Father Bob writes
As we approach the 11th day of the 11th month this year we will have many opportunities to pause, reflect and remember the centenary of the Armistice at the end of the First World War. I am sure there will be many documentaries and articles which put the event in context and will talk of the scale of suffering and the cost of that war. Remembrance Sunday, this year, is on that 11th day of the 11th month and whilst we will pause at the 11th hour and ‘remember them’ we are, of course, not just remembering those who gave their lives in that World War, but all who have suffered and died through the century since in other conflicts and wars.
Some of those we remember will have been serving in armed forces of various nationalities; others will be those who died ‘at home’ including many people not in the armed forces. In the Parish we have two sets of memorials that we will be using as a focus for our remembering. At Saint Wilfrid’s there is the roll of those who served in World War One from the 20 streets that surround that the church. Over the last few years we have been involved in a Heritage Lottery funded project which has helped us to learn more of the names on those historic rolls and where they served. This project has also helped us to understand the role played by clergy from the Parish who served as Chaplains on the front and 2 bell ringers who died there.
At Saint Mary’s there are 2 memorials (amongst others) to the staff of the Portsea Island Co-op who died in both World Wars. These items help us in our remembering to be aware that we are thinking about ordinary people, who lived in our streets, worked in our shops, and were members of local families. They remind us of the impact of warfare on our local communities and the price paid by those individuals so that we may enjoy the freedoms we have. As we stop to remember them, we need to also reflect on how we honour those named, and the countless nameless others, by committing ourselves to value what we have and to seek to build communities of peace and respect for all.
There is an opportunity to pause and reflect at Saint Mary’s in the South Porch (where the Co-op memorials are) and use the Poppy Tree and Memorial Board to name those we wish to remember, or leave pictures of our family who served and died either in the forces or on the ‘home front’. This will be open every day from 9 a.m. – Noon from November 4th to November 11th.
At Saint Wilfrid’s there will be an evening of remembering and marking the centenary of the Armistice on Wednesday November 7th from 7.30 p.m. There will be a talk on the 20 Streets Rolls, an act of remembrance and reflection, a buffet ‘street party’ and live music.
All 3 of our Churches will also hold services on the 11th in the morning with an Act of Remembrance at each and at 3 p.m. we will be joined by the local branch of the Royal British Legion for their own Annual Service of Remembrance.
I hope you will find time to gather and reflect and make a commitment to live your lives honouring those we remember.