Among the many physical reminders of the Great War are countless memorials inside and outside churches together with rolls of honour which record the names of men and women who gave their lives. Remembering the end of what was sometimes called ‘the War to end all wars’, the Church of England presents a series of resources for public worship and private prayer.
Church of England resources
These resources comprise:
- a vigil service to mark the centenary of the end of the Great War, for use on the evening of 10 or 11 November;
- a public act of commitment to work for peace, which could be used in conjunction with a civic Remembrance Day ceremony, or as part of public worship;
- a narrative called ‘Steps towards Reconciliation’, which reflects the need to work together for peace;
- among others, prayers for peace, reconciliation, visiting a war grave.
Download the individual resources
- A Vigil Service to mark the Centenary of the end of the Great War
- An Act of Commitment to work together for peace
- ‘Steps towards Reconciliation’: a monologue interspersed with words and music
- Some Individual Prayers
Download as a single document
Other resources will be made available to download for use online closer to the time.
Journey's End film screening
As part of the British commemoration of the First World War centenary, Saul Dibb directed a film adaptation of the play Journey's End by R. C. Sherriff which was released earlier in the year. It was adapted by Simon Reade who also produced with Guy de Beaujeu of Fluidity Films, (who also produced Michael Morpurgo’s Private Peaceful.)
In association with charity Combat Stress, the team behind the film is providing an opportunity for churches to screen the film for their local community to watch and engage with the issues it presents surrounding soldiers’ physical and psychological experiences of trench warfare.
Lionsgate International (the film’s distributor) is providing a special one-off licence (for free) for churches and places of worship who would like to screen this film. If you would like to find out more or request a screening, please fill out the form below. NB that the screening cannot be held in community or church halls – it must be within the church or place of worship.
Journey's End is rated 12A, which means the film contains material that is not generally suitable for children aged under 12. No one younger than 12 may see a 12A film unless accompanied by an adult. Adults planning to take a child under 12 to view a 12A film should consider whether the film is suitable for that child.
You can read more about what features in the film on the British Board of Film Classification website.
Other resources to download
We have linked with HOPE and the Bible Society to help provide resources for churches and schools to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War. HOPE have set up a dedicated website for the centenary. Visit remembrance100.co.uk for resources and information about events taking place around the country throughout 2018.
Hear My Cry booklet
An illustrated collection of psalms, poems, prayers and stories to aid reflection about World War One. Suitable for religious and civic remembrance ceremonies as well as for individual, personal use.
A beautifully illustrated, 36-page, pocket-sized souvenir booklet is designed as a give-away for Remembrance events.
Schools lesson plans
Stories, videos and notes covering a wide range of material about Christianity and the First World war.
A Prayer for the way of peace and reconciliation
Lord, strengthen our hearts, hands, and minds, to work together for peace;
to see you in one another,
and to seek your kingdom above all things; that your will may be done, and your Kingdom come,
through Jesus Christ, the Lord of lords and King of kings.
Chaplains in The British Army
The rapid growth of The British Army from the pre-war total of around 150,000 men supported by the 250,000 reservists of the Territorial Force to a final strength, even after immense losses, of 4 million, demanded a similar expansion of the Church’s chaplaincy provision.
On 11 November 1918, 878 Anglican chaplains were deployed on the Western Front alone, alongside a similar total from other denominations. They were “temporary chaplains”, usually seconded from their home parish with their bishop’s approval. Senior army staff saw the chaplains’ role as bolstering morale and encouraging the troops. When well behind the lines, chaplains worked for the welfare of the men in their units alongside leading church parades. At the front, they ministered to the wounded and dying, often supporting medical staff as stretcher-bearers.
Holy Communion was offered to the living and the burial service was said over innumerable ad-hoc graves. A total of ninety-eight Anglican chaplains died as a consequence of the conflict, indicating a death rate of around a third of that for officers. The gallantry of those who served on the front-line was consistently recognised and rewarded, with over 120 receiving the Military Cross and two being awarded the Victoria Cross.
Bell ringers in the First World War
Many bell ringers joined the war effort, and many lost their lives. Just after the war, the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers wrote to all bell towers to compile the Roll of Honour. In total 1,400 bell ringers lost their lives.
On 11 November 2018, 100 years since Armistice, bells will ring out in unison from churches and cathedrals in villages, towns and cities across the country. Big Ben will also strike at 11am to mark the centenary.
Find out more about the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers' plans to mark the Centenary by reading this Government press release.
A chaplain is a minister, priest or a lay representative attached to a secular institution such as a hospital, prison, military unit, school, business, police department, fire department, university, or private chapel.
The smallest pastoral area within the Church of England. A parish usually has one main church building.
A senior ordained person who has oversight of clergy and lay people in a diocese.
a) the sacramental sharing of bread and wine by the faithful, following the example given in the Last Supper of Christ with his disciples; b) a service in which Holy Communion is received.
Offering praise to God.