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)

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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)

Pray and pray again yet more earnestly for the triumph of right over wrong

Warfield men were grateful for their Christmas gifts. Those serving in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) were treated to plum puddings, while those in France got tobacco.

VICAR’S LETTER

MY DEAR FRIENDS AND PARISHIONERS,

I have received most grateful letters from nearly all our Warfield Soldiers and Sailors for the Christmas presents sent them by the parishioners, most of them reflecting great credit on the packers, as the cake appears to have arrived in a perfect condition, although no tins or boxes were used. I am giving you this issue a statement of accounts given to me by our treasurer, Miss Hardcastle. Only one parcel seems to have missed its destination and found its way back to me. They all seem to be looking forward to spending their next Christmas at home.

This makes me think of the national mission, and is result on the nation. What are its results on each of us personally? How far may each one of us be hindering its great accomplishment by lack of self consecration? How far is each one wilfully tying the hands of a loving God? Think of this, and pray and pray again yet more earnestly for the triumph of right over wrong, but let us all see to it that our hearts are right with God.

Yours affectionately in Christ,

WALTER THACKERAY

CHRISTMAS FUND FOR OUR SOLDIERS AND SAILORS.

At a public meeting on November 13th the following Committee was elected to make arrangements for the above: the Vicar, Messrs. H. Crocker, H. Lawrence, Mrs. Crailsham, Mrs. Dyer, Mrs. Thackeray and Miss Hardcastle (Treasurer). The total sum subscribed amounted to £25 3s. 7d., made up as follows:-

Balance from 1915 £3 2 0
Whist Drive 2 7 3
Dance 1 1 2
Subscriptions 17 4 8
Balance from Sir C. Brownlow’s
Testimonial 0 8 6

The total number of parcels sent was 107; Mesopotamia, Salonika, Egypt and India, 21; France, 42; Home Camps, 33; Navy, 11.

Contents of parcels for Mesopotamia etc: Socks and plum pudding and Warfield picture card.

For France and Navy: socks, cake, cocoa, chocolate, handkerchief, Warfield picture card and tobacco.

For Home camps: same as for France, except mittens instead of socks.

Total spent on parcels £19 5 5½
Postage 4 6 1½
Balance in hand 1 10 0
───────────
£25 3 7

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

Remember the awful and terrible side of the war, and not think only of the glory of it

Windsor women were applauded for their war work, but also challenged, by a speaker as part of the National Mission.

The National Mission

We women of Windsor have reason to be very grateful for the services and meetings arranged for us in connection with the National Mission.
On the first Monday Mrs Creighton addressed a very large gathering in the Town Hall. She spoke of the solemn time which the Mission ought to be to us all, and asked us to remember the awful and terrible side of the war, and not think only of the glory of it. She dwelt on the great and good work that women are doing in this unprecedented time, and impressed upon us the fact that the best welcome we could prepare for our soldiers and sailors, and the one most worthy of them after all their sufferings, was a home which had been kept pure and good during their absence.

New Windsor St John the Baptist parish magazine, December 1916 (D/P149/28A/21/8)

“Many soldiers have been brought nearer to God through the War”

As part of the National Mission, people at home were challenged by a leaflet which purported to be sent by serving soldiers.

The following has been drawn up by our Soldiers in France, and is being sent in the form of a leaflet to us at home:-

A MESSAGE TO YOU FROM THE FRONT.

Are you thinking about the National Mission of Repentance and Hope? They seem to be talking about it a great deal in England. It sounds to us a splendid plan.

Now we men out here want to do our bit to help if we can; and we want you at home to be getting ready now to join us on our return in trying to bring our own homes and our Country a good deal nearer to God than they were before the War. God is speaking to our Nation, and many of us are finding out that our way of looking at life has to a great extent been wrong and out of gear.

People have been so busy getting wages raised, comforts increased, and amusements multiplied, that we had almost or quite forgotten that the value of such is lost unless we put God first. Do we not all need to make a fresh start by putting God first? We believe that if we do so, we shall be able to meet the difficulties of life much more easily and much more satisfactorily.

Many soldiers have been brought nearer to God through the War. We are sure that our new way of looking at things is better and truer than the old one; we do not want it to fade away when we get back home; and so we are asking you to help on the Mission at home by taking part in it yourself.

If anyone calls about the Missions, give them a welcome and show them this leaflet. Let us hear how it goes on, because we are confident that great good will arise if we all do our part.

Wokingham St Sebastian parish magazine, December 1916 (D/P154C/28A/1)

Bad news from France

Two Reading teachers had time off due to loved ones at the front.

