Churches across the Diocese of St Asaph will be joining the nationwide day of commemorative events marking the centenary of the Armistice, the end of the First World War.
The Bishop of St Asaph has joined the Archbishop of Wales in calling for “as many of our churches as possible” to ring their bells for peace at 12.30pm on Sunday 11 November. In his November letter to all clergy, the Rt Revd Gregory Cameron wrote: “Whether your churches have peals of bells or a single bell, it would be good if as many of our churches as possible could mark this centenary in this poignant way.”
One of the churches which will be joining in the bell ringing at 12.30pm and lighting a beacon is St Giles’ Church in Wrexham which houses the Regimental Chapel of the Royal Welch Fusiliers. Nearly 10,000 Fusiliers lost their lives in the War and they are being commemorated in a display of 10,000 poppies knitted by members of the congregation and the Wrexham community (pictured above). The church’s iconic tower is also the site of one of the 1,000 beacons of light being lit across the UK at 7pm.
Other events at the church, which has a unique ring of 10 bells, include an exhibition highlighting the role of local people in the war and an Act of Commemoration at 6pm on November 11.
The Vicar of St Giles, the Revd Dr Jason Bray, said: “Everyone is welcome to these events. People in Wrexham have clearly been deeply affected by this 100th anniversary as we saw in the massive response to our knitted poppy appeal. This is a chance for them to come together and remember, and give thanks for, those in their families, and in the neighbourhoods around us, who sacrificed their lives 100 years ago.”
Elsewhere in the Diocese services of Remembrance are being held, exhibitions are being created and hand craft poppies are decorating churches and buildings. In Marchwiel, the Coffee Morning Group at Ss Deiniols and Marcella’s Church has created hundreds of poppies from recycled plastic bottles which are decorating the church grounds. In Llandegla, a display of more than 2,000 red, purple and white poppies adorns the outside of the Memorial Hall and Community Shop. At night, the displays are lit up.
In Coedpoeth, St Tudfil’s Church is festooned with hundreds of knitted and crocheted poppies made by members of the community to form a weeping window. They reach down the side of the Church from the top of the stained-glass altar window to the foot of the memorial cross to the missionary Winifred Davies. Around the foot of the poppies wooden crosses have been placed each one bearing the name of a local man killed in the wars.
The centenary of the Armistice brings to an end a year of memorials at Meifod Church in Powys. Members of the congregations have researched information about the 25 men from the village and surrounding area who were killed during the war and tolled the church bell on the anniversary of their death.
In Flint, the names of all those killed during the Great War will be read at a special service. The Revd Brian Harvey explains how the service in the Church of St Mary and St David will follow on from commemorations held to mark the start of the War. He said: “In 2014 on the anniversary that war was declared, we commemorated the event with a series of readings, music and silences. The church was candlelit, and, by the end, the church was in darkness and everyone, over 150 people, left in silence.
“Four years on, we will commemorate the conclusion of the First World War with a similar evening service, again, with readings, music and silences. This time we will begin in darkness and end with the church fully candlelit again. During the service, the names of all Flint people who lost their lives in the War will be read out and school children will light candles in their memory.”
Like many other churches and community spaces across the country, Flint has installed haunting silhouettes from the “there but not there” campaign as a poignant reminder of the lives lost.