“A rebuilt organ, although it would be a good thankoffering for peace, would not be suitable as a memorial”

How best to recognise the service of the country’s fallen, and those returning alive?

St John’s Parochial Church Council

The fourth meeting of the Parochial Church Council was held at the Princes Street Room on Monday, January 20th, 1919, at 8.15 p.m….

Mr W. H. Pountney moved the following resolution: That the question of providing a new organ for St John’s Church be re-opened by this Council; and a scheme devised forthwith to secure the end in view in memory of those who have fallen in the great war, as a thanksgiving for the blessing of peace, and as a matter of expediency.

This was seconded pro forma by Mr Aldridge.

… This was seconded by Mr Sutton, supported by Miss Sutton, Mr Fanstone, Mr Churchill and Dr Murrell, and Mr F. Winter, several of the speakers saying that whatever was done as a War memorial should be something in connection with both churches, and not for St John’s only. The vicar said he thought the form of memorial should be in accordance with the views of the relations of those who had given their lives, and that a rebuilt organ, although it would be a good thankoffering for peace, would not be suitable as a memorial…

Mr Haslam then moved the following resolution: That a committee be formed to consider the best form for a Memorial to those parishioners or members of the congregations who have given their lives for their God, King and Country in the great war, and to report to this Council.

Mr L. G. Sutton seconded this resolution and it was carried unanimously.

The following committee was elected to carry it into effect: the vicar, the churchwardens, Mr L G Sutton, Mr H A Kingham, Mr F H Wright, Mr Fanstone, Mr Murrell, Miss Britton and Miss Winter.

Mr E C Pearce moved the following resolution, which was seconded by Mr H R Sutton, and carried unanimously:

That a committee be formed to consider and report to the vicar how best to welcome the men and women returning from War Service to the parish, and to take steps to attach them if possible to the parish life.

The following committee was elected to carry this into effect: the vicar, Mr E C Pearce, Mr H R Sutton, Mr W Wing, Mr Fanstone, Miss Simmonds, Miss Rundell, and Cap. Blandy, with power to confer with others.


Reading St. John parish magazine, February 1919 (D/P172/28A/24)

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“We shall pray most earnestly that the wisdom of God may show the nations what is still hidden from their eyes, the ways that may lead them into peace”

St John’s was just one of the Reading churches united in prayer for the war to end.

Letter from the vicar

I write this on the eve of starting for a short holiday in Devonshire. I am to return in time for Sunday, August 4th, when we shall celebrate the fifth anniversary of the entry of this country into the world war which is still raging. Following the lead given by our King and the civic authorities in the chief city of our Empire and in many others, we shall observe the day as a solemn day of prayer. In the churches of our own parish the services throughout the day will be of a specially devotional character. We shall remember before God the heroic dead, with gratitude for the inspiration of their lives and with prayer that we may not falter in devotion to the ideal for which their lives were laid down. We shall pray for the heroic living, still battling on land and sea, in the air, and under the sea, for the cause which we believe God has summoned us to uphold. We shall pray for ourselves that we may be saved from selfishness and sin, uplifted to self-sacrifice and steeled to endurance; and we shall pray most earnestly that the wisdom of God may show the nations what is still hidden from their eyes, the ways that may lead them into peace, and may incline all men’s hearts everywhere to do his will.

It is estimated that on the battlefields of Europe ten millions of men have already laid down their lives. Under the shadow of this great tragedy let us draw near to our God, who alone can bring us out of the darkness, and whose law of righteousness provides the only basis upon which any permanent peace can be established.

In the afternoon all the religious bodies at our end of town are uniting in a solemn service of intercession, to be held at 3.30 pm on St John’s Lawn. I hope that the afternoon will be fine and that the greatest crowd ever seen there will assemble on the Lawn….

Your sincere friend and vicar
W Britton

UNITED SERVICE OF INETRCESSION

It is hoped that all Christian people in the east end of the town will uinite in a service of intercession on St John’s Lawn at 3.30 o’clock on Sunday, August 4th. The following congregations have been invited to take part, and up to the time of writing this, most of them, through their ministers,have accepted:

Earley, St Bartholomew’s, St Luke’s, St John’s, St Stephen’s, Wycliffe, Trinity, Wesleyan, St Andrew’s Presbyterian, Anderson Memorial, Cumberland Road, Park, King’s Road. His Worship the Mayor has kindly signified his intention to be present.

Should the weather be wet, the service will be held in St John’s Hall.

CARE AND COMFORTS WORKING PARTY

The following gifts have been received during the month:

Miss Rebbeck 5/- and material for 64 face cloths, Miss Hewett 3/6, Mrs Bowyer 5/-, Mrs Dauncey 1/-, Mrs May 2/6, Miss Bradley 2/6, Mrs Morley 10/-. In addition the members of the working party subscribe one penny per week each.

