St Alban's Church

Churchill Parken 6, Langelinie, DK 1263, Copenhagen, Denmark | Map


Today is: Tuesday 16th, 2019

Widening the Circle of Remembrance - A Message from the Chaplain

Posted on Friday 11th November, 2016

My dear friends,

A little bit of history will be made at Saint Alban’s this coming Sunday. For the first time ever, the Old Testament and New Testament lessons at the Remembrance Sunday service will be read by the Irish and British Ambassadors, respectively. Let me explain why this is so significant.

2016 is a landmark year in my home country of Ireland. It is the centenary of two events which shaped the course of recent Irish history — the 1916 Easter Rising and the Battle of the Somme. The Easter Rising — an armed insurrection against British rule — was the first step towards independence for most of the island of Ireland. In the Republic of Ireland the leaders of the 1916 rebellion came to be regarded as national heroes.

The Battle of the Somme was an equally seismic event. Not only was it one of the bloodiest battles of the First World War, but over 3,500 Irish soldiers were killed fighting for the British Army against the Germans, and many more were wounded. Indeed, 2,000 men from what’s now known as Northern Ireland died in the first few hours of fighting alone — a catastrophe which became seared into local folk memory.

However, they — and the almost 50,000 other Irish who died in British uniforms — were largely written-out of subsequent “official” history in the Republic. As the President of Ireland Mary McAleese said in 1998, the memory of these men “fell victim to a war for independence at home in Ireland. In the history of conflict which has blighted my homeland for generations respect for the memory of one set of heroes was often at the expense of respect for the memory of the other.”

My hope is that the participation of both the Irish and British Ambassadors will make this year’s Service of Remembrance a moment of reconciliation. By including in our remembering a group which has often been ignored we will be committing ourselves to widening the circle of our remembrance — a Gospel imperative for any truly multinational and truly Christian community.

Most holy God and Father,
hear our prayers for all who strive for peace‚Ä®
and all who fight for justice.
Help us, who today remember the cost of war,
to work for a better tomorrow;
and, as we commend to you lives lost in terror and conflict,
bring us all, in the end, to the peace of your presence;
through Christ our Lord.

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