From the Archives – Hard Times in 1931

(National debt had reached about M£300 in 1931—in 2020 it has just passed M£2,000,000)

My dear friends,

At the time of going to press the National Crisis through which we are passing has assumed proportions of real gravity, which for the serious attention of all Christian people.

The abandonment of the gold standard has been a real blow to our national prestige. We are not yet in a position to appreciate all that it will eventually imply, but there can be no doubt that we are faced with a period of financial stringency.

The National Government has been called into being to carry out a programme of retrenchment and enforced economy which no political party was capable of imposing. It is the duty of all Christian patriots to face the crisis with quiet courage and a readi­ness to bear cheerfully any burdens which may be laid upon them. Every honest man wants to meet his liabilities and pay his creditors in full; and a nation can only hold up its head on the same principle. The orgy of extrava­gance and reckless spending which has marked these post-war years must cease ; and this means that we must get rid of that wholesale bribery of the electorate in party interests which has been so sinister a feature of our modern political life. Without a National Government such a thing is hardly possible. Our King has set a magnificent example to his people and many of those in high positions have bravely followed his lead, even to the point of sacrificing their position and popularity among their former supporters. Let us support them with our prayers and the response of our own examples.

It is inevitable, of course, that the present shortage of money should react adversely upon the finances of the Church, both at home and abroad. The Missionary Cause alone, will suffer from the fluctuating rates of exchange to the extent of some tens if not of hundreds of thousands of pounds. In our own parochial life our smaller liabilities will become increasingly difficult to shoulder.

Sacrifice is seldom pleasant at the time, though it is one of the acid tests of character. But the crisis, in so far as it affects us parochially is unquestionably a challenge to sacrifice —to deny ourselves more of those things which are superfluous, in order that God’s work may not suffer.

The Harvest Thanksgiving: will mark the opening of our full Winter’s work in the parish. Even in such times as these it is a poor heart that can find no cause for rejoicing. “ In everything give thanks ” : That was the Apostolic ideal. Thank God that our currency is not turned into waste paper like the German “ mark ” or the Russian “ rouble.” Had such a calamity overtaken us, we should have been faced with literal famine and unspeakable sufferings. As it is. we are only called to brace ourselves together and live a little more simply than before.

I remain,

Yours very sincerely, T.G.Edwards (vicar in 1931)