2014 was the one hundredth anniversary of the beginning of the First World War and between then and 2018, churches and communities will come together to remember those that lost their lives and mark some of the key dates of that period.
Over 16 million people died in the conflict (of which 6 million were civilians), and 20 million wounded.
Many churches may want to mark this anniversary, and below are some ways in which this could be done.
We hope that the following resources will strike the right tone – remembering those who died before God, giving thanks for their lives, remembering the awful toll the war took.
Battle of the Somme
For us, here in this part of the country, the terrible impact the Battle of the Somme had on families living in our communities, our towns and our cities. was to be felt for years and generations to come.
It has been described as the most devastating battle in modern military history. It started at 7.30am on July 1st, 1916, when the Fourth Army, the first to be deployed, was sent over the top.
This Fourth Army - Kitchener's boys - were largely made up of units of friends, Pals regiments - gathered from towns, cities and villages from the north of England as well as those from Scotland and Ireland. And on that first day alone the British Army suffered almost 58,000 casualties. Most of the Leeds Pals and the Bradford Pals, along with the scores of other “pals” regiments, perished on the same day in the same hour on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.
The battle, which was to last 141 days until November 18, saw more than one million men wounded or killed. Nearly half of those first deployed on the Somme were support personnel, medical, catering, and logistics staff.
To mark Yorkshire's darkest day in the history of WW1, our three cathedrals of Bradford, Ripon and Wakefield will toll a single bell at 7.30am - the exact time the first troops went over the top.
They will be joined by scores of churches across the dicoese - the single or muffled bell will be tolled for five minutes and will be followed by silence and prayers until 8am and people from across our region are encouraged to join in this simple act of remembrance and remember those lives lost. Find churches taking part.
Resources for the Battle of the Somme
Readings and Prayers to commemorate the Battle of the Somme - 1 July 2016: Download here.
The above poster advertising the tolling of the bell with text PDF JPEG
Same poster without text PDF JPEG
Draft Press Release (Word docx) to edit and send to your local news outlet or use on your website/social media.
A general press release will go out next week to the regional and national press and media.
Poppies are being grown in churches and church schools across the new Diocese as a joint act of remembrance for the centenary of World War 1.
Poppy packets were distributed to every church school and church across the new diocese and senior church leaders designated April 30 as poppy planting day. They asked everyone to join them and sow their poppy seeds on that day to mark our identity as a new diocese together and remember all those who lost their lives in the Great War.
The Church of England has joined the Royal British Legion Centenary Poppy Campaign in partnership with B&Q which hopes to make the country awash with poppies during the next four years. Packs of Flanders poppies are on sale at B&Q for £2 with £1 of every packet sold being donated to the RBL.
The Diocese of Leeds has written a prayer for poppy planting day and has produced a how to grow sheet for your poppies.
Download the prayer here. Download a 'How to grow' sheet.
Briefing note for Churches commemorating the First World War Centenary with links to resources, events, resources for schools and restoration of war memorials. Download the Briefing note here.
A replica edition of the Active Service John’s Gospel, has been re-issued by SGM for the 100th anniversary of the First World War. Download more information.
Resources for Schools
Download resources for children aged 6-14 written by Lat Blaylock of RE Today on behalf of the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales.
A wide range of resources produced by the Church of England to help parishes and groups mark World War One.
Prayers, music, literature and art are part of the pack which also includes:
Readings from the Bible; Hymns, songs, music, literature and art; A selection of different kinds of prayer (including a Litany of remembrance); An outline for a service around a War Memorial; An outline for a Vigil Service on 3 or 4 August 2014 (marking the centenary of the Declaration of War); Material for use in a Requiem Eucharist.
Download the Liturgical Resources.
Further material will be made available throughout the years of commemoration up to 2018.