The men at the Front will bless Earley Scouts

Boys in Earley donated some of their money for the benefit of PoWs.

THE BISHOP’S MESSAGE

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

Your prayers are specially asked
For the good hand of God upon us in the war.
For the preparation for the National Mission…

CHURCH LADS’ BRIGADE AND SCOUTS

The short camp at Newbury from August 5th to 8th passed off very successfully. Twenty of us from Earley were able to go and I think we all enjoyed ourselves very much…

We have just sent up some more money to the Million Shilling Fund and the C.L.B. Prisoners’ Fund, and print the letter received in reply:

“Dear Mr Wardley King,

Thank you very much for your cheque of £5, 1 of which I have put to the Prisoners of War and the other 4 to our Million Shilling Fund. I am very grateful also for the socks. St Peter’s Earley has done magnificently. I enclose your receipt.

It is very good hearing that your Scouts have done so well with their magazines. I am sure the men at the Front will bless them.

Yours sincerely

Edgar Rogers
Headquarters Chaplain.”

LIST OF MEN SERVING IN HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES

The following additional name has been added to our prayer list:
David Evans.

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

Sick: Edward Marshall.
Wounded: John Smit, Charles Seely, Enoch Webb.
Killed: George Winsor, Ernest Cook, William Hooper, Thomas Bricknell, Alfred Jerome, George Forge.

Earley parish magazine, September 1916 (D/P191/28A/31/9)

Advertisements

“The horizon of men’s thought has been suddenly and immensely expanded” by the war

The people of Sulhamstead supported the war effort in various ways. Now they were asked if anyone could foster children orphaned by the war.

THE WAR

One of the special features of the Flower Show was the large number of splints and other appliances for the wounded made by the boys attending the Technical School. They attracted a great deal of attention.

THE NATIONAL MISSION

The times require such an effort; the horizon of men’s thought has been suddenly and immensely expanded; we are conscious, as most of us were not two years ago, of our membership in the nation, and of the responsibility of our nation in the world.

Our sons and brothers at the Front are serving their nation and helping it to meet its responsibility, at the risk of their lives; many of them in doing so are finding a new realisation of God.

Cottage Homes for the Children of the Waifs and Strays

The Secretary for the Waifs and Strays Society has asked the clergy in this and other rural deaneries, to find out if the occupiers of any suitable cottages are willing to take a child – mostly of soldiers killed in the War – and to board, lodge, and treat them etc, as their own children. The rector will be able to give particulars, and to name the amount paid weekly by the Society.

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

“Bits for the war”

Ascot people were active supporting some of our Allies undergoing the hardships of war.

ASCOT “LEAGUE OF PRAYER” (during the war.)

We very earnestly invite our people generally to join this League, and thus help bring down special blessing from GOD upon the Parish. Hitherto, except on Sundays, very few have been accustomed to enter GOD’S House at all. Some never enter it even on Sundays. HIS Sanctuary has been “put in coventry” during the week. Shall we, as one fruit of the National Mission,” change all this?

The Rule of the League is extremely simple, and is as follows.-
“I promise to go into the Church at least once a week between the hours of 7.30 a.m. and 7.30 p.m., and to spend at least 10 minutes in prayer or silent meditation before GOD.”

SERBIAN FLAG DAY.

Our readers, (so many of whom contributed, by their help and generosity towards the great success of the Serbian Flag Day on July 1st) will be delighted to hear that £150 was realized, after paying expenses. Of this the sum of £100 has been given to the Serbian Relief Fund and £50 to the continued upkeep of the “Ascot” Bed in the Hospital belonging to the Serbian Unit of the Scottish Women’s Hospital.

