Wars affect not just individuals but whole communities, so it is fitting that remembrance is a community event, particularly this year when we have been commemorating the centenary of the end of World War One.
In Badshot Lea and Hale we held two community events on November 7 and 8, as well as services of Remembrance at the war memorials and in the churches. On November 7 at St John’s Church, the community gathered together to pause and remember those who had died in the conflicts past and present. The Farnham Town Crier Jonathan Jones read some poetry and the year 6 children from William Cobbett school read In Flanders Fields and a combined parish choir sang A flower remembered and Circle us Lord.
The idea for the evening was to encourage those attending to remember but also to live as people of peace and reconciliation so we drew the formal part of the evening to a close by singing Shalom. After the service, hospitality was offered by the congregation of St John’s and the display of art work and poetry was enjoyed by all who attended. The display will be available in the church until November 19.
The next day we held a similar event at St George’s Church. The Farnham Mayor and his wife joined members of the community in a packed church.
Badshot Lea Infant School had been working for a few weeks on fantastic art and poetry which was displayed around the church. There was also poetry on display from other members of the community, including a poem by Leslie Morrel to his wife Eva written in 1942. Unfortunately, Leslie lost his life during WW2 and is listed on the Badshot Lea War Memorial. Eva, now aged 96, still lives in the village.
The children from the school entertained us with some lovely singing and the Parish choir helped led Pack up your troubles and It’s a long way to Tipperary.
As with the St John’s event, we wanted to encourage people to remember but also to strive for peace and reconciliation. After the service, hospitality was offered by the congregation of St George’s and the display of art work and poetry was enjoyed by all who attended. A huge thanks to Badshot Lea Infants teachers, pupils and parents who helped make this event such a success.
At St Mark’s, the local Beavers, Cubs and Scouts joined us at the Hale war memorial and then walked up the hill for the Sunday service at which their standards were received by the church. The church itself was filled with Remembrance art created by the community, in part during the Sunday services leading up to November 11 and at Thursday morning art. There was also a prayer station which focused our minds on the individuals who had died in armed conflict, allowing us to reflect on the personal loss that war brings.
Afterwards Scouts, Cubs, Beavers and other guests joined the congregation for coffee and conversation, and a lot of biscuits!