Martin Parsons autobiography

Chapter 1 Birth and Childhood
Chapter 2 Youth and Conversion
Chapter 3 Three years at Cambridge
Chapter 4 Bermondsey - my first job
Chapter 5 St John's Hall, Highbury
Chapter 6 As a young parson
Chapter 7 To the Jews of Poland
Chapter 8 Settled in Ireland
Chapter 9 General Secretary of HCMS
Chapter 10 Vicar of St John's Blackheath
Chapter 11 Emmanuel Northwood
Chapter 12 St Andrew's Oxford
Chapter 13 Sheffield and the CMJ
Chapter 14 Retirement
Chapter 15 Jubilee in Holy Orders

7. To the Jews of Poland

During that Michaelmas term 1934 my father had retired (at 69 because of ill health), so I went home, not to St George's Vicarage, Tiverton but to 27, Quantock Road, Weston-super-Mare. I spent the time getting ready for my departure. I had already bought a heavy coat, at Austin Reeds, for 12, and a suit of full evening dress which Mr Carpenter had said was necessary for Embassy functions. The C. M. J. gave me nothing at all towards outfit, and were not very interested in things like inoculations. Things are better now. Rodolf Brinker, from Warsaw, visited us and said it was quite unnecessary to be inoculated against typhoid!

I got in with some of the keen young people of Weston-super-Mare and enjoyed the fellowship. Also I went to hear the Marechale speak on several occasions. At Christmas I helped Mr Arrowsmith at Holy Trinity, and at his request returned after lunch to do Father Christmas for his children. I little knew that one of them, Pat, would become famous as a protester, and go to prison several times. The C. M. J. local secretary, Miss Sly, arranged a meeting for me in Christ Church Hall, and this was the only farewell I had. There was also a small gathering of C.S.S.M. friends which Miss Calthrop arranged in London. The day before I finally left Weston my godfather, Allison Weeks, came to speak at Advent Testimony meetings in the Town Hall. He stayed the night with us. When I said goodbye to him in the morning he gave me the verse 3 John 7 (R.V.) "For the sake of the Name they went forth". I have often thought of them since, and only hope that what I have tried to do with my life has been nominis causa.

My immediate destination was High Leigh for a C. M. J. Youth weekend at which I was to give two Bible studies on the Jews. I was extremely nervous, and lay awake at night thinking I should never get through it. Somehow I did. Mr Gill was there for part of the time and spoke, as did H. W. L. Martin who had just been on a visit to Europe including Warsaw. The devotional speaker was Vivian Banham. He took a sort of commissioning service on the Sunday night, speaking from Acts xiii. 2,3. I can visualise the scene still, around the fire in the drawing room at High Leigh. It was quite a good weekend with about 30 - 40 young people present. I remember that Arthur Casson was there, and Derek Ross's second sister who eventually went to Morocco and is now Mrs Green. I think I went more or less directly on the Monday morning to Victoria station. I remember that my luggage was overweight and I had to pay excess.

I was of course assuming that I was going out for a long spell, with furloughs every now and then. So I took (or sent) books, photographs, a tea service I had bought at Highbury, and even eight of my nine cups I won for swimming at Tonbridge. I am glad I left one behind with my mother, the rose bowl which is the only one I now have. I did not much think about the future; I simply had a job to do. But I had heard of a certain Miss Wynne who was in the Mission. Mr Gill, showing me a snapshot of her, had said: "She's nicer than that really." Miss Keith and Miss Wrice, whom I visited from Highbury when they were staying at the Missionaries' Home in Finchley Road, had spoken kindly of "Emily." So perhaps I just wondered a little. I should mention that as soon as I heard of Jean's engagement I had taken all the letters she had ever written to me and, without looking at them, threw them into the fire. I was not going to run the risk of being tempted to keep harbouring thoughts of her once I knew she belonged elsewhere.

Mr Gill came to see me off. It was already dark when I crossed the Channel, and about 10 p.m. we got to Brussels where there was a change of stations. In the taxi I lost one of my beautiful fur gloves which a C. S. S. M. brother and sister had given me. I arrived in Berlin on Tuesday and put up at a hotel in the Mitelstrasse. Next day I joined a coach party of sightseers with a very good guide who spoke to me in English as well as to the rest in German. I also visited the Kaiser's Palace and the Cathedral, and getting my hair cut by an English speaking barber in Unter den Linden. It was in Berlin that I first heard the greeting Heil Hitler! And here also I first knew how cold it can be on the Continent. I caught the night train to Warsaw, which went round by Lodz. Mr [Rev H. C.] Carpenter met me at the station and took me by taxi to Sewerinow 3 [I had met him once before when he came to speak at Highbury]. This was to be my home, and as far as I knew I would be there for a lifetime of service. My missionary career was about to begin.

My father was not convinced that it was right for me to go to Warsaw. I think he thought I had gifts more suited for work in this country. Certainly if I had been interested in a "career" this was not the right step to take. But I believe to this day that I was called tto the work. The 4 years I was with C. M. J., interrupted as they were by sickness and by furlough, have coloured the whole of my ministry. And of course the supreme blessing of a gracious Providence was the meeting with my beloved Emily.

Sewerinow 3 was a large house on a corner site in a quiet road just away from the busy thoroughfare of Nowy Swiat and Krakowskie Przedniejscie [near the University]. It had been built [only about seven years] as a mission centre and training home for Jewish work. The street level was built as offices for letting, but in the event was all needed to house the large English classes. the church On the first floor was the Church, seating about 120, a small hall which could be made into an annexe of the Church, a reading room, and a vestry-cum-office. The second floor had a four-roomed flat for the Head of the Mission, and a quite tiny two-roomed flat. On the top floor, the original Training Home, was a six-roomed flat, large and spacious [which was originally intended as a Training College to be shared in by other missions. It had been very successfully run by Pastor Josef Landsmann, and his death dealt a blow to the college from which it could not recover. His name and memory were greatly revered]. Here I had a study and a bedroom. The other two occupants were Miss Pilkington, a godly Irish lady with a heart of gold, but whose bossy and assertive manner tended to put people off, and Emily Wynne, whom Mr Carpenter described as "dear little Miss Wynne," also Irish but a complete contrast to the much older "Pilkie."

Pilkie greeted me at the top of the stairs, and then she asked me what I wanted for breakfast. Emily was already cooking the egg and bacon! When we were introduced I think I was a bit dumbfounded. She looked quite different in real life. I soon learned that Mr Gill was right about her being nicer than the photo. After breakfast I think I went down to prayers with the staff and then to the police for registration. That evening I went with the Carpenters to a Prayer Meeting at the Lutheran Mission at Nowolipie 72. It was in Polish and German, one speaker in each language. I remember how bitterly cold it was waiting for the tram. The following evening, after we had been to tea with a couple of old ladies, Mrs Klos and Mrs Hall who lived in Nowolipie 72, I showed Pilkie and Emily my photos of Palestine. On the Saturday I attended a British business men's lunch, went to the Yiddish preaching service in our church in the afternoon, and helped run a party for the English Bible Class in our flat in the evening. Emily was dressed in blue, and I thought how nice she looked. The following morning I preached at the 11 o'clock English Service on I John iii. 1 - 3. Before lunch I walked with the Carpenters by the Vistula. I had been introduced to some of the many-sided work of Kosciot Anglikanski - the Anglican Church.

Our Hebrew Christian workers were [five lay evangelists .. and one or two 'helpers' who had accommodation on the ground floor] [Wiktor] Weismann, [ex-policeman,] the official administrator of the house [as well as an earnest preacher of the gospel], a grand little man; Wolfin, a sincere enough man, but rather on the look out for the main chance for himself and his three sons, all of whom came to England; Zomer who was a brilliant young scholar from a very orthodox background [the sort of man who could have become a rabbi if he had not been a Christian]; Sarna, a very excitable character, rather unstable; Prentki, an elderly man who looked after the Reading Room, and possibly should not have ever been taken on; Enis, whom Mr Carpenter had taken pity on and given him a chance as organist and secretary of the English Classes; and Rudolph Brinker. [Our workers in Lwow were Mr. Ajzeman and Mr. Jocz, two of whose sons later worked with us.]

