Civil Service Christian Union

from 1968


Service January-April 1968

Service May-August 1968

During this year we have not been able to keep to the usual time schedule, but we hope to get back to this before long". (Letter to a potential advertiser 17.8.1968)

Service September-December 1968

" Mr. D. B. Toye, C.B., O.B.E., LL.D., who passed away on the 9th July 1968, in his 80th year, was C.S.C.U. Treasurer from 1934 to 1946 so his term of office included the difficult war years. Soon after his appointment he presented us with the hymn books which are still in regular use at the London Monthly Meetings at Orange Street Church.

His department was the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries where he became Principal Assistant Secretary and in which he served until 1945 when he retired due to ill health.

He was a barrister at law and became a Governor of the Royal Veterinary College and a member of the River Ouse (Sussex) Catchment Board.

His interest in the Union was maintained after his retirement and every year, without fail, we have had the pleasure of hearing from him, including 1952 when he underwent a severe internal operation and in May this year when he admitted to getting rather frail.

He had many interests in Christian work; he was a lay reader in the diocese of Southwark as long ago as 1914 and in the diocese of Chichester from 1932.

For some years'after his retirement he was Chairman of the Eastbourne Auxiliary of the British and Foreign Bible Society.

He passed away suddenly while on holiday and we do sympathise with his wife and daughter in the grief of parting. Let us pray for them that they may know the strength and comfort of the Lord and for ourselves that we may emulate his faithfulness in service for our Lord and Saviour and let us rejoice in the certain hope of resurrection and reunion in our Heavenly Father's home."


"Mr. D. Fisher who had been the Union's auditor since 1960 passed away very suddenly on 10th September 1968.

A Senior Auditor in Exchequer and Audit department, he joined the Union when he first moved to London from Blackpool, in 1950, and had taken a consistent interest in its work. A colleague in his own Department has written:

"It was a tremendous shock to members of the Department to learn of the sudden death of Doug Fisher at the age of 45. He entered the Civil Service after the war and came to us from the Post Office in 1950: for several years he had been Departmental Representative of the Hospital Saving Association.

Doug was essentially a quiet, unassuming man, hard-working, painstaking and thorough in everything he did. Those of us who knew him well and were able to penetrate his reserve soon realised that here was a man of strong Christian beliefs and principles whose life centred around his family and his local church, where he was deeply involved in church affairs and youth leadership.

Doug never preached at us but rather put his principles into practice by his example and by showing an overriding concern for people. Nothing was ever too much trouble to him and, at home, what little spare time he had was often devoted to helping those less fortunate than himself. In the office a number of younger members of the Department who came under his care will remember his patience, kindness and helpfulness towards them.

Our sympathies go out to his wife and two teenage daughters who, in their great loss and in their hour of need, will not lack help from the many friends Doug made through his own unselfish kindness."

The Secretary and Treasurer of C.S.C.U. have written to Mrs. Fisher to express their sympathy, and that of the Union. We can lead another to Christ by the way in which we ourselves found Christ."

20.9.1968: John Lidbetter agreed to continue the Fellowship Letter until someone else was found to take over the ministry. In his new draft, he sought to confront "the present subversive trends". In the December Fellowship Letter (22) he wrote: "A sure knowledge of salvation and firm confidence in the Word of God are essential for our witness".

1.10.1968: Meeting of the Council of the Federation of London Christian Unions. a General Committee had been set up some years ago to deal with the day-to-day running of the federation. Present members: Chairman Edwin Roberts - Secretary A.E. (Bill) White - Treasurer Norman Dellow - Other members: Tom Spicer and R.J. Carter. [All Mr] A.E. (Bill) White had asked to be released from the Secretaryship due to personal reasons. R.J. Carter [Known as "R.J."] of the Accountants Christian fellowship had agreed to become Acting Secretary. In addition to the existing members, Mr Hayes-Allen (London Banks), Miss Muriel E. Walden (Prudential) and Mr Wilson (Insurance and Shipping) were added to the committee.

It was suggested that it might be appropriate... to have about six Vice Presidents. R.J. wanted to be replaced in the following year, but he served continuously as "Acting Secretary". In the summer of 1974, ill health led him to "resign", but he was still Acting Secretary (jointly with John M. Barnes) in 1977...

