How your church can mark the end of the Great War: A guide to resources

Christian organisations are giving away a wealth of resources to help churches, communities and schools mark 100 years since the end of the First World War. Some of the resources have a modest cost but the majority are completely free and available to download in digital format.

The resources have been collated online by HOPE, the charity that co-published The Servant Queen and the King She Serves.

Wikimedia CommonsThe Menin Gate at Ypres, near the site of the Battle of Passchendaele.

The 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War takes place on Sunday November 11, 2018. On this special centenary many people all over the globe will observe Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day. The 53 member states of the British Commonwealth, including places such as the UK, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Kenya, Jamaica, Cyprus, Uganda and India will also mark the occasion. The US will also conduct services of remembrance to honour military veterans on November 11, known in the US as Veterans Day.

The wealth of remembrance and peace-themed resources available include lesson plans, service outlines, short video clips, inspirational stories, liturgical resources, prayers, Bible readings, reflections, suggested hymns, songs and music, and books to order and give away at an event.

In addition to collating the efforts of other Christian organisations HOPE has produced several resources of its own. 100 Days of Peace and Hope is a collection of daily prayers, Bible readings and reflections with a sensitive introduction by Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Contributors to include members and staff from the Church of England, the Methodist Church, the United Reformed Church, the Armed Forces Christian Union, Bible Society, the Evangelical Alliance, the HOPE leadership team, Sports Chaplaincy UK, Christian Vision for Men, the World Prayer Centre, the Anglican Communion Office, the Peace Alliance and other chaplaincies and Christian ministries.

These thoughts, prayers and peace making actions can be used by individuals and groups at any time but are especially useful in the 100 days leading up to Armistice Day on November 11.

HOPE has produced a small gift book, Silence, which for a modest cost can be ordered online for your church to give as a keepsake for those attending remembrance services. HOPE is also giving away a 50-page document which is packed with exciting ideas about how to organise a Peace Party in the community.

HOPE has produced a gift book, Silence.

The Church of England has created a comprehensive collection of resources. It lists biblical readings which are suitable for use in a church service. It also lists the sources of more than 20 appropriate non-biblical readings from literature such as war poems and memoirs. In addition to these free resources there are many well written prayers, and recommendations for hymns, songs, music and images.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is encouraging people to mark the end of the war.

Bible Society distributed more than 9 million copies of scripture in over 80 languages to members of the armed forces and prisoners of war on all sides from 1914-18. Today its website delivers a generous supply of fascinating, and often deeply personal, wartime stories which centre on faith. There are short video clips, a suggested order of service, sermon notes and a free digital book, St Paul from the Trenches. Hear My Cry is an illustrated collection of psalms, poems and prayers to aid reflection about World War One which is suitable for religious and civic remembrance ceremonies as well as for individual use.

Christian Vision for Men (CVM) has produced a short film, Greater Love, which is available as a free download. This collection of interviews with military personnel focuses on the sacrifice which was made 100 years ago, and which military families continue to make today. The film incorporates a short gospel film by Carl Beech featuring Great War chaplain Woodbine Willie and filmed on location at the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium. CVM is also giving away a booklet to accompany the film Greater Love, tips for church services, ideas for use with children and young people, sermon outlines and prayers.

For information, images and stories which raise awareness about the contributions of African and Caribbean servicemen to the First World War, click here.

To see the full range of resources and Christian organisations involved click here.

Val Fraser is an author and journalist. Follow her on Twitter @ValFraserAuthor.

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