Katesgove Girls’ School, Reading
1916, Nov 30

Miss Davey absent, by permission, on the occasion of her brother’s leave of absence from France (Nov 30-Dec 4)

Alfred Sutton Primary School, Reading
30th November 1916
Miss D Smith left at three o’clock in the afternoon as she received bad news from France. She will take a few days leave of absence.

Ascot Heath Girls’ School
30th November 1916

The afternoon session commenced at 12:55pm instead of 1:30pm in order that the girls might attend a children’s service in connection with the national mission at 3:30pm.

Ascot Heath Girls School Log Book (C/EL109/2, p. 264); Katesgrove Girls School log book (SCH/6/8/2, p. 422); Alfred Sutton Primary School log book (89/SCH/37/1, p. 238)

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)

“The fact is War Work occupies all the available time”: Wargrave responds to the National Mission

The National Mission in Wargrave was announced in October 1916 as starting on 19 November:

The National Mission

The Sunday fixed for the Mission Services in Wargrave is November 19th, when the Ven. The Archdeacon of Berkshire will be in charge.

It was a great success, the parish magazine later reported; but would it have long lasting effects?

The National Mission

We have indeed much cause to be thankful. It was a great disappointment when we heard that that Archdeacon Ducat could not come; but that the Rev. George Perry-Gore was able to take his place and on the same day may indeed be taken as a sign of the good hand of our God upon us.

All who attended the Mission desire to unite in tendering their most grateful thanks to our Missioner. We must take counsel before God, each with himself, as to how we can give effect to the message by new resolution to walk with God.

The attendance at the meetings of preparation and at the services of the Mission were good. The weather during the Mission was so very bad that it required a real effort to face it, and many in weak health or at a distance were altogether unable to do so. Those who did come were rewarded.

We must be thankful that the weather was fine for the four Open-Air Services. They were well supported and afforded a simple but impressive witness.

The Men’s Bible Study Circle conducted by Dr. McCrea is full of promise. The method adopted evokes extraordinary interest from those who take part. It will continue on Thursdays at 7:30 in the Parish Room.

It has been found impossible to start a Woman’s Bible Study Circle at the present time although a very capable leader was ready to undertake it. The fact is War Work occupies all the available time among those who would otherwise be glad to join.

Every Mission has three parts. The Preparation; The Message; The response.

We did our best with the Preparation.

The need and intention of the Mission were fully explained, the invitation to hear the Message was conveyed to every house and the exact particulars of time and place were carefully published.
But the real preparation went deeper than this. There was prayer in Church and in our homes. We prayed about the National Mission, asking God’s blessing upon it, that the effort of the Church might make for the advancement of His Kingdom. And we prayed for the Messengers, that God might give them utterance, and fill them with the spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind.

We have now had the Message. We have been reminded of our need of Repentance and of our Christian heritage of Hope. We have been told the old old story of God’s Love, of our redemption in Jesus Christ and of our strength for victory in the grace of the Holy Spirit. We have thought about our Christian duties. We have taken counsel about prayer. We have realised that our country needs the best from each of us, and that we are not giving our best unless we have sought for God’s blessing and God’s grace to inform our character and to sanctify our work.

There remains the Response, which is the third part of the Mission. If this is of the right kind it has begin already and it will go on for the rest of our lives.

What is it to be? It will not be exactly the same in any two of us. But it will be the same for us all in that it will mean drawing us closer to God. And it will be the same for us all in that it will mean that our lives will show a clearer witness for Christ. If we make the right kind of response men will take knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus. They will see it in our homes, in our work and in our play.

But it must be remembered that God’s message never leaves us in the same position as we were before we heard it. We have had another summons to awake, another reminder of the standard by which alone our lives are judged, another proclamation of our Lord’s Commands. We must not neglect so great salvation.

May our response be such that it may make us more ready to meet the Master when He comes in His Glory and all the Holy Angels with Him, and shall sit upon the throne of His Glory – to take account.

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

Pray for the good hand of God upon us in the war

More Earley men had joined up, while churchgoers across the county were urged to pray for army chaplains.

THE BISHOP’S MESSAGE
The following extracts are from the Bishop’s message in the October Diocesan magazine:
Your prayers are specially asked

For the National Mission….
For the good hand of God upon us in the war.
For the chaplains to the forces, especially those from this diocese.
For the wounded in hospital, especially those in this diocese, and those who minister to them…
For the supply of candidates for Holy orders, especially from among those now serving as soldiers.

