“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)

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Starving and orphan children walked, some from Jerusalem and others 200 miles, to obtain food and shelter from the British

A missionary organisation was helping care for child refugees in British-occupied Palestine.

WORK OF THE CHURCH IN THE WAR ZONE

A Lawn Meeting was held at the Rectory on June 6th, when a most interesting account was given of the work of the Church in the Mohammedan Land of Palestine.

Miss Roberts told of how the Church Missionary Society were asked to re-open their Hospitals at Gaza, of the starving and orphan children who had walked, some from Jerusalem and others 200 miles, to obtain food and shelter. She exhibited samples of the lace work done by these children and others, and was ready to receive orders.

She showed how the Military Authorities were relying for such help upon the Church Missionary Society, and the danger of having numbers of orphans to maintain without the provision of funds. A voluntary collection was made, producing £2 6s 6d. This included a cheque from a lady who could not attend.

Sulhamstead parish magaizine, August 1918 (D/EX725/4)

None the worse for two years as a prisoner of war

We get a glimpse into wartime in a peaceful art of British-occupied Africa (now part of Tanzania). The Ruvuma River forms the bundary between Tanzania and Mozambique, which was in 1918 still a Portugese colony.

1-3-18. Massassie.
R.A.M.C
29th M.A Convoy
British East Africa

Dear Sir,

It is not some time since I wrote to you last, but trust you received my letter in answer to your most welcome letter of 6-8-17. Since writing to you last I have travelled the greater part of this country, the South of Central Railway, I have been over the Ruvoma river into Portuguese territory, but am now back in East Africa.

During the last few months I have had rather a busy time, and have also had my share of illness. I am picking up quickly again now, and feel as full of life as ever. The weather is still very hot. We have had very little rain this season so far: this time last year we were having very heavy rains and were stranded in the swamp for quite a month at a time.

I expect to be going on leave to South Africa some time this month; there are only 5 of us left out of 22 who left England 2 years ago, so I think we shall stand a chance of leave this rainy season.

There is very little game in this part of she country but about 50 miles from here, near the Border almost everything can be seen.

Football is the great game at present as the evenings are very cool now. Our Unit has started a Weekly Paper which is a great success throughout the camp, it is called the “Masassi Times”. If possible I will send you a copy which I am sure you will find very interesting, in fact we can boast the wit of two famous brother Comedians. We are having a very busy time just at present, for the sick average is very high again now, 3-3-18.

It is now Sunday afternoon, tonight we have another service which will be taken by the Rev. Archdeacon Hallet in a Banda at our park. I have had several talks with him, he tells me he has preached at Sunningdale and Ascot and remembered our church when I showed him a photo which I received from home a few months ago. He has been a prisoner in the country for 2 years, but he seems none the worse for his experience, for he is now back at the same Mission as before the war, which is only 4 miles from our camp. The Mission has been used for a hospital by both the Germans and ourselves, but is now given over for its work to be carried on.

It is a lovely building built of stone and brick by the natives, it is built on a hill only a few yards from a great rock several hundred feet high. Looking from a distance the rock appears to overhang the Mission. We have one of these great rocks on all four sides of us, with just a road running between, which is called Bhna. Some of the greatest fights of the campaign took place here, which makes it very historical.

We had a Native Regimental Band here for 2 nights last week, which we all enjoyed being the first we had seen or heard since landing in the country. The natives are very busy with their crops now, most of the land being very fertile, we are able to grow almost anything in the garden we’ve made, but our great trouble is to get the seed. Shops of any description are unheard of in this country so you can imagine our solitude. I think it will appear very strange but pleasant to us all when we get down to South Africa on leave.

I am so pleased to hear that Mrs. Cornish and Miss Mirriam are enjoying good health, please convey my best wishes to everyone at the vicarage. I will now conclude, thanking you for your kindness and trusting you are in the best of health,

Yours sincerely,

W. R. Lewis.

Sunningdale parish magazine, July 1918 (D/P150B/28A/10)

Even in this time of war we have been able to help the work of our Missionary Societies

Mission work was not forgotten despite the calls of the war.

