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The Church of England in World War One

Our Centenary Commemoration

Church plans for a 1,000 poppies to bloom for the Great War Centenary

Poppies will be grown in the grounds of parish churches and Church of England schools across the country as an act of remembrance for the centenary of World War 1 by the Church of England.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York are both urging church schools and churches to plant poppy seeds with them on April 30 to commemorate the centenary of World War One and help make the country awash with poppies.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby , in an Instagram message, urges people to plant the 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.'

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu welcomed the poppy planting initiative and said:

"I encourage parishes and church schools across the country to join together to make many thousand flowers bloom as a tribute to the sacrifice of past generations 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."

Some dioceses - like Oxford, Exeter, Manchester and the new Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales - have sent packets of poppy seeds to all their churches and/or church schools to create their own memorial gardens or flower pots.

The Rt Revd Nick Baines, the new bishop designate for the new Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales said:

"I'm delighted that churches and schools across our new diocese will be planting poppies, both recognising the past, while looking to the future. 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."

Packs of Flanders poppies are on sale and can be bought at B&Q for £2 with a pound being donated to the RBL.

The poppies are now blooming - see some here:

Video: Archbishop Justin on the Poppy Planting Initiative


A prayer to say whilst planting poppies

How to grow poppies

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Church of England resources to commemorate World War One are available here