These words have resounded through almost every event at St. Marys during early November.
Thursday, 5th Not only Guy Fawkes Day Remember, remember the 5th November; gunpowder, treason and plot, but at our Parish Church we marked All Souls Day with an evening service when we focused on loved ones no longer with us. Led by the Rector, Rev. Canon Kevan McCormack, the service started on a low and sombre note, where all bereavement and loss begins. But as the evening progressed, the mood gradually changed to one of hope and promise, for out of all sadness, strength can be gained. Aided by the Assistant Curate and the Assistant Priest, Kevan explained his understanding of the link between God and the departed, between God and himself, and thus between those he loved and had lost and himself. An unbroken link, forever joined by the power of love, which is greater than the power of death. Over 230 names were read by Mr. Michael Stagg, these including all for whom St. Marys clergy had taken funerals during the past year, and others who had died and were especially remembered on this night. Members of the large congregation each lit a candle in memory of family and friends and these were placed on the floor in the shape of a cross. The service was incredibly moving but, at the same time, comforting. Coffee and cake were served in the Church Centre afterwards, giving folk an opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings and support each other.
Saturday, 6th The parish bonfire and fireworks party has become an annual event and was as successful as always. Built during the morning, a huge bonfire was topped by a guy (was it looking slightly like the Rector?) and lit up the clear starlit sky. Soup and hot dogs were enjoyed by all, as was the colourful display of fireworks. Any profit made at this event supports Christian Aid. Many thanks to all who worked in the cold to provide fun and fellowship.
"When you go home, tell them of us and say
For your tomorrow, we gave our today."
The townsfolk gathered in their hundreds around the War Memorial, recently refurbished, as it was rededicated by the towns Rector. Money for the restoration had been raised in just three weeks by the people of Woodbridge. Indeed, more was given than actually needed, and Woodbridge Rotary Club, who had launched the appeal, presented cheques to the Mayor as donations of around 7,000 to be divided between the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal and Help for Heroes. Following the customary two minutes of silence, poppies were laid by representatives of the Woodbridge branch of The Royal British Legion, local councils and dignitaries, and by representatives of all the Woodbridge organisations.
The parade then moved to the Market Square, where Kevan led the Act of Remembrance. Members of other churches in the town contributed to the service, as did the Mayor of Woodbridge, Councillor Les Binns. In his address, the Rector quoted the words of Harry Patch, who died this year the last surviving veteran of the First World War. Kevan urged us all to remember those who had made the supreme sacrifice, to reflect on what they had achieved for us in the freedom we enjoy today, and to reassure our present troops of our support and appreciation for what they are prepared to give in service. At the same time, a vigil for peace was held inside St. Marys. As the soldiers from our own 23rd. Engineer Regiment (Air Assault), stationed at Rock Barracks, left the parade, they were clapped and cheered by the huge gathering, for they represent all the young men and women at present serving overseas.
In the evening, amongst the stunning arrangements of poppies throughout St. Marys, the Parish Eucharist, normally held at 1000, was celebrated.
Certainly, for Woodbridge and St. Marys, a time to remember.
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