The Roll of Honour is to include the names of all who have served and not only those who have fallen

There was more debate over the war memorials at London Street Church in Reading.

5 May 1919
Special Trustees Meeting

Resolved that the… Roll of Honour is to include the names of all who have served and not only those who have fallen….

Rev Alderson reported that he had accepted Mr Gilke’s estimate, also that he had seen Mr Horace Smith, who stated that he was providing a Roll of Honour for members of the Institute only. Mr H C Smith kindly offered to provide one to include all members of the Church & congregation. Mr Alderson to obtain a blank illuminated scroll from the Wesleyan Book Room.

Resolved that Mr Gilkes be asked to supply a drawing of proposed tablet showing letters, bordering & colours.

London Street Primitive Methodist Church trustees’ minutes (D/MS59/1A/2)

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A social hour for demobilised men

Wesley Methodist Church in Reading welcomed soldiers home.

20 February 1919

Demobilized Men

It was resolved that a Social Hour be held after the Popular Monthly Service in March, when a special [effort] be made to rally the men who had been demobilized, and that Mesdames Beard & Sparks be asked to arrange for light refreshments.

Signing of Peace

The meeting desired that a special thanksgiving meeting be held when Peace was signed, the arrangements to be left in the hands of the Rev T N Phillipson, the Society Stewards and Mr Everitt.

Wesley Methodist Church, Reading: leaders’ meeting minutes (D/MS60/2A/1)

“What true Christian can think of the feebleness of organized religion in the face of the world’s great need, through these terrible years, without a sense of bitter shame!”

Nonconformist churches also commemorated the anniversary of the war.

Tilehurst

The celebration of the Fourth Anniversary of the Declaration of War was the occasion of further united Free Church effort in Tilehurst.
We met for United Prayer at 8 a.m. in the Congregational Church, and spent a very memorable three quarters of an hour around the Throne of Grace. Some twenty six friends from the three churches met for this service, and the atmosphere was very intense.

The Wesleyan Church was crowded in the evening at 6.30 for the United Preaching Service, the Congregational Church being closed.

Representatives from the three churches took part in the conducting of the service. Mr Beckley for the Wesleyans, Mr Sleep for the Armour Hall, and our Pastor [Revd E. J. Perry] for our church. Mr Perry was appointed to preach the sermon, and he chose for his text the familiar words which close the Lord’s Prayer: “Deliver us from evil, for Thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory for ever”. The preacher sought to show the fact of the Sovereignty of God. People had often said, “Why doesn’t God do something?”, but is there after all anything left for God to do? …

The service was marked by great solemnity and earnestness, everyone feeling that we were bearing the burden of a common shame and sorrow. Suitable hymns were specially selected, and the singing of them was led by a strong united choir.

Members of our church returned to their own place of prayer to meet around the Lord’s Table for the Sacrament.

We all devoutly trust that August 4th, 1919 may be spent in very much happier circumstances, our many loved ones restored to our home circles. Meanwhile, let us ease one another’s burden all we can, and live in a way that is worthy of the great sacrifices of our “boys”.

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Getting the best possible terms from the Military authorities

The army wanted to use the buildings at Wesley Methodist Church in Queen’s Road, Reading.

15 February 1918

Resolved That the Chapel Stewards & treasurer be urged to make the best possible terms with the Military authorities for funds to cover the cost of renovation work & out of pocket expenses during the occupancy of our premises by the Forces.

Wesley Methodist Church, Reading: trustees’ minutes (D/MS60/1A/1)

Fallen in German East Africa

This tablet included Mrs Collins’s son, fallen in German East Africa in 1916.

5 February 1918

The Chairman informed the meeting that the Memorial Tablet to be erected to the memory of the late Mrs Collins had arrived from S Africa & was in his custody…

It was decided not to renew the insurance against hostile aircraft.

Wesley Methodist Church, Reading: trustees’ minutes (D/MS60/1A/1)

This awful anniversary – the end is not yet in sight

The third anniversary of the start of the war was a time for reflection.

Reading St Giles
August

Saturday, August the 4th, will be the 3rd Anniversary of the declaration of the War, and the beginning of a 4TH Year. There will be celebrations of the Eucharist at 6.45, 7.30& 8 a.m. I hope that a great many will endeavour to be present to pray and intercede.
I propose on the following day, Sunday the 5th, to have a solemn requiem at 11a.m. for the fallen in the War. If any relatives or friends wish for the mention of names will they please send them into me by August 4th. At evensong, on Sunday the 5th, the special form of intercession put forth by the Archbishop will be used.

September

I was very thankful to see in August 4th, the 3rd Anniversary of the war, so many present at the Eucharist to intercede for our sailors and soldiers, and to pray for Victory and a righteous peace. The number of communions made was nearly four times as large as last year.

