Vicars Monthly Letter

October - Vicars Letter

Dear Friends,

This November will mark one hundred years since the end of The First World War or, as it was called then, The Great War because no other war in history had resulted in such death and destruction. This war was the war to end all wars, sadly we know that wasn’t to be true. It began because of the assassination of heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Sohpie, Duchess of Hohenberg, who were shot to death by Bosnian Slav nationalist Gavrilo Princip on 28th June 1914 in Sarajevo. After this, and because of a series of treaties between the European and other countries, war was declared between the Central and the Allied (including the British) powers. The death of one man and one woman led to the deaths of 7 million civilians’ and 10 million soldiers with 37 million injured.

A mixture of nationalism, militarism and the relatively low value attached to human life enabled the war to go ahead with little question. Although from the point of view of the Gospel, war is always indefensible, most of the principal recruiters for the British Armed Forces were members of the clergy of all denominations. Only the Quakers and other Christian Pacifists resisted the war amongst the churches but many others tried to point out its futility - people of all classes and walks of life, especially women who did not want to lose their sons and husbands and fathers. The death toll is still impossible to imagine. The only good thing to emerge from this Great War was the birth of the League of Nations which eventually became the United Nations. And still today senseless wars are fought and the people who suffer the most are still the poor. And humanity, it seems, cannot stop fighting and killing. 

Before the memory of the millions killed in the Great War and ever since, we can only keep a solemn and profound silence, remembering humanity’s loss.  I ask in memory of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice that you join us for our Remembrance Service on 11th November at 10.30am in church. This year there will also be a service in the evening as it is 100 years since the Armistice, when the guns fell silent.  This service is at the War Memorial at Crigglestone cemetery at 6.30pm, it will last approx. 40 minutes.  It is part of ‘The Battles Over’ tribute, a nations tribute to those who lost their lives in The First World War. It is a community event with Crigglestone Parish council, and our brothers and sisters in Christ from the Methodist Circuit and the Roman Catholic Parish.  It will also involve all our junior and infant schools from the parish.  A beacon will also be lit and join with other beacons across our nation as we gather and remember those who gave so much to our country and ultimately to each one of us.

We will remember them.

Your friend and priest

Kevin

 


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