Remembrance Sunday – 100 Years

Today we commemorated the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI. A quiet service at 8 a.m. started the proceedings, remembering those whose names are on our War Memorial, and praying for peace. The congregations were the first to see the seats ‘reserved’ in memory of those names – our own version of ‘Seen but Not Seen’ which was beyond our means. The youngest of our fallen was Cecil Mercer who was only 17; even heroic Archie Forest was only 20. And the first to see the beautiful ‘poppy fall’ made by our Rainbows and Brownies.

At 10 o’clock our All Age Eucharist began. Our Brownies began by laying one of their home-made poppies on the seat of all our lost servicemen. Then, a little later, using different coloured poppies for service men and women, civilians, black and coloured personnel and animals we took a look at the cost of war.

 

Red poppies are associated with remembering servicemen and women who have died in war – around 10 million soldiers died in WW1, and up to 25 million in WWII. Millions of poppies grew in the broken earth of WW1 battle grounds after the fighting was over. The red poppy symbol was adopted by the Royal British Legion in 1921.

For 80 years white poppies have had a special focus on civilian victims of war, for example those who died in bombing raids, or of disease or hunger. Around 10 million civilians were killed in WW1 and around 50 million in WWII. White poppies also represent a commitment to peace and are associated with the Peace Pledge Union.

For 80 years white poppies have had a special focus on civilian victims of war, for example those who died in bombing raids, or of disease or hunger. Around 10 million civilians were killed in WW1 and around 50 million in WWII. White poppies also represent a commitment to peace and are associated with the Peace Pledge Union.

Black poppies are to remember those from the African, black and Caribbean communities who played a part in the war effort. Often, their stories have not been told, and (until recently) they were rarely represented on war memorials. Black poppies remind us of their stories and are associated with Black Poppy Rose.

Purple poppies are worn to remember animals that died in war. 8 million horses, 1 million dogs and 100,000 pigeons died in WW1. Horses and donkeys were used to transport ammunition and supplies to the front lines, and carrying wounded soldiers to hospital. Purple poppies are associated with the Animal Aid charity.

We broke into groups to share are thoughts about these poppies and what lies behind them. Listening to Elgar’s ‘Nimrod’, we then used different coloured poppy stickers for our prayers of confession, each person adding the poppies of their choice to a prayer card and bringing it to the cross. This was done thoughtfully by all – it was good to see that people had engaged with the different colours of poppies and decided what was most important for them.

At the cross, everyone received a Jelly Baby, or ‘Peace Baby’ as they were originally known. These were first made after WWI and they were made in Lancashire! As each person took their Peace Baby, they were asked to pray for someone they know who was different from them – race, religion, culture.

We moved on to Holy Communion and were outside by 10.57 for the Act of Remembrance by our beautiful War Memorial. It was very moving to hear our Rainbows, Brownies and Guides joining in with this solemn service – they really did take it seriously! Flags were lowered, wreaths offered: thanks especially to Councillor Harrison who came along with his children. This year we remembered, as well as the familiar names we read each year, the names of relatives of the current congregation who died in, or as a result of, war. People had also brought along family treasures – medals and photographs from WWI.

In the evening, our church was open and lit by flickering red candlelight, an opportunity for people to come and reflect in silence on the meaning of this very special day. At 7.05 Mr Ged Leach rang out our church bell for peace – 100 chimes for 100 years.

 

 

 

 


One thought on “Remembrance Sunday – 100 Years

  1. Marlene Phillips

    this looks just beautiful. really well done I love the different coloured poppies.and the imput of the brownies.will forward to my friends.

    Marlene Phillips

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>