In 2018 many of our Church units held a special Remembrance Day sacrament meeting or participated in their local community’s wreath laying services, including at the National Cenotaph. Here is a small selection of events.
The Church at the Cenotaph
For the first time, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was invited to participate in the National Service of Remembrance on 11 November 2018 at the Cenotaph in Westminster. The Cenotaph in Whitehall, London, has been the location for the Remembrance Service over the past nine decades.
Faith Minister Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth said: “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a long link to Britain’s armed forces, and I am delighted that the National Service of Remembrance will now be truly reflective of the diverse faiths and beliefs which help to make Britain the great country that we are today.”
The monarch, religious leaders, politicians, representatives of state, and the armed and auxiliary forces were all there to pay respect to those who gave their lives defending others.
Jane Elvidge, accompanied by her husband Paul, felt honoured to be able to attend the service and represent the Church. Jane said: “We consider it a real privilege to have the opportunity to attend this event and to remember the sacrifice of all those who fought so hard for the freedoms we enjoy in Britain today.”
Jane and Paul serve as directors of public affairs for the London area.
11 Days of Remembrance
The 11 Days of Remembrance programme provided an opportunity for many people to serve their neighbours, families and friends. Other faiths promoted the 11 Days idea to their own congregations using our materials, which spread works of kindness even further.
It was suggested to research ancestors from World War I and take part in other family history related work. There were 11 suggestions for each day in November —leading up to 11/11/2018 —of service opportunities and ideas, using original letters, videos and scripture references for each day of the week. Many families and friends were invited to evenings where local wards or branches put on a devotional of music and the spoken word, with the option of staging a 60-minute production written for the occasion.
In addition, a performance from Hyde Park Chapel in London of ‘Voices of the Great War’ was streamed live on Facebook to mark the centennial anniversary of the end of WWI.
‘Voices of the Great War’ —a timeless tale of family, faith, and duty —features some characters and events taken from the journals and letters of frontline soldiers and home-front supporters during the Great War of 1914–1918.
The Hyde Park performance was attended by a seated audience that gave two standing ovations. The broadcast of Sunday’s performance gave a broader reach. The video was viewed over 16,000 times in just 48 hours.
The level of traffic is enough to show that it’s entered into many hearts. And some 600+ comments imply a massive impact the show had as it streamed into people’s homes.
The 11 Days team gives a big thank you to all involved and for their contributions.
by Marie Hunt
The Chorley stake welcomed members and neighbours from across the stake to the temple site to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the armistice.
Local school groups provided the artwork for the walls of the cultural hall and delighted the crowds with their singing of several wartime songs.
Brother Bob Watt used his carpentry skills to create a WWI trench, complete with gun placements, rifles, sandbags and a sound and light show to give a glimpse of the battles that were faced in the trenches. Numerous displays highlighted rationing, the role of women and the efforts of families in their support of the troops.
A large family history hub proved extremely popular as visitors sought out their own WWI ancestors and listened to inspirational speakers who taught from personal diaries of family members and gave great insight into many aspects of the conflict.
Several young men from across the stake dressed in WWI uniforms and provided ‘pop up’ vignettes which brought both humour and pathos as they were the same age as many of the soldiers they were portraying.
The day was brought to a poignant conclusion by an evening concert that told the story of local war heroes in their own words using their diaries and letters.
The congregation joined in the singing with great enthusiasm, ending with a thunderous rendition of ‘Jerusalem’. Running through the whole event was the message of the saving power of the Saviour’s Atonement and the sure and certain hope of reunion because of His ultimate sacrifice on behalf of us all.
by Julie Harrald
On Sunday evening there was music and readings starting with a report from the local newspaper at the start of the war.
An exhibition was displayed throughout the local Church building. We had a VIP reception and tour of the exhibition in the hour before the service, and during that time the Primary children presented the Poppy Appeal county and town organisers with jars of cash they had collected and saved.
Then we moved on to how the town remembered. The town has a big carillon tower in the park with bells from a world-famous bell foundry which is, and this is the town memorial.
It is a beautiful setting on every Remembrance Day as the copper green top of the tower is level with the tallest oldest trees in autumn splendour and during the silence we drop poppy petals from the tower, which rain down with the yellow leaves through the trees. We have several thousand people there each year.
The RBL standard bearers walk had an opening hymn (‘I Vow to Thee My Country’) and then a closing hymn for which all stood, and then at the end after the closing prayer, we had a bugler play ‘The Last Post’.
The evening closed with a two-minute silence, and then Reveille and the standard bearers led the way out.
There were over 250 people present including children, and I have never ever been in such a reverent and reflective service.
There was complete silence, really complete, during the two minutes of silence.
People commented at how moving the service was, not just in parts, but throughout. Several of the VIP emailed to thank us. Nicky Morgan mentioned how touching the event was in her weekly newsletter that goes around the borough. One VIP said that the list of names we gave them prompted a good family conversation with her child when she arrived home.
One of the RBL visitors said it was the best remembrance event they have ever been to. It seems that the event did what we wanted it to —to be a respectful and thought-provoking start to the week leading up to Remembrance Day.
by John Lutkin
On Saturday 27 October 2018, the Stonehaven Chorus gave a concert in commemoration of the Great War 1914–18 at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at Bingham Terrace Chapel in Dundee.
The chorus consisted of 52 individuals, including choir members, instrumentalists and the musical director, Ralph Jamieson, a member of the Montrose Ward.
The programme consisted of Mozart’s ‘Requiem’, followed by hymns, songs for the troops and several solos including ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’.
Members of the audience reflected to me that the evening was exceptionally professional and emotive. I quote from one member:
“Just spent the evening in church listening to amazing choral music in memory of the sacrifices made in the First World War (and wars since then). Wonderful, uplifting evening. So grateful to all those who sacrificed so much.”
A member of the chorus said, “I wish to thank the members of your congregation for welcoming us so warmly to the Dundee stake for the concert we gave on Saturday. We felt so well looked after and really appreciated being served refreshments between the rehearsal and the concert.”
Although the concert was free, donations totalling £176 were made afterwards for the benefit of the “Erskine Organisation for Caring for Veterans.”
by Francis Kendall
Nine members of the Leeds Second Ward in the Leeds England Stake and England Leeds Mission under the guidance of Francis and Brenda Kendall, both members of the Barwick and Scholes Branch of the Royal British Legion, volunteered to cover the first day of the fundraising stall set up at the ASDA superstore in Killingbeck, Leeds.
Leeds Memorial Service
by Francis Kendall
Bishop Andrew Poulter, his counsellor and more than 20 members of the Leeds Second Ward attended the memorial service at St Philips, the Scholes Parish Church of England, on 11 November 2018. The Church was full to capacity with standing room only.
The British Legion Flag —along with local scout, cubs and guide flags —and the Union Jack of Great Britain were presented to the conducting minister, who laid them on the altar. Hymns were sung, the names of local residents who gave their lives in the conflict were read out and at the same time the young boys and girls blew out lit candles one by one as a token of farewell. Scriptures were read by the Deputy Lord Lieutenant representing the Queen. There followed a remembrance talk by the minister, who concluded the service by returning the flags to their bearers.
The congregation then departed to follow the parade to the local war memorial where people laid wreaths and a one-minute silence was observed.