Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Tomorrow our nation we will be commemorating the 75th anniversary of VE (Victory in Europe Day) but it will be very different from the plans that were being made some months ago – for both our nation and our individual villages.  We will be marking the day from home and I have already seen around our village’s front windows and in some cases whole houses being decorated as we prepare to start the celebrations.  Some are organising street parties – that will comply with social distancing guidelines but will importantly bring that community spirit to the fore.

There will also be many opportunities for people to join in nationally with many events and broadcasts both online, or via radio and TV stations where it will feature heavily throughout the day.

There are many parallels between the struggles of the Second World War and what we are going through today, both affected the everyday lives of so many people across the world.  So as we look back and remember all that the Second World War generation experienced, perhaps we can learn from them, as we continue this current threat.

The 75th anniversary will provide us with an opportunity to reflect on the enormous sacrifice, courage and determination of people from all walks of life who saw us through that dark and terrifying period in our history.

Tomorrow we will collectively pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of the entire Second World War generation, from British, Commonwealth and Allied Forces to evacuees and those who served on the home front.

We now face perhaps the most challenging times since the end of the Second World War. We have seen that same community spirit of people all pulling together and supporting one another come to the fore once again as we unite, just as communities did 75 years ago.

So I want to encourage you at 11 am wherever you may be to observe the national 2 minute silence as together we will honour the service and sacrifice of the Second World War generation and we will, together remember the Victory in Europe, when the sounds of war fell silent on this continent.  Also as we do that we can also reflect on the devastating impact Covid-19 has had on so many lives across the world today, hoping and praying for the day when it will fall silent in our world.

And as we remember the many soldiers, sailors, and airmen who gave their lives restraining evil and opposing tyranny, so we also give thanks for the years of peace that the nations of Europe have, on the whole, enjoyed since the Second World War.

So let tomorrow let us gather joyfully, as those who gathered on that first Victory day did 75 years ago, let us be glad of each other’s company, and grateful for the laughter and love that holds us together in times of sadness and loss.  But above all things, let us pray that God’s will may be done on earth as it is in heaven.

If you are able to venture out for some daily exercise why not visit your local War Memorial for your own personal time of quiet reflection, I will get round to all of our three war Memorials at some point during the day.

Please don’t all go at 11 am and if others are there please do observe the social distancing guidelines which are aimed at protecting the NHS and saving lives.

At some point in the day let us come together united in prayer,

For those who served and died in World War II

O God of truth and justice,
we hold before you those men and women
who have died in active service,
particularly in the Second World War,
whose sacrifice brought Victory in Europe.
As we honour their courage and cherish their memory,
may we put our faith in your future;
for you are the source of life and hope,
now and for ever.  Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer.

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.      Amen.

Your Guide to joining the Virtual VE day celebrations – Frid. 8th May

  • 11 am – The national 2 mins silence – from wherever you may be.
  • 11 am – The Archbishop of York will be leading a Service of Commemoration from Ripon Cathedral which can be accessed from the Ripon Cathedral website: https://www.riponcathedral.org.uk.
  • 11:15 am – The Royal British legion have a number of activities including an 80 minute livestream and a VE Day learning pack for children aged 7-14 years.
    https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-involved/remembrance/remembrance-events/ve-day-75
  • 3 pm – BBC1 extracts from Sir Winston Churchill’s victory speech at the moment peace in Europe was announced 75 years ago and the Prime Minister will speak about the importance of VE Day.
  • From 3 pm – A special VE Day Service has been produced by St. Laurence Chorley, this includes contributions from the Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire and the Speaker of the House of Commons. It will be shown on the St Laurence YouTube Channel.
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOv4VstARg4R_Pgb4qgBGmQ
  • 7 pm – A short VE day reflection and prayer service on our Facebook pages.
  • 9 pm – Her Majesty The Queen will send a message to the nation on BBC One, the exact moment her father, King George VI, gave a radio address in 1945.
  • This will be followed by a national singalong of Dame Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll Meet Again’. We will be encouraged to open our doors and join in with this national moment of celebration.
  • His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales will read an extract from King George VI’s diary from 8 May 1945.
  • The Archbishop of Canterbury will record a special reflection and moment of prayer for VE Day (will be shown on our Facebook pages).
  • Blackburn Cathedral, is inviting people to join in with a Big Picnic for Hope, joining with friends via social media. Participants are encouraged to take some pictures of their picnic and post them using #Bigpicnicforhope and #feed5000 and tag the Cathedral. They are also encouraged to make a donation to the Trussell Trust which runs many of the nations foodbanks.

Attached to this bulletin email for your personal reflection is a copy of the Short thanksgiving service that was published by Westminster Abbey on the 8th May 1945.

With love & prayers.  Michael (Rector)
Tel: 01772 600548 mobile: 07960309005,
email: revmwoods@gmail.com

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