The greatest and best help we can give our soldiers and sailors

St Mark’s Church in the parish of Reading St Mary was focussing on prayers for the war.

S. Marks District
Day of Intercession for the War

Wednesday, May 22nd, was observed as a day of continuous prayer. We are thankful to say the chain was not broken throughout the day and there were quite good numbers present at the Intercession services. Besides being the greatest and best help we can give our soldiers and sailors, such a day proves the value of having a church in our midst, where we can just drop in for a few quiet moments of prayer and recollection of God’s presence – may many more learn to make use of it in this way. We shall hope to have another Day of Intercession shortly.

St Mark section of Reading St Mary parish magazine, June 1918 (D/P98/28A/13)

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All day without a break people were in Church praying that God would guide and strengthen our nation

St. Peter’s Day of Intercession

St. Peter’s kept Wednesday, April 17th, as a Day of Intercession for the War. There were 47 Communicants at the 7 a.m. celebration, and a great gathering of residents and workers of Furze Platt for the Intercessions at 1.45, and again at 7 p.m., and all day without a break people were in Church praying that God would guide and strengthen our nation and our men, and grant us a righteous and lasting peace.

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, May 1918 (D/P181/28A/27)

“The War Cloud looms still larger before our eyes”

The vicar of Maidenhead saw people being spurred by the war to religious commitment.

The Vicar’s letter

Dear Friends and Parishioners,-

… The War Cloud looms still larger before our eyes, but, please God, this may be the crisis of the struggle. We all need to pray for steadfastness, both for our men abroad and ourselves. We must try to be growingly thoughtful one for another, the young as well as the old; and at home we ought to lend the Country all we can save, whether through War Saving Certificates or in some other way.

The Lent Services have been well attended; I hope Easter will have been the same. More and more those who have any character of their own, whether men or women, are being led to feel the need of God’s aid to quit them bravely in the trials and temptations of life.…

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar
C.E.M. FRY

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, April 1918 (D/P181/28A/27)

The great cause for which we are fighting – the cause of liberty, justice, peace and the fellowship of nations

Churches in the Bracknell area joined in the National Day of Intercession.

Ascot

Sunday, January 6th (The Epiphany) has been appointed as a day of Special Prayer for the War and the alms at all services will be for the Red Cross Fund.


Bracknell

‘THE WAR.—In accordance with the King’s Proclamation the first Sunday in the New Year, January 6th,the Feast of the Epiphany, will be observed as a special day of Prayer and Thanksgiving in Bracknell. The services in the Church will be held at the usual hours, but special forms of prayer will be used, and every one who desires to seek the help of God in these anxious times should make a point of being present. The collections will be given to the Red Cross Society.

Cranbourne

THE DAY OF NATIONAL PRAYER.
As we all know, the 1st Sunday in the New Year has been appointed as a “Day for Intercession on behalf of the Nation and Empire in this Time of War.” There will be celebrations of the Holy Communion as 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. Special forms of Prayer and Thanksgiving have been issued under the authority of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and will be used at our services. January 6th is the Feast of the Epiphany. The idea of the Epiphany is the manifestation of God among all nations nations, and our Bishop has pointed out “how deeply we stand in need of such a manifestation to day, and how “the great cause for which we are fighting – the cause of liberty, justice, peace and the fellowship of nations – would truly, if it were realised, be a manifestation of God, and a preperation for the Kingdom of Christ, for which our most earnest and constant prayers are needed.

It is to be hoped that, whatever the weather is, none of us will be absent from the services on January 6th, but that we shall, as a Parish kneel before the Throne of Grace and offer up our petitions to Him who judges the peoples of the world, and is our only refuge and strength, and a very present help in time of trouble.

Winkfield

VICAR’s LETTER.

My Dear Friends,

Once again the New Year will find us in the midst of the horrors of war, and in our King’s words, “this world wide struggle for the triumph of right and liberty is entering on its last and most difficult phase when we shall need our courage fortified to face the sacrifices we may yet hace to make before our work is done.”

Very justly does the King call upon all his people to make the first Sunday of the New Year a Day of special Prayer and Thanksgiving, a day of National Intercession to Gon on Behalf of our Country, for the great casuse of rightousness entrusted to us, and for the men (so many of them near and dear to us in Winkfield) who are fighting for it on sea and land.

We all long for a victorious Peace, but can we expect that almighty God will, as a matter of course, give it us, if we do not think it worth while to ask Him for it by humble and united Public Prayer; for until we, as a whole Nation, realise our need od something more that material force, we do not deserve to win.

It is then a real patriotic duty for every man and woman to attend their Parish Church on January 6th and take their part in this National wave of Intercession. Our Sailors and Soldiers have a right to expect our prayers; and the help and co-operation of those who seldom or never go to Church or Chapel is specially asked on this great and solemn occasion.

I can only solemnly repeat what I wrote last year that I should not like to have on my own conscience the responsibility which that man or woman takes who could help their Country by joining in this movement, and yet is too careless and indifferent to do so.

