Articles from


The Church Magazine


Larry Walters

The Rev Geoffrey Anketell Studdert Kennedy was born in a Leeds vicarage, between a workhouse and a pub known as the Cemetery Tavern, on the 27th June 1883. After reading Divinity at Trinity College Dublin and a spell of teaching, he trained to become an Anglican Priest.

Just a few years after being ordained he became an army chaplain in the First World War.

In the rain sodden mud within the endless series of foul and smelly trenches, where death in all its hideous form was for ever present, came this remarkable man. Soon he had established a remarkable relationship with all the soldiers that he came in contact with. They felt that he had compassion and understanding for them. They liked his irreverent preaching style and his colourful language.   They saw him as being their kind of man: someone with whom they could completely trust. 

He would be carrying two haversacks: in one would be packets of woodbine cigarettes and in the other he would have copies of the New Testament. These he would distribute to every solder. Known to all as Woodbine Willie, this name and the man behind the name, soon became a legend

His humanity can be seen in the citation for his Military Cross, which he was awarded in 1917: 

"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He showed the greatest courage and disregard for his own safety in attending to the wounded under heavy fire. He searched shell holes for our own and enemy wounded, assisting them to the dressing station, and his cheerfulness and endurance had a splendid effect upon all ranks in the front line trenches, which he constantly visited".   

 Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy

-Woodbine Willie



One of the many poems by Woodbine Willie is given below 


When Jesus came to Golgotha they hanged Him on a tree,

They drave great nails through hands and feet, and made a Calvary;

They crowned Him with a crown of thorns, red were His wounds and deep,

For those were crude and cruel days, and human flesh was cheap.


When Jesus came to Birmingham they simply passed Him by,

They never hurt a hair of Him, they only let Him die;

For men had grown more tender, and they would not give Him pain,

They only just passed down the street, and left Him in the rain.


Still Jesus cried, "Forgive them, for they know not what they do,"

And still it rained the wintry rain that drenched Him through and through;

The crowds went home and left the streets without a soul to see,

And Jesus crouched against a wall and cried for Calvary.


Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy-Woodbine Willie





Sing-A-Song of Summer


The  various age groups of The Amabile Choir, which rehearses on our premises, gave a magnificent summer concert in July to a very appreciative audience. Even the centre of the church balcony was well filled.

     Amabile Choir has four choirs: Piccolo Amabile, for girls aged 4 to 8, Poco Amabile, for girls aged 9 to 13, Amabile Girls' Choir, for girls aged 13 to 19 (pictured above), and Donne Amabile for women, aged over 18. Each section performed at this concert.

* * * * * * *


Ambition past, no need now for competing.
No need to strive to hold our place in life;
We have our place and now can take our ease;
We know ourselves, are known, and need not change.

The weakening body holds a soul more steadfast,
More forward-looking to the life to come
When we shall no more by our limbs be hampered,
And swift strong joy will speed our souls along.

Backward we look, and see our faults and failures,
Our pains and pleasures mingle in our thoughts,
But forward still for us the great adventure
Into a new, unknown and thrilling way of life.

We smile to see the young ones tread our pathway;
No use to tell them that their faults were ours:
Why should they heed us - we would not have listened,
Now hear we them and pray that they will find

The way to freedom that now rests our yearnings,
The peace when life's long battle is at end.
We wait, impatient for our last adventure
When we shall know the fullness of our lives.

Beryl C Armstrong was a very prominent member
of the Church at Stricklandgate. 
Her father had been the Minister here in the past
and many of the congregation will remember her.

Submitted by ANNA BENNETT



Methodist Ministers' Housing Society

This Society is committed to providing accommodation for supernumerary ministers on their retirement who are unable to make their own provision. In the present economic difficulties affecting the housing market, it has not been easy to sell vacant properties to provide funds for replacements. As far as possible, vacant buildings are recycled to new tenants but, in some circumstances, new purchases must be made.
As tenants, we pay rent to the Society, pay our own community charge and heating and lighting bills like 'real people', but external maintenance is the duty of the Society.
Many individuals, churches and circuits make regular donations to the Society and now it is being proposed that a 'Friends of the Society' be established. We have been asked to make this known so that more may consider volunteering to join such Friends.
Everyone is welcome.
Various 'goodies' are to be offered to those who register. I don't think that this will stretch to a Parker pen or M&S vouchers, but you won't be joining for the goodies, will you?

Contact the Society via 25 Marylebone Road, London NW1 5JR, or 
Several of our present supernumeraries are totally dependent on the work of the Society. Thank you.

Fred Collinson