A presentation of £10 and a bookplate recording the presentation were to be made to Bill White "in recognition of his faithful service to the Federation as Secretary over a number of years". It was hoped that Bill would become a Vice-President. He was reluctant to accept any recognition. Eventually (4.1.1975!), Edwin Roberts wrote "We do, of course, accept your decision regarding the Vice-Presidency". He had left, until the V.P. issue was over, sending the £10 and bookplate "which I have had ready for some time" "as a token of our affection and a reminder of the years of happy fellowship we enjoyed in the Lord's service"

unintended annual

Service January-August 1969

March 1969 Funeral of Mr R.A. Heywood who had joined the Junior Civil Service soon after becoming a civil servant in 1914

"Service... has not appeared since the August 1969 issue. It is hoped that it will begin to reappear, regularly, from October 1970." (Letter 7.8.1970 to The Librarian, Bodleian Library, Oxford)

Punch 31.12.1969, page 1105
Country Life (column of local newspaper cuttings sent in by readers):
Being born again was the subject at the talk given at the last meeting of the Norcross branch of the Civil Service Christian Union. He referred to John's Gospel where Jesus explains regeneration to Nicodemus. There were quite a few new faces at the meeting. (Thornton Clevelys Times

Service October 1970

    "Most members of the Union will wonder why there has been this long interval with no issue of Service"

Federation Vice-Presidents

The Council of the Federation of London Christian Unions decided to appoint Vice- Presidents ("as permitted by the rules"). Invitations were sent in October to

Louis Fletcher, who, as Secretary "did so much to resuscitate the Federation after the war"

A.E. (Bill) White, who had succeeded Louis Fletcher as Secretary - Serving until 1968 - He had re-married a few months ago.

Rev Ernest W. Raisey

Rev Dick Reees (The Vicarage, Macclesfield, Cheshire) "in view of your long service to the Federation and the affection we gained for you during your time at St Maryu Woolnoth". The Council were also looking forward to seeing him on 24.11.1970

Rev Ron W. Francis, Somersham Rectory, Ipswich

Service September-October 1971

Civil Service Christian Union Centenary

1972 was the hundredth anniversary of the formation of the Civil Service Prayer Union. The main commemorations were a Centenary Thanksgiving Service in Westminster (Monday 6.3.1972, below), preceded by a Centenary Conference at Herne Bay Court from Friday 3.6.1972 to Monday 6.3.1972. About 60 attended the conference and 350 people the thanksging service. To encourage branch officers to attend the conference, it was made possible for the fares, too and from London, of two suitable people from each branch to be reimbursed. About half the attenders were active branch leaders. Discussions on the purpose of the CSCU (Saturday 9.45 to 11.00 am), its possibilities (Saturday 5pm to 6pm), its programme (Sunday 10am to 11.30) and its power (Sunday 2pm to 3.15) were recorded (by some means) and a seventeen page typescript of their content prepared. Amongst the issue discussed were the nature of a work-based fellowship of christians, how it related to churches, and what the church is. There were many references to the problems and possibilities arising from a "Christian" union centred on evangelical, bible-based, protestantism, and relations to liberal christians, Roman Catholics and other groups of christians. London members were encouraged to help with accomodation on Monday night, to help people from outside London to attend the thanksgiving service.

A "centenary publication", a simple history of the union, was planned - this web history grows out of the preparation for a history that Edwin Roberts made (over many years) in collecting together the archives and making notes on them - His two page history was published in POCA Mail. Journal of the Post Office Christian Association No.338, April-June 1972. This also contained a version of "Communications that Count", a semi-historical survey of the Post Office Christian Association.