A Sale of Work for Missions was held at the Victoria Hall on December 12th, and the sum of £71 10s. 0d was realised. It is impossible in the brief space as our disposal to mention the names of the many willing helpers who contributed to this successful result. We are very thankful that even in this time of war we should have been able to help the work of our Missionary Societies, which are pledged to support those who are working in the Mission Field, and, though for the time new places are in abeyance, the old work must be kept going. Those who in the midst of all their other work for their Country in connection with the war made time to help at the sale, will feel glad to think that their efforts were so successful.

Bracknell section of Winkfield and Warfield Magazine, January 1918 (D/P 151/281/10)

A remarkable fact during the third year of war

The cause of Christian missions suffered from the war’s calls on the public’s generosity.

Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts:
Diocese of Oxford:
An Urgent Appeal

The Society is constrained by force of circumstance to ask this year for an increase of £35,000 over its income in 1916.

The need for the Appeal

In the Mission Field, as at home, money does not go so far as it did. This additional £35,000 is not required for any fresh developments but for the maintenance of existing work only.

To reduce the grants for 1918, without previous warning and in the face of remarkable self-sacrifice on the part of workers in all parts of the Mission field, would, humanly speaking, be disastrous. It would mean the with-drawal of Christian workers who are planting all over the world true civilisations grounded in the Christian Faith, and the closing of Mission Stations. It would mean undoing the work of years of devoted labour. It would probably mean that in the eyes of non-Christians the Gospel cause must be waning.

Such a step is unthinkable, and for 1918 the Society has pledged itself not to reduce its grants. It looks to its supporters to enable it to keep its pledge.

The amount required is small indeed compared with the immense sums that are being so generously and splendidly subscribed to War Funds. Let those who realise the extreme importance of the Missionary work of Church overseas see to it that the permanent work of the Church of God is not maimed in these years of stress, for the want of these few thousands.

The Missionaries are doing their part nobly. In one diocese, for instance, the Missionaries supported by the Society are setting a fine example by putting aside 5 percent of their small stipends to form an “Emergency Fund” in case the Society should be unable to keep its pledges.

Of the additional £35,000 to be raised, the share of this diocese (based on the last five years’ average contributions to the General Fund) is £1,433.


How is this Appeal to be Met?

The Oxford Diocesan S.P.G. Committee appeals at once for an additional sum of £500 for the General Fund towards this amount.

A resident in the diocese has offered to give £5 if 99 other gifts of £5 are contributed before the end of the year. It has been suggested in addition to personal gifts of £5 it may be possible for Rural Deaneries or parishes to contribute one or more sums of £5 over and above the contributions in 1916.

Apart from this “challenge” Ruri-decanal and parochial secretaries are earnestly requested to use every effort to obtain new subscribers; and all Incorporated Members, Members, and supporters of the Society are asked to increase, if possible, their contributions this year.

The Diocese of Oxford last year raised more money for the Society through parochial channels than ever before. That is surely a remarkable fact during the third year of war! It shoes that the tide of the missionary spirit is still rising and is of good omen for the present year. A little more and the worst strain will be over.

Contributions should be sent to Miss Porter, Ouseleys, Wargrave.


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

“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)

“The attempt of our enemies to starve us has practically failed”

In Earley people were grateful for good weather, which looked set to relieve the pressure on the food supply.

The Vicar’s Letter

My dear friends

Autumn is drawing on apace, and we have again reached the time for our Harvest Thanksgiving, which is fixed for Sunday, October 7th.

This year we ought to be especially thankful. At one time our outlook as regards food appeared to be far from satisfactory, but God has blessed us during the past month with such weather that in most districts the greater part of the harvest has been gathered in without much damage, and the attempt of our enemies to starve us by unrestricted submarine warfare, though still serious, has practically failed. Surely we ought to join together in our thanksgivings, and especially at Holy Communion, with a deepened sense of what we owe to God for our nation and for ourselves.

