Civil Service Christian Union
1939 to 1951

The effects of war

London Meetings

    Before the war "attendances at our monthly gatherings regularly numbered from 180 to 230, and even more on special occasions. No meeting was held in October 1939, but we resumed in November and during the next 4 or 5 months numbers were well maintained, although not going above 200 at any time. Then...a sad falling off, and the attendance went down to 50 or 60; whilst in September [1940], only 4 were present - not surprising in view of the fact that there were 3 or 4 air raid alarms in the early evening, all about the time we should have been gathering." (Annual Report for year ending 30.9.1940)

Youth Committee and Rambles

    "It is just over four years since the Youth Committee was formed. There are not many of the original twelve members on it now; several have been evacuated and others... are serving in H.M. Forces. The vacancies have been filled from time to time..

    ... In the winter months black-out conditions made it impossible to arrange 'squashes'. However, as soon as the longer and brighter days of spring came rambles were started. The first took place in April when about 30 members and friends went 'somewhere in Essex'. The B.Y.O.G. (bring your own grub) idea was adopted for the first time and proved popular. In May and June happy afternoons were spent at Westerham and Virginia Water respectively." (Annual Report for year ending 30.9.1940)

Service Volume 11, Number 1, January 1940

Included 16th Annual Report, for year ending 30.9.1939. This and the Calendar of Prayer were included "in view of the need for economy and having regard to the general shortage of paper".


"Provincial Branches As a result of evacuation, new branches have come into being in certain centres and we shall be glad to receive news periodically for publication from the local secretaries or representatives. It is suggested that other members removed to the provinces should get in touch with those resident in the same district with a view to commencing other branches. It is particularly requested that the General Secretary should be informed of all changes of address as soon as possible."

"Evacuation The Governments decision to evacuate civil servants as far as possible has caused consternation in many quarters, particularly as it is indicated that the question is closely connected with the plan for permanent peace-time decentralisation."

Service Volume 11, Number 2, April 1940

Service Volume 11, Number 3, July 1940

Service Volume 11, Number 4, October 1940
16.10.1940 The Minute Book of the Federation of London Christian Unions was destroyed in the London blitz: apparently wiping out most of its first thirty six years

Service Volume 12, Number 1, January 1941

Service Volume 12, Number 2, April 1941

Included 17th Annual Report, for year ending 30.9.1940. Also first of the regular C.S.C.U Notices (below) without details of provincial meetings.

C.S.C.U NOTICES Object: The furtherance of the Kingdom of God in the Civil Service of the Empire, by the encouragement of prayer, the promotion of Christian fellowship among Civil Servants, the exertion of Christian influence in the Civil services, and the endeavour to win Civil Servants for Christ. Membership is open to all persons holding appointments in the Civil Service at home or abroad, and to all retired Civil Servants, the sole qualifications being belief in the Holy trinity and a personal trust in the efficacy of the atoning work of Christ. Annual Subscription: Two shillings (minimum) payable on January 1st. Remittances should be sent to the Assistant Treasurer: J.G. Timms, 26 Harcourt Road, Wallington, Surrey. Correspondence relating to the Union should be addresses to the General Secretary: G.F. Lane, 58, Ford Bridge Road, Ashford, Middlesex. London Meetings of the Union are held normally once in every month. In the present emergency the time and place may be varied. Particulars may be obtained from the General Secretary. Provincial Meetings are held in a number of centres. The General Secretary will gladly send particulars of these on request, and also endeavour to put isolated members in touch with local branches.

Service Volume 12, Number 3, July 1941

Service Volume 12, Number 4, October 1941

Utility garb

From 1942 to 1951, Service lost its shiny magazine cover.

Service Volume 13 Number 1, January 1942

Service Volume 13 Number 2, April 1942

Service Volume 13 Number 3, July 1942

Service Volume 13 Number 4, October 1942

The lead article Evangelical movements and the Christian Church discussed the significance of "interdenominational" associations in evangelising.

Service Volume 14 Number 1, January 1943

The lead article Among the Forces, by Capt. Allen l. Perry, M.C., R.A., Retd., discussed the way organisations like The Army Scripture Readers linked "Christian men in the Forces, so that, instead of a separate witness in a camp there is a united front..."

