News Release

Church Represented at a very different National Service Of Remembrance

With the national terrorist threat level raised to severe and the second lock-down starting just days beforehand, it had been uncertain whether the Remembrance service at the Cenotaph in Whitehall would go ahead this year. However, following the instruction of Her Majesty the Queen, the service was conducted as usual - albeit with heightened security measures and social distancing in place.

The number of people attending the service was reduced due to the need to comply with social distancing guidelines. The Royal Family, Members of Parliament and the faith and belief communities attended as usual but there were fewer Commonwealth country representatives due to the need for everyone to stand at a safe distance from one another. Jane Elvidge was pleased to be able to represent The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at this year’s remembrance service.

National Service Of Remembrance - Cenotaph 2020
National Service Of Remembrance - Cenotaph 2020. Jane Elvidge on the right.© 2020 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Prior to the service, members of the faith communities were able to spend a few “socially distanced” minutes together to share experiences of how worship services have been impacted by Covid-19. Mr Rajnish Kashyap, General Secretary of the Hindu Council in the UK explained how he and other members of an inter-faith committee had worked tirelessly to ensure that religious services were able to be held once lock-down restrictions started to be lifted in the summer. It was interesting to compare common concerns about the effect of the pandemic on major religious services this year, in particular how those of the Muslim faith weren’t able to celebrate Eid, and how Diwali and Christmas will be impacted for those of the Hindu and Christian faiths. We were all hopeful for the future and being able to resume our worship services again in the normal way.

The Remembrance service started with canon fire that made the ground shake, followed by the bells of Big Ben at 11am. During the two minute silence which followed, all were encouraged to remember those who gave their lives serving their country either during the two World Wars or in other more recent conflicts. Attendees then joined together to pray and sing in a shared moment of unity and solidarity. The words of the hymn “O God our help in ages past” which was sung remain as relevant today as when they were written in 1708. In the last verse we are reminded that God is “our hope for years to come” and “our guard while troubles last”. Those attending were also able to show appreciation for our Queen who addressed the nation at the start of the Coronavirus pandemic. During her speech she said that “We will succeed - and that success will belong to every one of us. Jane said, “It seemed very fitting that we were able to pay tribute to her majesty today.”

It was good to reflect on how we have been brought together as a nation this year through the Covid pandemic and how our common suffering and restrictions have made us more aware of one another. Although the current pandemic has not resulted in as many deaths as the first and second world wars, it is causing considerable hardship and suffering worldwide. Perhaps as a result of not being able to be with our loved ones in the hospital, especially at the end of their lives, we are now better able to understand how it must have been to lose a loved one on a battlefield - where they were alone and unable to be supported by their family in their hour of need and suffering.

Let's hope that in the year ahead as we continue to battle against Covid-19, we can be united as members of our communities and ensure that we are doing our part to help those around us who are suffering. As we continue to “look outward” we can do our part to build on the amazing work that has been done on our behalf by all those service personnel who have made such brave sacrifices for us and those who continue to do so.

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