged in war work

Reading women had abandoned old religious or charitable work in favor of war work.

LADIES’ MISSIONARY WORKING PARTY

For some months the members of the Missionary Working Party have been compelled to suspend operations because there was no room in which they could meet. Our schoolrooms have either been “requisitioned” by the military authorities or devoted to the entertaining of our soldiers. There was a further difficulty, too, in the fact that many of the ladies were busily engaged in war work of various kinds.

There is now the possibility that the meetings may be resumed, and consequently a meeting will be held at Trinity Congregational Church on Tuesday April 23rd at 3.30 pm to discuss the matter.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, April 1918 (D/N11/12/1/14)

The thoughts of many people are turned in the direction of the Red Cross work in this special year

Broad Street Church hoped that concern for the wounded soldiers did not detract from other needs internationally.

The week beginning Sunday February 10th and ending Sunday February 17th is to be observed as “L.M.S. Hospital Week”, when the gifts of our friends are asked for the valuable Medical Missionary work of the London Missionary Society….

It is hoped that in this special year, when the thoughts of many people are turned in the direction of the Red Cross work being undertaken on behalf of our own wounded and those of other countries, there may be a great increase in practical sympathy with the needy sick and suffering throughout the world.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, February 1918 (D/N11/12/1/14)

“Many of our Missionaries are engaged in work amongst the troops”

Many British missionaries were now working with the troops when the latter were off-duty.

THE LMS ANNIVERSARY

This year the annual meetings of the Reading Auxiliary of the London Missionary Society are to be held on Sunday, November 18th and following days.

In the afternoon of [the Sunday] there will be the usual gathering of children and young people at Trinity Church, where addresses will be delivered by the Missionary Deputation…. The annual Public Meeting will be held at Broad Street … [where] we are to have addresses from the Deputation.

Owing to the difficulties of travel in these days, and the fact that so many of our Missionaries are engaged in work amongst the troops on the Continent and elsewhere, the authorities at the Mission House have very few Missionaries at their disposal for deputation work…

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, November 1917 (D/N11/12/1/14)

Men must not be taken from missionary work for military purposes

A missionary with Reading links reported on the – so far limited – impact of the war on the mission field in India.

THE REV. A. I. KAY

In an extremely interesting letter to the vicar, Mr Kay says:

It is encouraging to see the value Government puts on missionary work… A Missionary Doctor of our Mission was doing Army work at home. He was recalled at the request of the Government of India, as it was felt that his presence as a missionary doctor on the frontier made for the peacefulness of the wild tribes. Lately too over this new Defence Force there have been several expressions of opinion, and missionary work is almost looked upon as one of the essentials, from which men must not be taken for general military service. This, of course, is partly due to most of us being padres, but at the same time I don’t think any unordained missionaries are being called up for anything beyond local training.

Reading St. John parish magazine, July 1917 (D/P172/28A/24)

“The Cook Islanders march magnificently, and make an impressive spectacle”

Men from across the British Emoire, including those of non-European descent, answered Britain’s call during the First World War. Several hundred men in all came from the Cook Islands.

THE L.M.S. AND THE EMPIRE

Not only have many sons of the L.M.S. missionaries answered the call of the Empire, but also many “sons of the L.M.S.” from far off Rarotonga and its sister isles of the Cook group in the South Pacific two contingents of the young cook islanders, trained in New Zealand and associated with the famous Anzacs, have found their way to the battle fronts of Europe. In 1915 a first contingent of 50 or more young men left Rarotonga for training. Of these some have already fallen in action “somewhere in France.” The second contingent of 120 odd left Rarotonga in July of 1916, and after training in New Zealand were sent on to Europe recently. Special services were held for these men before they left their island home, and several of them became seekers of “the Pearl of Great Price.” These sons of the Mission have gone forth not only as soldiers of the Empire, but as soldiers of the Empire of Christ.

The Rev. G.H. Eastman, of Rarotonga, communicated with the Congregational ministers of Auckland, New Zealand, and with other friends there, who gave the young Cook Islanders a warm welcome, and made arrangements for their spiritual welfare while in camp. The friends of the Devonport Congregational Church in particular went out of their way to help these “missionary children”, and the following extracts are from a letter received by Mr. Eastman from one of the deacons of the church.

“…The Narrow Neck Camp where the men are training is only a few minutes’ walk from my home, and we see a lot of them under all sorts of conditions; everyone is loud in their praise the men are all that could be desired in behaviour, in smart appearance, and show intense interest in their work. We have had the great pleasure of seeing some 90 men Sunday by Sunday at our church for the morning service.