The latter [Brinker] was my ordained colleague. He was a Hebrew Christian whose training had been in Warsaw, in Switzerland, and finally at St Aidan's, Birkenhead. He had been ordained by the Bishop of Fulham in some parish church in London, and arrived a newly-fledged Deacon with his new and charming bride, Fela. He had flashes of brilliance and was a ready speaker in several languages. I never found it easy to get close to him, and the other workers rather resented so young a man being their pastor. After a year with us in Warsaw he was priested, again in London, and went to take charge of the work in Lwow when Aizeman retired. I suppose Rudolph had rather big ideas, which appeared self-centred, but his work in Lwow was quite effective. I forget just how, but somehow he was in England in 1939, got a doctorate, at Manchester I think, and was employed by the Polish government in exile. Later he managed a property business and we met him in Ireland. I believe he became very rich and is now living near Broadway. His name is no longer in Crockford. A former vicar of Broadway told me that he seemed a very unhappy man. A strange enigma, perhaps if I had been more of a brother to him at the beginning the story might have been different.

Rudolf, in addition to being pastor of the Hebrew Christian congregation, taught in the English Classes, prepared people for Baptism, led the mission journey, and generally did the work of a clergyman. He and Fela lived in the little flat which really was too small for a married couple. The other workers were colporteur-evangelists, though Zommerr chiefly produced the magazine Der Weg in Yiddish, and Nitzamim in Hebrew. These went all over the world and I should say were of a high quality. All the workers except Prentki spoke at the Saturday Yiddish meeting. The Sunday service was in Polish, with a translation of the Prayer Book. I cannot think now that it was a very good idea to try to build up an Anglican Church of converted Jews in Poland. But a service in Polish was better than the one in German which had been the rule in earlier days. Mr Carpenter never mastered Polish, and German was widely understood by the Jews.

[The evangelists engaged in colportage work in the city, manned the reading room each evening, went out on mission journeys in the summer months, spoke at the preaching service in Yiddish every Saturday and generally tried to 'do the work of an evangelist.']

Daily prayers were held in the hall beside the church, about ten of us sitting round the table. We sang a hymn in English, read and expounded in English, and then people prayed in whatever language they liked. This was the pattern once I had taken over in March. Before then a formal service had been held in the church, and I can remember the Litany in German. As an interim measure I think we continued in church just on Fridays. I can remember one Friday being stunned by the appearance of Emily in a brown beret! Once a week we had a kind of reports meeting when each told of what he had been doing. The workers also wrote reports for C. M. J. in London, and these were translated by an old man named Bechmer who was given a room in the mission house. Some curious English sometimes got printed in the C. M. J. Magazine!

My very first Sunday I preached at the English service at 11 a.m. on I John iii. 1-3, always a favourite theme of mine. Our English congregation was small, but some, like Mrs Hall, Mr Kimens and Mrs Dydyuska, were very regular. Mrs Pesske and Mrs Zawotska were married to R. C.s but retained their membership of the Church of England. Miss Flynn of the Embassy staff played the organ. Mr Enholz, a Hebrew Christian and head of the Bible Society, preferred the English to the Polish service. His wife was Lutheran. On days like Armistice Day we had a full church with all the Embassy staff. The Ambassador, Sir Howard Kennard, was pretty regular, and read the lessons. In his absence Mr Kimens read, and was in fact a Lay Reader. He was of an English family which had settled in Poland in years gone by and Poland was his real home, though I believe he eventually died in England.

On that first Sunday I walked by the Vistula with the Carpenters, and had tea at Miss Flynn's, meeting several English people. I thus missed the Bible Class taken by the two Irish ladies at 6 o'clock each Sunday. It was for members of the English Classes who knew enough of the language to understand, and about a dozen would come. Pilkie took an Old Testament passage, then hymns from Golden Bells were sung, and finally Emily took the New Testament. She prepared thoroughly, using Dummelow's one volume commentary. I attended regularly and spoke if invited to do so by the ladies. It was this class which Miss Keith and Miss Wrice had started, and which would have ceased altogether if Emily had not gone out to help. It received little encouragement from Mr Carpenter or his colleague Prentki (son of the old man, who was Polish Pastor before Rudolf). It was a very fine bit of long-term evangelism.

All the young people who attended the Bible Class were pupils of our English Classes. These took place on Mondays and Thursdays, and Tuesdays and Fridays and we taught for two hours each evening. Pilkie and Emily did the same, and Rudolf Brinker who took beginners. At a later stage I took beginners and can remember facing a class of 54 who knew no English. We had a good text book by Eckersley which got them using sentences right from the start, e.g. The grass is green, The traffic lights are red, amber and green, with pictures to show what it was all about. We enrolled about 300 at the start of each course, but always some dropped out. John Enis who acted as secretary certainly did a good job, and being little in stature rather enjoyed his position of authority. The students paid 3 zlotys entrance fee, and 3 zlotys per month, so it was not surprising that we got large numbers. There were then 26 zlotys to the . These classes were well worth while as a means of developing friendships, and we frequently tried to speak of the Christian message. Looking back over 40 years I see what a privilege we had.

On Friday evening at 9 o'clock we held the English Speaking Club. We could have up to 70 or more of our pupils there. Various people in England, including later the British Council, sent us papers and magazines for this. We got around among the young people, and then at about 9.30 settled down for a talk or lecture. It had not been very well organised and I think my coming helped to make it more definite. My first talk was on "How and why I came to Poland." It certainly gave rise to some lively discussion, but all was quite friendly. The young people were highly intelligent, and while some were religious, I think most were pretty secular and open to anything we said. Thye were quite a contrast to the type who came to the Saturday Yiddish meeting.

Mr and Mrs Carpenter went off to visit Palestine just a few weeks after I arrived. When they came back it was only to say good-bye and to hand over to me. So I was landed with running the Mission, at the age of 27 , with 300 a month of C.M.J. money for wages and expenses and a somewhat motley team of which to be captain. It was not really a very sensible arrangement, though when Jacob Jocz replaced Rudolf Brinker after a year it was good to have his wisdom to rely on. I got through those early months somehow, though I was still troubled by nerves, sometimes to a terrifying extent. I was having language lessons with a Mr Zajbert, German and Polish, about 8 hours a week. I should really have concentrated on Polish, and have been given nothing else to do for about 9 months. I might then have become fluent.

I lived in the top flat where Pilkie and Emily also lived, and we had a faithful maid named Martha who spoke German as a first language. I paid 40 per cent of the cost of the housekeeping so was expected to eat slightly more than the ladies! We all had Wednesday as a free day, as there were no classes, and sometimes went off for picnics, even in early spring. Occasionally I skated, and Emily made a valiant effort to learn. In the evening we played games. Pilkie took the lead in the household and I suppose looked upon herself as a chaperone. But once or twice I managed to get Emily (who was always Miss Wynne until we got engaged!) to come for a walk in the Lazienki Gardens or by the Vistula, and I found how pleasant it was to talk to her and what a sterling character she was. I had admired her greatly at a party at the Carpenters when we played charades and she was wearing a dark blue dress with white spots.

I suppose it was a kind of spring madness, added to my rather lonely existence, that made me ask Emily, a propos of her returning the following year, if there was any likelihood of our future being together. It was all too sudden, and not surprisingly she said No. I think it upset her even more than it upset me, but we managed to get along trying to be as natural as possible. I was very busy, and there was, I suppose, the possibility that I was meant to remain single, but I did go on admiring her greatly. Sometimes, I believe to her embarrassment, I was caught looking at her with adoration!

