Churches get creative with WW1 commemorations
24 July 2014
HOPE’s Greater Love project is helping churches across the country to support their communities in creative ways as the nation commemorates the centenary of World War One.
The Greater Love project, which has the backing of Prince Charles and the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, will reach a climax in December as sports stadia, cathedrals and churches host Silent Night Carols to remember the 1914 Christmas Truce.
HOPE is a national Christian mission organisation, bringing together churches of all denominations to love and serve their local communities. For the Greater Love project HOPE has worked with the Christian denominations, military chaplaincies and a range of Christian organisations to provide resources and ideas so churches can take a lead in their communities, building bridges across generations as part of the commemorations.
For example, HOPE Rugby is involved in the town’s commemorations where young people will each be given an arm-band with the name of a young soldier from Rugby who fought and died in WW1. As part of the day the young people will lay their arm-bands at the town’s war memorial and each one will receive a replica of the WW1 Active Service Gospel. HOPE’s director Roy Crowne says, ‘As people remember these soldiers’ lives, they will also be able to read about Jesus’ sacrifice for them, which John - the Gospel-writer - described in the famous words: “Greater love has no-one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends…”’ (John 15:13, NIV).
Tens of thousands of copies of the Active Service Gospel are being given to school children - many are being asked to share it with someone who has lived through a war and listen to their experiences. The vintage Gospel, published by HOPE’s partner SGM Lifewords, is also being given away at civic breakfasts, to Air Training Corps recruits, on parish walks with local historians visiting local war memorials, in schools where special-written assembly ideas and lesson plans are being used – 250,000 copies have been ordered so far to be given away at commemorative events.
The Greater Love resources include:
A free Greater Love 16-page guide for local churches commemorating the centenary of World War One.
Interviews with contemporary, serving soldiers, their families as well as footage shot at the Menin Gate and ideas for schools in the Greater Love DVD pack from CVM.
The replica of a 1914 Active Service John's Gospel published by from HOPE's partner SGM Lifewords.
Silence – remembering World War 1 - a new full-colour 16-page A5 booklet for churches and communities marking the centenary of World War – produced in partnership with CPO.
Hear My Cry - an illustrated collection of Psalms, poetry, prayers and hymns for individual and community reflection from Bible Society.
Resources for Schools
Visit www.hopetogether.org.uk/greaterlove for more information.
Roy Crowne, HOPE’s Director is available for interview – contact the HOPE office 01788 542782 or HOPE Communications Director Catherine Butcher 07850 083414.