With the evenings getting darker and colder we might get lost in a sense of gloom as November begins and points us towards a long, cold winter. November begins with All Souls’ Day and then Remembrance Day – both concerned with death and dying and so is a time for feeling sorrow and pain about those we have loved but no longer see. But the observance of these two dates help us to recognise our own mortality and how the care and preservation of life should be a sacred duty.
At both St Mary’s churches in Gamlingay and Everton we are offering a ritual to help acknowledge and express those feelings of loss and sadness in a service to mark All Souls’ Day, on Sunday 1st November (see the table of service for details). All Souls’ is a service to commemorate the faithful departed, to remember them in prayer, in lighting a candle and in silence; all are invited to come to this service.
A week later we will join with our friends from the Baptist church to host the Remembrance Day service at St Mary’s Church on Sunday 8th November. The continued killing of civilians and service-people in Afghanistan, in Syria, in the Middle East and so many other war-torn places around the world indicate that remembering those who lost their lives in the First World War is an incentive to pay full attention to what is happening in the world now. People of faith will feel as hopeless as those with no religious affiliation when it comes to war – every life killed in conflict is a tragic moment in our history. As we gather in church to pay our respects we will also pledge to keep on praying for peace, to keep on hoping for change, and to keep on teaching our children that war has no winners, only lives lost.
Finally at the end of the month we start to look forward in anticipation of Christmas. The season of Advent begins on Sunday 29th November with a service at St Mary’s, Gamlingay where we begin our time of waiting and preparing by singing some beautiful Advent carols – come and join us as we mark the beginning of Advent.
Reverend Steven Rothwell.