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National prayer days

10 October 2014

Write, if you have any answers to the questions listed at the end of this section, or would like to add to the answers below.


Your answers

Who organised the national prayer days of the Second World War? When did they occur, and where can I learn more about them? Also, did such days of prayer also occur in the First World War?

A Day of Prayer was held on Sunday 26 May 1940, and a 20-page booklet, A Form of Prayer to Almighty God in this time of war, was "Issued under the Authority of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York". It contained prayers to be used at holy communion, and morning and evening prayer. I do not know of any other days of prayer, though I have an idea there may have been another.

(Canon) Michael Halliwell
Awbridge, Romsey

During the First World War, National Days of Prayer were held regularly: see The Church of England and the First World War by Alan Wilkinson (SPCK, 1978; new edition, Lutterworth, 2014).

On 21 August 1914, the Church Times commented: "To-day in every Cathedral and parish church a great act of supplication will be made, the like of which has been seen by no one living. For a whole century our nation has dwelt in peace, without a thought of vital danger to its security. . ."

Reports on the 28th included a long account of the services in St Paul's Cathedral, and the text of the sermon by the Bishop of Zanzibar, Frank Weston, preached at All Saints', Margaret Street, in London. A leading article said: "Our cathedrals and parish churches were filled by people who had come not to listen to music or preaching but to pray. In village churches the labourers gathered for prayer after a long day's work in the harvest-fields. The troops now guarding our land or being trained for future service across the seas made intercession on behalf of comrades-in-arms already facing death."

Explore the Church Times archive at www.churchtimes.co.uk/archive (free to postal subscribers), which also covers 1939-45. Editor

Your questions

David Winter (Diary, 19 September) reports celebrating St Mary's Patronal Festival on 17 August, the Sunday closest to the Feast of the Assumption. I don't believe that his parish is alone in this. Surely very few churches have the Assumption as their dedication; so what has caused 15 August increasingly to find favour over 8 September?

P. S.

What is the origin of the shoulder cape that I have seen worn on top of a cassock by some Anglo-Catholic priests? When should it be worn? Is it the same as a mozetta?

F. S .

Address for answers and more questions: Out of the Question, Church Times, 3rd floor, Invicta House, 108-114 Golden Lane, London EC1Y 0TG.

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