A remarkable feature of this day (due to the liberality and energy of the organisers) is the fact that expenses amounted to only a few shillings over £2. Kosobo [sic] Day, June 28th (the Serbian National Day), was kept in our Parish by special instructions in Serbia in our schools. On Sunday, July 2nd (Serbian Sunday), our gallant and suffering Allies were specially remembered at God’s Altar, and at all the other services, with addresses at Matins and at the Catechism Service. The Serbian National Anthem was sung at the conclusion of Matins and Evensong.

A COLLECTING BOX in aid of the Ascot Military Hospital is kept at the “Foresters’ Arms” Hotel by the kindness of Mr. Pendell. This was opened for the first time a short time ago, and its contents – £1 1s. 3½d. – forwarded to the institution named.

THE BOYS’ AND GIRLS’ SALE, in aid of the starving Belgian children (in Belgium itself) came off at the Ascot Schools on Saturday afternoon, July 22nd, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

It was an enormous success, and is of exceptional value as bearing witness to the unselfish and very hard work of the boys and girls of our Schools, led by their teachers, and representing the most ambitious among many “bits for the war” that represent our “children’s war offerings” since the war itself began.

We will give a list of some of these “bits” in the September Magazine, as also a full account of the sale. For the present, it must suffice to state that the approximate profits of the sale amount to over £40, represented as follows:

Boys’ department … £13 0 0
Girls’ “ … 16 10 0
Infants’ “ … 11 7 0

Ascot section of Winkfield District Magazine, August 1916 (D/P151/28A/8/8)

“Thoughtful men all around us are crying out for a better Europe after the war”

The Bishop of Oxford wrote to churchgoers across the Diocese prior to the launch of the National Mission.

The Bishop’s Letter

Cuddesdon,
Aug. 21, 1916

My Brethren,

This letter is written to help to prepare you for the National Mission of Repentence and Hope which is to be held throughout the country and in this diocese and in your own parish this autumn.

I hope this terrible war is making everyone of us think. I can hardly tell you how deeply I feel that we need to think, lest it be said of us as of Israel of Old, “Israel doth not know; my people doth not consider.” The awful spectacle of the nations of Europe occupied with disastrous effect, month after month and year after year, in destroying one another on the battlefields, has not come about through the will of God or in accordance with the principles of our religion. It has come about because our boasted civilization had ignored God and forgotten Christ.

Thoughtful men all around us are crying out for a better Europe after the war, in which the nations shall not destroy one another but help one another as fellow members of the common human family, and for a better England, in which individuals and classes shall out the common good above their own interests. And they are crying out for a better church. Indeed, when we think of the church which is commissioned to represent Jesus Christ among us, we are ashamed at the weakness of its moral witness and influence; at the abuses and neglects which it tolerates; at the divisions of Christians among themselves; at the neglect of the word God and of Sunday, and of the Holy Communion which our Lord instituted to bind us to Him and to one another.

What has cheered us in this terrible time is the splendour of the sacrifice so willingly made by multitudes both men and women who have given themselves to help their country, and especially by those, our soldiers and sailors and airmen, who have given their lives for us. We pray from our hearts that this tremendous sacrifice may not be in vain. But it will be in vain unless we will be at pains to think what God is calling us to through this awful visitation.

We hear and know that some of our men on the battlefields and in the hospitals are feeling, as they have never felt it before, the need of religion and the call of Christ. But we tremble when we ask ourselves whether their new aspirations will be strengthened and encouraged in their homes or among their comrades when they get back to England.

Many are crying out for this reform or that reform in the church or the nation or the relation of nations to one another. But no particular reforms are enough. We must go back to the root of things and ask what is the will of God, what is the meaning of the religion of Jesus Christ our Master.

He was not a Teacher who spoke difficult words which only the learned could understand. He spoke words of divine authority which all can understand – a Gospel about God and His mind toward us; about our human nature and its possibilities; about sin and redemption and heaven and hell. He offered the awful sacrifice of Calvary to redeem us. He founded His Church, and instituted His holy sacraments to bind us together in one fellowship, for our own redemption and that we may work together with Him for the redemption of the world through sacrifice.

The national Mission is a call to you to think about the real meaning of all this afresh, as if you had never heard it before. We have suffered the deadening effect of routine and custom. We have made the commandment of God of none effect by our tradition. I claim you, all alike, that you should listen afresh to the message of God, and to the meaning of the great salvation.

Most of us clergy have been in solemn retreat together in order to make a fresh start ourselves. I hope you will pray for us that we may be in future better minsters of Jesusu Christ. But we call on you to join us in repentance. We call you solemnly to think again about the Majesty of God, and His purpose for us all. In such common thought and repentance is the only ground of hope, for ourselves, for our church and for our nation.

Believe me to be
Your faithful pastor,
C. Oxon.

Letter from the Bishop of Oxford, published in Wargrave parish magazine October 1916 (D/P145/28A/31) and Earley parish magazine, September 1916 (D/P191/28A/31/8)

The Great War is certainly a fearful example of how men may obstruct God’s purpose – but He will bring good out of evil

The Wargrave parish magazine explained the upcoming National Mission as a response to the war.

The National Mission

The Ven. the Archdeacon of Berkshire has most kindly consented to come to Wargrave in the late Autumn as our Missioner. All who know him or who heard him preach in the restored Church, on Sunday, July 23rd, will certainly feel very happy and grateful to read this announcement, and we may indeed count ourselves most fortunate.

The Vicar has known Archdeacon Ducat for many years now, he has been somewhat intimately associated with him in Diocesan work of various kinds, he has received many kindnesses at his hands and there is no one from whom he would more gladly learn or to whom he would more happily entrust the work of the Mission in his parish.

The Archdeacon will come with the purpose of helping the Vicar and sharing his responsibility. He will work on his lines and act in the closest consultation and co-operation in everything which he undertakes in the parish.

What is the Mission:

What is the Mission? It is the bringing of a Message from God to the Nation. The Church of England feels called by God to deliver the Message. We pray to God to give us his grace that we may hear the Message alright and deliver it faithfully.

The Occasion of the Mission:

The Occasion of the Mission is the Great War. The Bible teaches us that God over-rules the affairs of men and works His purpose out through the history of nations. Man has been given free-will to refuse evil and to choose the good. Sometimes men refuse the good and chose the evil. When this is the case men obstruct and delay the working out of God’s good purpose.

Men may further God’s purpose and become fellow-workers with Him, or they may obstruct His purpose. This is a very solemn truth, but the Bible teaches us that it is so. It is true of the influence of individuals in a small circle and of nations in a wide circle.

The little maid was furthering God’s purpose when she told her mistress of the Prophet of Samaria who could recover Naaman of his leprosy. Cyrus the King was furthering God’s purpose when he and his people of Persia allowed the Jews to return to their Country.

On the other hand, the Brothers of Joseph were obstructing God’s purpose when they sold the lad into Egypt. And Pharaoh was obstructing God’s purpose when he and the Egyptians refused to let the people go.

Men and Nations may sinfully obstruct God’s purpose, but of course they cannot frustrate God’s purpose. He over-rules their sinful obstruction and brings good out of evil. So Joseph in Egypt was a means of saving many lives from famine: Amd Pharaoh stands now as a terrible example of the failure of those who set themselves against God’s Will.

A Mission of Repentance:

It is a Mission of Repentance. The Great War is certainly a fearful example of how men may obstruct God’s purpose and set themselves against the advance of His Kingdom. Selfishness, Godlessness, and the teaching that Might is Right have during the past years become a constantly growing influence in Europe. These and other evil influences have now reached their climax and borne fruit in the War.

We believe that we are fighting in a righteous cause and that it was God’s Will for us as a nation to draw the sword, as truly it is God’s Will for each lad to enlist for King and Country.

But out nation has not been innocent of sin, we have had our share of selfishness, the pursuit of wealth, and the heedlessness of God which are at the root of this War.

