Monthly Service Timetable & Information

9.30am Austwick Holy Communion Tony Willmont
9.30am Eldroth Holy Communion
11.00am Clapham Holy Communion Tony Willmont
11.00am Keasden Holy Communion
6.30pm Austwick Service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving
9.30am Austwick Remembrance
10.45am Clapham Remembrance
2.00pm Keasden Remembrance
6.30pm Austwick Holy Communion
Sunday 18th
9.30am Austwick Holy Communion Frank & Mabel Parr
11.00am Clapham Holy Communion Frank & Mabel Parr
7.00pm Eldroth Taize Service Judith Johnson
Sunday 25th
9.30 am Austwick Holy Communion Frank & Mabel Parr
11.00am Clapham Holy Communion Frank & Mabel Parr
7.00pm Keasden Evensong Judith Johnson

John’s Notes: What goes wrong with our remembering?

Parish Magazines

November 2018

The day our communities stand together to remember those who have fallen in the conflicts of the past century, November 11th, is also the Feast Day of Saint Martin of Tours, the patron saint of both soldiers and conscientious objectors.

Saint Martin fits Remembrance Day perfectly, for it is a complex and conflicted commemoration. This boy who was drafted into the Roman cavalry at only fifteen years old became the man who later converted to Christianity and told the Emperor, Hitherto I have served you as a soldier: allow me now to become a soldier to God: I am the soldier of Christ: it is not lawful for me to fight.”

In doing so he was acting as all followers of Jesus Christ did at the time. For Christianity at root is a pacifist practice – in Martin’s time one could not be a Christian and a soldier. One’s battle with the forces of evil in the world would not, and could not be achieved by killing another person. The Christian challenge then – and I would say, still is – to find another way. “I’ll battle for peace; I will not kill,” is the Christian’s cry.

At the 1918 Armistice people were convicted that the carnage of WWI must never be repeated, that in their ‘remembering’ was a commitment to making it ‘the war to end all wars’. What goes wrong with our remembering? I was shocked to learn recently that only months after the end of the war against Naziism, WW2, antisemitism was rife in the UK – in October 1945 thousands signed an ‘anti-alien’ petition in Hampstead which called to expel the area’s large Jewish refugee population.

In these Brexit days it looks like little has changed. In a recent address the Bishop of Leeds Rt Revd Nick Baines outlined the challenge of being Christian in our times:

The question we face as a church goes beyond political affiliation or referendum preferences, beyond feelings about immigration and economics; it has to do with the need for some agents of reconciliation who have the courage simultaneously to be prophetic and generous.” Celebrating how our churches “offer food to hungry people, company to lonely people, hope to diminished people, care to abandoned people, and dignity to unvalued people,” the bishop continued, “We now also face the challenge of how to broker conversations and relationships between people divided by sloganized politics, visceral rejection of those who differ, and sheer anger at uncertainty or helplessness in the face of uncontrollable powers.”

If our acts of remembrance are twisted into rallying-points for disharmony between peoples, then they dishonour those who battled for peace. At best they give us the words we need to express a real commitment to working towards a lasting peace. May we find blessing in making that our practice.

Revd John Davies, Priest in Charge

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