Service February-March 1972

has pleasure in inviting you to a
(next to Westminster Abbey)
on MONDAY, 6 MARCH 1972 at 6.30 p.m.
Conducted by The Rt. Revd. E. L. BARHAM, MA
(formerly Assistant Bishop of Southwark)
with an address by The Revd. G.W. Kirby, MA
(Principle of the London Bible College)


Information from C.S.C.U., 27 Jacqueline Gardens, Billericay, Essex

At the Centenary Conference "There was a special word of greeting on behalf of the Post Office Christian Association from its Secretary, Tom Spicer, who referred to the practical fellowship which had existed for so long and to the prayer support each had given to the other" (Service September 1972 p.4)

11.7.1972 Death of Ernest Raisey, General Secretary to the The Post Office Christian Association from 1949 to 1962 - Since which he had been Pastor of Elmstead Baptist Church, Chislehurst. For many years chair of the Federation of London Christian Unions and recently a Vice President. The member societies of the Federation in 1972 were: Accountants Christian Fellowship, BP Christian Fellowship, British Transport Christian Union, Broadcasting Employees' Christian Union, Civil Service Christian Union, Esso Christian Fellowship, Greater London Council Staff Christian Union, Insurance and Shipping Christian Union, Lawyer's Christian Fellowship, Liverpool Victoria Christian Fellowship, London Banks Christian Union, London and manchester Christian Fellowship, London Transport Christian Fellowship, Monday Christian Union - Unilever House, Port of London Christian Fellowship, Post Office Christian Association, Prudential Christian Union, Secretaries' Christian Fellowship, Shell Centre Christian Fellowship, Shell Max Christian Fellowship, Stock Exchange Christian Association.

"The only issue of Service in 1971 was that of September/October...So far there has been only one issue in 1972 (February/March)" (Letter 11.7.1972 to The Librarian, Bodleian Library, Oxford)"

Service September 1972

There was only one issue of Service in 1973 (Annual Report)

Service September 1973

    Annual Conference 1973: "Mr. Edwin Roberts ... spoke... of his personal disappointment that Service had not appeared regularly."

Civil Service Catholic Guild

On Thursday 13.9.1973, David G. Marsh, the Grand Master of the Civil Service Catholic Guild, and Edwin Roberts, Hon. Secretary of the Civil Service Christian Union, had lunch together. David Marsh hoped "we will gradually see opportunities for our two bodies to work together and meet together on matters of common interest or concern". An invitation was issued to Edwin, or another member, to attend some Guild activities.

The Civil Service Christian Union has always been a protestant organisation. The founder of the Prayer Union (1872), Arthur Blackwood, thought

In 1946, a lead article in Service had listed materialism, Islam and Roman Catholicism as the main hindrances to reaching the "christless ones" of Africa.

In 1959, members of the CSCU successfully protested at the Roman Catholic Church being allowed to advertise in a civil service trade union journal. But the protest was moderated by the Committee and was not made official. A few Catholics became active in the union, holding office at branch level, attending services, and sometimes writing letters of protest about anti- Catholic statements in Service. However, from the beginning of his secretaryship, Edwin Roberts had an explicit editorial policy of removing or moderating criticisms of Roman Catholicism from material submitted for publication, so occasions for protest were not frequent.

The Civil Service Catholic Guild was founded in 1933, the year of the CSCU's Diamond Jubilee. It sought "to enable Roman Catholic civil servants to meet each other socially, to cater for their spiritual welfare and to foster an enlightened catholic outlook on public administration. Since the Second Vatican Council, the Guild has increasingly sought to provide opportunities for its members to up-date their knowledge of the Christian faith".

Service cost the union £110 for the September 1973 issue, compared with £82 for the September 1972 issue. Stanley Hunt printers advised that a major reason for rising cost was that they could not print "isolated issues" for the same rate as four issues a year.

There was only one issue of Service in 1974 (Annual Report)

Service October 1974

Service January-March 1976

    After the barren year of 1975 one issue of the magazine was produced in 1976 (1976 Annual Report). An obituary for Dorothy Eleanor Combe, who died 26.2.1976 was published in the September 1977 issue.

In 1979 an officer of The Federation of London Christian Unions could find no committee minutes (for a history) going back further than 1976. The duplicated minutes in Edwin Roberts file start with a Meeting pf the Council 9.9.1957

Service September 1977

Promises Fulfilled by Eunice Diment. A Bible translator in the Philippines, on the C.S.C.U. Missionary list, Eunice Diment was kidnapped for three weeks by armed guerillas early in 1976. Paternoster Press published her account Kidnapped and she spoke at the C.S.C.U. Weekend Conference in November 1976.