Repentence must therefore have the first place in this Message of God to the Nation, when we desite to further His purpose by the Service of Arms. The purpose of God is the Brotherhood of Man in Christ: The War is an offence against Brotherhood. The purpose of God is the happy development of family and nation in ever closer relationship up-growing to the consummation of the Kingdom of Christ: The War has set back the development of nations. It has uprooted countless homes in Europe and it has called men away from new lands, where they were furthering the purpose of God in building up new nations to do Him service. Here then is a National call to Repentence.

A Mission of Hope:

It is a Mission of Hope. Our confession of penitence means that we desire to do God’s Will. There is Hope. God can bring good out of evil, and in that beneficent work we as a nation desire to serve. In absolute self surrender we pray that we and our allies may be fellow workers of God. In that spirit we can be sure of victory and the darkest battlefield is illuminated with Hope.

The War is a colossal evidence of the power and cruelty of sin. But already the rainbow of God’s mercy shines far over it, and we see that God is working His purpose out in spite of man’s sinful obstructions. The men of the new lands have left township and village which need their strength, but they have brought a fuller brotherhood to the old country. Blood has been shed like water, but the nobility of sacrifice will extend the message of the Cross.

The Message of the Church to the Nation is to call to repentance for sin, which must ever obstruct the purpose of God, but it is a message of Hope to all who will hear the call and rise to be fellow workers with God in absolute self-surrender to do His Will.

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

The work that prayer has to do in winning this terrible and horrible War

The rector of Sulhamstead encouraged parishioners to pray for the armed forces. The Revd F M Green was to take services in the village while he was on holiday in part of August and September.

THE WAR

Our two churches are open daily, all day long, for persons to drop in and humbly put up a prayer to God for victory, peace and the preservation of those who are fighting for us. Some in the parish have promised to go there, if possible, once a week. Will you, who pass the daily stop for a few minutes and quietly ask God help? You would probably never enter a town church in France, and only a few remote village churches, without finding one person at least kneeling in prayer.

Remember 11 o’clock noon [sic], each day, wherever you are, for silent prayer.

It is with the deepest regret that we heard of the death of Major George Tyser, youngest son of Mr and Mrs W S Tyser of Oakfield. He was seen in the act of encouraging his men across to the enemy trenches in one of the brilliant assaults that the British and French have been making. Then he fell and his death was instantaneous. Our full and deepest sympathy goes out to Mr and Mrs Tyser and to his widow.

My Friends

There is an awakening amongst us to the work that prayer has to do in winning this terrible and horrible War. It took many months before we found out the part than munitions, and more munitions, and always more munitions, had to do in winning the war. It took us until well into this year to find out that we shall want the last man before we win the war.

Now we are finding out that it will want prayer and daily prayer and incessant prayer to win the war.

There are three methods of prayer:

1. The quiet kneeling alone in the morning and evening when we can name our dear ones singly before God and our own great cause.

2. The prayer of the household. Family prayer. If there are only two – then those two together. If there are more, then father and mother and children. If it has begun to drop as a custom among us, then now is the time to begin. The father perhaps has “gone to the War”. Then the mother and children can kneel together, morning and evening, praying together for father. Perhaps the son, or all the sons, have gone. Them father, mother, girls, children, can meet and pray for the sons and brothers.

If there are any who would like little forms of private or family prayer, the Rector or in his absence the Rev. F Green, can supply them.

3. United national worship. It means by petitions, such as those monster petitions we have signed in past years, all put up together – every one in his Church or Chapel, filling them to overflowing. God tells us He is “waiting to be gracious”. Could we have swept the German Fleet off the sea in the great battle of Jutland, if the light had held in our favour? Have we, as a nation, asked God’s help? Why are we waiting?

Let us begin our preparation for the National Mission of Repentance and Hope with fervent prayer.

