Dear Friends,

And so, we are back in ‘lock down’. That means for the next four weeks we have to close the church. But we are allowed to broadcast from the church and so, each Sunday, at 11am, we will be live-streaming from the church via our FACEBOOK group. Naturally I am disappointed. As a church we had taken all necessary precautions to ensure a safe environment for meeting together but having said that we cannot avoid the fact that the ‘2nd wave’ is having a very real impact and we should play our part to help reduce the opportunities for spreading the virus…But it isn’t just about Sunday worship. Being ‘locked down’ at this time of year is not good. The ‘change of the hour’, falling temperatures, inclement weather, all of this conspires to make life difficult at the best of times. We should not underestimate the challenge, especially for those who live on their own, and as well for those with young children. We need to continue to look out for one another; keeping in touch with each other in whatever ways we can…

…This coming Sunday is Remembrance Sunday. It was instituted not long after the end of WW1, and is traditionally the Sunday nearest to the 11th November – the 11th day of the 11th month when at 11am the guns fell silent on the Western Front – but this year is the 75th anniversary of the ending of WW2, and so our service in the church will focus on remembering those with connections to the Free Church who died during that particular conflict. And not just serving personnel, but also civilian casualties living on the Suburb, victims of the bombing inflicted on London during what we know as The Blitz…Whilst the passing of time means that there are now relatively few surviving veterans of WW2, there will be many children and grandchildren alive today who will have cause to remember fathers and grandfathers who died during that war; as well as a number of surviving widows and siblings. Technological advances have meant that we have a more extensive photographic record of our loved ones, and no doubt many folk, ourselves included, will be getting out the pictures we have to remind ourselves that those whom we remember are more than just a name…During and after the War, Hollywood was in its heyday and a whole host of ‘war films’ have been made. Many sought to glamourize war so much that we are left with a sense of unreality. More recent offerings have stripped away the glamour, laying bare the absolute horror of modern warfare. No doubt many of these films will be shown again over next weekend. I have always been struck by two particular offerings; each focussed on the Normandy landings: ‘The Longest Day’, and ‘Saving Private Ryan’, both of which capture the essence of what our remembrance is all about. Whether your remembrance is personal, or private, and/or shared with that of the public at large…’We will remember them’.

Remembrance Sunday