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THANKSGIVING SERVICES FOR…

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THANKSGIVING SERVICES FOR PBACE. In common with all the Churches of the country, the service of thanksgiving for the blesaing of peace was held in St Mary's and St David's Churches on Sunday. At St Mary's on Sunday morning this was rendered all the more striking by the presence of the Denbighshire Imperial Yeomanry and the Denbigh Volunteers, and among both forces were several men who had taken part in the war in South Africa, and also several of the Yeomanry officers and non-commissioned officers including their Colonel. Colonel Howard, C.B., was also present in the congregation. The Church was crowded to excess, a large number of additional seats being pro- vided in front of the chancel, in the aisles and near the entrances. The congregation was conveniently accommodated, thanks to the churchwardens, Messrs James Hughes and C Trevor Jones. The special hymns were provided in leaflet form for every person entering the Church, and also forms of the special thanksgiving service. The service throughout was most hearty and devout, and everybody seemed to join in in the most heartfelt manner, the soldiers being conspicuous for the reverent and hearty way in which they joined in the service. The chants, psalms and hymns were rendered with great earnestness and in excellent time ane tune, by the choir and congregation generally, Mr Alex Bellamy skilfully presiding at tho organ. The prayers were intoned by the Rector (the Rev D Davies) and the Rev Hamer Lewis, diocesan inspector of schools. The special psalms were ciii, cxxi and cxxii. The first lesson, T Kings viii 55-62, was read by Colonel Parry, D.S.O., commanding the Yeomanry, and the second lesson, Colossians iii 1-15, by Major Ormrod. After the first portion of the prayers, the first hymn (A & M 165), "O God our help in ages past" was sung. After "the general thanksgiving'' the Bishop offered the special lorm of thanksgiving as pre- pared by the Archbishop, giving thanks for the close of the was, thanks for success to our arms and the blessing of peace, prayer for forgiveness for all done amiss and that both peoples may be filled with the spirit of mutual generosity and good will and that unity and concord might follow the blessing of peace. Then followed the collect and immediately afterwards the hymn (A & M 379) Now thank we all our God." The hymn before the sermon was (A & M 290) "Through all the changing scenes of life the concluding hymn was When morning gilds the sky, My heart awaking cries, May Jesus Christ be praised." during which the collection was made for the widows and orphans of the soldiers who have fallen in the war and amounted to JE13 4s (including a donation of el given 01 a member of St David's congregation in the evening for the object). At the con- clusion of the service the whole congrega- tion, led by the organ and choir, sang with great enthusiasm God save our gracious King." The sermon, which was extremely appropriate, was preached by the Lord Bishop of St Asaph, who selected as his text the last verse of the second special lesson, Col. III 15: « Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thank- ful." His Lordship commence by pointing out that peace and thanksgiving were the thoughts put before them in the last verse of the second lesson appointed for the morning's service. He referred to the writer of the epistle and the time and circumstances under which he wrote it. St Paul was a prisoner in Rome, but amid all his anxieties he was still filled with care and sympathy for Christ's Church. That epistle was more vigorous and more rugged in its tone than the other epistles and that was. a reflection of the anxiety of the mind of the writer. St Paul had set his heart upon seeing Route, which was then the greatest empire ia the world so great that her roads still exist in many parts of Wales, and their forefathers had probably witnessed tho marching of the Roman legions armed with the armour des- cribed by the Apostle in one of his epistles. St Paul had had his desire he had gone to Rome, but there he was a prisoner chained to a soldier, who never left him night or day, and Epaphras had brought him news respecting the Colossians, which made him uneasy, and caused him to write to them as he did, and exhort them to "let the peace of God rule in your heart," that peace of which their Lord has said, My peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you." Let it rule in their heart; the word translated rule in the text, liter- ally meant "umpire"; let the peace of Christ be umpire in your heart. There is a war in the heart; the peace of Christ must step in and everything yield to the umpire. Dwelling on the nature of the peace, he reminded them that great peace have they that love Thy law." Peace exists not only among those who do and say exactly alike, but peace may exist between those who differ. Proceeding to discuss what that doctrine bad to say to war and the warrior, he, reminded his hearers that as citizens they were entitled to freedom ana protection; freedom as long as they obeyed the law, and protection against those who break it. The Gospel of Christ does not condemn those who uphold and put the law into force; sin and selfishness pro- duce war; they are all hurtful, but there are even greater evils than war. There was nothing in the Bible which condemned or reproached the calling of the soldiers. Again and again was the life of the Christian compared to that of the soldier, whose sovereign duty was obedience. He here described the training and self-sacrifice necessary on the part of the soldier, and all not for his own sake, but for the sake of his family, his kindred, his country; the citizen becoming a soldier, stepping into the soldier's ranks because he knew that if they wished for peace they must be ready for war. Contrasting the life of the soldier with that of the Christian soldier, which he exhorted his hearers to be, he pointed out that the Christian soldier must be animated by the love of Christ if he was to wage war successfully; the same self- sacrifice which led them to devote them- selves to their country must guide their lives; they must exercise obedience and determination all the more because they had to face the enemy alone; they must fi-ht the battle in the strength which God would supply; be true, pure, brave men, then they could face life's battle with the sure and certain hope of victory, and look i forward at the end to the peace of God which passeth understanding. The life of the true Christian was grounded in the faith that God knows all and the spirit of gratitude and thankfulness became the habit of the man. The preacher then re- ferred to the great blessing of peace, for which they were that day offering their thanksgiving and reminded them with what fervour the tidings of joy rang over the land, and how restful it felt now they were at peace once more. But what of these who had laid down their lives ? They could not forget that there was hardly a home in the land upon which the war had not cast its shadow, and all this invoked their deep sympathy. He touched upon the deeds of heroism, and bravery which had characterised our soldiers, together with their self restraint and generosity to the enemy, of which they were all justly proud, and proceeded to impress upon his hearers that it was righteousness that exalteth a nation, and that it was now the duty of the nation to realise the responsibility which their success in South Africa had brought, so that the British people would become the instruments of spreading the knowledge of Christ's kingdom amongst the people committed to their charge. He concluded by direct reference to and exhortation of the soldiers present, reminding them that in the army it was the greatest ambition of a soldier to secure that emblem of bravery named after the Queen whose memory was enshrined in the hearts of the English people —"the Victoria Cross." Many strove for it, but few were destined to win it, but though they could not all win that, they could every one of them—every one in the Church, man and woman-win and wear the white flower of a blameless life. At the close of service the Yeomanry, headed by the Volunteer band, marched to camp, and the Volunteers, under command of Lieutenant Clough, marched to the Square and were dismissed. At St David's Church, in the evening, there was a large congregation, when exactly the same order of service and hymns were taken, concluding with the National Anthem. The Rev Hamer Lewis officiated and preached an excellent sermon from a text selected from the Victorious War Song of Deborah (Judges v, 23). in which he incidentally alluded to the National event which they were that day celebrating md the blessings of peace. At the Nonconformist places of worship In town thanksgiving for peace was offered y the minister officiating in his prayers or reference made to it in the sermon. 0

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