Looking back – 100 years ago

From The Australian Christian Commonwealth – July 7, 1916…

Letters from the Front
“Smith Street in Egypt.” by Chaplain Rev. T. C. Rentoul

Captain Gault and I are in neighbouring training battalions in this great canvas city. We unite as far as possible in our work, and our combined efforts are being blessed. In order to reach a large number of fellows who do not frequent the Y.M.C.A halls – of which we have three – we decided to commence open-air services on a couple of nights a week…
On the first night… the soldiers gathered round as curious and yet as shy as colts. Evidently they thought we were going to sell razor paste or mechanical toys, or start a gambling school. When the hymn books came out and a tune was started, one fellow groaned, “Good Lord, it’s religion@” and the crowd commenced to evaporate. But they soon came back. The are attracted by singing like flies to bread and jam (to full appreciate the force of the simile one needs to live in Egypt)

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