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Lest we forget 18 November 2007

Posted by Dr Moose in Church, Recommendations.

Remembrance has been and gone again for another year – and this year was the first time I’ve conducted such events on my own and in a church. First there was the curacy and then there was the whole business of being building-less.

So here are some points as a sort of aide-memoire and reflection, which I hope I’ll remember, and may be useful for any soon-to-be-first-time incumbents.

First though: the general principle. It will be presumed that you, as the vicar, know what you are doing. This is a double-edged sword. It reflects the community’s trust in you, while at the same time making it potentially difficult to actually ask. Despite the fact that nearly all churches will claim to be the same everywhere is different, of course.

If you have a 10’o’clock service and the expectation of being at the War Memorial for 11am, the following may be of use. (Bearing in mind the perils involved with changing anything, which is a general clerical hazard in the first place!)

– do you really need all three readings? Could you get by with only two, especially bearing in mind that the sermon may well need to be truncated?

– unless your channels of communication are especially good (text messages from the choir, perhaps) don’t rely on the Sunday School being able to hear the bell sounded during the consecration. In fact, do you need Sunday School that day?

– can you escape with shorter hymns (leaving aside some of the potential theological questions inherent in some of the words)?

Maybe the biggest question of all: Given the emotional resonances for many in the congregation and very real memories of friends, parents and loved ones’ involvement and sacrifice in conflict (although these are generally declining as a simple function of ageing) how do you sensitively address the issue that Remembrance Sunday is not a Christian Commemoration per se? The Lectionary and Calendar make passing reference in allowing variation of the Collect, but the readings are part of the “Before Advent” series.

But maybe that’s for another day.



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