Broad Street Congregational Church

AUGUST THE FOURTH

Saturday, August 4th, will bring the third anniversary of the declaration of war, and in this connection a service arranged by the Reading Free Church Council will be held in our church beginning at 3 p.m. The service will be largely intercessory, and it will be conducted by ministers representing the various Free Churches in the town, those having promised to take part being the Rev. J A Alderson (President of the Council), Rev. T W Beck (Wesleyan), Rev. J Carter (Primitive Methodist), Rev. W C King (Baptist), Rev. J Mitchell (Presbyterian), and Rev. E J Perry, BD (Congregational).

Both last year and the year before similar services were held, and they were attended by large congregations. We hope it may be the same again this year.

Wargrave
August 4th and 5th, 1917:

These are days to be much observed with prayer being the third Anniversary of the declaration of War.

Saturday, August 4th, Holy Communion at the Parish Church 8.a.m. Mattins 10.a.m. Evensong 7.p.m. Special forms of prayer.

Sunday, August 5th, Services as usual: Special forms of prayer.

Cranbourne

In connection with the third Anniversary of the Declaration of War the special Forms of Prayer issued by the Archbishops were said in Church, and also at a united Service held in the Sunday School after Evensong. To this service our Wesleyan friends came in large numbers, and the address was given by the Rev. J.S. Hollingworth.

Earley St Peter

The Vicar’s Letter

My dear friends,

On August 4th we shall have reached the third anniversary of the commencement of the war, and we hope that all will observe it on Sunday, August 5th, and make the day a time for earnest prayer that peace may be restored. Three years ago there were comparatively few thought that it would have lasted so long. We feel as sure as ever that our cause will finally triumph, but the end is not yet in sight, and we have still to go on working and enduring, with a full trust that all will come right in God’s good time. It is true that as the writer of the Book of Proverbs says, “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick”; but we forget the second half of the verse, “but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life” – that desire with us is a just and secure peace, under which we pray that the world will be restored and revivified; but we must each do our part.

From a secular point of view there are not many who are not working for their country and doing their best, but can we say that the nation as a whole is doing its best from a spiritual point of view, as a profesedly Christian nation? Are there not many among ourselves who, though deeply sincere at first, have gradually fallen back into the ruts of carelessness and indifference, and ought not what our Bishop calls this “awful anniversary” to give us cause to think very seriously on our position nationally and individually?

Your friend and vicar,
W W Fowler.

THE BISHOP’S MESSAGE

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

Your prayers are specially asked

For our country and our allies, and for the whole world at the beginning of the fourth year of the war.
For victory and peace.
For a settlement in Ireland…

THE OBSERVANCE OF AUGUST 4-5

Before the Magazine reaches you, you will have in your hands the prayers and suggestions for prayer put out by the archbishops, with the consent of the diocesan bishops, for this awful anniversary. I have not anything to add to what is there suggested, there is abundant need that we should call to prayer all who believe in its power – that is all who believe in our Lord. And there is abundant need also that we should do all that lies in our power to maintain the spirit of our nation at its best level, at the level at which it can pray to God as we Christians have been taught to believe in Him.

A PRAYER FOR GIRLS WORKING IN MUNITIONS AND ON THE LAND

O most merciful Father, we beseech Thee to bless and protect the Girls, who have gone to work in the Munition Factories and on the land. Preserve them from all evil. Keep them in good health. Comfort them with Thy presence when they are lonely, and homesick, and tired. Grant that their influence may be for good, and that by their lives they may lead others nearer to Thee. Very specially we ask for a blessing on the work of the Church among them. Grant that we at home may realise how much there is to do, and that we may not fail in sacrifice, and work, and prayer. For Jesus Christ’s sake.
Amen.

C. OXON.

Reading St Giles parish magazines, August and September 1917 (D/P96/28A/32); Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, August 1917 (D/N11/12/1/14); Wargrave parish magazine, August 1917 (D/P145/28A/31); Cranbourne section of Winkfield District Magazine, September 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/9)Earley St Peter parish magazines, 1917 (D/P191/28A/24)

A mournful response in Maidenhead to the “awful war”

Maidenhead Congregational (now United Reformed) Church took part in the town’s prayers – which took an ecumenical turn. The church magazine reports:

On Friday, August 21st, 1914, special services were held all over the country to pray for help and strength during the awful war in which we and many of the countries in Europe are engaged.

At ten o’clock in the morning the Mayor, corporation, and various officials of the borough and part of the local detachment of the V.A.D. attended a crowded service at St. Mary’s Church.

In the afternoon prayer meetings were held in various churches and chapels and a special meeting for women in the Wesleyan Chapel. A special meeting was held under the auspices of the Free Church Council in the Wesleyan Church at 8.30 the same evening and it was very well attended. The Baptist and Wesleyan Ministers led the services, and after a prayer by the former, a reading by the latter, and several hymns, the congregation took part in heart-felt extempore prayer.

It is a fine thing, and, if I may say so, a very necessary thing, at this most critical time in our history to appeal to the “God of our Fathers”, and I hope there will be many more meetings organised and equally well attended; but I could not help feeling a tone of mournfulness through all these services, which is possible may have the depressing effect we are all so very anxious to avoid. I have no doubt this will be easily and quickly corrected when we hear more encouraging news.

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, September 1914 (D/N33/12/1/4)