Your friend
Alfred J P Shepherd

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

“Our Soldiers are doing great things in France, we who are at home must do our part”

Warfield and Bracknell commemorated the second anniversary of the start of the war.

Warfield

AUGUST 4th.-

The Vicar is unable to hold the Anniversary of the War Service this year on August 4th, as the Bishop has called all the Clergy into retreat that week in preparation for the National Mission. The special services will be held on Sunday, August 6th. In addition to the usual services, there will be a very short Open-Air Service at the cross roads near the Brownlow Hall at 6 o’clock, where the procession will be formed, headed by the Processional Cross and Banners to reach the Church at 6.30. We hope to see all our parishioners on this special occasion in the procession, to testify to their trust in God, Who alone can give us the victory.

Bracknell

On August 4th we shall enter on the third year of the war. It is right that we should once again make a special appeal to Almighty God to bless our efforts in the cause of honour and justice. We shall therefore respond to the appeal of our Archbishop and offer our petitions for God’s protection and blessing.

With our prayers we must make our thanksgivings for the blessings that have already been given to us. When we recollect all that has happened in the last two years, and the dangers we have passed through, we shall see how much we have to be thankful for; and yet how much need there is for God’s continued help in the difficulties and anxieties that surround us still!

There will be a special service at 8 p.m. on Friday August 4th, and some alterations will be made in the order of services on August 6th, and all who can will no doubt join in the Prayers and Thanksgivings that will be offered. Our Soldiers are doing great things in France, we who are at home must do our part and support them with our earnest prayers.

Warfield and Bracknell sections of Winkfield District Magazine, August 1916 (D/P151/28A/8/8)

The allies are in the ascendant – but the sacrifice is awful

The Bishop of Oxford looked back at the start of the war and the reasons for going to war, as the National Mission began:

THE BISHOP’S MESSAGE

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

Your prayers are specially asked:

For all the needs of the nation, for peace in Ireland, and for the good hand of God upon us in the war, especially in connection with August 4, the anniversary of its declaration.

THE CLERGY RETREATS AND AUG. 4

I am very sorry that this anniversary of the declaration of war coincides with the last day of the clergy retreats at Bradfield and Wellington… The observance of this anniversary must, where necessary, on this or other grounds, be postponed till the Sunday.

THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE DECLARATION OF WAR

I trust that we shall use the anniversary to revive in our minds the clear consciousness of what we are fighting for. What drew us, under an overmastering sense of national duty, for the sake of ourselves and all mankind, to go to war, was that we found ourselves face to face with a claim made by Germany, so plainly destructive of international obligations and so plainly destructive of the equal rights of all nations in the sight of God, that it was necessary to league ourselves with other nations in order to resist it, and if possible, to crush it (not Germany, but the arrogant claim of Germany) once and for ever.

It is the cause for equal rights for all peoples: for liberty, and the maintenance of international obligations for such as are fighting: and it is laid upon us plainly to show ourselves worthy to fight for these sacred laws by vindicating the liberty and the just rights and the legitimate claims of all at home and within our Empire as well as abroad. We who have used the sacred words of liberty and justice are on our trial no doubt before the eyes of men. Please God we shall rise to the great responsibility.

Meanwhile as the terrible war goes on, year after year there are no signs of failure to maintain the unity and spirit of the nation. Just at present our longing eyes are being greeted at many points by conspicuous signs for success. For the first time we feel justified in saying that the allies appear to be in the ascendant. We are full of hope. We are filled with enthusiasm at the splendid spirit of our men. Nothing more glorious in its kind could be desired. But the sacrifice is awful. And our hearts are torn every day by the awful records of loss. We can only pray with all the concentration of which we are capable that the awful and long-continued sacrifice, on our own part, on the part of France, on the part of Serbia, on the part of Russia, on the part of Italy, may really avail to build upon secure foundations a future of peace: a future in which the nations of Europe in their attitude toward one another shall be less unworthy of the name of Christian nations.