LIST OF MEN SERVING IN HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES

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

William Waite, William Wright, Harry Cartwright, James Maxwell, Edwin Jerome, Harold White, Lionel Dunlop, Brian Dunlop, William Illsley, Albert Flower, Tom Brooks, Harry Shepherd, Albert Andrews, Robert Lewis, Harry Longshaw, Horace Gilbert, George Stacey, Maurice Love.

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

Killed: Alfred Bolton, Percy Howlett, Ralph Hayes Sadler.
Died: Harry Stevens.
Wounded: Jack Howlett, Percy Hamilton, George Bungay, Sidney Saunders, Leonard Rixon, Frank Jones.
Sick: William Fisher, Sidney Farmer.

Earley parish magazine, October 1916 (D/P191/28A/31/10)

“Surely the Almighty God, does not intend this was to be just a hideous fracas, a bloody, drunken orgy”

Admiral David Beatty (1871-1936) was a leading naval officer.

THE VICAR’S LETTER

MY DEAR FRIENDS AND PARISHIONERS,

There is but one absorbing thought for us as members of the Church this month, that is, the National Mission. No one can doubt but that God has been very distinctly speaking to us as a nation since the war began in 1914. He speaks in order that we may act. An opportunity is seized or it is lost. What great results may flow from a choice rightly made? The entire Church, interpreting God’s message from this war, says to us now “Choose ye this day who ye will serve?” Some folk feel that God has never crossed their path. Some people don’t hear when they are spoken to. They are either deaf or inattentive. Let me conclude my letter with the words of no less a hero than Admiral Beatty, which claims the respect of every thoughtful man and woman.

“Surely the Almighty God, does not intend this was to be just a hideous fracas, a bloody, drunken orgy. There must be purpose in it all: improvement must be born of it. In what direction, France has shewn us the way. She has risen out of her ruined cities with her revived religion, which is most wonderful. Russia has been welded into a whole, and religion plays a paper part. England still remains to be taken out of the stupor of self-satisfaction and complacency in which her great and flourishing condition has steeped her; and until religious revival takes place at home, just so long will the war continue. When she can look out on the future with humbler eyes and a prayer on her lips then we can begin to count the days towards the end.”

I would specially commend to the serious thought of every reader the latter part beginning with the words of England. Let every man and woman do their bit.

Ever yours affectionately in Christ,

WALTER THACKERAY.

* * *

We desire to express our deep sympathy with Mr. and Mrs. Woodwards, also with Mr. and Mrs. Ferris in their recent bereavements on the battlefield.

Warfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, October 1916 (D/P151/28A/8/10)

The war on its spiritual side

Burghfield was ready for the National Mission, as it mourned the deaths of two more of its young men.

THE NATIONAL MISSION OF REPENTANCE AND HOPE

Before this is in the hands of our readers we shall all have had the opportunity of hearing “God’s Message to England” from the lips of our special Messenger….

A copy of our Missioner’s letter, together with a list of the special services, has been distributed (I hope) to every house in the parish, but we think it will be well to preserve a copy of the letter in the magazine as a permanent record.

Missioner’s Letter

My dear friends

Our Bishop has given me the great privilege, and laid upon me the great responsibility, of carrying the message of the National Mission to you in Burghfield…

High and low, rich and poor, priest and people, all alike need the message; all alike must be humble, and ready to listen. As with the War, so with this; we are all in it, and none must stand aloof. Indeed it is the War, the War on its spiritual side, the War of a people of God against sin, selfishness, misery, and all that takes the joy and innocence out of a people’s life. And I, though a sinful man not worthy of my office, come to you in God’s name, bearing His word, declaring His promise, bringing His gifts, to help you to do our part at home for our dear native land, as the lads are doing it in other ways abroad.

Yours faithfully in Christ Jesus our Lord

Allen E. Dams

ROLL OF HONOUR

We regret to announce two more deaths during the past month.

1. William Vockins, aged 19, of Pinge Wood. He was severely wounded in the head and sent home to a London hospital, where he died on October 4th. On the previous day the poor boy, helped by his nurse, wrote a few lines to his mother to say that he felt a little better! He was confirmed in our church in March 1913.

2. Frank Pearse, aged 25, the elder son of our district nurse, was killed instantaneously by a shell in France on October 3rd. We remember him as an upright and manly young fellow, a member of our choir and a communicant. He had been in France for 14 months. His mother wishes to express her appreciation of all the sympathy she has rceieved from so many parishioners and friends. R.I.P.

Burghfield parish magazine, November 1916 (D/EX725/3)

Cigarettes and chocolate for the troops – but not enough for all

The Harvest Festival at Wargrave Church gave the opportunity for parishioners to send gifts to the troops.

