Dear Friends,

This coming Sunday, November 1st, is ‘All Saints Day’. It was introduced into the Church’s liturgical calendar in the 8th Century to commemorate “the holy apostles and of all saints, martyrs and confessors, of all the just made perfect who are at rest throughout the world“…For a number of years, we at the Free Church have used the 1st Sunday in November for our ‘Bereavement Support Service’; an informal equivalent of ‘All Saints Day.’ This year will be the first time that our service has been held on the actual day itself…During the service, we read out the names of those whom we have known and loved and who have died; particularly doing the previous 12 months, but not necessarily so. It may be that someone wishes to remember their loved one even after many years. As each name is read, a candle is lit in their memory, and when all candles have been lit, we sit in silence, the darkness illuminated only by the light of the burning candles, each having been lit from one central candle representing ‘the light of Christ’ – ‘The Light Shining in the Darkness, which the Darkness cannot overcome’. This year, we will also take time to commend to God the victims of the Covid-19 pandemic. They may be strangers to us, but it is only right we remember them, and the circumstances that caused their demise as a salutary reminder of the essential vulnerability which characterises the inherent fragility of all human life…Everyone is very welcome to attend; but whether you are attending in person or not, if you wish somebody known to you to be remembered, let me have their names before Sunday and I will include them in the list of those whose names will be read out… Commercial pressures mean this coming weekend will be ‘celebrated’ more on Saturday. ‘All Hallows Eve’, but now popularised, scandalised by having been ‘taken over’ by ‘Halloween’. Although, ‘Trick or Treating’ is likely to be somewhat subdued this year. For us as a Church, it is the Sunday afternoon service that will be our focus…We aren’t allowed to sing, but if we could we would sing…

For all the saints, who from their labours rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest—

And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave again, and arms are strong—

From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
Singing to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost—

May we all be blessed in our remembering…

All Saints Day