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Parish letter


 

From Revd Denise

 

Dear Friends

 

I was talking with my brother-in-law at a recent family gathering and he told me that when he was growing up he remembers his grandmother, a lady I never met, saying that ‘every generation has its war’.  Then he reflected that our generation, those born after 1950, is truly blessed because we could not as yet say that.  Since the end of the Second World War, our communities have not been decimated by bombing.  We have not experienced food rationing or seen our young people conscripted into the armed forces and sent away without a choice to fight and to die.

 

Of course, our country has been involved in many conflicts: the Irish Troubles, the Falklands War, the Gulf War and fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, to name but a few more recently; but the involvement has been limited to our regular armed forces and there has been no conscription and, apart from some terrorism, no violence on our own streets.

 

In the middle of this month our country will celebrate 100 years since the end of the First World War, that Great War which was supposed to be the end of all wars.  As I write I recall how we remembered the 100 years since the beginning of that war in 1914, with a sea of poppies planted in the moat at the Tower of London.  888,246 ceramic red poppies, each intended to represent one British or Colonial serviceman killed in that Great War. The first Remembrance Day was held across the British Empire and Commonwealth in 1919.  The ceasefire or Armistice had been signed at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month a year earlier.  When Peace ‘broke out’ in 1918, there was great rejoicing and celebration in the streets, relief that the awfulness of war was coming to an end.  Since then, Remembrance day has brought a more sober mood, reflecting more on the pain and loss that war brings, and a stronger resolve to honour those who fought and died for freedom.

 

How will you engage with this special Remembrance, 100 years on? With celebration and gratitude for the freedom and safety we enjoy in this country?  With sadness that the world has never been fully at peace and still is not today? Perhaps a bit of both.

 

I know that I am grateful to have been born in this country and at this time in our history, despite the changes and challenges that we face as we depart from the EU (an organisation which was originally founded to prevent the possibility of another war in Europe).  Despite the blessings we have, there are still great divisions we need to work at improving: divisions of poverty and lack of opportunity, divisions of fear and distrust of those among us who may be considered ‘different’.

 

Let us honour the sacrifices of the past, by striving to build a better future, where inequalities are addressed and there is a welcome for all, whoever they may be, however different they may seem.

 

 

Yours in Christ, Denise

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