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Remembrance Sunday 2016

On the 13th November, Remembrance Sunday, the sun burst upon East Barnet Village in all its radiant glory.  Several hundred began encircling our village memorial cross, the medals of the uniformed British Legion contingent glinting in the morning brightness.  The service at the War Memorial was led by Rev. Shaun Sanders, Rev. James Mustard, Mr Joseph Atanga representing East Barnet Baptist Church (Rev. Rupert Lazar, this year is President of the Baptist Union so was attending the National Commemorations with Her Majesty the Queen at the Cenotaph) and Rabbi Barry Lerer Rabbi of Barnet United Synagogue.  All traffic was drawn to a halt as a two minutes unbroken silence was observed, the stillness continuing as wreaths were laid.

In the traditional service in the Church we raised our voices to sing 'All people that on earth do dwell'.  Shaun led prayers remembering the sacrifice of our armed forces in two world wars and together we confessed our failure to preserve peace.

Louise Sutton read from Micah 4, telling of the hope of peace through obedience with the familiar analogy aspiring to all nations beating their swords into ploughshares.

Prior to the service at the War Memorial, an unseen hand had laid a solitary British Legion wreath on our war memorial cross labelled 'Remembering Men of All Faiths' and we were reminded in James's sermon how the Great War of 1914/18 had touched many millions of lives, in the Battle of the Somme and on many other fronts.  Particularly revealing was the appalling suffering of the civilian population of Belgium.  Yet 'war must be waged to preserve peace.....the restoration of peace is a supremely virtuous act'.

Sheila Mortimer and John Savage read out the names of those of the parish who lost their lives in two world wars along with Northern Ireland and Afghanistan. The service ended with the singing of the National Anthem after the final hymn.


In the 'Wyburn' Hall a reflective service took place entitled 'Remember ... The Battle of the Somme 1916-2016.'  This was led by Graham and Shirley-Anne Wheeler and was based on material produced by The Royal British Legion to remember the Battle of the Somme with a number of reflective readings from the period.  A video of the 'Menin Gate and the story of Woodbine Willie' was shown on screen.  How poignant were a collection of reflections from the men who were actually there. Private William Roberts (himself later losing his life) recalled: -

' There again I saw dead and wounded lying side by side. Some were moaning and others had so far lost their reason that they were laughing and singing'.

The time of prayer was started with the blowing of a whistle to remember those who went into battle at the Somme and concluded with a time to make our own poppy wreaths which were displayed in the hall window after the service.

This reflective service ended with singing 'The day thou gavest Lord is ended' followed by the singing of the National Anthem.

Edward Eldred.