Worth Your Support by Philip Elliot, OBE, is taken from a paper prepared for delivery at a lunch-hour meeting of the Post Office Christian Association at Camelford House, Albert Embankment, on 3.4.1974. The original title was "The importance of an Office Christian Fellowship" and it recounts the value of the Civil Service Christian Union to Philip Elliot from when he joined in 1910.

19.10.1977 A letter to D.H. Thornton c/o London City Mission gave some of the recent history of the Federation of London Christian Unions. Philip Henman had been President for some years. The Federation had 19 constituent Unions, listed on its Prayer Card. "Our main activity for some time has been the convening of the Annual Rally which serves as a focal point for fellowship between different Unions." "For many years a weekly lunch-time service was held in St Mary Woolnoth Church... but this is no longer held..." Council meetings are held once or twice a year. "There was something of a 'trough' in our work a few years ago, but this has now receded."

Andrew Roberts has not found any issue of Service from September 1977 to September 1978

Service September 1978

    Service "reappeared" towards the end of 1977 (1977 Annual Report)

November 1978: Cardiff Branch closes after twenty five (and a half) years. Mr M.R. Turner was the only person on the committee throughout - Serving as assistant treasurer and treasurer - even though "I was never more than a temporary technical civil servant, and left the Service two years after the Branch was formed".

There was only one issue of Service in 1979 (Annual Report)

Service January-May 1979

March 1979, David Rutter, offered to write a history of the Federation: "He really wanted to know how much background information I had in my possession; virtually only Council Minutes - no committee minutes prior to 1976". (Letter from an officer)

75 Year of the Federation

A short history was prepared by David K. Rutter of the Greater London Council Staff Christian Union, for the celebrations in November. He was able to use Council minutes going back to 1947.

The members of the Federation active in Federation affairs were listed as follows. For a complete list of members, see 1972

London Banks Christian Union
Civil Service Christian Union
Prudential Christian Union
Stock Exchange Christian Union
Post Office Christian Association
Accountant's Christian Fellowship
Secretaries' Christian Fellowship
London Transport Christian Fellowship
Greater London Council Staff Christian Union
British Transport Christian Fellowship

Service October-December 1980

    "After a regretted hiatus in the issue of the magazine it is now hoped, and indeed expected, that Service will appear more regularly"

Minutes of Committee Meeting at 1 Victoria Street 10.2.1981,

3.11.1981 from a member DHSS Torquay: "Dear Mr Timms, I joined the CSCU on 12.1.1981 but as yet have not received any copies of Service magazine. Has publication ceased? Yours in Christ ...."

"Dear Eddie. I think only you can answer this one! Please do. John T. 8.11.1981. 10 Meadway Crescent, Hove, Sussex"

At about the time of the 75th Anniversary, R.J. Carter and Edwin Roberts ceased to be (Acting) Secretary and Chairman (both continued on the committee) and their places were taken by John M. Barnes (Secretary) and Tom Spicer (Chairman). John Barnes introduced a quarterly newsletter. The first preserved (in this collection) is "No.3 December 1980".

Minutes of Committee Meeting at 1 Victoria Street 16.2.1982, 8.6.1982, 28.9.1982, 7.12.1982

Draft: Participation of ladies in CSCU meetings and conferences. Policy statement [Not dated. Some comments dated 11.3.1982]

... "8.1 Some will hold that they should not speak in any way in meetings of a church, when men are present. 8.2 Some will say that they should not hold positions of authority, with responsibility for the doctrine of the church, and should not 'teach' or preach but may read the scriptures, lead in prayer, take part in discussion etc. 8.3 Some will say that such restrictions have no part in the New Testament church and ladies are as free as men to exercise all the functions of the church. 8.4 All will point to parts of Scripture which they believe support their convictions."