The City of London Forces Witness Team developed from the Finsbury branch of the Soldiers' & Airmen's Christian Association
The organisation is now SASRA (Personal Evangelism Among the Forces), Havelock House, Barrack Road, Aldershott, Hants, GU11 3NP

Service Volume 14 Number 2, April 1943

Service Volume 14 Number 3, July 1943

Service Volume 14 Number 4, October 1943

Service Volume 15 Number 1, January 1944

Service Volume 15 Number 2, April 1944

Service Volume 15 Number 3, July 1944

Service Volume 15 Number 4, October 1944

Service Volume 16 Number 1, January 1945

Service Volume 16 Number 2, April 1945

Service Volume 16 Number 3, July 1945

Service Volume 16 Number 4, October 1945

Service 1946 to 1951: Reconstruction

Edwin Roberts' personal file of Service, before its new format, goes from January 1946 to October 1951. For the Union, this was the period of post-war reconstruction.

Service Volume 17 Number 1, January 1946

The lead article Lift Up Your Eyes, by Rev. E. Hancox, was a call for evangelism in Asia, Africa and South America.

"Every year of delay makes it even more difficult. There are three factors which increase the difficulty in Africa alone:

  1. The tide of civilisation, trade and secular education is reaching many of the unevangelised people and capturing them for materialism before they can be introduced to the Saviour.
  2. Mohammedanism is advancing with unabated fervour and rapidity in North, West and East Africa, and soon it may be too late to save great pagan tribes from Islam's blighting effect.
  3. Roman Catholicism has made intensified progress since 1918, pouring workers and money into Africa and establishing whole networks of stations and schools.

These are facts that ought to burn and sting. Who of us is willing to wrestle in prayer on behalf of these Christless ones?"

The second article Youth for Christ by Dr William F.M. McDermott was about evangelism in the USA "spreading" to Canada, Bermuda, Hawaii, Cuba and New Zealand.

Youth for Christ and other rallies

Tuesday 26.3.1946 Minutes of Meeting held at Orange Street Church, Charing Cross. Present Lord Daryngton [Anglican] in the chair, P.C. Rice, E.M. Craven, R.S. Code, P.J. Elliot, H.A.V. Horsey, R.A. Heywood, L.S. Porter, P.J. Storey, F.A. Tatford, J. G. Timms, Miss F.B. Tann and Mr G. F. Lane. R.S. Code of the Ministry of Information was appointed General secretary in place of G.F. Lane and two people not listed as present were appointed Assistant secretaries: A. Hogbin of the Post Office and E. Roberts of the Exchequer and Audit Department. R.A. Heywood of the Board of Trade was appointed Treasurer in place of Mr Toyes and J.G. Timms of the Commissioners in Crown lands appointed assistant treasurer. H.A.V. Horsey, of the Post Office was appointed missionary Secretary and F.A. Tatford of the Ministry of Supply was appointed "Editor".

Edwin Roberts notes for CSCU Annual Conference 14.5.1987:
"Memory lane:
Report of CSCU Council meeting in March 1946
First since 1938. War in between.
Picking up the threads. George Lane tired.
R.S. Code as Secretary E. Roberts appointed Assistant Secretary
Not a member! Slip of my tongue ... G. Lane
Lord Daryngton said this ..." [The notes do not include what they said]

Service Volume 17 Number 2, April 1946

    "C.S.C.U. Council The last Council meeting of the Union was held in December 1938, and it was a very attenuated Council which met for its first post-war meeting on 26th March 1946... As Mr G.F. Lane expressed his strong desire to retire from office and his conviction that, in view of the many post-war problems confronting the Union, a younger member should be appointed to this post..." R.S. Code of the Ministry of Information was elected Secretary with Assistant Secretaries: A. Hogbin of the Post Office and E. Roberts of Exchequer and Audit."

    [Notes (see above) and correspondence suggest that Edwin Roberts was recruited by Fred Tatford and that, at the time of his election as Assistant Secretary, he was not a member of the Civil Service Christian Union.]

The lead article, Unity by William B. Eerdmans, is a humorous criticism of those who think they have the only light, and a call for "calvinists", "arminians", "mystics" and all the "shades and nuances of belief" since "1517, when Luther nailed his theses on the church in Wittenberg and Protestantism was born" to create a harmony.