If you belevie in God, and have any love for your Country, come and help.

Your sincere Friend and Vicar,

H.M. Maynard

The Services on January 6th will be:

8 a.m., Holy Communion.
11 a.m. Service and Holy Communion.
6.30 p.m. Special Intercession Service (copies of which will be provided.)

Bracknell, February

The Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving in connection with the War on January 6th was fairly well kept in Bracknell. The congregations were larger than usual in the morning and evening, and in the afternoon a considerably number of people attended the special service. The weather was bad and hindered some who would have wished to be present, but it was a little disappointing not to have had quite crowded congregations on such a day.

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

“2 Divisions ran away & so caused Cambrai defeat”

Florence Vansittart Neale was puzzled as how to manage Bisham Abbey with less food available, while the news – and rumours – continued to fascinate her.

1 January 1918
Worried morning over rations. Very difficult but must do it. Edith arranging next Sunday’s “chain of prayer”.

January 1918 [inserted at front, no date]

Hear Haig in London, very sick about things. He had refused to send Divisions to Italy, but had to. Wanted to resign. He said a great deal too much fuss made about Sir J Byng’s push & also a great deal about the subsequent retreat!

Hear we send up stuff against [balloons?] which make the men so deadly seasick they have to come down. On return Irish leave this Xmas, 1000s stuck at Holyhead 5 days. Too many submarines there. At last escorted over by American destroyer & gun boats.

Hear 2 Divisions ran away & so caused Cambrai defeat. Hear General [illegible] sent back after it., then returned by Army Council & again sent back after St Quentin retreat! Hunter-Weston “honouring heroic deed” (drunken Tommie). Foch becoming Generalissimo (March 1918).

Meat & butter rations begin.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8)

“Amidst this hell on earth God is with us”

A Wargrave soldier reminded friends at home of the dangers he and his comrades were facing.

Harvest Festival Gifts

Many letters have come to us from the men at the Front to say how much the tobacco and cigarettes have been appreciated and to convey thanks to the congregation for the gifts, one writes:-

“It is cheering to know that we are remembered by friends in the homeland, but what we value most, Sir, is your prayers. Pray without ceasing for us, Sir. God is very real to us out here, for He has delivered us several times from certain death, which is in answer to the prayers offered up to our Heavenly Father on our behalf in the dear old Church at Wargrave. One often thinks of home.

It was last Sunday while up the line at work between ten and eleven o’clock while the guns were booming and the shells bursting around that I was lost in thought. I thought I heard the bells pealing from out the old tower and the congregation singing the Psalms and the good old hymns, so dear to us Tommies. While thus lost in thought God spoke to me through His word, “Lo I am with you always”. What a blessing, Sir, to be able to realize that amidst this hell on earth God is with us, another answer to your prayers.”

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

Help to hasten the arrival of a victorious peace!

Maidenhead people were asked to support the troops in prayer and with their savings.

Vicar’s Letter

Dear Friends and Parishioners,

… Our new War Shrine (temporary) is now erected in the Church. I hope many who pass by will enter to say a prayer from time to time in that quiet corner, for those in danger for our sakes, or to honour the memory of our gallant dead. If anyone would like to give a desk or rail to kneel against, they should communicate with Mr. Hazeldine, 5, College Rise, the hon. sec. of the C.E.M.S., the Society to whose generosity the Shrine is mainly due, or with myself as Vicar…

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar

C.E.M. FRY


St Luke’s War Saving Association

Miss Garratt, hon. sec., attends at the National School, East Street, from 7 to 8 p.m. every Monday, to receive deposits of 6d. and upwards to buy War Saving Certificates. Come in numbers, and help to hasten the arrival of a victorious peace!

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

Pray for God’s blessing on our cause and gallant men

Children and adults in Maidenhead were urged to pop in to the church in spare moments to pray for the troops.

War Shrine

On Whit-Sunday, May 27th, the beautiful little War Shrine presented and fixed by the St. Luke’s Branch of the C.E.M.S and one or two friends, was dedicated and unveiled by the Vicar at the Children’s Service…

It is hoped that many who pass by the Church will slip in, if but for two minutes and pray for God’s blessing on our cause and gallant men. The names of the Fallen are well and clearly written up by Mr. Habbin.

Any additions or corrections should be sent either to the Hon. Sec., Mr. E. Hazeldine, 5, College Rise, or to Mr. Habbin, 2 Fairford Road.

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

“Our purpose that we may be worthy of you and help to make England ‘God’s own Country’ when you come home”

Winkfield remembered its soldiers at Easter.

MY DEAR FRIENDS,

In writing briefly to wish you all a happy Easter, there is I feel sure but little need to ask you not to forget our Soldiers and Sailors in prayer on Easter Day. I am sending men from our parish an Easter card with the assurance that we at the old Church at home shall be praying for them at our Easter Communion, and with the following message:

“We send you this card to remind you of the Easter flowers at Home, of our love and prayers for you in your great sacrifice for us, of our purpose that we may be worthy of you and help to make England ‘God’s own Country’ when you come home. Will you join with us on Easter Day in thanking God that He sent His Son to suffer and die that He might open the Gate of Life to all who trust in His Great Sacrifice for them, and that He lives to be our ever present Friend.”