"...10 Some suggested guidelines are: 10.1 a CU is a place where all believers meet on common ground and not within the 'rules' and organisation of any particular local church. 10.2 it is therefore open to all present, men or ladies, to take part in its life and fellowship, to act as officers, and to take part in its meetings. 10.3 This may include taking the chair at meetings and leading Bible studies etc, as well as taking part in discussion. 10.4. ... one should avoid speakers whose extreme views or their way of delivering them will offend or disparage those with a narrower view. 10.6 where there are members who feel strongly that women should be silent or not take the lead, the officers may find it wise to discuss the position graciously with them... 11 Our aim should be: In things essential - united. In other things - tolerant. In all things - gracious."

Service September 1982

The September 1982 issue has features about the history of the union. Mr G. Ritchie Rice, a vice-President who was 100 in July 1981, provided an article that looked backwards, around and forward. The backwards look gives a picture of the Civil Service when he joined it in October 1899. Mr Rice had died on 14.2.1982. His article is followed by a short history of the union by Frederick Tatford.

Service September 1983

Minutes of Committee Meeting at 1 Victoria Street 22.2.1983,

Minutes of Committee Meeting at 1 Victoria Street 27.9.1983:

Due to ill-health, the Secretary had made no real progress with

  1. Registration as a charity

  2. Statement as to particpation of ladies

  3. Statement re participation in strikes

a long break..

Minutes of Committee Meeting at 1 Victoria Street 21.2.1984.

"As publication is irregular at present we hesitate to commit ourselves to advertising, but it is hoped that there will be an issues during the next three months. We circulate a little under 2,000 copies among members, enquirers, associates etc.," (Letter 31.5.1984)

Minutes of Committee Meeting at 1 Victoria Street 9.10.1984.

Minutes of Committee Meeting at 1 Victoria Street 19.2.1985

    "It was noted that Mrs Grace Bedder (formerly Miss Grace Gates) had relinquished her post as Assistant Secretary, which she had held since 1951, as from the 1984 Annual Meeting. During this time she had been responsible for the addressing of envelopes for the Union's magazines, notices and circulars"

Minutes of Committee Meeting at Great Westminster House 14.5.1985, 8.10.1985,

10.4.1986 Annual Meeting: Elected officers:
Chairman: C.J. Skinner
Vice-Chairman: K.V. Tucker
Hon. Secretary and Editor: E. Roberts
Assistant Secretary: B. Dixon
Hon. Treasurer: A.E. Hardy
Missionary Secretary: Miss J.A. Shepherd
Other member: W.T. Mosley
Auditor: B. Hogg

14.6.1986: Dr Frederick A. Tatford, a Vice-President of the Union with a long record of service, "notably as Editor of the magazine from 1923" [incorrect] to 1950, died very suddenly at the age of 85.

Minutes of Committee Meeting at Great Westminster House 16.6.1986

May 1987 Proposed Amended Rules. "some much-needed revision... to bring them more into line with modern and changed circumstances and to facilitate inclusion in the Register of Charities".

Thursday 14.5.1987 Orange Street: Special Conference to consider and approve proposals for revision of the Union rules. Followed by the Annual Conference. At 6.15. Refreshments from 5.15.

Edwin Roberts made brief "memory lane" notes for his retirement speech as Secretary, dealing with 1946 and 1947 and 1950. Then:
Leave it at that but just thank ... support
through 37 years. Much joy ... and some sorrow
(Luke 17:10 "Unworthy servant")
Hope you will give same support to Tony.

Rule amendment proposals were submitted to a Special Conference at Sunbury Court on 27.9.1987 - but were not accepted.

Editor: Revd A.E. Hardy

Service September 1987

"This issue of Service, the first after a long break which we all regret but could be avoided, marks the beginning of a new episode in the Union's life.

A new Secretary has taken over responsibility and will need the support and prayers of all."


Press Release

The Revd. A.E. Hardy has been appointed Hon. Secretary of the Civil Service Christian Union, which has branches over a wide are of the United Kingdom. A full-time civil servant himself, Mr Hardy has been ordained as a non- stipendiary minister in the Church of England, serving in his own office and also assisting in his parish church. He has been an active member of the Union for a long time.

He succeeds Mr Edwin Roberts, a retired civil servant and a member of the Christian Brethren, who has been Hon. Secretary of the Union since 1950. Mr Roberts has been made a Vice-President and will be assisting Mr Hardy for some time (DV)

It is hoped that the new appointment will open the way for wider and more effective development of the Union's ministry, which began in 1872 and is as important as ever.