In the short break after Easter I visited our work in Lwow, where Mr Ajzeman and his family entertained me, and I met Mr and Mrs Jocz, a dear couple. It is terrible to recall that Mr Jocz was shot by a Nazi firing squad for the crime of being a Jew. But what an influence that simple man of God has had when one recalls the subsequent career of Jakob and Paul, two of his sons. I went on to Cracow to visit Victor Buksbauen who worked with the British Jews Society there. He became a world figure in Jewish Missions, and his wife's book, They Looked for a City, about her family, has been a best seller. Victor was then a bachelor, living at the Cracow Y. M. C. A. He interpreted a talk I gave in his Mission on Hosea iii, a favourite theme of mine.

In May 1935 we entertained a team from Keswick, Mr Waite, father of Tony Waite [Dad's predecessor at St John's, Blackheath], StJohn Thorpe, and W. W. Martin. The Convention was held in the Reformed Church. It was sponsored by a committee which included representatives of the Lutheran and the Reformed Churches, the Russian Missionary Society and others. The R. M. S. brought their workers from Eastern Poland for the event. Attendances were good, and the meetings fine, though of course all was done by interpretation. Jasakow of R. M. S. was one interpreter and a pastor named Potocki, and also Rudolf Brinker. The moving spirit was Martin Price, a Hebrew Christian who had worked in India and somehow assumed the title "Dr". He was employed by the American Methodists, but did not get on with them. He loved organising things, but was too inclined to spread gossip. I believe he was a British subject, hence Price rather than Preiss. His wife spoke no English. I heard that he survived the war in a concentration camp, but died of a heart attack in Portugal en route for England.

The greatest blessing of the Convention for me was the fellowship with three like-minded Englishmen and the laughter and fun we had together. We had a number of such deputations while I was in Poland, but none was more memorable than the first, when I was very lonely, weighed down by heavy responsibilities, and inclined to take it all very seriously. The Convention had a serious purpose, but for me the relaxation was the most important part. When we were getting ready for the arrival of the three men we had a bit of a flood in one of the rooms, and when Emily and I joined in mopping up operations I think we both had a feeling that our future might after all lie together.

My time was taken up with running the Mission, language lessons, correspondence with London, English classes, acting as British Chaplain, and keeping in touch with other Christian bodies through the Committee of our Evangelical Alliance. Increasingly I developed inter-Mission events with the three other Jewish Missions, and we grew very close together. This was in addition to such wider co-operative happenings as the Week of Prayer in January. I loved it all, and was very busy. I remember that I always used Saturday morning to prepare my English sermon, and as address which would be heard by 20 - 30 people was as carefully prepared as if it had been for a thousand. I was influenced in my style by Campbell Morgan's preaching.

The one thing I found irksome was keeping the Mission accounts. The exchange rate was never the same from one month to the next, and salaries were paid at an agreed level of 37 zlotys to the . This was a very generous arrangement, but without it our workers would have been very poor. My salary of 250 p. a. gave me 770 zl. a month to live on and it was quite adequate. Food was cheap, and I was well set up in clothes, so expenses were few. I had to dispense a good deal in charity and was probably put upon a good many times. I paid for my own language lessons. Mr Carpenter did not leave me any account books to take over so I just had to find my own way. I knew nothing about C. M. J. budgets so I expect I was a nuisance to Headquarters.

When the English classes ended in June, and people were beginning to get away to the country for the time of great heat, Emily went back to Ireland. On the station platform I said: "You will come back, won't you", to which she gave a noncommittal answer. Not long before she left we had had a picnic, Weisman driving us, with Pilkie, in the [very old] mission car. We came home in heavy rain and the old fashioned car hood leaked. We had to crouch as best we could and I have an idea we enjoyed the adventure. We were both very cautious, but pretty obviously we were finding joy in each other. When she had gone I felt lonely, and when I found on my desk, on returning from the station, a vase of red roses, I was much moved. I had by then moved down to the Carpenters' flat and my study was the room which eventually became our bedroom.

Pilkie looked after me during July, and I went on one of the mission journeys for a few days to see for myself what happened. [Colportage generally attracted crowds, sometimes rather hostile. Where possible we would contact local evangelical Christians to arrange meetings in a hall. Sometimes requests for more literature, or the New Testament, would reach us later in Warsaw. While at Keswick in 1938 I made known the need for a new car, and one man in the congregation gave the full cost of a Polski Fiat.] August was a slack month when everything more or less closed down. Pilkie went to Friedenshort and I to Zakopane in the Carpathians. I had a week on my own, and then Harry Ellison joined me from Bucharest. We did a lot of mountain walking, including the famous route to Morskie Oko, a beautiful mountain lake. We also swam in an ice-cold open air pool fed by the mountain streams which surrounded it. Harry was good company and I learned a lot from him. We stayed at a boarding house run by Poles who had lived in America and therefore spoke perfect English. It was a good holiday, only marred by the arrival of a Jewish girl who was foolishly pursuing me at the time. I tried to get Harry to head her off but he thought I ought to speak to her. I need hardly say that I gave her short shrift.

Emily with her mother outside the Mission House After the holiday things in Warsaw changed a good deal. Jakob Jocz arrived from England, a newly ordained Deacon and engaged to an English girl, Joan. [He was about my own age, very gifted as a theologian, and the sort of person that everybody loves. the other workers had known him as a fellow-student under Landsmann, so it might have been difficult for him to be Head of the Mission in my place, aspecially as he was newly ordained.] Emily came back, accompanied by her mother. There was plenty for her to do in the English classes, and she suffused a gracious and gentle air over everybody. I suppose she really came partly to see if she could ever approve of me as a son-in-law. I expect I held back too long really. At least no one could say we did not know each other.

[Emily's father had died in 1923 so I never knew him. An engineer by profession, he later settled in Wicklow and was secretary to the County Council. He took a prominent part in Church of Ireland affairs, and among other things was responsible for getting some of the Keswick hymns into the Church of Ireland book - mainly under the heading: 'Chiefly for Personal Use.' Christian faith was strong in the families of both Emily's parents, and this is surely the greatest heritage anyone can have. Our great desire has been to pass it on to our children and grandchildren.]

I had mentioned possibilities in letters home and my father and mother both encouraged me, saying that a difference of five years in age was not much. Jakob became a very close friend and tackled me about my being so restless. I confessed I was in love, and he said it was obvious that Miss Wynne was too. I think Pilkie and Emily's mother both saw it coming. One Wednesday evening when Emily wanted to make a lampshade, I suddenly got very keen on wanting it too!

The great day came early in December. We were together at tea with Mrs Dydyuska, and a Mrs Godfrey, a newcomer to Warsaw, mistook us for man and wife, though not in any way to cause embarrassment. I decided the time had come to say something, and suggested taking a taxi home (quite a long way). When we were settled in I asked if I might speak to her seriously. She said I might. I then made the epoch making speech: "I still love you very much," to which she replied: "I think I do too." So that was that!! It was a very new experience for both of us. Mrs Wynne naturally thought about losing a daughter, but she was genuinely pleased I think. Her first word was: "So you are going to take her away from me."

It was a Wednesday and we had a prayer meeting in the flat that evening. it was hard to concentrate, but I actually prayed in German! Before I went downstairs to bed Emily and I contrived to meet in the kitchen for a good-night kiss. Next morning we also "happened" to meet at the door of the flat before going in to breakfast as if nothing had happened. After prayers we told Pilkie who was of course delighted. I sent Mr Zajbert home and we walked in Paderewski Park, and on the way home bought the ring at Grabowski's in Nowy Swiat, just by the British Embassy. It was a single diamond, quite simple. That afternoon we went to see Mrs Taylor, a great friend of Emily's, and she was pleased too. She was English, and not very happily married to a Pole whose forebears came originally from Scotland. On the Friday we told Mrs Hall and Mrs Klos and on the Saturday, after the tea which followed the Yiddish meeting, we asked the workers to stay behind. Jakob made a simple announcement and they all clapped in their delight. They were genuinely pleased, and probably not surprised. After that the news got round quickly. We put it in the Times, and somehow the Telegraph and Morning Post both copied it. So our friends far and near all knew. I remember a nice letter from Dr Gilbert.

