November is traditionally the Church’s time to remember those who have died and journeyed ahead of us, and who wait for us to join them when our time comes. This year, perhaps more than at any other time since the World Wars, our society has had to face the prospect of our very human mortality as we have grappled with coronavirus. And it has not been easy.
Remembering the past helps us to live better in the present moment, and to avoid repeating the mistakes of yesteryear. It helps us to build a better future, if we recall where we have been. Remembering was key to the ancient Hebrews. The Ten Commandments begins with a call to remembrance that God had rescued them from slavery, and therefore because of what they had suffered, they must always remember to be merciful and never to oppress others as they were oppressed. If we know where we have come from, if we remember our roots, then we will be better able to cope with the present.
By remembering the past, we know who we are now. The stories we tell about ourselves, our families, and where we come from form a huge part of our identity, and the act of remembering brings all of that to life again for us. It literally re-members it – makes it once more a member (a part) of our very selves. When we remember our family and friends who have died, they live again in our hearts and memories, and are part of us once more.
All Souls Annual Memorial Service
All Souls is the ancient Christian festival of Remembering, when we remember and pray by name for all those who we have loved and lost, and for whom we grieve. Our churches hold an annual Memorial Service which will be on Sunday 1st November this year, and during this service we remember all those whose funerals have been in our churches in recent years, and any who we are asked to remember and to pray for.
All Souls Covid Restrictions
To enable as many as possible to join in, without physical restriction, the service itself will be online only, accessible via our YouTube Channel. Please our website www.cherbury-gainfield.org.uk (or sign up to our newsletter) for more details. In addition, all our churches will be open for private prayer that day, and most will have prayer resources and candles to light in memory of our loved ones
Remembrance Sunday, 8th November is another key point for remembering the dead and honouring their memory – not just the soldiers who died in the two world wars, but also all the service personnel and civilians who suffered and died on every side of every conflict. Nobody chooses war over peace, and so this act of Remembrance is surely about committing ourselves to work for peace and for reconciliation in whatever way we can, in the hope that one day we will be able to stop the tragedy and horror of war being perpetuated year after year as it is now.
Whilst few of us now remember the Second World War, and even fewer the First, many of us have relatives who were in both of them: one of my grandfathers fought in the trenches in 1914-18, and the other was a POW on the Burma Railway. Their stories shape mine, just as the collective narrative of those times still shape our society and national memory today. And perhaps in this present experience of pandemic and the shared grief of the loss of security, stability and a familiar way of life, we may find once again a common solidarity and urge to work together to forge a new world, as those who survived the horrors of the World Wars had to do.
Covid Restrictions for Remembrance Services
To enable as many people as possible to attend, all our Remembrance Sunday services will be outdoors – at Buckland Memorial Hall, at Charney Bassett War Memorial on The Green, and at St Mary’s in Longworth. The service at Buckland will also be livestreamed for those who don’t feel safe coming to a public gathering. Despite being outdoors, we still respectfully request that masks are worn as people will inevitably be in close proximity and many are of a vulnerable age. We also respectfully request that those attending sign in on arrival via the NHS Covid App QR code poster, or by giving their name and number to the welcomers at the entrance.
If you have any questions at all, please phone or email our admin office (details on the contact page) and we will do all we can to help.
With peace and blessings to you all,