The Press Release does not have a date. It adds Rev. A.E. Hardy's address for correspondence.

Minutes of Committee Meeting at Great Westminster House 14.7.1988

Service January-March 1988

Thursday 14.1.1988: Orange Street: Through Gates of Splendour (Film)

Thursday 11.2.1988: Orange Street: Rev. David Bubbers C.P.A.S. (notice missing)

Orange Street notices missing for February, March and April

Service April-June 1988

22.4.1988 to 24.4.1988: CSCU weekend conference at Harrogate

Thursday 12.5.1988: Orange Street: Rev. Tim Harper, St Lawrence, Morden

Thursday 9.6.1988: Orange Street: Rev. David Barter, Trinity Baptist Church, Bexleyheath (notice missing)

Service July-December 1988

18.11.1988 to 20.11.1988: CSCU weekend conference at 'High Leigh'

Service January-April 1989

Service May-August 1989

Service September-December 1989

Service January-April 1990

Service May-December 1990

Minutes of Committee Meeting at 48 Blakes Lane, New Malden, Saturday 1.12.1990

click on the cover to
see the previous radical change - 
in 1952 Service July 1991

Service had its most radical change of cover for forty years. (Click on the cover for the previous one)

The new "cover picture is Orange Street Congregational Church where the Central London monthly meetings have been held for over 40 years" (May 1993: the edition pictured)

Service October 1991

Service April 1992

Service August 1992

Service December 1992

Service May 1993

Service October 1993

Service August 1994

This edition contains a Directory of Branches and Secretaries. The Annual Report for 1993 said that "The number of individual paid-up members and the number of Branches remained steady at 350 members and 44 Branches". Elsewhere the difficulties of estimating membership are outlined:

    "How many are we?

    Some branches send in a sum of money with no list of members while others do not send regularly so we cannot get an accurate count of members. The known totals are 255 serving members and 95 retired members and the overall total is perhaps 450-500. This is less than one per thousand Civil Servants..."

Service July 1995

Service August 1996

This edition includes the Rules adopted 14.9.1995, The Missionary Fund Report for 1995, and a directory of branches and secretaries.

19.5.1997 From The Rev'd A.E. Hardy, Hon Secretary and Treasurer

    "Thank you for your letter about the future of the Civil Service Christian Union. I joined CSCU in 1957 and have been active in it ever since so you will understand how much I value its work and object. I am very pleased to tell you that the Special General Meeting accepted the proposed changes to the Rules.

    The changes will make a significant reduction in the administrative work for we shall no longer have Branches and Members but linked Fellowships and individuals. CSCU will continue but in a rather different form. There is of course some sadness at the changes but as few Christians in the Civil Service were prepared to support as Members and none to take over the burdens of office it was that or close.

    CSCU will become the focus of an informal network enabling Christians in the Civil Service to get in touch with one another.

    We shall prepare a mailing list and provide copies to all fellowships and individuals listed. At first this will be incomplete as there are many gaps in the information held centrally. The names and addresses of retired members will be held on a separate list and given only to retired members.

    We are aware of a few networks which have recently come into being. There is one in the Customs and Excise Dept and another in the Westminster area of London. just as they have come to value "networking" so we have come to see it as the way for the future. Please pray for your Executive Committee as they move forward in faith.

    Thank you for your interest and support


30.3.1998 From The Rev'd A.E. Hardy, Hon Secretary and Treasurer CSCU CONTACT LIST 3/98 (Marked as private and not for commercial mailing)

Orange Street Church

No date, but about 1918: History of Orange Street Chapel, Leicester Square, W.C. By the Rev. Isaac Harthill, F.R.G.S. Fourpence.

Civil Service Christian Union' meetings

The notices for the Civil Service Christian Union's monthly meetings have a standard form (with variation):

The next meeting of the Union will be held in

(behind the National Gallery)
THURSDAY, ... at 6pm


Come yourself-and bring some-one else with you

The date does not include a year. The years have been calculated from the dates that fell on Thursday.

