Dual services held to honour military chaplain and missionary killed in action 100 years ago

29 September 2017

ST MARY ABBOTS, KENSINGTON

Not forgotten: a photo of the Revd Seymour Dallas displayed at St Mary Abbots, Kensington, in London

Not forgotten: a photo of the Revd Seymour Dallas displayed at St Mary Abbots, Kensington, in London

THE Revd Seymour Dallas, a milit­ary chaplain and missionary, was commemorated at services in Lon­don and Canada on Wednesday of last week, 100 years to the day since he was killed in action in Flanders.

A service at St Mary Abbots, Ken­sington, was led by the Vicar, Preb­endary Gillean Craig, and readings were given by the Mayor of Ken­sington and Chelsea, Cllr Marie-Therese Rossi, and the director of the Alberta government at the Ca­n­a­­dian High Commission, Michael Padua. A service at St Mary Abbots, Barrhead, in the Anglican diocese of Edmonton, in Alberta, a western province of Canada, was held on the same day.

The Ludo Press LtdMissionary: the Revd Seymour Dallas

Dallas served his curacy at St Mary Abbots, Kensington, and was sponsored by the church as a mis­sionary to Alberta from 1911 to 1915, during which time five churches and numerous schools were built. One of the churches, at Barrhead, was given the dedication St Mary Abbots, and he was its Vicar.

“Dallas’s life is being commem­orated not just for his commitment to his soldiers, but because of his remarkable role as a missionary in a remote part of Western Canada,” Rebecca Tinsley, a parishioner at St Mary Abbots, Kensington, wrote in an article published online.

“Although Dallas was an or­­dained Anglican priest, he minis­tered to Christians of every denom­ination out of necessity. In a report to his home church in Kensington, the Anglo-Catholic St Mary Abbots, he tells of being summoned to an Italian community on the prairies that was so far from the nearest town that no one could recall ever seeing a Roman Catholic priest. Dallas found ‘babies galore’ among the Italians, who urged him to baptise them. He spoke no Italian; so he conducted the services in Latin. . .

“In a mere three years’ mis­sionary service in Alberta, he built five churches and set up schools across his vast territory. In some of his schools there was ‘not a single Anglican’, as he remarked, but ‘hap­pily we are looked up as the minis­ters for the district rather than merely the Church’. As he reported to St Mary Abbots: ‘I can never see that keenness for our own Church need make us prejudice against other Churches; it only keeps us apart’. . .

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“He was recalled to the UK in 1915 and within a month he was serving as a chaplain at the front in Ypres. He died two years later, on September 20th 1917, at the age of 33, killed by a shell.”

Prayer Book Society reissues WWI prayers to be used in Remembrance. PRAYERS written to mark the end of the First World War, first used just six days after the Armistice in 1918, have been revived for this year’s Remembrance services, writes Paul Wilkinson.

They were issued under the au­­thority of the Archbishops of Can­terbury and York for use on Sunday, 17 November 1918, and have been unearthed by the Prayer Book Soci­ety in the documents archive of Lam­beth Palace Library.

“Although these documents are almost a century old, we have been able to recreate them in digital for­mats which can be printed, adapted, or cut-and-pasted free of charge by today’s users, not only this year, but also for next year’s 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice” the Society’s chairman, Prudence Dailey, said.

“These prayers were intended for use during the services of holy com­munion and morning and evening prayer found in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.”

Armistice Day was first observed formally in the grounds of Bucking­ham Palace on 11 November 1919. By the fifth anniversary, more thanksgivings and prayers, as well as suitable psalms and lessons, were authorised by the Archbishops for use by churches. These, too, are available on the Prayer Book Soci­ety’s website.

Last year, it produced a selection of prayers from the Book of Com­mon Prayer which would have been familiar to Church of England and other Anglican troops in both world wars.

They range from one written for use “in the time of War and Tumults” to the third collect at evensong for Aid against all Perils, which begins “Lighten our dark­ness, we beseech thee, O Lord.”

The prayers can be downloaded here.

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