    "... it would be better, would it not, if we could tolerate and respect each other, and among one another would exercise the communion of the saints and the mystical union of all believers in Christ."

Service Volume 17 Number 3, July 1946

Service Volume 17 Number 4, October 1946

Edwin Roberts notes CSCU Annual Conference 14.5.1987 (continued):
"Then came February 1947 - First Annual Conference after the war.
It was a day of snow and that G.R. King took for his text:
2 Samuel Chapter 23 verse 20: And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man, of Kabzeel, who had done many acts, he slew two lion like men of Moab: he went down also and slew a lion in the midst of a pit in time of snow.
G.F. Lane said ..." [The notes do not include what he said]

A new minute book began on 24.4.1947. These are the names of the people attending committee meetings from 1947 to 1950, their office in the Union at the time and the christian denominations they were active in at the time:

P. T. Shorey. Chair. Brethren. Hoxton Market Christian Mission.

Robbie Code. General Secretary. Brethren.

Edwin Roberts. Assistant Secretary. Brethren.

R.A. Heywood. Treasurer. Secretary and Treasurer of Orange Street Congregational Church.

John Timms Assistant Treasurer (Subscriptions). Anglican.

Frederick Tatford. Editor Service. Brethren.

Gordon Watts. Business Manager Service. Brethren.

Philip Elliot. Brethren.

H.A.V. Horsey. Missionary Secretary.

Fred Pontin. Became a missionary to Ireland. Brethren.

Service Volume 18 Number 1, January 1947
A note left by Edwin Roberts said he did not have this issue. It is in his personal file of Service. It contains

  • Articles on Loneliness, by Henry F. Morgan; Asking and Receiving by Edwin Adams (Foreign Office); The Vision by R.E. Hodge (Forest Products Research Laboratory) and The Voice of God by F.T. Mustow. (pages 1-3).
  • The Hebrew Calendar Cycle by N.S. Denham (Customs and Excise) showing the dates from the creation of Adam (1AH or 4045BC) to the capture of Jerusalem by Titus (4,115HC or 70AD) (page 4)
  • The first post-war Annual Report, by R.S. Code (page 5). ("Note - No report is available for 1940-45").
  • Accounts for 1.1.1941 to 30.4.1946 signed D.B. Toye, Hon. Treasurer 6.5.1946.
  • Accounts for 1.5.1946 to 31.12.1946 signed R.A. Heywood, Hon. Treasurer 31.12.1946.
  • Missionary accounts, for the same period, signed H.A.V.Horsey, Missionary Secretary.
  • Four poems
  • Book Reviews (page 7 to 8).

Service Volume 18 Number 2, April 1947

Service Volume 18 Number 3, July 1947

Service Volume 18 Number 4, October 1947

In [September?] 1947, the Council of The Federation of London Christian Unions met for the first time since 1938. The post-war activities of the Federation re-started with November meetings in 1947 "less than a month after the Council meeting". The speakers at these meetings included A. Lindsey Clegg, Dr Martin Lloyd Jones, Rev Guy King (Chaplain to the Federation) and Canon T.C. Hammond. Attendances at these meetings were not as good as before the war.

Service Volume 19 Number 1, January 1948

Service Volume 19 Number 2, April 1948

Service Volume 19 Number 3, July 1948

Service Volume 19 Number 4, October 1948

Service Volume 20 Number 1, January 1949

Service Volume 20 Number 2, April 1949

Service Volume 20 Number 3, July 1949

Service Volume 20 Number 4, October 1949

Building the Union

Service Volume 21, Number 1, January 1950

Circular February 1950 Civil Service Christian Union. Edwin Roberts, Assistant Secretary. "...So far as we can tell from our Headquarters' records, your subscription for the year 1949 has not yet been received..."

Letter 23.2.1950, Edwin Roberts to Muriel Warden, Newcastle: "We... are starting a drive for an increased membership. I personally am hoping to see a big increase in the provincial membership (as a provincial myself) and would be delighted to hear of the formation of a large branch at Newcastle."

Service Volume 21, Number 2, April 1950

CSCU Annual Conference. 17.4.1950. Mary Summer Hall, Tufton Street, Westminster.