Annual Conference, Thursday 12.4.1951, at 6.30 pm
Assembly Hall, Mary Summer House, Tufton Street, London, SW1.
Speaker: Dr. J.E. Richardson, Ph.D. President of the National Young Life Campaign.

Thursday 14th June [1951] Lt-Gen. Sir Arthur Smith K.C.B., K.B.E., D.S.O., M.C.

Thursday 8th November [1951] London Endeavour Choir, Conductor - Mr E.T. Shepherd.

Thursday 13th December [1951] "Fact and Faith" Film "Dust or Destiny"

Annual Conference, Thursday 15.5.1952, at 6.30 pm
Assembly Hall, Mary Summer House, Tufton Street, London, SW1.
Speaker: Rev. Alan Redpath, A.C.A. Members of the London Endeavour Choir will sing.

Thursday 11th December [1952] Carols by the London Crusader Choir. Conductor: Rev. Douglas. B. Gray

Thursday 8th January [1953] Rev. E.H. Worstead, B.A., B.D., Senior Tutor. Spurgeon's College.

Thursday 13th August [1953] Mr. Arnold J. Clarke, Missionary in China until his imprisonment by the Chinese in 1951.

Thursday 10th September [1953] The Rev. Canon A.S. Giles, C.B.E., M.A., Q.H.C. Chaplain-in-Chief to the Royal Air Force.

Thursday 8th April [1954] Dr. Paul Rees, of the Billy Graham Greater London Crusade

Thursday 13th May [1954] Mr. Lorne Sanny, of the Billy Graham Greater London Crusade

Thursday 10th June [1954] Mr. John Heaton, of the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance.

Thursday 11th November [1954] Mr. F. Roy Cattell will speak on the work of The Evangelical Alliance (Sponsors of the Greater London Crusade)

Annual Conference, Thursday 9.4.1964, at 6.30 pm
Assembly Hall, Mary Summer House, Tufton Street, London, SW1.
Speaker: Rev. Derek J. Prime, MA, S.Th. of Lansdowne Evangelical Free Church

Membership qualification

Initially, the Civil Service Prayer Union was an agreement to pray. From the 1890s to the present day, however, the Civil Service Prayer Unions and Christian Unions laid down items of belief that qualified a person for membership. These tests, or membership qualifications, have played an important part in the history of the Union, and have sometimes been the centre of debate. Their core has remained the same since 1893, but they were narrowed in the 1940s when a (possibly ambiguous) clause requiring "belief in the Holy Scriptures" was added.

The structure of the union, as well as the tests of membership, affected the breadth of opinion reflected within the Union. Prior to the first world war, for example, the structure of the Union provided for a very wide debate outside the test of membership because the Junior Civil Service Christian Union encouraged non-members to buy and contribute to is paper and to attend and participate in the debates at its meetings, although not to vote.

The tests have been strictest since the second world war because of the (possibly) fundamentalist clause about the scriptures. Drafts for this clause were unambiguously fundamentalist. The version adopted was the softest.

The interpretation and application of the tests has affected the breadth of debate. After the adoption of the scripture clause, for example, the union still sought to relate to Christian Fellowships within the Civil Service with a broader basis. In the 1950s the affairs of such fellowships were reported in Service "as if" they were branches. The "tests" often deterred their affiliation for several years, but active fellowship with the Union sometimes led to their position being "regularised". This diversity of branch philosophy and practice meant that a broader discussion of issues took place in some branches than in others. One large branch, for example, was sufficiently unified in its membership to annually hold communion (the breaking of bread and tasting of wine) in the manner of the Christian Brethren. Other branches were of a sufficiently broad outlook to hold series of meetings at which views of different religions, denominations and sects were discussed with members of those groups.

In addition to the written tests, however, there were unwritten tests for many members of the Union. The tests do not appear, for example, to exclude Roman Catholics and (in fact) some branches included Catholics. There was however a strongly anti-Catholic tradition within the Union. The strains over this issue, after about 1970, between the anti-Catholic and the Catholic accepting members of the Union are evident in letters between Union members, but the debate was not reported in Service.


