Memorial Service in Honor of Mahatma Gandhi, February 1, 1948, The Community Church of New York

January 30 marks the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. Below is the program from the memorial service organized at the Community Church of New York by the Rev. John Haynes Holmes who was a disciple of Gandhi’s. Describing his first encounter with Gandhi in his memorial address, Holmes remarked, “How clearly do I remember the first time I saw Gandhi, in 1931, at Folkestone, on a cold, foggy and rainy day, when I waited with a few others on the pier to greet him, when, crossing the English Channel, he landed upon English shores to take his seat at the famous Round Table Conference of that day. I found myself talking with an English policeman, who suddenly pointed up the coast to the chalky cliffs of the channel, and said, “Do you know, just ‘round those cliffs, is the place where Julius Caesar came when he invaded Britain?” Then, after a moment’s silence, he turned in the other direction, and said: “Only a few miles down the coast there, beyond that fog-bank, is the place where William the Conqueror landed just before the Battle of Hastings.” Just at that moment, or so it seemed, the prow of the Mahatma’s ship came poking through the fog. And for once in my life I had an inspiration. I said within myself, “Here comes the third and greatest conqueror of Britain.” Gandhi conquered the hearts of humankind with love, truth, light, and life. He maintained throughout his life that the peace without began with the peace within. As he put it, “My optimism rests on my belief in the infinite possibilities of the individual to develop non-violence. The more you develop it in your own being, the more infectious it becomes till it overwhelms your surroundings and by and by might oversweep the world.”

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