Remembrance / Armistice Day services attract large congregations from every generation. For some of those people, it may be the only time they engage with church during the year. Despite restrictions on large gathering at this time, there are still ways to help make Remembrance positive, memorable and spiritual. Read on for some simple suggestions to help.
Large numbers of young people and their parents usually come to Remembrance and/or Armistice Day services through uniformed groups like Scouts, Guides, Cubs and Brownies, along with military groups.
But what will their experience be this year? These suggestions are designed to help make it memorable even though we can’t be together in quite the same way.
Before the service
Whatever form your Remembrance service takes, promote it. There are some free resources you can download here to help you do this:
- A customisable Poster – which you can place around your community to let people know what is happening in your parish can be downloaded for free just here.
- An e-mailable Information Card, letting people know what is happening for Remembrance in your parish this year and inviting them to join in. You can use this resource on social media too.
- A free, customisable article for your parish magazine and/or website to explain what is happening around All Souls’, All Saints’ and Remembrance Sunday. Open and download it (Word doc) by following this link: Remembering mini article final
- Although large uniformed groups like Guides, Scouts, Cadets and others can’t all join together in a church service this year, consider inviting representatives from each group who can take part in a service. Plan ahead with the groups’ leaders to think about how this might work and encourage involvement in readings, prayers and music.
A service inside church
- You’ll likely need to have restricted numbers inside church for a live Remembrance service. That is ok – simply use your usual system for keeping numbers under control for a safe gathering. See the latest Church of England guidance on this. Make sure uniformed groups share information in their own networks about what is going to happen locally this year.
- To open up the service to more people, consider live streaming or recording it for broadcast later that day. If you’re new to this, you may find it helpful to watch this webinar about live streaming and recording funeral services, as many of the tips and principles are just the same.
- If you simply can’t host a live service, you may consider creating a recording of the worship leader(s) delivering the service, ready for broadcast on Remembrance Sunday or Armistice Day. You can advertise and invite as many contacts as you like to watch this and you’ll have full control of the broadcast content.
- Poppy prayers: as part of your content, involve everyone in prayer using a poppy – a familiar symbol which helps to make it memorable – a simple script idea is suggested here.
- Offer something to come back to– as part of the notices, acknowledge that we are all journeying to a very different sort of Christmas this year, but the Church will still be celebrating in some way, whether live, online or a combination of both, and that everyone is invited to turn up or tune in to share in some form of Christmas worship.
Using your outside space
Remembrance and Armistice services will usually include a part of the event that is outside near a war memorial / epitaph. As large gatherings pose greater risk than smaller ones, consider live streaming or recording a much smaller gathering of worship leaders and representatives of uniformed groups instead.
Make it clear in your pre-service advertising what is going to happen this year and discourage people from just turning up.
Ways to involve people at home
- If people can’t come to a physical service, they may be able to watch the service online if it’s live-streamed or recorded.
- You might like to distribute a Prayer Postcard that people can use at home to take a moment to Remember the fallen. This one on the Church Print Hub has a poppy design and a simple prayer on the back to help.
- Remembrance Sunday is a public grief event, but it can spark the emotions of private grief too. Acknowledge this and let people know they can use the online light-a-candle tool to remember someone at any time of the year.
Life Events Diary account-holders
If you have a Life Events Diary (LED) account, then making contact with large numbers of people to tell them about Remembrance Sunday is made easier. If you don’t have an account and would like to know how it could help, visit the website, just here: https://www.lifeeventsdiary.org/.