And while we are thanking God for our material harvest, let us all think of those fields which are ripe for the spiritual harvest in India, Canada, South Africa, and throughout the world… Do we realise as we ought the enormous responsibility that will rest upon our country after the war for the spiritual harvest of the world?

Your friend and Vicar
W W Fowler.

Earley St Peter parish magazine, October 1917 (D/P191/28A/24)

Setting such a good example in food economy, that at present there is not much prospect of compulsory rationing

Reading clergy agreed none of their churches would put on a tea for Sunday School children this year.

THE VICAR’S LETTER

My dear friends,

The Bishop of Oxford, in the Diocesan Magazine for this month, calls especial attention to the effort that is to be made following on the National Mission of last year. To stimulate prayer and interest and self-sacrifice for the overseas work of the Church, Sunday, October 14th, and the days following have been set apart for this purpose in Reading, and we hope that there will be a wide response. The Bishop expresses his earnest wish that we and our people should realise the great obligations laid upon us by the war for the evangelization of the world…

At a meeting of the clergy, of all denominations in Reading, held a short time ago, it was resolved that there should be no Sunday School Teas as usual, but that an afternoon should be set aside for games and sports. We are sure that both children and parents will feel that at this time public meals of any sort are to be avoided. We understand that so many town, including Reading, are setting such a good example in food economy, that at present there is not much prospect of compulsory rationing.

Your friend and vicar,
W W Fowler

LIST OF MEN SERVING IN HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES

The following additional names have been added to our prayer list: George Bernard, Bernard Walker, Charles Simmonds, Ernest Dormer, William Cooper.

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

KILLED IN ACTION: Albert Denham, Frank Snellgrove, George Jeram.

SICK: Alban Fixsen, William May, Cornelius O’Leary, Francis Broadhurst.

WOUNDED: Frederick Smithers, Frank Taylor, Gilbert Adams.

MISSING: William Wynn.

Earley St Peter parish magazine, July 1917 (D/P191/28A/24)

The walls between races are being done away

The Bishop of Oxford saw the war breaking down barriers of racism, and wanted to spur churchgoers into thinking about mission work after the war.

THE BISHOP’S MESSAGE

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

Your prayers are asked
For the country and our allies, especially for Russia, and for the cause in which we are fighting…

THE AUTUMN EFFORT

There is to be an “effort” in the autumn to stimulate prayer and interest and self-sacrifice for the overseas work of the church. It is certain that the great war will put in a new light both the obligation and the opportunity of world-wide evangelization. In particular, America and England will be confronted with professions about human brotherhood and consequent obligations to races whose skins are not of our colour which we cannot possibly disown. But the more deeply we think about the Brotherhood of Nations, the more we are driven back upon Christianity. There is no other religion which can aver make a reasonable claim to be a catholic religion. There only can it be even claimed that the middle walls of partition between race and race are done away.

Well, this moment, with our men away at the war – just the men we want to get to listen – is the last moment for a Missionary Crusade. Nut we who stay at home must be preparing our message. And I want every parish priest, every parochial study and prayer circle, every ruri-decanal committee for overseas work, to see to it that, by whatever method, some real effort is made this autumn to make our people realise (1) the vast obligation – as the situation arising out of the war will present it afresh – which lies on us to evangelize the world; (2) the immense needs of a missionary field denuded of even its normal equipment, short as that always was; (3) the call of Christ upon young men and women for a sacrifice in the cause of the Kingdom of Christ corresponding to the sacrifice evoked by the war.

C. OXON.

Earley St Peter parish magazine, July 1917 (D/P191/28A/24)

The Open Air mission to the troops of all nations

The Open Air Mission was an evangelical initiative reaching out to men in training, the wounded, and enemy PoWs.

OPEN-AIR MISSION
There will be a meeting on behalf of this Mission on St John’s Lawn on Tuesday, July 3rd, at 3 pm, when the Rev. P. Rose and Walter Goff, esq, will describe the work of the Open-Air Mission amongst British and French troops in the war, and among German Prisoners… If wet, the meeting will be held in Princes Street Mission Room.

