Reading Room: Churchill and Roosevelt Attend

Winston Churchill wrote in his third volume on the Second World War, entitled The Grand Alliance: "The President and I went to church together on Christmas Day, and I found peace in the simple service and enjoyed singing the well-known hymns, and one, 'O Little Town of Bethlehem,’ I had never heard before. Certainly there was much to fortify the faith of all who believe in the moral governance of the universe.”

The service to which Churchill referred was the 1941 National Christmas Service held under the auspices of the Washington Federa­tion of Churches at Foundry Church. At eleven that morning the packed church became silent. A moment later they stood as one as Prime Minister Churchill, Lord Beaverbrook and President and Mrs. Roosevelt entered and were escorted to their pew. Three ministers participated in the service. The Rev. Oscar F. Blackwelder, President of the Fed­eration, gave the Christmas Salutation; the Rev. Frederick Brown Harris of Foundry presided; and the Reverend ZeBarney Phillips, Chaplain of the Senate and Dean of the Washington Cathedral, delivered the sermon.

The ministers followed the choir as it entered during the singing of "Joy to the World." All three knelt at the altar during the Christmas Litany and the choral invocation.

After the recessional hymn, "Dear Country of Our Love and Prayer," and the benediction, the congregation remained standing while the ministers greeted the honored visitors and retired with them to the narthex.

 

This article, originally titled "Churchill and Roosevelt Attend Service at Foundry" is provided and used with permission from Papers of Homer Calkin, University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.