Ministry Among The Fallen 

8th November 2019


This month Park Baptist Church marks Remembrance Sunday by joining with the service in St George’s Park and welcoming members of the civic party back to their church for refreshments

It is always a time for contemplation as well as thanksgiving, and for Christians it raises many questions about the role of war, the quest for peace and the place of Jesus at the heart of such conversations

In 1915, a vicar in Worcester was given permission to become an army chaplain and join the front line of the war

Believing that men should fight for what they believe in, Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy would go on to become one of the country’s most well-known chaplains, loved by troops for his habit of giving out packets of Woodbine cigarettes along with Bibles to send them off, earning him the nickname ‘Woodbine Willie

Kennedy won the Military Cross at Messines Ridge in 1917 for bringing in wounded troops under heavy fire, but shrugged it off as no big deal

However having experienced the horrors of war, he returned a changed man; writing and talking extensively about peace. He found the slaughter of British and German troops both unnecessary and futile
As returning soldiers found themselves in a different fight - against poverty and unemployment - Kennedy campaigned relentlessly for a socially-just society. He famously said: “I believe that hungry children make God mad”

His experiences led him to understand peace as not only the absence of war, but the absence of poverty

As we remember the fallen and their sacrifice this year, may we, like Woodbine Willie, also resolve to walk the way of peace - in every sense of the word

WASTE geoffrey studdert