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

“The Polish people have suffered terribly during the war, especially the Polish Jews”

A missionary speaker in Reading told his hearers about the war in Poland, which had been split between the Austrian, German and Russian empires for a century, and was right on the front line between Russia and the enemy, resulting in fierce fighting and a major impact on the civilian populace, including the large Jewish minority.

MEN’S SERVICE

The speaker at the St Stephen’s Men’s Service on Sunday, February 18th, will be the Rev. H. C. Carpenter, British Chaplain at Warsaw, and we hope there will be a really large congregation of men to hear him. He will speak on behalf of the London Jews’ Society, and he is sure to have much that is interesting to tell us, for Warsaw, as our readers know, is the ancient capital of Poland, and the tide of war in the East has passed right through and beyond the city, while the future of Poland is one of the most difficult problems to solve after the war is over. The Polish people have suffered terribly during the war, especially the Polish Jews.

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

Can we ask effectively for a reform of national laws?

The Bishop of Oxford thought the church should take a hard look at its own failings before attacking the country.

THE BISHOP’S MESSAGE

The following extracts are from the Bishop’s message in the July Diocesan magazine:

Your prayers are specially asked
For the maintenance of the spirit and unity of the nation in the great war…

THE CORPORATE REPENTANCE OF THE CHURCH

I want to say something about the idea that the Mission is to prepare the Church to deliver a message to the nation in the autumn. I do not like this way of putting the matter. I am afraid the nation may turn round upon us and say, ‘Put your own house in order before you speak to us’. We are bidden, for instance, to address the nation about the necessity of paying better wages. But what a shocking spectacle is presented by the salaries paid to our own officers, the clergy. Do we pay all of these a ‘living wage’? How many parishes require ‘private means’, and those often rich parishes? Is there not a monstrous inequality of income?… Is it not just this sort of lottery which we are being instructed to condemn in commercial life – a few large portions and a great many inadequate pittances.

Can we speak to the nation, till we are zealous to reform ourselves? In the face of St James’ plain words, can we talk about “equal treatment” when the pew system still prevails? Can we ask effectively for a reform of national laws, when we in the church in the face of Christ’s plain intention have suffered ourselves to be deprived of almost all power of spiritual legislation and spiritual discipline?

Or again – can we claim of the nation that it should embark on a crusade against the vices which ruin our national life when we ourselves as a church, the organ and instrument of Christ, have been so acquiescent? Have lust and drunkenness and avarice felt the church to be in every village and every town a relentless foe, waging Christ’s war with fearless courage against everything which He hated – ‘riding’ forth as a terrible warrior against the forces of injustice and wrong?…

THE MISSIONARY FESTIVAL

Do not forget the Missionary Festival at Banbury, on July 18th. It would indeed be a disaster if the national mission did not quicken our fervour for overseas work. The war is putting a terrible strain on mission work abroad, and we must show ourselves equal to the strain.

AUGUST 4TH

The third year of the terrible war will begin on August 4th. No fresh prayers will be put out. But I hope we shall make it in every church a day of faithful prayer.

C. OXON.

Earley St Peter parish magazine, July 1916 (D/P191/28A/23/7)

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)

Terribly sad – but a splendid ideal of self-sacrifice

A Newbury teacher left his school for the trenches, as two other young men were reported killed.

The Managers of the Schools have presented Miss Bell with a Bible, in recognition of the nearly twenty years’ service in the Boys School, which she finished last year; and have presented Mr Nicklen with a wrist watch, on his leaving the school for the Army, he having been a few months longer than Miss Bell a teacher at the School. Mr Nicklen also received a handsome case of pipes together with a pouch from the teachers and the boys. Mr G F Pyke is at present medically prevented from joining the Army, as he wished to do.

The Deanery Secretary of UMCA, Miss Howard, has been endeavouring to arrange for the Annual Meeting in the Oddfellows’ Hall, but it seems better to postpone the meeting to some date after Lent… In the meantime the Mission remains, as ever, in urgent need of prayer and assistance. We hope that the successful prosecution of the Campaign in East Africa will soon result in the setting free of the Missionaries imprisoned within.