"At different time, Members have suggested that some test should be applied before enroling members. This point was fully considered by the Committee, with the result that they determined that the principle which should govern the admission of Members is, that it should be left to each candidate conscientiously to decide before God, whether he truly desires to further the objects of the Prayer Union, in the spirit and upon the principles which manifestly pervade the entire contents of the Member's Card of Prayer." (CSPU Quarterly Paper, October 1884 p.4)


Civil Service Prayer Union Calendar of Prayer and List of Members for 1872 states that "the only essential condition of membership" is the "agreement" of "members in private prayer one morning in the week for the Civil Service and for one another". Previous prayer lists do not state an "essential condition" of membership.


    "The Civil Service Prayer Union was established in the year 1872, for the purpose of promoting fellowship among Christian members of Her Majesty's Civil Service apart from all denominational and social distinctions. The one qualification for membership is the acknowledgement of the Divine Sonship of the Lord Jesus Christ and personal trust in the atoning efficacy of His death for acceptance with God." (Civil Service Prayer Union Calendar of Prayer and List of Members. 1893)


    "the qualifications for membership are:
    (a) belief in the Holy Trinity of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
    (b) personal trust in the efficacy of the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.
    Rules of the Civil Service Christian Union for Prayer and the furtherance of the kingdom of God. George Lane's "Revised proof 25.11.1931".


Minutes of a Special General Meeting held at Orange Street Church on Tuesday 10.9.1946:


Minutes of a Executive Committee Meeting held at Orange Street Church on Tuesday 4.2.1947:

    It was proposed by Mr Tatford and seconded by Mr Elliot that a motion be put from the Chairman that Rule 3.1.c of the Constitution be amended by the deletion of the words "inspiration and inerrancy of the".

Minutes of the Annual Conference held in the Assembly Room, Central Hall, Westminster on Tuesday 11.2.1947: The proposed amendment was put, and the reasons for explained, and after brief discussion, carried unanimously.

There about 200 members and friends present at this meeting. Reasons and discussions are not recorded in the minutes or in Service. The following account was given in a letter of 12.5.1955 from Edwin Roberts to Douglas Robertson, an enquirer who had questioned the vagueness of the expression "belief in the Holy Scriptures".

    "When or present rules were drafted in 1946 the expression "belief in the inspiration and inerrancy of the Holy Scriptures" was inserted in consequence of an amendment moved at the Special General Meeting. About two years later, however, [actually, 3 months later] the words [inspiration and inerrancy of the] were deleted by a resolution at the Annual Conference, because they had given rise to difficulty of interpretation.

    Some people believe that the Authorised Version of the Bible is 100% accurate in every respect; some people believe that while the writers of the Scriptures were preserved from error in matters of doctrine they were not necessarily preserved from error in minor historical and scientific matters.

    The Committee of the time (all of whom were fundamentalists) felt that it would not be right to exclude from membership people of the last viewpoint and also saw the difficulty of interpreting the phrase, and therefore supported the change.

    I was on the Committee at the time and can testify that there was no question of any member having any doubt that "God spake all these things".

    My own firm view is that the Union's evangelical position cannot be safeguarded by mere words in the Rules. Its safety lies in the fact that the members of the Union are, in fact, fundamentalists and are determined to keep it thus. The basis of faith serves the position [purpose?] of declaring our position in simple language and if you read the first two clauses carefully you will realise that we have nothing to fear in that respect from people who have honestly signed their agreement to them.

    I don't know what your own denominational affiliation is, but I suggest that you look at the names inside the cover of Service and you may recognise some of them."


    "the qualifications for membership being:
    (a) belief in the Holy Trinity of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
    (b) personal trust in the efficacy of the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour and
    (c) belief in the Holy Scriptures."
    (Service August 1994, p. 3)

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1969: unintended annual

1970, 1971,

1972: Centenary

1973: Catholic Guild,


1975: barren year


Eunice Diment on being kidnapped
Philip Elliot on long memories

1978, 1979, 1980,

1981: hope unrealised

Service 1982: 100 year memory

1982, 1983,

1984: a long break..,
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1987: Editor: Anthony Hardy,

Service 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, Service 1990,

1991: radical change, radical change

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1994, 1995, 1996, 1997,

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