Tubby and Chippie

Tubby and Chippie

Well, you’re probably thinking to yourself: who is Tubby and who is Chippie? Tubby was the nickname of a Church of England priest called the Revd Philip Clayton, and Chippie was the name of his pet dog, and constant companion. Their effigy can be found in Tubby’s church in the City of London, All Hallows by the Tower.

Tubby served as an army chaplain during the First World War, and during this time he helped to establish a rest house for soldiers in the town of Poperinge, Belgium. In due course this became known as Toc H.  After the War, Toc H expanded into an international philanthropic organisation. It had four key ideals: to love widely; to build bravely; to think fairly; and to witness humbly.

Tubby saw two values as lying at the heart of the Christian faith: the service of others, and the work of reconstruction.  The role of the Christian should be to bring new life and new beginnings, through men and women working together in a spirit of service and comradeship.

The church of All Hallows by the Tower is itself a symbol of the spirit of Toc H. It was bombed out during the Blitz, but Tubby was determined that it be rebuilt - and so it was.

In this year of 2018, and in this month of November, the minds of many are focussed on events to mark the hundredth anniversary of the end of the First World War.  It is entirely right that our minds are looking back to the suffering and sacrifice of those years. But what of the present day?  What might the tragedies of the First World War have to teach us today?

Well, I can imagine what Tubby might say to us. Work hard to avoid the horrors of war. Build firm and deep relationships between the countries of the world. Work for reconciliation. Be humble; be fair; be brave; be generous minded.  And do not try to do all this in your own strength, for if you do, you will fail. Pray to God. Let the spirit of Jesus transform your lives - and work together with others.

As a Christian, Tubby was able to find a gleam of light among the darkness of the First World War.  Was he simply a naïve optimist? Or was he the prophet of a new world?

Fr Jason