We offer our sincerest sympathies to Mr and Mrs Brown, of 47 Northbrook Street, and Mr and Mrs Breach, of 13 Victoria Street, on their loss of a son at the War. It is terribly sad to think of all these fine young fellows being called away so suddenly, and of the great sorrow that is being caused in so many homes: but they are raising up for the Nation a splendid ideal of self-sacrifice.

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

“The war is doing us a lot of good”

Maysie Wynne-Finch wrote to her brother Ralph Glyn in Egypt with the news that she and her wounded husband were going to be based in Windsor until he was well enough to return to the Front. Their aunt Sybil was still receiving letters from her son Ivar, written before his recent death in action.

Feb 11/16
11 Bruton St W
Darlingest R.

I had a mysterious message from Meg’s house today saying Colonel Sykes had called leaving a small parcel from you, & saying he was just home from the Dardenelles [sic]. I had the said parcel brought here, & it is a couple of torch refills apparently unused from Stephenson. I must get hold of Colonel Sykes for an explanation.

Our plans are now fixed up to a point. The doctor, [dear?] man, said John was not to return to France for 3 months, this being so the regimental powers that be used much pressure to get him to reconsider his refusal of the 5th Battalion Adjutancy, & so after being told they won’t try & keep him after he’s fit for France, he has said yes. There is no doubt it’s good useful work for home service, if it has to be, & I am glad for him, though I suppose I shall now see little or nothing of him at all. He begins on Monday. He went house hunting on Tuesday – a depressing job, as there are hardly any houses to be had, & those one more beastly than the other! However – nothing matters – it’s just wonderful to be there at all. We shall take what we can & when we can – that’s all. The house we long for, but it’s not yet even furnished, is one, & a charming old house done up & owned by that old bore Arthur Leveson Gower, you remember the man, we met at the Hague, years ago. Tony has been ill again with Flu, the 2nd time this year…

We’ve just had tea with Aunt Syb. She got another letter from Ivar written Jan 1, last Friday. It’s awful for her, & yet I think there is most joy, rather than pain, the hopeless silence is for a moment filled, though but as it were by an echo. Joan looks pale & oh so sad. She’s wonderfully brave & unselfish to Aunt Syb. Poor little Joanie…

I hear Pelly’s opinion is that Kut must fall. London was filled with rumours of a naval engagement on Monday & Tues, but as far as I can make out without foundation.

I met Ad[miral] Mark Ker[r] in the street the other day, & we had a long talk. I fear he’s not improved – & I think very bitter at being out of it all. He was interesting over Greece etc, but there is so much “I” in all he says, one cannot help distrusting a great deal. He’s very upset as he was starting to return to Greece a week ago & at the very last moment was stopped, & now he’s simply kicking his heels, not knowing what’s going to happen next. “Tino” now is of course his idol & here – I feel a pig saying all this, as I do feel sorry for him, & he was most kind. Yesterday he asked us to lunch to meet Gwladys [sic] Cooper, Mrs Buckmaster, how lovely she is, & seems nice, almost dull John thought! We then went on to the matinee of her new play. Most amusing, she is delightful, & Hawtrey just himself…

As you can imagine air-defence & the want of it is now all the talk. One of our airships has taken to sailing over this house from west to east every morning at 8.30 am. I hear we broke up 6 aeroplanes & killed 3 men the night of the last raid. All leave is now stopped from France. We’ve just lunched with Laggs Gibbs, who came over a day before the order came out. He says it’s said to be because of some new training scheme we have & not because of any offensive either way.

John had a Med Board today, & narrowly escaped being given another 3 months sick leave apparently. They implored him to go to Brighton & said he was very below parr [sic] etc, however he bounced them into giving him home duty, & they’ve made it 3 months, & “no marching”, etc, tc, etc. Of course as Adjutant he wouldn’t have that anyhow.

We think we have got a house, but can’t get in for a fortnight.

Bless you darling
Your ever loving Maysie (more…)