On 19th October 2017 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Black “That this House takes note of the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele and of Her Majesty’s Government’s plans to commemorate it.” The Bishop of Derby, Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, spoke in the debate, highlighting the role of chaplaincy in the First World War and the example of ‘Woodbine Willie’, Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy:
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Lord, Lord Black of Brentwood, and associate myself with the lovely phrase that it is both a privilege and very humbling to be part of this remembrance.
Passchendaele is, as we have heard, a symbol of war: the human cost, the sheer complexity of leadership and the sheer complexity of operations. Commemoration is not simply to remember but, as the noble Lord, Lord West, has just pointed out, to learn, to take something, to honour what people gave in their lives and commitment, and to see how that can inspire us and point us forward positively. It is a sign of huge issues in international relations, warfare and military and political leadership. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby on the role of chaplaincy in the First World War and ‘Woodbine Willie’.”
On 7th July 2016 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP, answered a written question from Jim Shannon MP on commemorations for the First World War:
Jim Shannon (Strangford): To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, whether the Church of England has plans for educational projects to commemorate the First World War in addition to existing centenary events.
Mrs Caroline Spelman: The Church of England has led many of the commemorative events for the First World War at a local and national level. It would not be possible to list all the activities taking place now and in the future to commemorate the sacrifice of those who fought in the First World War, but each diocese and parish is marking the centenary in its own way. Continue reading “Church Commissioner written answer: First World War commemorations”
“It is obvious that we cannot change the past, but we are responsible for how we remember it. Memory—and its more active form, commemoration—is certainly more than just lifting down a file and recalling a past event: it is a creative and responsible art which involves highlighting certain features and identifying significant resonances” – Bishop of London, 25/6/14
On 25th June 2014, Lord Gardiner of Kimble led a debate in the House of Lords to take note of the programme to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. The Bishop of London the Rt Rev. & Rt Hon Richard Chartres, took part in the debate, speaking of the importance of collective memory and ‘active commemoration’ of the First World War. He made reference to the significant role of citizens of the Commonwealth who served in the War, the ‘proper protest’ of those compelled to take a pacifist position, and set out some of the plans being made by churches and cathedrals across the country to commemorate the First World War.
The Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, I, too, am grateful to the Minister for the comprehensive and measured way in which he introduced this important debate and laid out the Government’s plans for this commemoration. I also very much echo the words of the noble Baroness, Lady Williams, about the emphasis being placed on the Commonwealth dimension. I have had the privilege of participating in the annual observances at the memorial gates since their inception. Remembering the sacrifices that were made by so many of those from Commonwealth countries who served provides us with an extremely important opportunity to weave that strand into the national tapestry and our national identity. Continue reading “First World War: Bishop of London highlights role of cathedrals and parish churches in ‘active commemoration’”
On the 10th October 2013 Sir Tony Baldry MP answered a written question from a Mr Kevan Jones concerning the support that the church commissioners will give to the commemorations marking the centenary of the First World War. Continue reading “Second Church Estates Commissioner answers written question on first world war commemorations”
On 18th July 2013, Lord James of Blackheath asked Her Majesty’s Government whether they will discuss with the Church of England how to commemorate the 304 British soldiers who were executed by the British Government in World War I and who are currently not commemorated in any existing war memorials. The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Norwich: My Lords, while I am sure the Minister is aware that the Church of England does not have sole responsibility to add names to war memorials but would be glad to work with others on this important issue, is he aware of the work being undertaken by the Church of England, the Imperial War Museum and the War Memorials Trust together to develop educational materials linked to the centenary of World War I to help school children and the wider public to learn more about all the people commemorated and to cherish these memorials and all that they represent?
Lord Gardiner of Kimble: I entirely agree with the right reverend Prelate and I am aware of the very important work being done by the Imperial War Museum, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the Heritage Lottery Fund. The important thing is that English Heritage is restoring, as we all see, the national memorial in Whitehall. I commend it for doing that and I hope very much that others will take that lead so that war memorials across the land, in whosever ownership or custodianship, are in very good order for the commemorations.
On 2nd July 2013 Sir Tony Baldry MP answered a written question from Mr Keith Simpson on what plans the Church of England had to commemorate the First World War and the role of military chaplains. Continue reading “Second Chuch Estates Commissioner answers written question on world war one anniversaries”