Churches to mark 100 years since Armistice Day
WORSHIPPERS across south-east Hampshire and the Isle of Wight are marking 100 years since the end of the First World War with a variety of events and activities.
Churches across Portsmouth’s Anglican diocese will host Remembrance Sunday services on November 11, during which the two-minute silence will be observed. Many have also launched special initiatives to reflect on the centenary.
At St Nicholas Church in Wickham, worshippers are launching a new Act of Remembrance as part of this year’s commemorations. They’ve planted 69 Royal British Legion poppy crosses on the village green opposite the church, one for each of the local men listed on the church’s war memorial boards.
Members of the community are invited to plant their own crosses alongside them at an event between 10 am and 11 am on Saturday 3rd November. Soil from significant places from the First World War, including Arras, Ypres and the Somme, will be scattered on this Field of Remembrance.
St Nicholas Church, Wickham Parish Council and the Wickham History Society have worked with the local branch of the Royal British Legion to create this new Act of Remembrance, which they hope will become an annual event. More details here.
Worshippers in Holy Trinity Church, Bembridge, on the Isle of Wight, will cover their village with thousands of hand-crafted poppies to mark the anniversary. Over the past few months, the vicar, the Rev Amanda Bloor, has worked alongside the parish council to encourage local people to knit, crochet and sew poppies for this display.
The poppies will be strung together and hung along walls and fences from November 9, linking Holy Trinity Church with the village war memorial and the churchyard at St Luke’s, where there are Commonwealth war graves.
“It’s caught the imagination of everyone in the village, not just churchgoers,” says Amanda. “I’d seen similar art projects in other villages using wool and fibre, and thought it seemed like a great idea. It’s ecologically friendly, it’s creative, and it gets people talking.”
Large numbers of people are expected to attend a special Communion service at 9:30 am on Remembrance Sunday, and the Act of Remembrance at the war memorial will feature music from an ex-RAF servicewoman, and two ponies representing animals who went to war. More details here.
On November 11 itself, the Church of England and Roman Catholic Bishops of Portsmouth will jointly lead an Act of Remembrance in Guildhall Square from 10:30 am, to recall the sacrifices made by 7,000 members of the Armed Forces from Portsmouth who died during the First World War. The emphasis will be on peace-making.
It will include contributions from those of other faiths to reflect the sacrifices made by Commonwealth soldiers of all religions, a parade by veterans, and the laying of wreaths at the war memorials. More details here.
Portsmouth Cathedral is inviting people to create poppies and plant them on Cathedral Green outside to create a Field of Remembrance around its war memorial. Visitors can write the name of a loved one onto their poppy and place it alongside the others, anytime between now and Remembrance Sunday. The cathedral is also hosting an exhibition of photos from the First World War. More details here.
Its Remembrance Sunday service is at 10:30 am on November 11, and a Remembrance Day concert at 8 pm that day will feature the premiere of a new Missa Brevis by Ola Gjeilo. The cathedral’s bells will be rung with a half-muffled peal before the morning service, and continuously from 1 pm to 6 pm that day, when 10 ringers will perform a special composition of 7,000 changes.
Bell-ringers will also pay their tributes at St Peter’s Church, Petersfield. During 10 evenings leading up to Remembrance Sunday, 11 named servicemen will be remembered by ringing for 11 minutes on each day. Tributes on other evenings will honour those who perished when serving in the Royal Flying Corps, Royal Navy, British Army, Royal Marines and Merchant Navy. More details of bell-ringers’ activities here.
St Mary’s Church, Portchester, will hold a special event on the evening of November 11 to mark the day 100 years ago when the guns fell silent. ‘Portchester Remembers’ is a family event that starts at 5 pm with a torchlight procession led by the band of TS Tenacity. There’s an informal service in St Mary’s Church from 5:30 pm, which includes poems and songs from students of Portchester Community School.
Then there’s a free barbecue outside at 6:15 pm, followed at 7 pm by the lighting of a beacon by the Mayor of Fareham, Cllr Susan Bayford, as part of a nationwide network of beacons to mark the anniversary. More details here.
Worshippers from Farlington are honouring the 51 servicemen named on the war memorial outside St Andrew’s Church by researching the history of those individuals. Pupils from Solent Junior School, volunteers from the University of the 3rd Age, and local cubs, scouts, beavers and guides have been involved in the project.
At 11 am on November 10, a new piece of artwork will be unveiled outside Church of the Resurrection in Penrhyn Avenue, Drayton, as a permanent memorial to those who died. A 32-page booklet will also be launched telling the stories of those who died, alongside a new Honouring Farlington’s Fallen website. More details here.
Worshippers at St Faith’s Church, Lee-on-Solent, have also been researching the history behind the 27 servicemen named on their war memorial – and inviting the families of those men to their Remembrance Day services on November 11. The church is hosting two services simultaneously in its church and hall from 9:30 am, before worshipers walk to both the Town War Memorial and the Fleet Air Arm Memorial, for Acts of Remembrance at 11 am – exactly 100 years to the minute since the end of the First World War.
And a spectacular poppy cascade is still available to view outside St Peter’s Church, Hayling Island. Unveiled on October 7, it features more than 18,000 hand-crafted poppies that form a stunning tribute to those who died in the conflict. Residents knitted, crocheted and carved the poppies for months ahead of its unveiling.
The display of poppies and an exhibition about Hayling’s role in the First World War, will remain in place until Monday 12th November. More details here.