This year, Remembrance Sunday is on November 11 – 100 years to the day since the end of the First World War.
We’ll be remembering not just those who gave their lives in that war, but all who have suffered and died since in other conflicts. Some of those we remember served in armed forces of various nationalities, others will be civilians who died back home.
In our parish, we have two sets of memorials to use as a focus for remembering. At St Wilfrid’s Church, in George Street, there is the roll of those who served in World War One from the 20 streets surrounding the church.
We’ve been involved in a lottery-funded project to help us learn more about the names on those historic rolls. It also helped us to understand the role of clergy from our parish who served as chaplains on the front, and the two bell-ringers who died there.
At St Mary’s Church, there are two memorials to the staff of the Portsea Island Co-Op who died in both world wars.
They highlight that we’re remembering ordinary people who lived in our streets, and worked in our shops.
As we remember them, we also need to reflect on how we honour those named – and countless nameless others – by committing ourselves to value what we have, and to build communities of peace and respect for all.
You can reflect at St Mary’s, using the poppy tree and memorial board over the next week. You can name those you wish to remember, or leave pictures of family members who served and died, either in the Forces or on the home front.
The church is open every day from 9am to midday, from Monday until Remembrance Sunday. At St Wilfrid’s there’s an evening marking the centenary of the Armistice next Wednesday, from 7.30pm. There’ll be a talk, an act of remembrance, a buffet and music.
All three of our churches will hold services on November 11 with an Act of Remembrance at each. At 3pm, we’ll be joined by the local branch of the Royal British Legion for their own annual service of Remembrance.