Archbishop of York’s prayers ‘not just for the distant fallen’ but for those in conflict today, as Armistice Day approaches

Dr John Sentamu Archbishop of York. Picture: Charlotte Graham
Dr John Sentamu Archbishop of York. Picture: Charlotte Graham
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THE ARCHBISHOP of York has led senior clergy across Yorkshire in reflecting on the power of remembrance and the futility of war, ahead of the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day.

Dr John Sentamu will preach at a special service of thanksgiving and remembrance at York Minister at 9.30am on Sunday, that will culminate with the annual parade through the historic city to the City Memorial Gardens at 11am.

He told The Yorkshire Post that the centenary brought with it a “solemn duty and an opportunity to reflect on the futility of war and the horrific human suffering it unleashes”.

Dr Sentamu said: “Sadly, our prayers will not just be those of distant remembrance – violent conflict is a brutal reality today. We remember all before God, we pray for justice and peace, and we give thanks for the bravery and sacrifice of so many. ‘At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them’.”

It was a message echoed by the Dean of Ripon, the Very Rev John Dobson, who stressed the importance of communities and society to “pause and consider the lessons that are still to be learned from the First World War”.

On Sunday, the Cathedral will host an internationally-renowned German girls’ choir, Madchenchor Hanover, who will perform at a service attended by the Bishop of Leeds, Nick Baines, and the Bishop of Hanover, Ralf Meister. The Dean said he was anticipating “much larger numbers than usual” at the service, which will follow a parade of 240 young people representing the soldiers named on Ripon War Memorial.

“It is fitting on the centenary of the armistice that our commemorations this year have captured the public’s imagination in an amazing way,” he said.

“In Ripon, as in so many communities, people have come together to make a real effort to reflect and remember.”

On Friday, a single poppy will be projected onto the tower of Wakefield Cathedral in the run up to Remembrance Sunday, when it will be flooded red with light to mark the Centenary of end of the First World War. The Dean of Wakefield, the Very Revd Simon Cowling said: “I hope that what we are offering will enable people of all faiths and no faith to feel a sense of community solidarity and to express a collective desire for peace and reconciliation between the nations.”

Elsewhere, St Andrew’s church in Asygarth in the Dales will host a weekend of events, starting on Friday, including a free concert on Saturday afternoon.

On Sunday, the Bishop of Hull, Alison White, and Reverend Canon Dr Neal Barnes, Vicar of Hull Minster, will conduct a service of remembrance at the city’s war memorial, which will include a veteran’s parade and the Humberside Police Band.

At the French memorial in Elvington, a parade of Scouts, Cubs, Guides and Brownies will remember the two French Squadrons of RAF Bomber Command which operated from RAF Elvington, now home to the Yorkshire Air Museum on Sunday.

In Bradford on Sunday, Dean of Bradford Cathedral, the Very Reverend Jerry Lepine will lead prayers at the city’s cenotaph assisted by representatives from other faiths.