THE NATIONAL MISSION

The preparation for the national mission goes on, I trust, deepening and widening. There are many hopeful signs. But a great deal of awakening remains to be done. Not so many women as we were led to hope for were in fact forthcoming for the first Pilgrimage, and there were some acute disappointments. But the first reports of the reception of the pilgrims are distinctly encouraging. …

C. OXON

Earley parish magazine, August 1916 (D/P191/28A/31/8)

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)

Making straight for disaster

The war had prompted many to think deeply about British society and its problems. One of the responses was the National Mission of 1916. The vicar of Wokingham St Sebastian issued a rousing call to arms

National Mission.

We know now the direction in which we had been going. There were those amongst us who were well aware that our modern civilisation was in no good way………… We had been making straight for disaster, either in the form of revolution, or the collapse which must sooner or later result from internal decay………

The Materialism, the greed for gain, the dependence upon mere force, the brushing aside of inconvenient moral restrictions, the lust and savagery which have loomed so large in these dreadful months – are they not the very evils that we had been harbouring and concealing under all sorts of polite designations and compromising conventions?

Is it not clear that we are now called to hate them and renounce them as never before’? That is the aim of the National Mission.

It is a call to all to take part in the ‘great offensive’ which is now being carried on. Our sailors and soldiers are waging war in the cause of truth, righteousness and freedom against these very things mentioned in the above quotation. We are called to fight against these same things in our midst. The call has come to our armies to make a special effort, let us realise that we too belong to an army, pledged to fight, and that the call has come to us also to advance.

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

“The true English spirit of duty to God and country”

The involvement of women in the National Mission was regarded by some opponents at the time as the first step on the road to women priests in the Church of England.

Ascot Heath Girls School
14th July 1916
One of the ‘pilgrims of prayer’ on a short visit to the neighbourhood visited the school and gave the girls a short address on ‘our soldiers’.

Warfield CE School log book
14th July 1916
The scholars and teachers much enjoyed a visit from Miss Peace, a pilgrim sent out by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Her address on the importance of upholding the true English spirit of duty to God and country was indeed splendid and her practical advice will form an essay for Monday and Tuesday of next week. I am only sorry I did not allot more time for her address.

Stanford Dingley National School
July 14th 1916
Mrs Gun kindly brought 11b of wool. I started 4 girls knitting men’s socks.

Log books of Ascot Heath Girls School (C/EL109/2); Warfield CE School (C/EL26/3); Stanford Dingley National School (D/P117/28/2)

Let us be worthy of their sacrifice

Burghfield faced up to the National Mission, as family members were at the front.

THE NATIONAL MISSION OF REPENTANCE AND HOPE

It is doubtful whether the Church of England has ever been called to a task so great as that to which we are now summoned by the Archbishops. There have been great movements within the Church; but this is a movement of the whole Church, a call to discharge that mission to the nation, as a nation, with which it is entrusted. The times require such an effort; the horizon of men’s thoughts has been suddenly and immensely expanded; we are conscious, as most of us were not two years ago, of our membership in the nation, and of the responsibility of our nation in the world. Our sons and brothers at the Front are serving the nation and helping it to meet its responsibility, at the risk of their lives; many of them in doing so are finding a new realisation of 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 a home that will sustain their spirit of devotion to duty and service to God.

But to this end we must first take stock of ourselves. Very much has come to light which shows the need for amendment and renewal of life. It is sad to find how little of the manhood of the nation, as represented by the men in training camps and the like, is really touched by the Church. We have not brought home the message with which we are entrusted as it needs to be brought home. We must seek in prayer and meditation and conference to find the cause of our ineffectiveness where it exists, so that we may repent of it and remove it where it lies in ourselves as individuals or as members of the Church in our neighbourhood.

