When Christians Rallied in Bognor Pavilion
• By a C.H. Reporter The roar of a single aeroplane lasted the full minute of silent prayer which preceded the Rally on Whif-Sunday of Christian people in Bognor Regis Pavilion, gathered there under the aegis of the Sword of the Spirit Movement to kindle, with the help of God's Spirit, a Christian fire that should renew the face of the earth.
Th.: roar filled the place where we were standing, and I recalled the morning's Epistle " Suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming."
I said to myself : Can these men and women, now in earnest supplication and in such evident desire for co-operation, can those who are here in uniform and those who are not, can the gaitered Bishop up there on the platform, the cassocked priests and parsons, and the Salvation Army lady with them, ensure through their united efforts of prayer, study and action, the banishment for generations to come of the terrors of modern war?
" It is exhilarating," said with feeling thai redoubtable champion of Christian Co-operation, Dr. Bell, the Anglican Bishop of Chichester, as he rose to address the gathering, to speak to a Sword of the Spirit rally, whose aims are essentially missionary, on this Sunday of Pentecost when the Church's missionary work was begun long before the disunion of Christendom."
Behind him, as he spoke, there hung a large Union Jack with a long gilt sword glittering down its centre red strip. We sang the National Anthem, and later recited Our Lord's Prayer.
After Dr. Bell's speech, which is reported on page I, we heard an address by the Rev. Benjamin Gregory, D.Litt., LL.D., Joint Editor of the Methodist Recorder, who speaking on the " Need for Unity," expressed his pleasure at the successful organisation of the meeting, inasmuch as they had " rightly succeeded in forgetting our differences. Methodists," he said, " have over and over again demonstrated the sincerity of their belief in the need for unity," and referred to the associations be.. tween his Church and the Anglicans in thir. country.
st point Dr. Gregory stretsed was the need of religious education for children, who will form the future generation, arid in this respect he felt he could praise the loyalty and devotion of Catholics to this matter as it concerned their children,
FREE CHURCH SUPPORT FOR SWORD OF THE SPIRIT Pleading with his Free Church friends to help the Sword of the Spirit Movement in all they could, he added: " Stand by it, and work for it. 1 have examined its publications carefully and there is nothing in the Movement to offend the stoutest of Free Churchmen."
The third address was given by the late Headmaster of Belmont Abbey School, Dom Francis Christopher McNulty, 0.511., in the unavoidable absence of Mr. Robert Speaight. Fr. McNulty is taking up duties as Chaplain to the R.A.F., and he took the opportunity to stress the three essentials required for the efficient carrying out of the Movement's aims—prayer, study and action.
PATRIOTISM IS NOT ENOUGH
He began by quoting the words seen on the Nurse Cavell memorial near the London church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields: " Patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred fpr anyone," and pleaded for the continuance of the high and noble ideals which had led the Prime Minister to remark recently (though in doing so he may not have realised the full implication of his words) that " This is our finest hour."
Very truthfully Fr, McNulty remarked that " if only we could have kept the high standard of resolve which had maintained the nation during the years of the last war for just a little longer until we had settled in tranquillity and justice the affairs of Europe, if only we could have dwelt more seriously on the grave post-war problems of unemployment, social disorder and the rest, we should never have had to face a second world war within a generation."
ALL CHRISTIANS TO CO-OPERATE
A certain amount of opposition to the Sword of the Spirit Movement has been staged in Bognor on the grounds, it is alleged, that the Movement is specifically Catholic, and there were some interruptions at Sunday's meeting. Mr. M. O'Brien. Grand Knight of the local K.S.C., who took the chair, pointed out, however, that Headquarters had agreed to a suggestion to co-opt non-Catholics to the Movement and to its sub-committees. The Movement is therefore open to all Chrisdims.
It was agreed that questioners should pass on their enquiries to the study groups that it was hoped would be formed in connection with each church, but it was possible that independent study groups may be organised for people not attached to any church. Study groups are expected to be inaugurated in the course of the next fortnight. Mr. O'Brien felt hopeful that progress would be maintained and that there would arise no friction.
The Deputy Grand Knight, Mr. S. T. Gahan, hon. secretary of the Bognor branch of the Sword of the Spirit, explained to me how the movement had started in the town two months ago, when all the vicars and ministers were invited to attend with is lay person, or by deputy, at a first meeting. He himself had addressed three weeks ago a meeting to explain the objects of the Movement, and which was conVented in a Protestant church.