The following things have been made, 3 white shirts, 5 pairs pants, 3 cushion covers, 20 sterilizing bags, 7 treasure bags. Total 3259.

The balance sheet shows an expenditure on materials for over 3000 pieces of work, of £37 11s 4d, and subscriptions amounting to £38 4s 2d, so that the funds in hand are in a very low state just now, and the treasurer appeals for donations, however small, so that a stock of woollen stuffs for the autumn work may be obtained as soon as possible. The workers meet in the Princes Street Mission Room on Wednesdays from 2.30 to 4.30 pm, and anyone who would like to visit them at that time will be welcome.

Donations should be sent to Miss Rundell, 7 Alexandra Road.

September 1918

Letter from vicar

We must all, I think, feel stronger for the solemn and helpful services of August 4th, as we are cheered by the good news which came to us from the Western Front the same week. There is, may we not believe, more than a coincidence in this sequence of events. God does answer prayer. If our people would but turn to Him and wait upon Him in the spirit of our Day of Remembrance continually, He will hear and answer the pleadings of a penitent people who call on Him day and night. Not the least impressive of our services was the great gathering for united intercession on St John’s Lawn, when we had the satisfaction of uniting with so many of our brother Christians of all denominations in earnest prayer to God for His blessing and help….

Reading St. John parish magazines, August and September 1918 (D/P172/28A/24)

In the heat of the hottest dog day, in one of the hottest rooms of this very hot town

Members of St John’s Church in Reading (now the Polish Catholic church, but then a Church of England one) supported the troops in prayer and by sewing clothes etc for the wounded.

ST JOHN’S CARE AND COMFORTS WORKING PARTY

The Care and Comforts Working Party still pursues its useful activities. Even in the heat of the hottest dog day, in one of the hottest rooms of this very hot town, a number of devoted ladies are to be found each Wednesday making various articles necessary to the comfort of the honoured wounded in our hospitals. Workers never fail, materials are always forthcoming, but the latter have to be paid for and the funds from time to time run short. Donations are always welcome, and should be sent to the Treasurer, Miss Rundell, 7 Alexandra Road.

List of the articles made this month: 1 shirt, 1 pyjama suit, 100 face cloths, 28 treasure bags, 44 sterilizing bags, 43 locker curtains, 17 cushion covers.

THE ROLL OF HONOUR FOR THE FALLEN

We have been asked why the Roll of Honour has been moved from its place by the South Door of the church to its present position in the North Transept. The answer is – in order that it may have a place all to itself with its own bracket for flowers and in a quiet part of the church where people may be sure of being undisturbed in their prayers.

The beautifully made oak bracket beneath the Roll of Honour is the kind gift of two friends who desire to remain anonymous.

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

“Help the country and benefit yourself”

St John’s Church in Reading was a latecomer to promoting war savings, but explained its scheme very clearly.

S. JOHN’S WAR SAVINGS ASSOCIATION

Though somewhat late in the field, an Association for War Savings has now been started. Early in the month of March a meeting of the parishioners was held with the object of forming the Association for the parish and congregations of the two churches. A committee was formed as follows: the Rev. W Britton, chairman; Mr Haslam, vice-chairman; Miss Winter, treasurer; Mr Penson, secretary, with Miss Ridley and Miss Rundell as assistant secretaries; the other members of the committee being Mr F Winter, rev. R W Morley, Mr Badcock, Mr Hopcraft, Mrs Harrison Jones, Miss Wilkinson, Mrs Herbert Kingham, and Miss Ayres.

Subscriptions will be received at the Princes Street Mission Room, on Monday in each week from 12 noon to 12.45 pm; and also once a month after the District Vistors’ Meeting at 3.15 pm. Subscriptions will also be received at the Albert Road Mission Room, on Tuesday in each week, from 2.30 pm to 3.30 pm. The first day of attendance to receive subscriptions will be Monday April 2nd…

By this scheme, subscribers purchase from the collector a 6d coupon, which is stuck onto a card with 31 spaces for 31 coupons. When all the spaces are filled with coupons value … in total 15s 6d, a certificate for £1 will then be given in exchange for the card. This certificate can be cashed for 15s 6d at any time within twelve months from the date of issue, and for 15ts 9d at the end of one year, at the end of 2 years for 16 s 9d, at the end of 3 years for 17s 9d, at the end of 4 years for 18s 9d, and 5 years for £1.

The advantage of joining this Association is that, if there are say 31 members and they each purchase a 6d coupon, a certificate for 15s 6d is immediately purchased by the secretary. The first member to complete his or her card by having purchased 31 coupons, will receive this certificate, which will be dated some weeks back, viz at the time of purchase by the secretary. By the time it comes into the hands of the member a small sum by way of interest will have accrued…

Note the following points: Saving helps the Country which needs labour and materials for winning the War, and money with which to pay for them.

By saving, later on you will have £1 to spend instead of 15s. 6d. In this way you help the country and benefit yourself. Begin at once and get all the benefit you can.

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