Sunday, November 14, 2010

West Ham Church of All Saints Remembrance Sunday Service

This morning I attended the Remembrance Service in the 12th Century Church of All Saints in my ward, West Ham.

The Deputy Lieutenant of Newham, Colonel Mike Dudding, our Mayor Sir Robin Wales and West Ham MP Lyn Brown was present.  As well as veterans, parishioners, residents, 7 Rifles Territorial Army, Sea Cadets, Army Cadets, Councillors and Senior Council officers.

The Church is over a 1,000 years old and is the one of the oldest (or arguably the oldest) building in Newham and lies in in the heart of West Ham Ward.  It is extremely impressive and I would encourage everyone to visit it.  

The service was taken by the vicar, The Revd Stennett Kirby.  He made a particular point of arguing that since in the Christian, Jewish and Muslim tradition, widows and orphans should be honoured, so therefore the spouses and children of servicemen and women who have been killed in recent Wars should not suffer from the Cuts that the Coalition government is proposing  (No comment but check out this BBC link here).

Even though I am a lifelong atheist, as usual, I found the service and the ceremony profoundly moving. 

After the last post and the two minutes silence, Mr Alf Gittings, a member of the Royal Navel Association read out

" They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
  Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
  At the going down of the sun and in the morning
  We will remember them".

To which we all replied "We will remember them"

I did wonder during the service whether Beckton gas worker, Will Thorne, the founder of the GMB trade union and former West Ham Councillor, Mayor and MP, had ever attended a similar service in this very same Church?  I assume he did. During the First World War he had joined the West Ham Volunteer Force with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. His eldest son also joined the army and was killed in action at Ypres in 1917.

There were at least three other remembrance events in Newham today.  Check out my previous post about the 2007 West Ham All Saints service here and Thursday's East Ham Cenotaph ceremony here.


bob smith said...


Sorry to hear you are an atheist but glad you were moved by the ceremony. Mind you, I don't think its good manners to take photo's during the service as you and others were doing, but that's just a personl opinion. I see the need for photo's during the wreath laying but over the years a certain lack of manners has crept in, such as the council official in front of me who chewed gum and talked throughout. There is a danger that such events just become a photo op for local politicians and I am sure we all want to avoid that.

For the record, I think you will find that Quentin Peppiat's church, St Mary Magdalene in East Ham, is far older than All Saints, indeed one of the oldest in the country. Well worth a visit as is its under funded wildlife area and centre.

Stennet's sermon, as always, hit the mark. You should attend more often as our congregation is very representative and it would be a good way for you as a local councillor to meet with constituents.

My book is still for sale.


John Gray said...

Hi Bob
I take you point about the photos (my flash was off) but there was a photographer from the Church taking pictures so I thought it would be okay. Apologies if it was not.

I understand you are right about St Mary Magdalene in East Ham being the oldest. Perhaps Quentin could arrange a ward visit and guided tour? I will return to All Saints (and I hope to visit the other places of worship in the Ward). It was a shame that I could not make the concert that evening.

Pop down with your book to one of my surgeries?



bob smith said...


My pop about photos was aimed more at the official photographer. There was a member of the church taking pictures and I guess I am in a minority for absolutely hating it - and I'm a semi pro photographer, as you will see when I deliver the book!

Do visit Mary Magdalene - it is an amazing place; very small but reeking of a long history. The nature reserve is also worth a walk around.


John Gray said...

Hi Bob

Will do!

(are you going to bring around the book?)

bob said...

book will be delivered to our next surgery - I'll look them up.

John Gray said...

Hi Bob

Check out