Churches remember World War One

British Mark I tank during the First World War.(Photo: Ernest Brooks)

World War One. The Great War. The War to End all Wars. Whatever it is called, remembering it is something that must continue. That is a work that churches around the country are committed to this year and below is a list of just some of the events taking place across the UK.

Sunday 2nd February – 16:00 - St George's Church Bloomsbury Way, London

The Pegasus Chamber Choir will be performing an hour-long concert of works by composers who experienced the Great War at first hand. This will include works from such names as Ivor Gurney ('Since I believe in God the Father Almighty' and 'Psalm 23'), Douglas Guest ('For the Fallen'), and two movements from Sergei Rachmaninov's transcendent All-Night Vigil.

Thursday 27th February – 18:30 – Southwark Cathedral

Canon Alan Wilkinson will be launching the reprint of his book 'The Church of England and the First World War'. There will be a panel of speakers and a discussion of the Church's role at the time and what it meant. To give a short preview, here's a quote from one minister at the time of the war.

"This truly is a war of ideals; Odin is ranged against Christ, and Berlin is seeking to prove its supremacy over Bethlehem. Every shot that is fired, every bayonet thrust that gets home, every life that is sacrificed, is in very truth 'for His Name's sake'."

Durham Cathedral

Saturday 8th March – 19:30 – Durham Cathedral

Durham Cathedral Choir will be performing two great works of choral music, one British and one German. Johannes Brahms' 'Ein Deutsches Requiem' and English composer Herbert Howells' 'Requiem'. Howells' work was composed in the 1930s and modelled on Walford Davies' piece 'A Short Requiem of 1915', memorialising many of the fallen of that time.

Friday 28th March – 19:30 – Liverpool Cathedral

This concert, performed by the Liverpool Welsh Choral, will include regimental tunes, songs from the period, readings of diary entries and historical narration. It will be concluded by Vaughan Williams' 'Dona Nobis Pacem'.

Monday 28th April – 19:30 – St Alkmund Church, Whitchurch, Shropshire

The Halle Soloists chamber music group will be performing a selection of music as part of the opening concert of the Edward German Festival. There will be pieces by Elgar, Ivor Gurney, Delius and George Butterworth. There will also be a pre-concert talk by Gurney specialist Philip Lancaster.

Thursday 15th May – 12:00 – Tavistock Square, London

Quakers will be joining a number of other activists in remembrance of International Conscientious Objectors day. It will mark the launch of a series of events, exhibitions, and online resources, all aimed at better remembering those who exhibited a very different kind of bravery.

Saturday 5th July – Tuesday 8th July – St Mary's Church, Fordingbridge, Hampshire

A four day festival will see the interior of this church transformed into a setting akin to a village of the kind that existed just before the First World War broke out. This will include tea rooms, a hardware shop, post office, church and village green. Outside there will be vintage vehicles, country dancing, and a brass training band.

Saturday 5th July – 10:30 – St David's Cathedral, Pembrokeshire 

The UK's smallest city will be holding a remembrance service in the building that affords it that title. The 5th of July was the day that Kaiser Wilhelm II gave the famous blank cheque to the Austro-Hungarian Empire that Germany would back them up with full military support, whatever decision they made.

Saturday 12th July – 19:30 – Norwich Cathedral

Edith Cavell

Internationally renowned composer Patrick Hawes has been commissioned to write a major new work for adult and children's choirs, solo soprano and chamber orchestra. This piece will receive its world premiere at Norwich Cathedral on the 12th July this year. It celebrates the life, courage and faith of nurse Edith Cavell, who was executed for treason after helping Allied Soldiers escape occupied Belgium to the neutral Netherlands.

It will be performed by English Chamber Orchestra, soprano Elin Manahan Thomas, the Sheringham and Cromer Choral Society, and students from international Britten Music Course. Works by Burgon, Guest, Pearsall and Butterworth will also be featured.

Sunday 27th July - Stoneleigh Abbey, Kenilworth, Warwickshire

This exhibition celebrates the Leigh family of Stoneleigh Abbey, and their attempt to make a contribution to the war effort. Entitled 'Anxious to do Something' it aims to capture the spirit of much of the upper classes of the time, who wanted to offer some kind of support, but weren't entirely sure what.

Monday 4th August – Westminster Abbey

Marking the day that Britain declared war, Westminster Abbey will be holding a candlelit vigil that will end at 11pm, when the last candle is extinguished. There will be prayers, readings, and music.

Monday 4th August – Glasgow Cathedral

Commonwealth heads of government and state have been invited to a special memorial service taking place at the Cathedral, memorialising all those soldiers who came from all parts of the Empire to serve in the British armed forces.

Saturday 9th August – Worchester Cathedral

Also celebrating the diversity of those who went to serve on the various front lines of the First World War, Worchester Cathedral will be holding a special multi-faith service.

An aerial view of Southwark Cathedral in central LondonPA

Friday 7th November – Southwark Cathedral

A concert in aid of the charity 'Help the Heroes' will be held at Southwark Cathedral. The event will include hymns, songs, passages from the Bible, and a display with excerpts from the diaries of the Reverend William Charles Campling, Chaplain to the Essex Regiment and the 11th Somerset Light Infantry of the British Forces. His grandson Andrew will be singing as part of the perfomances.

Saturday 8th November - St Peter's Church, Sheringham, Norfolk

Soprano Rosamund Walton and Jiminies choir from Gresham's Prep School will be giving another performance of Patrick Hawes's new First World War Memorial composition.

Saturday 15th November – Southwell Minster, Nottinghamshire

Vaughan Williams 'The Lark Ascending', Elgar's 'Spirit of England' and Vaughan William's 'Dona Nobis Pacem' will all be featured in Southwell Minster's 'Trent to Trenches' memorial concert.