Pastoral letter – November 2021

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you”
Philippians 1:3

It is a lovely feature when remembrance and gratitude are bound up together. In our past personal relationships, it is a remarkable thing to have nothing but happy memories. In the past twenty months many have lost loved ones whose memories will always be with them.

All my life as far back as I can remember November is the month that we as a nation remembered those who had died or suffered because of the conflicts of war. As a child in London the remembrance weekend always started on the Saturday evening as we as a family would watch the British Legion Service of Remembrance from the Albert Hall.

As a member of our local church’s ‘Girl’s Brigade’ weeks before Remembrance Sunday we would have
been practising our part for the Service of Remembrance in our local church and war memorials; as well as
the laying of wreaths, and the familiar reading of names of those who died. Then many were still alive who
had lost friends and family in recent conflicts. It never felt a time of celebrating war but remembering those
who sacrificed their lives or suffered because of the injuries they had sustained. Family stories were told
especially about those personal relationships that were never to continue because of the war.

The wearing of the ‘Red Poppy’ was always a symbol of the special work of the British Legion.

This year will be the 100-year anniversary of the British Legion and I read the following information on their

“Responding to need
For one hundred years the Royal British Legion has been helping serving and ex-serving personnel and their families.
From those who served in the First World War to the men and women of our Armed Forces today, we believe no-one should suffer for having served others.”

The idea of helping and supporting those who have served in whatever capacity always brings a very poignant reminder of the importance of our part to serve and support.
There are still conflicts around the world and people from our armed forces have died or suffer mentally and
physically and will continue to do so as conflicts continue.
To me the wearing of the red poppy is a small part of identifying our support and our remembrance.
As Christians we pray for conflicts of war to stop and people to live in harmony. However we need to be there for those who have suffered and support the different bodies that are supporting our men and women of the armed forces.

Whatever the world throws at us there is a hope for the future to overcome the difficulties that may occur in our everyday lives. Jesus gives us a new Hope. Jesus said ‘Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest’ Matthew chapter 11:28. God through Jesus Christ is our Hope of an eternal future. Knowing His  presence through all of life’s joys and sorrows gives us the confidence and courage to go on. Amen
God Bless
From Revd Elke
Brett Valley Benefice