The celebration of the Holy Communion on Easter Day will be at 6, 8.15, and midday at the parish Church, and at 7 at S. Mary the Less, and the names of our men at the Front will be mentioned at all these Services.
Your sincere Friend and Vicar,
H. M. MAYNARD

With sorrow we have to record this month another addition to our Roll of Honour, for Private Edward Holloway of the 6th Royal Berks Regiment died of wounds received in action on February 23rd. A memorial service was held at S. Mary the Less on March 4th, when there was a large congregation, full of sympathy for his young widow and his bereaved parents who have three other sons now at the Front.

Private Edward Fancourt has joined the Royal Marine Light Infantry, and Private Cecil Brant the Cyclist Corps of the 11th Berks Yeomanry.

Private Henry Clayton, who recently joined the 2nd Hants Regiment, has now gone out to the Front.

Winkfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, April 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/4)

“It is ours now to put courage into fainting men”

Members of Maidenhead Congregational Church were challenged to join the National Service Scheme, but not to neglect their faith.

“God bless our native land,
May Heaven’s protecting hand
Still guard her shore;
May peace her sway extend,
Foe be transformed to friend,
And Britain’s power depend
On wars no more.”

NATIONAL SERVICE.

The days are upon us when we must prove to the utmost what manner of people we are. In fighting force, in food growing, in economy, in patience, in faith, in prayer, we are called upon to put forth our strength. There are not many more who can be summoned to the Army ranks, but there are some still who can serve in other ways. The Director of National Service is calling for volunteers, asking us

“to offer our services to our country, perhaps only for a few months, until Victory is secured. We are not called upon to fight, but to set free men who can fight, and to help them to the end of our powers. It may – and in most cases will – amount to no more than going on with our own usual work, working with all our might and avoiding all waste and extravagance. It may be that in cases of urgent necessity we are asked to work at some place away from our own homes- a trifling disadvantage, a tiny sacrifice compared with that of the soldier and sailor.”

No doubt many of us will give heed to this call, and consider whether we cannot serve the National cause in some new way. But we can all increase the National efficiency by putting fresh reality into our Christian and Church life. The pressure of things makes attendance at week-night meetings, and even at Sunday Services, less possible for some. But it ought not to follow that our Church vitality and working force is less.

We can be more earnest and intense, making the utmost of our lessened opportunities. We can test more fully the efficacy of prayer. We shall assuredly not help the country by letting the fire of our religion become dim, while we are attending to material things. Religion is no waste of time. It is ours now to put courage into fainting men, to console the sorrowing, to teach men to fix their hearts upon God. If ever the Ministry of the Church were of value, it is now, when tired souls are fainting; it is ours to turn the thoughts of men to Him who rules over all lands and seas, and who can make even sorrow a ministering angel of His love.

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, April 1917 (D/N33/12/1/5)

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

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

Lent Services

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

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

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

A children’s corner

Many children worried about the safety of their father or older brother at the front. St John’s and St Stephen’s Churches in Reading made them a special place for prayer.

CHILDREN’S CORNER

It has become the custom in many churches in London and elsewhere since the war to reserve a corner of the building during the week for the use of the children that they may go in quietly to say their prayers and to pray for their fathers or brothers at the front. It is difficult for many of them to find a quiet place in their homes secure from interruptions by elder and younger members of the family and there is no spot so suitable or so devotional as their Father’s House of Prayer.

So it has been decided to invite our children to make the south aisle in both our churches their own, and to use it for prayer on their way to or from school. This side is chosen as being in each case the nearest to the door which is always kept open during the week, therefore the children will know where to go without wandering about and may feel that this part though not literally a corner may be called their own Children’s Corner, and later it may be possible to arrange for them to make a list of the names they wish to remember. Will Day and Sunday School teachers explain this to their classes.

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

“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)

Religion is not only for Sundays now

The parish church in Burghfield was left open for private prayer at this time of war.

THE OPEN CHURCH

The following is a quotation from a recent article in The Times:

“Among other discoveries caused by the war has been this one made by many people, that religion is not only for Sundays but for all days and all hours. The clergy have often told us that about religion before the war, but it seemed a platitude. Now to many people it seems a truth, and they are acting upon it, as people do upon truths when they are suddenly aware of them. So churches are no longer to them places to which they go at stated hours on Sunday; they think of them rather as a second home, a home of the spirit, as the house of God which should always be open to all his children.”

We are glad to say that both the Parish Church and the Mission Room are now left open every day for rest, prayer and meditation, and we hope that many of our people will acquire the habit of using them. On the very day that this is written, we hear that a group of 14 children went to the church in their dinner hour and, led by a lady who was present, prayed by name for their fathers and brothers who are fighting in the war.

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

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)