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Remembrance Sunday 2015

A Day to Remember (8th November 2015).


Greater still than last year a crowd with more than 500 gathered round East Barnet's War Memorial cross, children hoisted high on shoulders of the outer tiers of encirclement as the British Legion contingent arrived led by the kilted bagpipers of the Metropolitan Irish Police Pipe Band.  The outside service was led by the Revd's James Mustard, Shaun Sanders and Rupert Lazar representing the Anglican, Methodist and Baptist churches of East Barnet. Rabbi Barry Lerer, Barnet United Synagogue, sang a Hebrew prayer. An unbroken silence was observed before the laying of wreaths.


All seats were taken in both the main service in the Church and for an alternative all-age worship service in the Wyburn Hall.  In all over 300 people attending.


In the church the Bible readings were Micah 4: 1 - 8 read by Chris Mears and John 15: 9 - 17 read by Oliver Clixby.  In his engaging sermon Shaun mentioned the first Cenotaph service of 1920 with queues extending for seven miles and the many memorials and tablets subsequently appearing throughout the land.  He also reminded us of the 'unique atmosphere' of the poppies at the Tower of London last year which had so 'captured the imagination' of all who visited, 'we find ways to remember those who died in war'.

Only minutes earlier, wheelchair bound centenarian Greta Druce had laid a wreath on the memorial outside.  Her story was both unexpected and remarkable. Shaun related how at the age of two she survived a Zeppelin bombing in Camberwell in 1917 while tragically her brothers, Henry aged five and Eddie age three died in the raid, your correspondent being shown a photograph of the bomb damage after service.  We had looked back and now we looked forward to the 'wonderful vision' in the Micah text, of 'beating their swords into ploughshares' when all are free to live their lives in peace.

The names of those from this parish who gave their lives in two world wars were read out by Dick Selby and Sheila Mortimer ending with a serviceman who died in Northern Ireland and another who lost his life in Afghanistan (Paul Bartlett who following Colin's research we learn how he was posthumously awarded the Military Cross for outstanding valour.)

And how relevant in these our times were the following words in the prayer read by James.  As Christians we asked God to 'Help us to lift our eyes above the torment of this broken world and grant us the grace to pray for those who wish us harm' (for Christ loves them even if they do not know him).  Organist Euan Durston played as we closed with 'Thine be the Glory, risen conquering son' and the service concluded with the National Anthem.


Edward Eldred.