My parents were happy for my happiness, and later came to know and love Emily. My father had said before we actually got engaged, that it would be the happiest Christmas I had ever spent. Strangely enough I remember little of that Christmas except that Emily and I went to supper in a classroom downstairs where John Enis entertained several poor Hebrew Christians. My present to Emily was the red coral necklace which she still wears quite often. It has lasted well, as our love has. I think we both had our photographs taken at a shop called foto-art, and exchanged these. After Christmas I had to go to Danzig to take a service for the English people there. I had previously been for the funeral of the lay reader and went again on a number of occasions. This time I stayed with the British Consul and attended a party on the Saturday night at the High Commissioner's. He and his wife were Irish, and strangely enough Protestants. I had Emily's photo by my bedside. We were practically never away from each other, living as we did under the same roof, so we never wrote any love-letters!

Getting engaged did not altogether cure my nerves. Especially was I very nervous when I had to take the Memorial Service for King George V in Warsaw. Our church was too small so we borrowed the Reformed Church in Lazno Street and the Embassy imported purple drapings. It was a terrific service, with the whole Diplomatic Corps on one side and the whole Polish Government on the other. The President and the Ambassador headed the two sides and the Embassy ladies were in deep mourning. The rest of the British community just sat where they could. I took the service on my own, and gave an address, all in English. The Morning Post gave a short account of the occasion. God helped me to overcome the nervousness, as He so often has since.

The same cause gave rise to some agonising doubts as the wedding drew near, but once we were firmly married all was changed. The wedding took place on Easter Tuesday, April 14th. I had asked Guy Bevan to come and marry us, but he could not come. I had also asked Derek Ross to be best man, but he also could not. So in the end Jakob took the service (his first in any language) and my old friend Wilfred Robbins came to be best man. Emily's cousin, Hilda Dent, and her old school friend, Kitty Molyneux, were the bridesmaids. All arrived before Easter and we had a merry house-full. Hilda and Kitty met up for the journey, and became close friends.

The service was at 11.45, with a reception afterwards in the top flat. We specially wanted our Hebrew Christian friends to be there along with the English people. In the event we were absent rather a long time, signing three lots of registers, and having the photos taken. [Because the Anglican Church had no legal position in Poland we had to sign, in addition to our own registers, and those of the British Consul, the books of the Reformed Church. So we were married three times, and 'a threefold cord is not easily broken.'] I have little recollection of any speech making. Jakob of course gave an address at the service, at which we sang Praise, my soul, and Now thank we all our God. Lady Kennard organised a general present from the British community, which came later, a beautiful silver tea service from Mappin and Webb which came out in the diplomatic bag. We had lots of lovely presents, and many more when we came back to Emily's home in August.

Ludolphinenhaus I cannot remember that we ever asked C. M. J. for permission to marry. Mr Gill was in Persia at the time, but I remember that H. W. L. Martin knew all about it and encouraged us to have a good honeymoon. I had though to be away only one Sunday, but Mr Kimens had insisted on our taking two full weeks. We went to Danzig, to stay at a Lutheran Guest House situated in its own wooded land. It was an ideal spot, and we had it almost to ourselves. We revelled in historic Danzig, and the sea at Zappot and Gletkau. We travelled further afield to Marienburg in East Prussia and to Gdynia in Poland, where we called on the Swedish mission to Seamen. We were looked after by a dear Lutheran Sister. [Mum remembers that she signed the guest house register with her maiden name, and the Sister delightedly corrected her!] And all for 8 gulden a day (about 6/-) ! We enjoyed reading aloud one of P. G. Wodehouse's stories.

On the first Sunday we attended the Lutheran Church and on the second I took a service at the English Church in Heiligegeiststrasse. I think it was on that occasion that I also took a baptism and visited the home in the afternoon. That evening we visited the Irish Presbyterian mission run by Prediger Rad, and I spoke briefly in German to the children's meeting. Paul Jocz, Jakob's brother, was there at the time and on another occasion we met up with him for a walk and a talk. He was truly converted at Prediger Rad's Enquirers' Home and his contribution to Jewish evangelism ever since has been great. One evening we went to dinner with some English people called Bligh, and several others were there to meet us. Someone said they had picked out Emily at church by her very English coat and skirt. Actually it was Polish cloth, tailored by a Jew!

After our lovely fortnight's honeymoon, we went back to our new home in Warsaw, which was the flat in which Jakob and I had been living. It was all beautifully prepared for our arrival, and Martha was installed as our maid. The next morning there was a meeting round our dining room table of the heads of the four Jewish Missions: Miss Christoffersen of the American European Fellowship, Mr Sendyk of the Mildmay Mission to Jews, Mr Moses Gitlin of the American Board of Missions, and myself. The four Missions were well distributed, both geographically and from the point of view of covering various needs. We were making a start with closer co-operation in the work, and this was to be a great blessing in coming days. When Emily brought in the coffee in some of our wedding present cups I felt just about the proudest and happiest man in the world. She was wearing a blue jersey suit ( I think that is the right name for it) and looked lovely. God had given me a dear and wonderful wife to help me in all my life and work. It is the biggest blessing any man, and especially any clergyman, can have.

That summer we entertained E. L. Langton as the Keswick deputation, and the first visitor to stay in our home. Emily was not very well, but it was nothing more than symptoms that our firstborn was on the way. How eagerly we talked of what would be, called the unborn child by various names like Henry, Moses and Mary-Jane - all in fun. The work carried on much as usual, and we visited our workers on the mission journey, staying at Plock. We took with us extra supplies of New Testaments and other literature.

We were not due for furlough till 1938 at the earliest, so we decided to come at our own expense for the August holiday. I believe the word went round the Mission that Emily was "rich". Actually she had about 200 a year of her own, which was certainly a great help. She had what is far more important, a heritage of good breeding and godliness. We spent two weeks with my parents at Quantock Road, Weston-super-Mare . Stanley and Lydie were home, and staying with their three children, on a farm near the Quantocks. We had one long drive with them to North Devon, and called on Jakob and Joan Jocz who were on honeymoon in the area. We also got together on August 11th for my parents' Ruby Wedding, and Howard and Gwen came up from Tiverton. They were married some time after I went to Warsaw. Gwen's sister Joan later married Basil Spence. We have snapshots of the Ruby Wedding which we celebrated with a lovely dinner at home. only Winnie and Tom were missing, being in Singapore. Our present to my parents was framed photographs of the two of us, which we had taken at Lance and Lance, and which I am glad we still have.

My father and mother both loved Emily very much. She sometimes felt sick in the mornings, but could enjoy most of the holiday. We went to Hutton to see Aunt Kate and Uncle Ernest (Hemmens) and he was very complimentary about Emily. We also saw Uncle Joe at Locking, who was still unmarried then. On the two Sundays we tried various churches in Weston, but were not very impressed. My father had by this time given up preaching following a heart attack.

After about two weeks we left for Ireland, staying a night in Chester on the way. It was my first of many crossings of the Irish Sea. Mrs Wynne met us at the boat with a hired car and we drove to Alders, Foxrock, to be greeted by Fanny, the faithful maid. Emily's brother, Charlie, arrived later and seemed to survive the first sight of his brother-in-law. I was shown the sights of Dublin, including the Book of Kells and Trinity College, Dublin. But the most vivid memory is of a large party of all Emily's relations and friends in the garden at Alders. Mercifully it was fine. Emily wore her wedding dress, but I was in flannels as there was tennis. It was good to meet lots of keen C. M. J. supporters who had worked with Emily in the Girls' Guild.

We paid a visit to the C. S. S. M. at Greystones, and had a lovely picnic at the Silver Sands, south of Wicklow. I was asked to speak at a boys' camp at Greystones, and that was the first time Emily and I had been parted in our four months of married life! Among those at the camp was Trevor Strong, later to become an outstanding missionary doctor in Nepal. We had a few days at Glendalough with Emily's cousins, Jack and May Wynne. We had a drive in Emily's Morris Minor up in the Wicklow Mountains, and almost ran out of petrol. We also sat by a stream and discussed sending our son to Monkton Combe. I think we probably had just one Sunday in Ireland, and I preached in the morning at Tullow Church.

