On 28th June 1914 Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assinated in Sarajevo – an act which precipitated the First World War. On August 3rd 1914 the United Kingdom joined the war which was to become one of the most terrible conflicts ever. 2014 marks the centenary of the outbreak of war and for the next few years (the war ended in 1918/9) various commemorations will be held throughout the world. The commemorations, of course, are not just about the conflict, they are also about remembering and learning from the effects of the war on families, on communities and cultures.
At St Chrysostom’s Church the Victoria Park War Memorial in the Anson Chapel commemorates those from the area – of whatever faith -who died in the conflict. As the Parish Church of Victoria Park, and as the place where the local war memorial is, it is right that we spend some time over the next four years looking back and learning from the conflict and how it affected our area. It is important we remember how the war affected our community and its people.
Children of St Chrysostom’s CE School have already done some work on some of those commemorated in the war memorial, and have designed and had made a splendid stained glass window (shown here) which will be displayed in church over the summer. It will be seen for the first time on Sunday August 3rd, the day war broke out.
Next term some children from Plymouth Grove Primary School will also do a project based on the memorial. At Church we will be marking the date of the outbreak of war in worship on Sunday August 3rd, and in September we will have some worship and activities connect with world peace. In November we hope to have a concert of music and poetry connected with World War One. As the months go on there will be more to help us recall the First World War and to understand the great issues it raises for humanity today.
When Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo he was not the only person to die at that moment. His wife at his side, and the child in her womb, were both killed too – a sad reminder of the damage war does to families and to the innocent. Such people caught up in modern conflict will also be in our thoughts and prayers.