Patriotism is not enough

The Maidenhead parish magazine included various inspiring stories arising from the war, some well known today like that of Edith Cavell, other less so.

Sons of the Clergy.

All classes of the community have vied with each other in manifesting courageous self-sacrifice in the nation’s hour of need. But without drawing undue distinctions it is generally admitted that the sons of the clergy have been conspicuous in the Roll of Honour throughout the War. Week after week the long list of names appearing in the Church newspapers bear eloquent testimony to this fact. The work of the clergy in ministering to those left behind in a variety of ways has been of the greatest value.

“How Can I Help England – Say?”

Miss Helena L. Powell, the Principal of St. Mary’s College, Lancaster Gate, has written an earnest and helpful leaflet for children, showing how children can help in the War. It is addressed to the elder children in our Day and Sunday Schools, and copies required for distribution to these may be had free of charge from Miss Edith Neville, Banstead Place, Banstead, Surrey.

A Daughter of the Parsonage.

Edith Cavell, Directrice d’Ecole des Infirmières, Brussels, who was shot by order of Court-Martial in Brussels on a charge of aiding the escape over the frontier of British, French and Belgian soldiers, was the daughter of the late Rev. Frederick Cavell, Vicar of Swardeston, Norfolk. She was formerly a nurse in the London Hospital. In 1907 she went to Brussels, and when the Germans entered the city she refused to leave.

The Rev H. S. Gahan, British Chaplain at Brussels, has given a touching account of her last hours.

“She said, ‘I have no fear nor shrinking. I have seen death so often that it is not strange or fearful to me.’ She further said, ‘I thank God for this ten weeks’ quiet before the end. Life has always been hurried and full of difficulty. This time of rest has been a great mercy. They have all been very kind to me here. But this I would say, standing as I do in view of God and Eternity, I realise that patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone.’

We partook of Holy Communion together, and she received the Gospel message of consolation with all her heart. At the close of the little service I began to repeat the words ‘Abide with Me,’ and she joined softly in the end. We sat quietly talking until it was time for me to go. She gave me parting messages for relations and friends. She spoke of her soul’s needs at the moment, and she received the assurance of God’s Words as only the Christian can do.”

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The National Day of Intercession

The first Sunday of the new year was declared as a National Day of Intercession for solemn collective prayer for the country at this trying tie of war. The vicar of Sulhamstead was among the many clergy of Berkshire who commended the Day of Intercession to parishioners. He wrote in the December 1914 issue of the parish magazine:

My Parishioners and Friends

May I commend to you in this time of terrible stress when the war in the Western area hangs on without any decisive result and the fight to reach Calais has lasted for over a month with the respective positions of the two armies almost unchanged for very many weeks, the following lines from a letter in “The Guardian” of November 5th summoning a meeting for Confession, Intercession and Conference. The Bishop of London, Bishop Taylor Smith and many others had promised to take part.

“The continuance of this awful war, with its appalling loss of life, and without any decisive victory, suggest that something is hindering that manifest intervention of God on our behalf for which we long. There is indeed already much to be thankful for, but our side, which is the side of truth and right, has not yet prevailed. The hindrance may be in the Church, or in the nation, or in both. It may be that God still sees stiffneckedness in us, and His very delay in answering our prayers is a call to a more thorough repentance of our reliance upon Him”.

Since these words were written in “The Guardian”, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have summoned the Church to observe the first Sunday in the new year, January 3rd, as a day of Humble Prayer and Intercession to Almighty God on behalf of the cause entrusted to our King, our Empire, and our Allies, and on behalf of our men who are fighting for it on sea or land…
May I ask you to keep this day free for this solemn observance.

Yours sincerely
Alfred J P Shepherd

Ascot parishioners got a similar request:

DAY OF PRAYER AND INTERCESSION.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York desire to make public the following notice: The first Sunday in the New Year (January 3rd, 1915) will be observed as a Day of Humble Prayer and Intercession to Almighty God on behalf of the cause entrusted to our King, our Empire, and our Allies, and on behalf of the men who are fighting for it on sea or land. The Archbishop of Canterbury has been in communication with his majesty the King as to the observation of this day throughout the nation, and he has received the following letter:-

Buckingham Place, October 26th 1914.

My dear Archbishop –

The King has lately received numerous communications from different quarters urging upon his Majesty the necessity for a Day of National Humiliation and Prayer.

Personally the King is disinclined to advocate the use of any term which might plausibly be misinterpreted either at home or abroad.

At the same time his Majesty recognises the National Call for United Prayer, Intercession, Thanksgiving, and for remembrance of those who have fallen in their country’s cause.

It seems to the King that the beginning of the year would be a fitting season to be thus solemnised; and his Majesty thinks that Sunday, January 3rd, might well be the chosen day.- Yours very truly,

STAMFORDHAM.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York will when the time draws near address the members of the Church of England as to the manner of the observing of this call to prayer.
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