First World War Centenary

posted 17 Aug 2014, 06:17 by Richard Jones

A Service of Commemoration of the Centenary of the First World War was held in Blackburn Cathedral on Sunday 3 August.  It was a very moving occasion, with readings, poetry, hymns and prayers.  The Renaissance Singers sang a beautiful anthem, in both English and German by Johannes Brahms and a poem, “On receiving News of the War”, by Isaac Rosenberg was read.  Rosenberg enlisted at the outbreak of war and served in The King’s Own Royal Lancashire Regiment.  He was killed in action in April 1918.  Interestingly, he was never in favour of the notion of “patriotic sacrifice” and from the outset was critical of the war itself.

During the service, the re-dedication of the reconstructed War Memorial took place and it was especially poignant to hear all the names of the fallen read out and the prayers for the needs of the world, some of which were led by the Dean of Braunschweig.  Towards the end of the service, the congregation joined together in prayers for The Act of Commitment to Peace.

The following evening, St Mary’s was open for a silent vigil.  A simple cross, candle and bunch of flowers were the focus for private meditations and Amma Sue provided a selection of prayers to guide our thoughts.  During the vigil, as also at eleven o’clock in the morning, the church bell was tolled 22 times by Graham to remember each of the men of Mellor who gave their lives in time of war. 

We thank Frank for playing the organ and his selection of appropriate and meaningful music.  It is difficult to know what could or should be taking place at such a time - but as we commented later, the atmosphere felt “just right”.

The commemoration concluded, in common with businesses and homes across the land, with the extinguishing of the candle at eleven o’clock in the evening, the hour at which war was declared.

“The lamps are going out all over Europe…”  (Edward Grey, Foreign Secretary).    

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