Amongst the "goodly gathering of members and friends" were three whose Secretarial duties covered seventy years of the century. George Lane, who had been appointed secretary of the Junior Civil Service Christian Union in 1917 in place of H.B. Parris (resigned... conscientious objector to war), Robbie Code who took over from George Lane at the end of the second world war, and Edwin Roberts, who was appointed General Secretary and Editor of Service at this meeting. Edwin Roberts remained Secretary until 1987. All three were members of Christian Brethren assemblies for much of their lives, as was Frederick Tatford, the retiring editor; P.T. Shorey, the chair of the meeting; and P.C. Rice who was elected President at this meeting in place of Lord Daryngton (Anglican) who had just died.

As a conscientious objector in the first world war, H.B. Parris probably had to resign on going to prison. As a conscientious objector in the second world war, Edwin Roberts had been able to serve in a non-combatant corps. As a result he had become involved in Christian team work (combatants and others) and had developed the organisation skills that had led Fred Tatford to recruit him for the CSCU. Conscientious objection had nearly wrecked the union in the first world war, stripping it of its leading officers. In the second world war it trained the future secretary of the union.

After the Business Meeting, the Rev. Ernest F. Kevan (Principal of the London Bible College) gave a closing message on The Light of the World, concluding with a paragraph which Edwin Roberts quoted when he retired from the secretaryship 37 years later:

    "You may not seem much in and of yourself: your gifts and your qualities may not seem very great, but if you are placed at God's disposal, his transforming light will work wonderful changes. Your life will shine, and the glory will be to him whose we are and whom we serve."

Editor: Edwin Roberts

Service Volume 21, Number 3, July 1950

Circular August 1950 Civil Service Christian Union. Edwin Roberts, General Secretary. "During the coming year we should all like to see a great increase in the Union's membership..."

Circular (Not dated) "Service" the quarterly magazine of the Civil Service Christian Union. Edwin Roberts, General Secretary and Editor. "may I suggest that in drawing up your advertising programme for 1951..."

Letter 19.9.1950, Edwin Roberts to Muriel Warden, Newcastle: "we are anxious to finish this year without a deficit and we still have some way to go before we are sure of this. Fortunately the Union is now making steady enough progress for us to feel confident that in 1951, at least, our financial position will be secure."

Letter 11.9.1950:   Letter from Edwin Roberts to Ernest Raisey of The Post Office Christian Association, 29 Ludgate Hill, EC4 "Mr Code tells me that for some reason you are still not receiving Service. I am arranging for this to be put right and enclose copies of the last three issues. I should appreciate it if you could similarly arrange for me to receive the P.O.C.A. Mail. With cordial greetings...

This was reciprocated. POCA Mail October 1949 No.248 included news of the retirement of Rev. B.G. Lovelace as General Secretary on 30.6.1949. He had first accepted the post of "Home Secretary" in May 1904. Will Morrow (Organising Secretary) first met him when he came to London in 1933.

Service Volume 21, Number 4, October 1950

A note left by Edwin Roberts said he did not have the issues for 1951 ("xxii 1-4 1951"). They are in his personal file of Service. I cannot think of a credible explanation for his not having these issues sent to him on publication. The note, therefore, may be a list of issues missing from the series passed to him by George Lane. In which case, it indicates the Mr Lane passed on the Observer of the Junior Civil Service Christian Union from 1895 to 1918/1919, with the exception of 1903; and Service from 1930 to 1950, with the exception of October 1930 and January 1947. George Lane had not passed records on to Robbie Code because of the shortage of space in Robbie Code's "digs".

Service Volume 22, Number 1, January 1951

Service Volume 22, Number 2, April 1951

Service Volume 22, Number 3, July 1951

Service Volume 22, Number 4, October 1951

Circular (Not dated) "Service" the quarterly magazine of the Civil Service Christian Union. Edwin Roberts, General Secretary and Editor. "may I suggest that in drawing up your advertising programme for 1952..." "...from January 1952 (the next issue), "Service" will appear in a new and improved format (size 8 and a half inches x 5 and a half inches) with illustrated cover etc.

Circular October 1951 Civil Service Christian Union. "Dear...... I hope you will be able to send me an item of Branch News for the January 1952 issue of "Service".

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before after


1939: Effects of war

1940: War re-distributes

Service 1942: Utility garb

1943: Among the Forces

1946: Reconstruction

1947: A new minute book

1950: building the union