On our way back to Poland, with two trunks no less, one full of baby clothes, we stayed a weekend with Uncle George and Auntie Belle at Gerard's Cross. I was glad for them to meet Emily as they had always been very kind to me and I wanted them to see what a splendid girl I had married. I preached at Gerard's Cross Church on the Sunday morning.

For the journey back we met up with Elizabeth Singer who was to be our new worker in Pilkie's place. She was German, with a Hebrew Christian father, and spoke good English. She was young and attractive, and was to prove a great asset in the work. She made good strides in Polish and was able to develop women's and children's work, besides taking a full share in the English classes. She lived in the little flat which had been empty since the Brinkers had moved to Lwow. She met Paul Jocz before he went away to England, and to the B. T. I. in Glasgow, but I had no idea that they would one day [on the eve of the war] marry. [They survived miraculously and have for many years been doing a great work among the Jews in the United States.]

Jakob and Joan were back in Warsaw before us, and settled into the top flat. Joan took part in the daily prayers, the Sunday Bible Class, and the English Classes. We were all very happy together and the work was blessed. Jakob and I were real friends and his counsel was invaluable, though I think if he had been leading the work on his own there might have been some rash decisions. We had our problems, and at various times I had to discipline workers on moral grounds, and Joseph Zommer parted company with us over doctrinal matters.

It was always my desire to co-operate as fully as possible with other workers among Jews. We had quite good fellowship with various pastors and evangelists in the Evangelical Alliance and "Keswick", and we developed a very close relationship with three Jewish Missions: The American Board under Moses Gitlin [a very gifted Hebrew Christian ... Many years later I met people in Argentina who had known his work there after he left Poland, and spoke most warmly of him], the American-European fellowship under Miss Christoffersen, and the Mildmay Mission under Josef Joffe, and after his death, Sedyk. It was at a united prayer meeting in the Evangelical Alliance Week of Prayer that Israel Melzak was remarkably converted. Israel Melkaz and friend [He came forward at the close ... No such sign was asked for; it was quite spontaneous. His prayer contained the words, 'O God, I am such a sinner', surely the kind of cry that God hears most gladly. It was a true conversion, leading to a life of service, but alas to an early death. He was baptized in the Vistula, along with some converts from Mr. Gitlin's Mission. I wrote about this in an article in The Christian which brought a letter from the President of C. M. J., the Bishop of Worcester, asking how we managed a united baptism service without compromising Anglican formularies! It was really quite simple. The first part of the service was held in our church according to the Prayer Book order. The congregation then went to the Vistula to meet the 'baptists' and the actual immersion took place. Jakob Jocz baptized our candidate, there was singing and testimony, and then the Anglican congregation returned to the church to finish the Prayer Book service. I saw no compromise. The affair does suggest that C. M. J. was more rigidly Anglican that it is today. Anyhow, I heard no more from the good Bishop.] [See Israel Melzak's letters of 1939-40 below] It was probably just before that that we had a wonderful New Year's Eve party, by invitation, in our hall. At the watchnight service taken by Moses Gitlin no less than thirteen Jewish people came forward to signify their desire to come to Christ. One was Jakob Gurfunkiel, now known as Goren, whom we met in Jerusalem in 1977. Also among them were Mr and Mrs Bierenbaum who were eventually baptized in 1939.

David was born on Feb 25th 1937. Mrs Wynne had come out for the event, and my mother had found for us an English nurse, Nurse Burge. She was efficient but a bit insensitive and I do not think having her was a great success. [Mum and Dad and I visited her in old people's accommodation in Uphill in the 1990s, when she was a bit of a terror, complaining loudly of everything and everyone!] A good Polish gynaecologist, Dr Jastrzebski, was in attendance, and Evie Taylor was there to interpret between nurse and doctor. Our dining room was converted into a maternity ward. I rang the doctor at about 7 a.m. and David was born at about 3 p.m. Evie rushed in to tell me it was a boy. [Family tradition has it that she said "It's a lovely boy!"] I remember I was writing to Philip Ashby at the time, and told him the news. David was a fine boy and gave us great joy. My father was delighted that it was a boy.

That summer we had a prayer conference at Radosc, at a large wooden house used by the American European Fellowship as a children's holiday home. All the missionaries of the four missions were there, together with the wives of some, and it was a profitable time. A Lutheran lay preacher led the sessions. It was of course very hot in summer, and many people tried to get out of Warsaw and into the country. At the conference was an American, Mr McGaw, who came to Warsaw just to be in the A. E. F. Mission to advise and pray. He was much too old to learn a language (he couldn't even tell Polish from Yiddish!) but he exercised a good influence. It was an inspiration to have him in the congregation at the English services.

I arranged for Emily and David to go to the country with Evie Taylor and her daughter Peggy in July, myself to follow in August. Weissmann drove us down in the mission car, and I returned with him next day. The place was an estate called Obrocz near Zanosc, run by a family named Zos. One of the sons, Andrzej, grew very fond of David and was quite good at changing nappies. Conditions were a bit primitive and I think Emily found it a bit frustrating, particularly dealing with all the flies.

Back in Warsaw I had the usual full programme. Jakob and the workers were away on a mission journey, and indeed I must have been with them for a day or two. I remember visiting the little town of Izbica, predominantly Jewish, and staying with simple Christian folk in Chalm. But I had to be back for weekends. It was at the end of a long Sunday when I had had five services, and entertained a couple to lunch, that a telegram arrived from Howard telling me that my father had died suddenly. It was between 9 and 10 o'clock, and I went down to talk to John Enis, the only person in the house except the dozorca (gatekeeper). I decided that I would go home, and next morning sent a cable to say I could arrive by midday Wednesday. I also cabled Mr Gill at C. M. J. I wrote to Emily to tell her what I was doing; today of course one would phone, but I don't suppose there was a phone at Obrocz.

The journey was via the Hook of Holland and Harwich and I got to Weston in time to see my father's body before the coffin was closed. He was buried in his robes, very fittingly I think. Howard had ordered a wreath for me and I could only write on the card: "I am the Resurrection and the Life." We were all there except Stanley and Lydie who were in Kuala Lumpur. Canon C. E. Wilson, my father's greatest friend, took the service at St. Paul's, and Weston cemetery. He also wrote a little bit for The Record in which he described my father as "an evangelical with deep convictions and broad sympathies."

I have often wished I could share things with my father in subsequent years. Some of the things I have done in life would have given him pleasure: my close association with C. M. S., running Simeon's Trustees, writing a number of books, preaching on some big occasions. But I know that if he had had the opportunities I had he would have done far more than I have done.

I decided to stay a few days with my mother, and I took her to Bournemouth for the weekend. On the way back to Warsaw I stayed a night at the Charing Cross Hotel, and called at the office before setting off. In Berlin I had to wait for six hours and made friends with a nice young German who came to see me off at the station quite late and night.

I joined Emily and David at Obrocz in August. Both of us were a bit run down, but I remember some pleasant games of tennis and some swimming in the river. Looking after David in such difficult circumstances was a burden for Emily, and she did not get much out of the holiday, I fear. I remember that in the course of a short walk I picked 50 different kinds of wild flowers. All the people except us were Roman Catholics, and I am sorry now that we did not go to church with them. But things were different in those days.

On the train journey home I felt very ill, with a splitting headache. The next day I felt quite unable to take the wedding of Dennis Holdway, who was marrying a Polish girl, so Jakob had to do it. I recovered, but was soon bad again and by the end of September was seriously ill. It was the day after my mother had arrived on a visit, and we had had just one walk together in Lazieki park. For a week my temperature raged and I came near to delirium. Dr Knappe was puzzled, and in the end ordered a blood test. This revealed that I had typhoid fever. I could have gone to hospital, but Emily chose that I should stay at home, and a Lutheran sister came to nurse me. Again the dining room became a ward and I was isolated. Mother and Emily were naturally anxious, but I think I had already passed the worst before diagnosis. It is a very unpleasant illness and I was as weak as a kitten. Sister Martha did her best for me in every way, and read me little bits from the German text calendar. I was much too weak to pray or read for myself at first. Dr. Knappe seemed pleased with the injections I was given, and after 5 weeks I was beginning to recover. Many people in England and Ireland were praying for me.

