When, on Sunday 12 July, St Bride’s emerged from lockdown with a public Service of Eucharist, we imagined that the worst of the Covid pandemic was over. Sadly that was to prove false, as Remembrance Sunday on 8 November 2020 became the first in a new cycle of Covid church closures.
Marketors’ Chaplain The Reverend Canon Dr Alison Joyce and her team rose to the occasion however by reverting to their renowned online broadcasts. To the theme of “Let not the hope of men perish, nor their sacrifice be in vain”, Remembrance Sunday without wreath-laying by Livery Company Masters and Members of the Armed Forces was nevertheless both poignant and memorable. You can hear the full service here.
Chaplain Alison explained that a St Bride’s Verger had discovered in their archives a Press Club Book of Honour, charting the deaths of Journalists in both World Wars. For WW2, 439 deaths were recorded. Some were war correspondents, some on active service, some were killed in the blitz. Surprisingly, many deaths were completely accidental – blown up on a bridge in Yorkshire or killed in a flying accident in Maidenhead, for example.
Each death was an individual human tragedy. Alison asked whether they had died in vain? She felt that the answer lay with us.
Can we acknowledge and value the gift of peace and freedom that we take for granted? Can we build a more just and righteous world so that others can share in the gift of the fallen in future? Are we prepared to honour their memory by declaring in the way we live out our own lives, that their sacrifice will not be forgotten?
Then, it will not have been in vain.