“The men march magnificently, and make an impressive spectacle. We have a service suitable to the Cook Islanders in the morning, being only too happy to waive our regular procedure to any extent needed. The reading of the lessons is first in English and then in the native tongue. We usually have two hymns sung by our friends, and they are the soul of the music. The sermon is translated in the usual way, and in this particularly we are indebted to Sergeant Beni, he is a most intelligent chap and does wonders. We shall miss these men when they go, they are quite one with us, and we feel we quite love them.

“Words fail me when I think of the work that has been done at the Cook Islands that such a magnificent example of missionary ‘children’ should come to our shores, their behaviour and attention during service is truly wonderful. I wish the L.M.S. Authorities in London could step in to our church one Sunday morning and see them.”

Trinity Congregational Magazine, April 1917 (D/EX1237/1/12)

Occupied by soldiers

A missionary meeting in Wargrave had to be held in the church as the only parish hall was being used by the army.

Annual S.P.G. Meeting: Wednesday, December 13th, 7 p.m, in the Parish Church.

We are very fortunate in having secured the kind help of Bishop Mounsey. He has resigned the difficult Diocese of Labuan and Sarawak and, at the moment, is taking charge of Shiplake, while the Vicar is serving as a Naval Chaplain.

The meeting will be held in the Church, because there is no other building large enough now that Woodclyffe Hall is occupied by soldiers. But it will be a meeting, not a service. The Nave of the Church is a perfectly suitable place for such a gathering. It is our Father’s House and we shall be about our Father’s business.

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

We do not forget

The Bishop congratulated the Revd T Guy Rogers, the Reading vicar turned army chaplain, on being awarded a medal for bravery.

THE BISHOP’S MESSAGE

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

Your prayers are asked especially
For the good hand of God upon us in the war.
For our allies and especially for Roumania [sic].
For the National Mission…

Your thanksgivings are asked…
For the liberation of the Missionaries in German East Africa.

THE DIFFICULTY ABOUT EVENING SERVICES

I most heartily trust that neither in town parishes nor in country parishes will the evening service on Sundays be abandoned without a very strong effort to carry it on under conditions of lighting which the police can sanction…

THE DEFINITION OF RESIDENCE FOR PURPOSES OF BANNS

I wish to call attention again to the ruling under which I act, given by my Chancellor… to the effect that a person’s normal home where he or she is known may be reckoned as place of residence, though the person in question is at the moment absent whether on military service or for some other purpose.

We are all delighted to know that Mr Guy Rogers has been given the Military Cross. We do not forget him.

COMFORTS FOR THE TROOPS

I have received a letter from the Director General of Voluntary Organisations expressing great anxiety as to the sufficient supply of comforts for the troops, such as mittens, mufflers, helmets and socks, especially the three first. I am asked to ‘secure the co-operation of the clergy’ in my dioceses to make the anxiety known. The following are depots of the V.O.A. in this diocese…

Berkshire: W. C. Blandy, esq, 1 Friar Street, Reading…
Reading: D. Haslam, jun., esq, 16 Duke Street, Reading…

C. OXON

LIST OF MEN SERVING IN HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES

The following additional names have been added to our prayer list:

William Monger, George Slaughter, William Hewett, Harold Hales, Cecil Hales, William Brown, Albert Bishop, George O’Dell, Frederick Eady, Herbert Ballard, Alfred Clibbon, George Breakspear, Albert Gray, Harry Rixon, Walter Rosser, Rupert Wigmore, William Butler, Walter Drown, Percy Prater.

In addition to those already mentioned we especially commend the following to your prayers:

Killed: Percy Wyer, Walter May, Ernest Bishop.
Sick: Edward Iles, Charles Webb, William Wright.
Wounded: William Holmes, Frank, Fowler, Harry Merry, Arthur Morrice, Leonard Strong.
Wounded and Missing: Frank Snellgrove.
Missing: Edward Taylor.

CONCERT IN ST PETER’S HALL

On Wednesday, November 29th, there will be a concert in St Peter’s Hall to help provide funds for giving a Christmas Dinner and Entertainment to a party of Wounded Soldiers. Mr E. Love and party are working up an excellent programme, and we hope our readers will help to make the concert a great success by supporting it as much as they can.

