A service to remember the 75th anniversary of The War in the Far East / VJ DAY
SATURDAY AUGUST 15 2020 6.00pm
- The introduction and welcome / FP followed by the Kohima Epitaph read by MS
- FP introduces the HYMN: “For the healing of the nations”
- MS introduces the opening prayer spoken over an image of the Hiroshima mushroom cloud
Reader: Richard Bennett, Colour Serjeant within the British Army Regiment, The Rifles
READER / RB Blessed is our God, now and into the ages of ages
ALL: Blessed is our God, who grants us peace and is the source of all peace.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God
READER / RB Loving God,
You create and sustain all that is good and beautiful;
You give life to the earth.
You have called us to wholeness, to the fullness of life.
But, we remain conscious of our brokenness, as people and as communities.
We hear the cries for justice and peace from all corners of the earth.
We are moved by the tears and struggles of millions around the world.
We know the dark clouds of war creep over us,
We pray for peace through Jesus Christ our Lord
- FP introduces the video “The war in the Far East through the eyes of young people” (British Legion Video)
MS introduces the HYMN: "Thy Kingdom come O God"
FP introduces the photos and the gong which will sound 75 times as images of the war are shown. FP will talk about the Changi murals before the gong starts
READER EF: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the
kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
THIS IS THE WORD OF THE LORD
ALL: THANKS BE TO GOD
- FP introduces Bishop Hugh, FP could talk about the consecration of the Bishop of Singapore in the same chapel as Bishop Hugh, unless that clashes with what Bishop Hugh will say
- MS introduces the Obama video and the litany for peace / underscored softly by something beautiful / reader: Richard Bennett Colour Serjeant within the British Army Regiment, The Rifles
READER / RB O Lord our God,
We thank you for all those who have struggled and given their lives
in the cause of peace. Give us courage to follow their pathway,
in the midst of trial, persecution and despair
We pray for the millions who will be hungry today, all who are exploited or
marginalised because of who they are
We hold up to you those who are persecuted, imprisoned, tortured or threatened
because they dared to speak of peace and justice
Lord of creation, we commend our planet to your care, we commend those who work
to protect us against climate change
Strengthen our will for peace and justice, increase our faith in your kingdom where
love and faithfulness will meet, righteousness and peace will embrace, and
may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven
- FP introduces the HYMN: “Love is his word”
- MS introduces the closing prayers including a prayer written by a survivor of the war. Reader Lieutenant Commander Ed Fanshawe Royal Navy
READER / EF Dear young people of the world,
War begins slowly quietly hidden,
If you sense that it is near, it may be too late.
You are only given one life and it is a curious treasure, so cherish this moment, Cherish this day, be kind to others, be kind to yourself,
Let peace be your number one priority,
Pray that every human being finds peace
And remember that children are our greatest blessing.
Try to dignify each other rather than getting upset over differences.
You, the children of the world are precious in God’s sight.
- FP explains about the language of Esperanto, MS & FP will read, andMS will invite others to say The Lord’s Prayer in whatever language they can:
PART 1. FP
PATRO NIA, KIU ESTAS EN LA CIELO / Our Father who art in heaven
SANKTIGATA ESTU VIA NOMO / Hallowed be thy name
VENU VIA REGNO / Thy kingdom come
FARIGO VIA VOLO / Thy will be done
KIEL EN LA CIELO, TIEL ANKAU SUR LA TERO / On earth as it is in heaven
PART 2. MS
NIAN PANON CIUTAGAN DONU AL NI HODIAU / Give us this day our daily bread
KAJ ANKAU NI PARDONAS / And forgive us our trespasses
AL NIAN SULDANTOJN / As we forgive those who trespass against us
KAJ NE KONDUKU NIN EN TENTON / And lead us not into temptation
SED LIBERIGU NIN DE LA MALBONO / But deliver us from evil
CAR VIA ESTAS LA REGNO / For thine is the kingdom
KAJ LA POTENCO / The power and the glory
KAJ LA GLORO ETERNE / For ever and ever. AMEN
- Bishop Hugh introduces theblessing which he will give
- Bishop Hugh introduces the final HYMN: “Hail to the Lord’s anointed”
- MS will offer the thanks and Bishop Hugh speaks the final farewell
- The goodbye wave!!!!!!!!
