St Bride's: Sermons

A Season of Commemoration

This autumn is a time of commemoration and not just on Armistice Day in November when we remember those who died in the two World Wars of the twentieth century. This autumn’s series of commemorations begin with the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain in September when we remember the bravery of the RAF and Polish Air Force pilots who flew their Hurricanes and Spitfires over the fields of Kent, battling the might of Hitler's Luftwaffe for victory in the sky. This was followed by what became known as the Blitz when Hitler turned his attention to bombing our cities. St Bride’s was itself a victim of one of these bombing raids on 29th December 1940.

Then on 19th September, in a commemoration of a very different kind, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI beatified Cardinal John Henry Newman in a ceremony in Coventry as the climax of his State visit. Newman is a figure beloved by both Anglicans and Catholics, a deeply spiritual but also scholarly man who continues to influence Christian thinkers and believers over 100 years after his death.

In October we commemorate Trafalgar Day and remember Admiral Horatio Nelson who died at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 and became the nation’s hero for many years afterwards. The service is the RNR’s opportunity to honour those from the Royal and Merchant Navies who died in War, and acts as a lead up to Remembrance Sunday in November when we honour the sacrifices made by our armed forces in the wars of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Finally, as the Journalists’ Church, we are holding a special commemorative event on 10th November to remember the journalists, cameramen and support staff who have died in the first ten years of the twenty-first century, bringing us the news from the frontline. This will be an important high profile service which focuses on one of the core aspects of our ministry at St Bride’s which remains the spiritual home for the scattered media world of Fleet Street.

Remembering is vital for our well-being as rounded human personalities. It literally means bringing together our constituent parts as we acknowledge that we are creatures of history, people with a past as well as a present and a future. We celebrate where we have come from and the people and events that have shaped our lives as a way of making sense of who we are now and what we might become in the future: We are not just “people living in the present”, and these commemorative events of the next few months remind us of that important truth.

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