Earley parish magazine, November 1916 (D/P191/28A/23/11)

“Many of the Christians in Syria are now being systematically starved by the Turks and Germans”

The Middle East and Levant (including modern Israel, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon) was part of the Ottoman Empire at the time of the war. Frances Newton (1871-1955) was a missionary who was also a pro-Arab human rights activist in Palestine after the war.

An illustrated Lantern Lecture, entitled “An English woman’s journey in Arabia”, was given to the Missionary Guild in the Parish Room on October 12th, by Miss F E Newton. A number of the slides were unique, as this is the only journey hitherto taken by European Women as far as this point. The railway has been made by the Turks at the direction of the Germans, and slides were shown of two churches built by them in Jerusalem. Many of the Christians in Syria are now being systematically starved by the Turks and Germans, and all the Mission’s buildings in Jerusalem are in the hands of the enemy. The Bishop will have a hard task when the war is over.

Newbury parish magazine, November 1916 (D/P89/28A/13)

Twenty African clergy and teachers are said to have died of hardships in German prisons

The vicar of Reading St Giles was worried about the fate of British missionaries, and local converts, in German-controlled parts of Africa.

NOTES FROM THE VICAR

Zanzibar Diocese

When war broke out in 1914, 42 missionaries of the Zanzibar Diocese were at work in German East Africa, and hardly any direct news of them has since been received. Twenty African clergy and teachers are said to have died of hardships in German prisons. It adds to our anxieties to know that a great number of our African Christians are unshepherded and deprived of the sacraments. Now that a determined attempt is being made to take this, the last remaining colony of the Germans, the dangers and difficulties of our 19 Englishmen and 22 Ladies may be greater than ever.

Nyasaland Diocese

The war has debarred our missionaries from continuing their work on the north-east shores of Lake Nyasa, and the Diocese also is inconvenienced through the commandeering by the British Government of the Mission steamers “Chauncy Maples” and “Charles Jansen.”

To be added to our Intercessions List:

Private Albert Henry Oliver, R.M.A., Lieut. Commander C.J. Benton, R.N.R., Driver J. Cutter, R.E., Sergt. J. Burridge, A.O.C. Bombadier H. Burridge, R.G.A. Gunner G. Moss, R.G.A. Private W. Burridge, Scots. Fusiliers. H. Case, R.G.A.

Missing: Private A. Smith. Wounded: Private S.H.Truss. Private J. Wiltshire. Lieut. G.R. Goodship.

To the list of the departed: Private Sadler, T.J. Seymour, Hyde (R.Berks), E.J.Andrews, Criddle (A.S.C.), Capt. R. Attride (R.Berks).

Reading St Giles parish magazine, September 1916 (D/P191/28A/24)

False rumours of looting in Iran

A Christian missionary with Reading connections wrote to report on how the war had affected her in Persia (Iran). Persia was theoretically neutral, but there was a certain amount of military activity.

EXTRACTS FROM LETTER FROM MISS BIGGS, ISPAHAN.

Here at Ispahan practically all our property is intact. We received rumour after rumour of damage and looting, but most of it has proved false. All our personal property is safe, except things stored in the boys’ school. The Persians under German command commandeered the school as barracks, and have done a good deal of superficial damage. Except for this and the Russian Red Cross having occupied our women’s hospital and Dr Stuart’s house, everything is locked up and sealed as we left it.

Reading St. John parish magazine, September 1916 (D/P172/28A/24)

Indian soldiers witness German “civilisation”

The rector of Newbury was optimistic that the war would have positive results.

The Missionary Guild meeting was held on June 28th. The Rector in opening the meeting said all our thoughts were at present on the coming National Mission, but we must not forget or neglect our duty to Foreign Missions…

The Rev. A F Bliss … said “It was rather surprising, but all the great calamities in history had been preparations for progress… After our past wars Christianity had made great strides. The Napoleonic Wars, Chinese, Indian Mutiny and Boer War, were all followed by greater progress in Foreign Missions and Missionary Societies had received more support. There are already noticeable changes during this war. The missionaries in Madagascar have found some of their hindrances removed and their efforts encouraged.

The Indian Soldier is beginning to know from experience that all white men are not Christian, and is contrasting German civilisation with Christianity. In the past destruction had always been followed by construction. We shall be faced with great opportunities, and the whole Church should be prepared, and looking forward to the dawn of a far greater day than had ever yet dawned.”

Newbury parish magazine, August 1916 (D/P89/28A/13)