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C of E offers First World War resources

Posted on: July 28, 2014 11:50 AM
Remembrance poppies at the Menin Gate, Ypres
Photo Credit: WikiMEdia
Related Categories: England, WW1

It was called the war to end all wars. Sadly, we know all too well that this was a mistaken view.

It began 100 years ago today (28 July), and in the four years, three months and one week that followed; more than nine million combatants were killed in one of the deadliest conflicts the world has seen.

The Church of England has created a number of liturgical and website resources to help churches commemorate the centenary; and have created a dedicated website.

It contains interviews with the Dean of Salisbury Cathedral, the Very Revd June Osborne, who talks about the “absolutely central” role the Church has to play in the WW1 centenary commemorations; and with the veteran BBC war reporter Kate Adie, who talks about how the role of women in the Church changed as a result of the war.

Both interviews can be found on the dedicated Church of England website - - which also contains specially created resources for parishes to use during services as well as interviews and materials and correspondence from Lambeth Palace Library about the role of the church in the war.

Dean June Osborne said: “The Church of England needs to be attuned to what matters to the nation and I'm absolutely convinced that these four years are going to matter a great deal to the people of this country. They have family connections. Their families were very often changed by fatalities and they look to the Church to articulate the kind of things that are very difficult to talk about.”

Kate Adie talks about how the women in the church saw their roles increase as congregations were reduced with men leaving for the frontline. She talks about how women weren't allowed to give out hymn books or take the collection, and explains how “With all the men going away, what arose was the practical problems of were there any vergers… any sidesmen? Women were absolutely excluded from the ritual of the church, something we find quite difficult to imagine today”. She explains how the campaign for equality for women in church gained momentum during the First World War.

The website will also feature pictures of poppies which were planted by church communities at the end of April in the hope that they would flower around the time of the centenary of Britain’s entry into the war, on 4 August.

Visitors to the site will also be able to find details of events that are happening around the country and material from the vast archive at Lambeth Palace library, including correspondence sent to the then Archbishop of Canterbury.

To access the resources, please visit the special website at -