Emily was allowed to put on special clothes and come and see me, but my mother and David were kept away, and of course no one from outside came to the flat. One exception was an English businessman who was visitng Warsaw, Mr. Miller, leader of Croydon Crusaders. He comforted me a lot, giving me the words of Isaiah: All thy children shall be taught of the Lord. He took Emily and Joan out to dinner one night, which was kind. He also preached at an English service, and went to tea with the ambassador. He told me that Sir Howard thought I was too much of a missionary.

To convalesce I went to Swider, outside Warsaw where the air was exhilarating. We found a nice "pensjonat" or boarding house, and Mother came with me. It was only after Jakob Jocz had been to lunch one day that I learned that the landlady did not take Jews! This was a common enough attitude. We were well fed, and took walks in the lovely forest air with the sun shining on the crisp frozen snow. the people all admired Mother's white hair. We were there a fortnight and I felt pretty well restored, but I think the typhoid may have left its mark on my subsequent health. I think my mother must have gone back to England soon after.

I have no recollection of Christmas that year, but in the early part of 1938 we had a visit from Rupert Penn, who had been appointed Home Secretary of C. M. J. in place of Bill Martin who had gone to take charge in Jerusalem. He had been a C. M. S. missionary in India and his wife was a sister of Joe Church. The purpose of the visit was for him to get to know about the work, but it was also good for us to have someone from headquarters to talk to. He went on to Lwow, and I think on to Romania. We liked Rupert very much, a gentle creature, son of missionaries. Apart from him, visits were chiefly from Dr Conrad Hoffmann, head of the Jewish side of the International Missionary Council. He was American, but I had heard him in England before I went out, and he was an expert in the field. He stayed with us at least twice, once before we were married, and once after David was born. [Our own Bishop, Staunton Barry,] The Bishop of Fulham also came twice [for confirmations], but of course he stayed at the Embassy. but we enjoyed as much as anything the visits of Keswick speakers, and of Martyn Gooch of World Evangelical Alliance. The Keswick deputation in 1937 consisted of Walter Sloane, George Goodman, and Milton Thompson. I got on very well with the latter, who reminded me of my father. It was probably in September 1936 that the deputation included Chalmers Lyon and Bishop Taylor Smith. The Bishop made a profound impression by his sheer goodness.

We were due to travel to England for furlough in the third week of April 1938. But just before that Emily had a miscarriage and we postponed the journey till the end of the month. We had to get hold of a doctor in the middle of the night, and for some reason Dr. Jaztrzaboki was not available. It was all a bit alarming, but by the mercy of God we got through, and we made the journey successfully. We were met at Victoria station by Sydney Crowson who took us to their nice Vicarage at Neasden. The following day we went to Weston, i.e. Saturday, 30th April.

The reason I remember so precisely is that I began deputation work the following day, May 1st, and had 31 engagements in May and the same number in June. It was absolute folly to ask a returned missionary, not long recovered from typhoid, to undertake such a programme. The first Sunday was in Weston, Christ Church and the parish church, and two meetings on the Monday. Then there was the Annual Meeting in London, also two meetings. Emily was at Clarence Grove Road still resting, with Mother and various helpers caring for David as well. As the month went by, I developed a crop of boils which were at their most troublesome during my stay in Ireland. There I stayed with Granny Wynne at Foxrock, spoke in Dublin, preaching at Monkstown, St Bartholomew's, and the Y. M. C. A. I journeyed to Cork where I preached at the Cathedral and St. John's, and at meetings next day, and to Belfast where I preached or spoke at various meetings, as also in Derry I think. It was a hectic programme. Even more so was a trip round the North of England with Ross Sage, with meetings or sermons in Hull, Scarborough, Birkenhead, Routerstall[??], Chester, Durham, Newcastle, Hexham, Sheffield, and straight on to a weekend in Cheltenham.

Emily must have been in Ireland by that time, and she left David there with Granny to join me at Keswick. I was very tired at the start of the Convention, though we enjoyed it greatly. Dr. Donald Barnhouse gave the Bible Readings, but the outstanding addresses were by Graham Scroggie. The C.M.J. houseparty was a bit of a squash, but we all fitted in. In those days the Convention went on to a second weekend, and on the Monday we had a C.M.J. meeting at which I spoke. I had already spoken at the big missionary meeting in the tent, and preached at two churches, one as far away as Kendal. At the Monday meeting I spoke incidentally of our need for a new car for the mission journeys in Poland, and someone gave 200 for it. But after the meeting I was feverish and had a sore throat. The strain of the past ten weeks had been too great and I took to my bed. The doctor, who was a son of Isobel Cameron, was appalled at the programme I had been given and announced bluntly, "The Church is mad."

Even by the following Saturday I was not well, but he ordered me away from the mountains and we were taken by Ross Sage to Lancaster where we spent the weekend, I remaining in bed. On the Monday we took the train to Criccieth where we had rented a house for the month of August. granny Wynne brought David over, and Granny Parsons joined us. Also Evie Taylor and her daughter Peggy. Charlie and Doreen joined us for part of the time. People we knew, like the Givans, were there for the C.S.S.M. I had been ordered complete rest, so took no part except for attending the parents' prayer meeting and an occasional discussion by invitation. Irene Cooper was in the houseparty so got to know her godson, David. I think her parents may have been staying there too. Nora Sheath was there with their baby girl, and during the month she learned that Laurie, still in Calcutta, had had an emergency appendix operation. She was glad when I prayed for him at the parents' prayer meeting. The leader of the C.S.S.M. was Philip Ridsdale, later Bishop in Zaire.

I was feeling stronger by the end of the month, and Emily and I went with Ross Sage by car to Oxford, London, and on to High Leigh for the C.M.J. Summer School. In Oxford we stayed in a small hotel in Banbury Road, and in London at 10, Finchley Road, the House of Rest for Missionaries. David had gone to Ireland with the two grannies. [Could it have been at this time that I remember walking up Gordon Avenue, Foxrock, with Granny Parsons? - D.P.] We had stayed the weekend at the lion Hotel, Shrewsbury, and Sage picked us up from there. In those days we seemed to be able to afford a hotel, whereas today we cannot.

High Leigh (my first Summer School) was terrific, though the photograph shows there were fewer people than now. Missionaries and home staff were there, and Conrad Hoffmann, who touched everybody's conscience about the refugees. After his talk I decided to change my Sunday sermon and preached on full surrender. I also spoke at an evening meeting about the work in Warsaw, and Dr. Hoffmann said he felt proud of me. I was still supposed to be taking things easy and did not go to all the sessions. Douglas Harrison gave Bible readings on Ephesians. I do not remember details about my autumn programme, but it was less strenuous than before. I think it included a Sunday at Bryan Green's church on the day he announced that he was leaving to go to Brompton. Through him we got a nanny, Gwen, who was willing to come with us back to Poland, and she was with Emily and David at Foxrock while I was doing deputation in England. Either that autumn or in the summer I was at a C.I.C.C.U. missionary breakfast, which was a great privilege, and also a weekend in Oxford, staying at Wycliffe and preaching at St Andrew's and St Peter-le-Bailey.