If we will do that, there is before us a great hope – the hope of an England leavened and guided in regard to its whole life, domestic, social, industrial, political, international, by a Church whose members have sought the will of God in humility and prayer, and are ready to witness together to the Majesty of God and to His redeeming love in Christ. It is a time for prayer, for teaching, for witness; may God give us all faith that we may pray, knowledge that we may teach, and courage that we may witness – all these according to His Will and to the praise of His glory.

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

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)

“The horizon of men’s thoughts has been suddenly and immensely expanded”

The vicar of Earley St Peter faced the enormity of the challenge of the National Mission.

THE NATIONAL MISSION OF REPENTANCE AND HOPE

It is doubtful whether the Church of England has ever been called to a task so great as that to which we are now summoned by the Archbishops. There have been great movements within the Church; but this is a movement of the whole Church, a call to discharge that mission to the nation, as a nation, with which it is entrusted. The times require such an effort; the horizon of men’s thoughts has been suddenly and immensely expanded; we are conscious, as most of us were not two years ago, of our membership in the nation, and of the responsibility of our nation in the world.

Our sons and brothers at the Front are serving their nation and helping it to meet its responsibility, at the risk of their lives; many of them in doing so are finding a new realisation of 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 a home that will sustain their spirit of devotion to duty and service to God.

But to this end we must first take stock of ourselves. Very much has come to light which shows the need for amendment and renewal of life. It is sad to find how little the manhood of the nation, as represented by the men in training camps and the like, is really touched by the church. We have not brought home the message with which we are entrusted as it needs to be brought home. We must seek in prayer and meditation and conference to find the cause of our ineffectiveness where it exists, so that we may repent of it and remove it where it lies in ourselves as individuals or as members of the Church in our neighbourhood.

If we will do that, there is before us a great hope – the hope of an England leavened and guided in regard to its whole life, domestic, social, industrial, political, international, by a Church whose members have sought the will of God in humility and prayer….

LIST OF MEN SERVING IN HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES

The following additional names have been added to our prayer list:
James Ilott, Albert Barton, William Pocock, Edward Whitworth, Alfred Harris, Albert Higgs, Wilfred Capel, George Bungay, Frank Bedford, Herbert Canning, Donald Hendy, Alfred Harwood, Albert Brown, Charles Webb.

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

Sick and Wounded: Maurice Holliday, Alfred Smith, Albert Hiscock, Albert Saunders.
Prisoner of War: Albert Harwood.

Earley St Peter parish magazine, June 1916 (D/P191/28A/23/6)

“The collapse of our semi-Christianised civilisations under the shock of the war”

Newbury people had the opportunity to listen to two thoughtful and challenging lectures as part of the National Mission. One came from Canon Henry Scott-Holland, best known for his funereal meditation, ‘Death is nothing at all’.

An assembly of over 700 people in the Corn Exchange on Sunday afternoon, June 25th, at 3.30, listened with earnest attention to an address by Canon Scott-Holland on the subject of “The Church and Social Problems”, in connection with the National Mission; and our gratitude is due to the Vicar of St John’s for inviting him to Newbury. The speaker drew a powerful picture of the collapse of our semi-Christianised civilisations under the shock of the war; he spoke of several of the most pressing National Social Problems, and he showed how the Bishops were endeavouring to lead the Church towards understanding and sympathising with the aims of the working-classes; while there was much to urge as to repentance, there were, he said, already real grounds for hope for a new and better England.

We had a visit – unfortunately, but poorly attended – from the Rev. A H Kennedy on June 30th, in connection with the National Mission. He suggested that the names should rather be “The National Call”. He spoke of the great changes likely to result in the Nation in consequence of the war, and asked whether the Church would be ready to play her part in the new life. There were two possibilities before her: 1, to seek a revival of her own life; 2, to become a little houseboat in a backwater. He spoke of the growth of the religious spirit and of the moral sense, and of the spirit of fellowship among the men at the Front, and they on their return ought to find these things in evidence in the Church.

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