|Air Photo Study|
SECOND WORLD WAR
The Second World War started in September 1939 and lasted until August
1945. Adrian Bender wrote in the 1944 commemorative booklet for the 25th
anniversary of the laying of Ascension's cornerstone that, "about
one hundred young men and women from Ascension are either in training
or overseas. Some are prisoners of war, some have laid down their lives
in the cause of humanity."
Mr. Bender seems to have been a kind man and a hard working one. He was
also keen on the war effort. He had been a soldier in the First World
War and, almost from the start of this war, served as a military chaplain
in Ottawa. At Ascension, he oversaw the Christmas boxes and the regular
parcels of candy, food, paper and cigarettes that went to the service
men and women in Europe and the Far East. An appeal from the Red Cross
had the girls and women of the church knitting and sewing again for those
in the armed forces and for people in "distressed areas" in
Europe and Asia. In the 1944 booklet, Mr. Bender referred to this work
when he wrote, "The Church of the Ascension, like most churches,
owes more than is generally realized to the loyal and untiring efforts
of its women members." The church family prayed for peace and, once
again, sang fervently, Eternal Father Strong to Save and Oh God Our Help
in Ages Past.
In the meanwhile, the every-day life of the church went on. Mr. Bender
left to become the priest at Trinity in Ottawa South, and Arthur Caulfield
came to Ascension.
Peace was declared in Europe on May 8, 1945. There was a special service
of thanksgiving at Ascension that day, and the church was open all day
for those "wishing to offer private devotions" over the souls
of the seven servicemen killed in the war or of thanksgiving for those
who would soon be coming home. The Emerson family gave the church the
silver ciborium in memory of their son Harry. One Sunday, soon afterwards,
Mr. George Bebbe put a fifty-dollar war bond on the collection plate with
a note that read, "to the glory of God and in thankfulness of peace."
The war ended in the Far East in August. That fall, there was a joyful
reception for the returning veterans, and, not long afterwards, a tea
for their war brides. In October, there was a day of national thanksgiving.
At Ascension, people were talking about a memorial to the war dead, a
plaque with their names and an honour roll with the names of all who had
taken up military service.
Foreign missionary work had been, more or less, suspended during the war and now, while the work was gradually being resumed, at the same time, a lot of that missionary energy was going towards getting food and clothing to the orphaned and the destitute in Europe, to the refugees pouring into Canada and to local people in desperate need.