When I was examined by the C.M.J. doctor he kept me back an extra month, so in the end I did not return till some time in November. It was then to be on my own as David had had an accident and was not fit to travel till after Christmas. [I pulled a kettle of boiling water over myself by pulling on the flexible pipe of a gas ring. Apparently the neighbours could hear my screams, but I remember nothing about it. I still have the scars all over my chest. D.P.] He was quite seriously ill for a time, but he got over it and the scalding does not seem to have made any permanent difference to his health. Martyn Gooch was coming out to Poland that autumn so we travelled together on the Blue Train. I am not sure that it wasn't even first class, but he arranged, and paid, for it all. The immediate purpose of his coming was for the opening of the Warsaw Bible School, a humble little effort for training workers. Among the dozen students, mostly from the Eastern border of Poland, were two Hebrew Christians from Warsaw, Jakob Gerfunkiel and Israel Melzak, both converted in our church.

It was lonely without Emily and David, but Jakob and Joan were a help, and Paul and Elizabeth, now engaged, were good friends too. We all had our Christmas dinner together, joined by one or two ladies from the English congregation. Emily and David, with Gwen, came out before the end of January. During that time I remember going to the country for a couple of days to enjoy the forest air, and also David's birthday, when Eli Weismann and Daniel Szumann were his two guests. Alas, separation was to come again soon. When Chamberlain announced that we should go to war to defent Poland, I rang the ambassador to ask what to do about women and children, and he advised sending them home. So Emily, David and Gwen went off on their own without even enough money to get from London to Weston. I wired Bryan Green to ask him to advance their fare when they arrived on his doorstep, as they did on Sunday morning. So they got safely to Weston, and later to Foxrock. It was an opportunity to dispense with Gwen's services. She had never fitted in very well, though she was quite good at her job, I think. [I do not remember her at all - D. P.]

Our last visitor before this had been Ross Sage, who came at his own expense to learn more about the work. He brought a film camera and produced the very first C.M.J. film of the work - about as amateur as it is possible to be! [I did once see footage of myself being wheeled in a pram on Warsaw streets - D. P.] He was enthusiastic about everything and was, I think, a very good area secretary. When I was my own again I was kept very busy, and often had classes till 10 p.m. But I was far from well again and Dr. Knappe diagnosed heart trouble. His cure was to rest - 2 hours before lunch, 2 hours after lunch, and no work after 7 p.m. Such a programme was quite impossible to keep, but I did try to be careful. Jakob and Joan were on furlough, but I had Paul and Elizabeth to help. Easter Sunday was a wonderful day, with seven adult baptisms in the afternoon. Later they were confirmed along with fifteen others. It was after this that it was decreed that I should go home to rest for six months, and Emily came back to fetch me. She was searched by the Nazis at the frontier. We came home in May.

Roger Allison had arrived a few days before we left. He was originally to stay with us a short time and then go with Paul Jocz to take charge in Lwow. I had talked to him at a parish garden party at Tulse Hill in 1938 and he offered as a result. [Roger Allison wrote in 1997: "My own long-term 'life' ministry among the Jewish People owed its beginning, in the providence of God, to that encounter with Martin at St Matthias, London, nearly 60 years ago."] He has since done an amazing work, being the epitome of the patience and graciousness needed in a worker among Jews. He and Paul were in Lwow when war broke out and he got to Romania for 18 months, and then to his life work in Israel, where he married Gwen Barton. Paul and Elizabeth were married in Warsaw on the eve of war (she wearing Emily's evening dress) and miraculously survived, and have since done many years faithful service in U.S.A.

Jakob went back to Warsaw for the summer, leaving Joan in England for the birth of their baby. Jakob returned to England to speak at C.M.S. summer School (R. R. Williams had booked him after hearing him at the C.M.J. Annual Meeting), and when he went to Victoria to go back to Warsaw at the end of August he found there were no trains. He still has his return ticket! Meanwhile we had settled into a new regime at Foxrock. If Mother had been in Weston we might easily have gone there instead, but she was away. We stayed a weekend at Mildmay, and the C.M.J. doctor confirmed that I needed rest, and said he did not think I was going to drop dead! He wanted to see me again in three months. On the Sunday morning we heard Campbell Morgan on the Holy Spirit, and met him in his vestry after the service.

At Alders I really took the business of resting seriously. It was a lovely summer, and Emily and David were very happy with Granny and the faithful Fanny. I did nothing more strenuous than play a little croquet, and read a lot of books. We once did leave David to go for a day or two at a hotel on the Hill of Howth. And also I broke into the holiday to go to the chaplains' conference at Fulham Palace, when we were all taken on a bus to Buckingham Palace to meet King George VI. [The King asked him how things were in Poland, and Dad just replied "Not good."] On that occasion also I heard Professor Hallesby speak at an I.V.F. meeting, on prayer (?) and stayed the weekend with the Crowsons. At the conference I met all the other chaplains of North and Central Europe. Bishop batty was very affable, and we also said goodbye to Bishop Winnington Ingram who was at last retiring from London. Years later I married Bishop Batty's daughter to David Sellon.

On September 1st Germany invaded Poland and we felt utterly helpless and watched. And then we entered the war on September 3rd, but of course we could do nothing to save our allies. I felt I wanted to do something other than just sign a letter sent to the Times asking for support for Polish Protestants through the Evangelical Alliance. I also wrote a leaflet for C.M.J. about warsaw, and had a few sermons published in the English Churchman. The C.M.J. doctor suggested that, instead of making the journey to London to see him, I go to a local doctor, and Dr de Courcy Wheeler passed me as fit for light work and exercise. Thus began a ministry in Ireland which was to least for over nine years.

Lincoln's Inn Fields, London W. C. 2. 19th October 1939 My dear Parsons,

Many thanks for yours of the 17th. Of course we do not want to lose you altogether for we hope that when Warsaw reopens at the end of the war it may be possible for you to restart work there. At the same time Jocz will, we hope, be free and he might be able to do the preliminary work of attending to repairs, etc., to the building and carry on for three months or so until you get out there.

The general attitude of our Committee I know at the present time is that if any of our staff can be spared from the home work they should take temporary work during the war.

If therefore the suggestion of a parish, for such I take it to be, in a Jewish area in Ireland should come your way, I feel Committee would not oppose the suggestion, but would wish you God speed. I expect the war will go on for some time yet and the future is all uncertain; but would it be possible for you to take such a post on a kind of understanding that you would drop it at three months notice if conditions pointed that way at the end of the war?

I think it is important that you should have some settled home and be able to build up your health without the racket of constant travelling involved in deputation work.

With kind regards,

Yours very sincerely,

C. H. Gill [Rev C. H. Gill, Secretary Church Missions to Jews]

16 Lincoln's Inn Fields
London W. C. 2.
23rd October 1939
My dear Parsons,
I was able to bring your letter before the Committee in Friday, and they confirmed what I had written to you. We of course do not want to lose you, and while the Committee are willing that you should go forward with the suggestion that has been made to you of a parish, they hope that you will still regard yourself as a missionary of the Society, so that when the way opens for you to return to the Mission Field, you will be able to be released.

Meanwhile we wish you every blessing in the new work you may be called upon to undertake.

I expect you have heard that a daughter has been born to Mr. and Mrs. Jocz.

With kindest wishes to you and Mrs. Parsons,

I remain,

Yours very sincerely,

C. H. Gill

As an appendix to the section on Poland, here are the letters and cards from Israel Melzak and one from Wiktor Weismann

Vilnius, Dec 11th 1939

Dear Sir,

I write these words from Wilno (now named Vilnius) where I have been camed last days after a three months journey through Salicja, Volnynia and Polesie.

Thank you be to God and our Saviour I life and am in best health - but my financial sytuation is a very bad one, I am without warm clothes and my summer dresses are also bed, for I go out from Warsaw as I stand on Sept 7th with 8 zl in pocket - and in Lwow received from Mr Paul Jocz 30 - (thirty) zl. To receive here something from a comitee is a very hard thing - for there are a great number of refuges.

Now, my plan is to go to Africa or Australia - in Africa I will work between the heathen (pagan). The Lord had prepared me to this work and I knew now what is hunger and uncomfortness (I haven't sleep three months in a bed, in forest on a banche or on earth) but I need to that plan papers and money - I in that affair (thing) I pray for your fatherly help.

Here in Wilna I life in the home of my aunt.