The Harvest Festival

The Harvest Festival will be held on Sunday, October 8th. The collections will as usual be divided between the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading, and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution.

The sermons will be preached by the Vicar. Several invitations have been given to special preachers but all our friends have been obliged to decline owing to the present exceptional circumstances, shortness of staff and the approach of the National Mission.

Presents for Men at the Front

Gifts of Tobacco, Cigarettes and Chocolate will be gladly welcomed at the Harvest Festival as on the previous occasions during the war. These presents are not large in size when divided up into separate packets for all our men on the roll, but they are greatly appreciated as many letters testify. There seems no better plan than that adopted last year when small packets were made up, with a few lines of greeting in each, and given to relations to be enclosed in the next parcel from home.

The results were reported in the following issue of the parish magazine.

Presents for the Men at the Front

There was a goodly collection of Tobacco, Cigarettes, and Chocolate received at the Church and Mission buildings on the occasion of the Harvest Festival. The Church of England Men’s Society met and divided it all up into suitable packets, which have now been distributed. There was sufficient for some fifty parcels but not nearly enough to enable us to send something to everybody.

Perhaps we may be able to have another such collection at Christmas time so that we may show all the others that they are not forgotten. Or if there are any who would like to extend the list of recipients at once their gifts can be received at the Vicarage at any time and will be carefully distributed.

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

Changed lives

The parish of Sulhamstead prepared for the National Mission.

THE WAR

The solemn self-searching period which has been the call to the nations of the world is approaching its climax in this country in the movement which we call the National Mission.

Our sailors and soldiers have not only shown themselves devoted to their country and to the defence of our shores and ourselves, but are not afraid, we are told, to speak of changed lives and a drawing near to God.

We at home must seek from God the power to rise to new heights so that we may be worthy of their sacrifice and provide for them on their return home that will sustain their spirit of devotion to duty and service to God.

By the time this has reached the majority in this parish, our special services will have begun by a sermon on the morning of October 1st, by the Rev. Canon Hurt, Rector of Bradfield. Full particulars have been printed and circulated.

Our Diocesan Bishop has written a very striking and stirring letter, which has been sent to all incumbents and has been printed in the Diocesan Magazine. The newspaper press has commented upon it, and quoted it. It has now been reprinted for public circulation and it is trusted that all in the parish who have received a copy will thoughtfully, carefully and prayerfully read it.

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

Are we prepared for peace?

The Church of England Men’s Society in Earley was planning on taking a major role in the National Mission, and was already thinking ahead to the end of the war.

C.E.M.S.

A great deal of thinking and a great deal of work is being done in preparation for the National Mission and its application to the parish. A small but increasingly enthusiastic section of the membership continues to meet for discussion. In connection with the Mission an appeal has been drawn up and this, together with the paper on “Repentance”, is being delivered with a personal introduction to every house in the parish.

This branch desires to express its gratitude to the Vicar, Mr Edward Heelas and Mr Masser for donations to the expenses of the Mission campaign. The acting Hon. Secretary (Mr Keep) is now prevented by his Government duties from continuing his valuable services in his office, and his resignation was received with regret on the 24th August last….

The C.E.M.S. is expected to take an active part in preparing the nation for the coming Mission. We are also expected to take an active part in preparing the nation to receive our home-coming troops – after the war. Upon the Declaration of Peace, the “Men of the Church” must take up the Sword – the Sword of the Spirit of the Living God. Are we prepared?

Earley parish magazine, October 1916 (D/P191/28A/31/10)

A Mission of Repentance in the time of this terrible war

The Church’s response to the war, in the form of the National Mission, was attracting interest in central/east Berkshire.

The National Mission

Meetings for instruction and devotion are being arranged in various centres of the Rural Deanery. Twyford is the Centre for the parishes of Hurst, Remenham, Ruscombe, Woodley and Wargrave.

It is proposed to hold a meeting on Wednesday, September 20th, beginning in the Parish Hall, Twyford, at 3.30pm. and ending, after tea, with a service in Church. The name of the speaker, and other particulars, will be announced later.

It is hoped that a second meeting will be arranged at the same hour on Saturday, September 23rd, for Teachers and all who have the charge of children.

The Witness of the Church

When we speak of the Message of God to the Nation in the time of this terrible war and of the Mission of Repentance, we naturally think of the great responsibility of the Church of England.

The Church is the witness to Truth and we must thank God that the Church of England has been faithful in her stewardship.

When we penitently recall the sins of selfishness, the pursuit of wealth, and the heedlessness of God, which are at the root of this war, we must remember that the Church of England has all along been bearing faithful witness against them both in life and doctrine.
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