Dean's Blog

Remembrance Sunday

Old Cemetry 1Remembrance Sunday is always an important day in the expatriate community’s and the Cathedral’s diary and with the 11thNovember falling on a Sunday this year both the Act of Remembrance in the Old Cemetery and the evening Remembrance Service in the Cathedral fell on the same day. It highlights the distinctive civic role that Anglican Church has in the community, who look to us to provide a dignified service on such occasions.
Old Cemetry 2Ambassadors from nearly every embassy turn out in force for the Act of Remembrance in the morning and we had a better turn out of ambassadors and embassy representatives at the evening service this year which can be put down to the excellent relationship that we have with the British Embassy, through both the Ambassador and the Defence Attache. The gracious invitation to a curry lunch at the British Embassy to all who attended the Cemetery Act of Remembrance was gladly taken up by diplomats, military personnel, and civilians and I’m always delighted that Kumar and Callan our faithful cemetery staff, who work harder than anyone else to prepare for this event, come too. Refreshments followed the service in the evening too and people clearly enjoyed the hospitality – thank you to the team of food providers!

US CemetryIn my address, I reflected on the impact on me of a visit to the Brittany American Cemetery in the summer and meeting a French member of the Association Les  Fleurs de  la Memoire. I learnt of their commitment to keep alive the memory of Americans in that region of France who sacrificed their lives in The Battle for Normandy following D-Day for liberation of France: Worse than death is to be forgotten.  There is a devastating impact of war, but occasionally it is necessary  in confronting and overcoming  evil, though usually at huge cost to so many peoples’ lives. I particularly focused on Romans 8 and the healing message of Paul that nothing can separate us from the love of God  and concluded with a prayer of St Francis de Sales which some people clearly found helpful:

Do not look forward to what might happen tomorrow.
The same everlasting Father who cares for you today
will take care of you tomorrow and everyday.
Either He will shield you from suffering or
He will give you unfailing strength to bear it.
Be at peace then and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginings.