Poppies will be grown in churches and church schools across the new Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales as a joint act of remembrance for the centenary of World War One.
Poppy packets are being distributed to every church school and church across the new diocese and senior church leaders have designated Wednesday 30 April as Poppy Planting Day and are urging everyone to join them and sow their poppy seeds on that day to mark their identity as a new diocese together and remember all those who lost their lives in the Great War.
The new Diocese of Leeds, informally known as the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales, came into being on Easter Day (20 April) when the three existing dioceses of Wakefield, Bradford, Ripon and Leeds were formally dissolved.
The Rt Revd Nick Baines, the new bishop designate for the new diocese said:
“A century is not a long time, but only 100 years ago the world fell apart in the most violent way. This simple act of growing poppies reminds us of our past and is a very visual way of pledging ourselves to serve together in the future. I’m glad that our new diocese recognises the past while looking to shape the future. I’m proud to commend this campaign.”
In the five areas that make up the new Diocese of Leeds (West Yorkshire and the Dales) there will be a series of planting events on April 30 including Leeds city centre, the army training camp at Harrogate, a church gardening project at St Stephen’s Church, Bowling, Bradford, Wakefield Cathedral and Christ Church Academy, Woodhouse, Huddersfield as well as hundreds of other smaller events across the length and breadth of the new diocese.
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, welcomed the poppy planting initiative and said: "Here in the grounds of Bishopthorpe, we too, are getting behind this community initiative. I have been inspired by the parishes of the new Diocese of Leeds (West Yorkshire and the Dales) and their shared efforts to mark the 100th anniversary of the Great War".
Hear the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby in in the short clip urging people in all the parishes across the Church of England to plant poppy seeds 'to remember the terrible events of the First World War and as a sign of our hope in Jesus Christ for peace in the future.'
Other dioceses in the Church of England – like Oxford, Exeter, Manchester and Portsmouth have joined the diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales in sending packets of poppy seeds to their churches/cathedrals and/or church schools to create their own memorial gardens or flower pots. Other dioceses are urging their parishes to join in and buy their own seeds.
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 West Yorkshire and the Dales has written a prayer for poppy planting day and has produced a how to grow sheet for your poppies.