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Prisoners of War refused worship in parish church - 1946

Here is an interesting series of newspaper articles showing how the St Bartholomew's Church Council refused permission for German prisoners of war to attend service in March 1946. The Methodists offered their church to the prisoners but within a month the parish church had backtracked and the prisoners were allowed to worship there.

Loughborough Echo - 15th March 1946

At the annual vestry and church meeting of the Quorn Parish Church, held on Wednesday, the Secretary read two letters, one from the Foreign Office and one from Col. Hartley, the O.C of the prison camp in Quorn Both asked that the Lutheran minister in the camp might hold services in the Parish Church for those prisoners who are Lutherans.

The Vicar said he had approached the Bishop and his Lordship had given his consent, provided such services did not clash with the regular services of the church and the villagers were not admitted.

Mr Rumsey proposed that such services be allowed and Mr Murray supported. The Vicar asked for a vote on the question and Mr Leon Morley maintained that as the conduct of the services in the Parish Church was solely a matter for the Vicar and churchwardens it set a dangerous precedent to invite the opinion of the parishioners.

The Vicar said he would like to have, if possible, the support of the meeting.

On being put to the vote, it was decided, by 19 votes to 14, to refuse the permission asked for by the Foreign Office and the colonel in charge of the prison camp.

The Vicar, the Rev W E Pilling, nominated Mr T E Adkins as his warden and Mr Ernest Thompson was elected people’s warden.

Col W S N Toller thanked the parish for its support during his 16 years of office.

Elected to the Parochial Church Council: Messrs W S N Toller, A B Hanford, F Sharpe, G C White, Miss M Bradley, Mesdames Pilling, Nihell-Preau, Bumpus, Roberts and Miss D Selvester. Sidesmen were elected as follows: Messrs J Field, D Mee, B Heafford, R Bancroft, J Martin, J H Price, R W Squire, H Pritchard, H Brown, A D Murray, A B Hanford, W S N Toller, G C White, C Camp, Mrs Cotton, Mrs Roberts and Miss Bradley.

Miss Selvester read the secretary’s report for the past year. The Canon Rumsey Memorial Fund had been closed at £81 19s 10d., and a meeting would be called of the subscribers at an early to decide future action. The Diocesan Appeal Fund stood at rather more than £160.

Mrs Pilling gave the report as schools correspondent and stated a balance in hand of £90.7s

Date unknown

Quorn Methodists’ decision to grant the use of their church to Lutheran Christians in the nearby POW camp is a satisfactory way out of a local difficulty that has a far wider significance.

Quorn Parochial Church Council turned down by a narrow majority the application for the use of the Parish Church which had the support of the Foreign Office and the approval of the Bishop and the vicar; the militant majority would not open their church doors to the representative young Germans who, if the world is to be rid of the Nazi menace, must be converted to the Christian way of life. The pity is that, at the outset of their religious re-education, the young Germans encountered a display of intolerance that is the negation of Christianity.

But now the Methodists are willing to give hospitality to the Lutherans, so all’s well that ends well. Nevertheless, it is a curious commentary on the way the true Christian outlook can distorted by prejudice.

Quorn prisoners' problem ended
Date unknown

The problem of church services for the German prisoners of war has been solved. They are to hold their first service in Quorn Methodist Church shortly, as reported in late editions of last night’s Evening Mail.

After the Parish Church parochial meeting had refused to allow the Germans to worship in their church, the Rev R L Tingle, of Loughborough, offered the use of the Methodist Church at Quorn, of which he has charge.

Lieut.-Col R S J Hartley, commandant of the camp, said the offer had been accepted with grateful thanks, and the prisoners would be holding a service at the church once a fortnight. He added that if offers from other churches were forthcoming after all, he would be pleased to accept them on behalf of the prisoners.

“I am very glad the press took the matter up, and I think the leading article in the Evening Mail the other evening was first-class”. He told the Evening Mail today.

The services will be conducted by the prisoners’ Lutheran chaplain, who was in the ranks as a soldier. It was discovered he was a peace-time clergyman, during the sorting out of the prisoners on arrival in England.

German prisoners attend Quorn Church. Vicar speaks of brotherhood of man - 12th April 1946

German prisoners of war from a nearby camp attended St Bartholomew’s Church, Quorn, on Friday last. There were upwards of 150 and they were addressed by the Vicar of Quorn, the Rev W E Pilling. His address was interpreted by Staff Sergt. Loundes-Butcher and the service was conducted by the prisoners’ own Lutheran chaplain, Paster Boehme.

The organ was played by a German prisoner and a welcome was spoken by the archdeacon of Loughborough (the Ven W J Lyon).

The Vicar spoke of the need for the creed of Christianity, in preference to the creed of “the survival of the fittest”. And he concluded his sermon with these words: “We are all God’s children, whatever language nation or customs claim us. God has been pleading with his children all through the ages to learn to live side by side as brothers. We have failed, but God still pleads. You and I may seem very insignificant in this big world, but we are important to God, and we have the opportunity to do what we can to bring about this true brotherhood of man – which is the Kingdom of God”.

“Thank you”, “Thank you”, many of the Germans observed in English to the Archdeacon of Loughborough and Mr Pilling who stood at the church-door as the men filed out.

 Submitted on: 2011-01-03
 Submitted by: Kathryn Paterson
 Artefact ID: 1107
 Artefact URL: www.quornmuseum.com/display.php?id=1107
 Print: View artefact in printer-friendly page

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