In Brzesc n/b I meet Mr Enis he told me that all our missionaries lives - but the Mission house had burned up. He goes out from Warsaw in the first days of November and will go to Soviet Union or Romania.

Please greet from me Mrs Parsons and David. I suppose that they are in best health.

By this occasion I will heartily wish you a blessed Xmas and happy New Year. If it will be possible to send me any help please do it in pounds or lits for zloty haven't here any worth.

May our Lord bless you and use you for the work of His kingdom.

Yours least in the Lord

I Melzak

I wait for your promptly answer.

Warshau 20/xii/39

Lieber Herr Parsons.

Es hat uns herzlich gefreud eine Nachricht von Ihnen zu erhalten.

Wit sint Gott sei dank gesund. Meine adresse ist Orszbouska 45.

Ich habe zum Herrn Allison geschreiben, aber leider kein Antwort erhalten,

Wir wonshen Ihnen und allen Freunde gesegnete Weinachten.

Mit herzliche Grusse

Ihr W. Weissmann

[A postcard bearing German stamps, one overprinted 20 Groschen - Deutsche Post OSTEN over a 10 (marks, presumably), and stuck over a printed Polish stamp. It is addressed to Scuala, Hrada Olteni 45, Bukarest, Romania. The sender's name is given as Wiktor Weissmann.]

Vilna February 3rd 1940

Dear Mr Parsons,

I received to-day in Lietuvos Bankas from you the amount of 5/-/- it is Lit 112,25 for which I am very thankfull. From Szuman's we had here a postcard to Bro. Sofer - they lived all - more they could not write - but I heard that in Warsaw is a very bad time now. I do not received any letter from you, and I pray for such one. I am in best health. Please greet Mrs. Parsons, David and all.

Yours in Christ.

I. G(?). Melzak

P. S. Please kindly write to me from time to time.

Wilno February 23rd 1940

Dear Rev Parsons,

This moment I received your letter from the Jan 24 1940 which enjoyed me very, and for which I am you very thankfull. And I thank God for this that you are in best health and can work for the glory of our Lord, who is mightfull to help us in every time and occasion. Yes, I had have a very bad and hard time, but I believe that it was only for my good - it was a training to the future work for the Lord, and now I send to Him my Thank you for this bad time.

The money from you I had received; the money of the committee (6.5.-) too. - I writed about it to you on the Missions Adres and I supposed you had received these writings.

On the 19th Feb I had a card from Warsaw from Ide Szuman, and you can understand how happy I was from this card, she writes that all they are in best health.

As I write to you I had received also from U.S.A. from The Hebrew-Christians Alliance of America $25 - . I wrote to them and also to Brother M. Gitlin if there will not be possible to go to U.S.A. for studies - and I suppose they will make what shall be possible for them. The emigration question is the greatest for me now - for the government will send the refuges to little towns or villages or return to Germany and so I will rest without any help for my family can help me only when I lives in Wilna - and for the Jewish Committee I am Pole, for the polish a Jew to, and so I pray you for help in this affair. I suppose that it will be possible to get out from here.

I don't understand what was the matter that Mr and Mrs Paul Jocz are in Lwow, they go together with me from Lwow and would go to Romania. And now I heard from you that they are in Lwow.

Please also send my best wishes to Rev and Mrs Jacob Jocz the newcreated parents. God migh bless them and their daughter.

I have had here some labour but I must leaved {przostavic} it from the 1 of March than I have no Lithuanian's citizenship - and I can not work here. And so I will begun to work in the Mission together with Mr. Bryant who is now in Wilno his wife is well - the operation has been a very hard but she is coming from day to day to a better health. I am coming here to the Chapel of Metthodists where also came Mr. Bryant the last Sunday I go to the Table of the Lord - the first time after a half year.

I learn some greek - and study - but it is hard for all my books burnt up (spalily rig) in Warsaw and I have to my studies not more as the Polish Bible.

I pray that the Lord my bless you

Yours in Christ

I G Melzak Ps 23.4-5 Ps 103

P. S. Please greet heartily Mr[s] Parsons and David.

Vilnius 15.11.1940

[Postmarked 16.3.40]

Dear Rev. Parsons,

My best wishes for the coming holidays - OUR LORD IS RISEN INDEED! and have now a blessed hope!

Yesterday I received a letter from the young Stariek Eizenberg - he please me to greet you and please me also to greet through you Mr. Kohanow. From the others I have no letter.

Please write me the adres of Mr. Jocz. And if it possible to send me a certificate of Baptism. I was baptized 12/ix 1937 with the name Izrael Jerzy.

Greetings for your family.

Yours in Christ

I. G. Melzak.

P. S. This moment I received a letter from Szuman's they please greet you heartily. As I understand is their life now a very bad one.

Greetings from Br. Sofer and Ruda.

[Postcard stamped PASSED BY CENSOR.. Addressed now to
Rev. Martin Parsons M. A. 
130, South Circular Road
St Kevin's Rectory,
Dolphin's Barn
Dublin
Ireland.]

Israel Melzak
pas l. Lichtensteinus
Vilnius 24/iv 1940
Gedimo 41/1
Lietuva
Dear in Christ Rev. Parsons,
Till to-day I do not any new letter from you, only that of 24/i 1940. I had also one post-card from Rev. J. Jocz.

To-day I received a letter from Mr. Wolfin, he writes between others "The letter of Tzia from 21/iii I received and was overjoyed to get it - I greet other my sons, and please they may write to me on your adress."

From the Szuman's I had about 2 months no letter. My situation is rather a bad one, for as I wrote you there are no future for me and I have here no perspectives. I wrote you some time ago that now the only way in emigration. I understand the now - at the war time it is a very complex matter but - "Is any thing too hard for the Lord?" Gen 18:14. If I may receive a possibility to go to Palestine or an other country of far-east (bliski wschod) or Asia - the journey will not be a very complex and dangerous matter for now I can receive a transit - visa (wisa - tranzytowa) through the Soviet - Union to the haven of Odessa. - so if you can help me in any way to go to Palestine, Egipt or other country I pray for that help.

My financial situation is also not so good as I want, for all is here very dear and I needed also much things.

I wait of a letter and rest,

Yours in Christ

I G Melzak

P. S. Best greetings for yours family, Rev & Mrs Jocz, Rev. Alison (where is he now?) and others!

	Your letter of the 9 April I received some time ago and answered immediately but as frequently the letter could not reach you for it was going a false way and to-day came back to me with a German notice "zurhck" so I must write you for a second time.

It was for me very sorrow to hear about the died of your new born baby, but I know God is perfect in His doings and all things are for His Children good - so I pray that He may give you new joy - and if the lesson was hard so you have learn how great is the love of God, who give His only begotten Son for us.

From Rev. J. Jocz I had also yesterday a letter and am happy to can hear from him.

From our fellowworkers in the mission I had lang time no letter and dont know how they are now living.

I am happy to hear that you are having a blessed work, the Lord may bless you more and more.

With the Barbinican Mission in Wilna I have no contact and can not tell you something about their doings for I do not seek fellowship with them.

The Lord do not forget about may needs and He gives me allway may dayly breed.

I wait now only for His way for I know that may own is not perfectly - but God who created all the countries, peoples and time knows in which Land and into what one people He needs me and in Hes time he will send me.

I know that He has called me to His work - so it must be His sake to send me, for when he sais "go!" He prepaires the way.

Now He is willing to give me a lesson of patience (cierpliwosci) it is for me a very hard lesson but when it is His will I will learn until I can it. For the first time it was harder to be here and to know that it was very possible to be here very long, but the Lords will was that I may be here longer than I had suppose when I came to Vilna, and that it was a half of the lesson the other part of it will be "wait of My time and my way", Let the Lord make with me what He will - it will be for my bests.

Best greetings for your lovely familly and for you my spiritual Father.

Yours in Christ

(signature unclear - perhaps I[srael]. Melzak)

p.s. Best greetings from Brother and Sister Brylant.

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