VJ day 2020
Fr Peter asked me to speak this evening, having heard Archbishop Justin speak at my consecration
service in Lambeth Palace in July. Consecrations don’t normally happen in Lambeth Palace, – but
these aren’t normal times, are they, and so, a small number of us had the privilege of an intimate
service in that little chapel, instead of the normal grandeur of a cathedral consecration. And it turns
out that one of the last Bishops to have been consecrated there was back in 1941, when John
Leonard Wilson was made Bishop of Singapore, before returning to the city just before it
surrendered to the Japanese. He spent the rest of the war in Japanese prisoner of war camps,
where he endured horrible beatings and terrible deprivation.
At one point, Bishop Wilson was tied to a table, face up, with his head hanging over the edge while
he was beaten on the legs, ankles to thighs, with ropes, non-stop, for several hours. In a sermon
preached in 1946, he said:
“I remember Archbishop Temple in one of his books writing that if we pray for any particular virtue,
whether it be patience or courage or love, one of the answers that God gives to us is an opportunity for
expressing that virtue.
“After my first beating I was almost afraid to pray for courage lest I should have another opportunity of
exercising it, but my unspoken prayer was there, and without God’s help I doubt whether I should have
come through. Long hours of ignoble pain were a severe test. In the middle of that torture they asked me if
I still believed in God. When by God’s help I said, ‘I do,’ they asked me why God did not save me, and by the
help of His Holy Spirit I said, ‘God does save me. He does not save me by freeing me from pain or
punishment, but He saves me by giving me the spirit to bear it,’ and when they asked me why I did not
curse them I told them that it was because I was a follower of Jesus Christ, who taught us that we were all
His witness is an example to us all.
What Father Peter didn’t know, was that VJ day has a more personal meaning for me. My
grandfather was also captured at the fall of Singapore. He spent 3 years in the jungles, building the
railway made famous by the film, Bridge over the River Kwai, in horrendous circumstances,
brutalised by the prison guards, starved of food and riddled with tropical illnesses.
A few years ago, I was given a book of his. It’s called Miracle on the River Kwai. Written by Ernest
Gordon, who was a prisoner with him, it tells the story of what happened in those brutal jungles.
My grandfather always hated the Bridge over the River Kwai, which he considered Hollywood
nonsense, but this book, he said, this was how it really was.
The book tells the story of evil. But the reason my Grandfather loved it, wasn’t because it
described how bad things were. The book is called the The Miracle on the River Kwai and the miracle
it describes was one of faith. The author, like my grandfather, arrived in Singapore with a nominal
belief in God, but little more than that. But there in those grim jungles, surrounded by death, Ernest
Gordon discovered something life changing. There, in the least likely circumstances, he discovered
that God is alive and at work, even in the worst of places and and the most terrible of situations.
There in the jungle God remembered him and found him.
And that was also my grandfather’s experience. Like so many of those who fought, he rarely spoke
of his experiences, but he did talk often about God, and about love and faith. And he said that he
learnt about them on the River Kwai.
Just after the camps were liberated, the book’s author wrote this
‘I had seen at first hand the cruelty of a totalitarian regime. I knew something of suffering and what it
meant to look death in the face. I knew the depths to which men could sink and the heights to which they
could rise. I could speak knowledgeably of despair, but also of hope; of hatred, but also of love; of man
without God, but also of man sustained by God. I knew the power of the demonic, and I knew the greater
power of the Holy Spirit’
It is one of the great truths of faith isn’t it; that in the midst of darkness, the light shines brightest;
in the midst of the greatest terror, we hear the voice of God saying ‘peace’; in the middle of the
most terrible injustice, we find men and women stepping boldly forward armed only with faith and
a deep longing for a better world.
And my prayer is that we, inspired by these mighty saints, who have gone before us, those we know
about and those whose names are forgotten, might have the same faith to work for light, peace and
justice in a broken world.
Jane Selway, who worships at St Euny Church writes: In 1963 when I was a R.A.F. nursing sister based in Singapore, my friend and I heard a rumour that there were some P.O.W. paintings in a disused block on the camp at Changi where we were working in the big hospital on top of the hill overlooking what is now the new Singapore airport , in those days R.A.F. Changi. We went and had a look and found the original paintings, they had been uncovered but were very faded, also a lovely painting of Windsor Castle, we took photos, slides in those days which we both still have. However soon after that, various other people got interested in trying to preserve the paintings, including finding the artist, flying him to Changi where he repainted the murals, to me they look quite different, because we went back to look!! Anyway over the years, with the return of the R.A.F. to U.K. we heard that the Singapore government took over the task of preserving them and they are now in a museum, There is lots about them on line. I know my friend will be thrilled to know that they were part of our service, I’v just E-mailed the Blog to her .