From the Rectory
November 2009

"They shall grow not old, as we who are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning
we will remember them."

November is a melancholy time of the year. The season changes and we begin to see the onset of winter. It is also a time when we remember those who have died. It is surely appropriate that our annual national Remembrance Sunday in Britain - the day on which we commemorate those fallen in the wars of the past ninety years - happens to fall in the month of November, when the Church around the world is praying for the dead.

Remembrance Sunday is always the Sunday nearest to November 11th. This is because the Armistice which sealed the end of the First World War was signed at 11.00 am on November 11th, 1918. The First World War was a very terrible conflict which, 'put out the lights all over Europe', saw the deaths of millions of young men, toppled monarchies, and ushered in the modern era. People in our country and in the Commonwealth who had lost sons and husbands wanted a national commemoration and mourning - and so the idea came about of observing two minutes silence annually at the 11th.hour on November 11th. 'Flanders Poppies' were worn - replicas of those that bloomed on the terrible muddy Flanders battlefields in that war. The poppies came to symbolise a lost generation of Europe. The two minutes silence has become part of our national calendar. When we take part in Remembrance Services, it should be to pray for the souls of those who died in the two world wars and the other conflicts of this country, and at this particular time in our history, Iraq and Afghanistan. When we wear a poppy we are reminded to pray for someone who has died in war.

At our Remembrance Day Service in Church we will remember the fallen. If you have been awarded medals for service to your country, please wear them. It will remind us of your bravery and willingness to serve your country. Or if you have medals of family members, wear them as well. If this is the case they should be worn on the right, not the left. We also ask that you bring photographs of family and friends in uniform if you have them and we will put them in a place of honour in Church on the day, and remember them.

"O valiant hearts, who to your glory came
Through dust of conflict, and through battle flame
Tranquil you lie, your knightly virtue proved
Your memory hallowed in the land you loved."

Yours for Christ's sake.