Marking the anniversary of the outbreak of WW1

Remembering World War 1

Peace walks, ration teas, letters read from relatives who served in the First World War, exhibitions of the local fallen, muffled church bells, candlelit vigils and live streaming of the service at Westminster Abbey are just some of the events planned across our diocese as many of our churches and cathedrals open their doors for prayer and reflection on August 3 and 4 to mark the anniversary of the start of WW1.

Britain declared war on Germany at 11pm on August 4, 1914 and the then Foreign Secretary uttered the now famous line:  “The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.”

Inspired by those words, millions of people across the UK are expected to turn their lights out at that time in commemoration of that event.

The BBC will broadcast a service live from Westminster Abbey at 10pm on August 4 and many churches will be open at that time for prayer and reflection.

Bradford Cathedral will open from 7.30pm until 11pm and people are welcome to come and go as they please.  At 10pm there will be a service of readings and prayers inspired by Edward Grey’s famous words and will draw on the shape and content of the service in Westminster Abbey.

Wakefield Cathedral will hold its vigil service at 6pm on Sunday August 3 when letters from a relative of the congregation who served in WW1 will be read out.

And at Ripon Cathedral, Dean John Dobson will lead a service of Choral Evensong at 5.30pm.   

Wakefield Cathedral wants to mount a digital exhibition of images of relatives and their loved ones from WW1 and is appealing for pictures from anyone across the diocese. Called Thank you for your sacrifice  it aims to do just that by creating a visual memory bank of photographs from anyone with ancestors who served in the First World War alongside a living family member as part of the Cathedral’s four year programme to mark the WW1 centenary. For more contact admin [at] (), markedThank you for your sacrifice’.


Pte Thomas Bullivent Wakefield Cathedral's Education Officer, Ali Bullivent

Join Wakefield Cathedral's Education Officer, Ali Bullivent and say "thank you for your sacrifice' to your WW1 relative.

Pictured here is Ali next to her grandad, Pte Thomas Bullivent.



Elsewhere, this weekend there will be prayer stations in Otley Parish church, the Mayor of Calderdale will open a special commemoration service organised by Churches Together in the Claremont and Boothtown areas of Halifax with music by the Littleborough Brass Band at 4.30pm at St Bernard’s RC Church on Aug 3.

Leeds Minster will host an evening candlelit vigil service of readings, prayers, poems, at 10pm on August 4 and has a WW1 display planned for over the summer.

In Adel, there is a full programme of community events over the two days including an open air service at Adel War Memorial at 3pm on Sunday August 3 followed by refreshments in church afterwards and this will be followed on the Monday evening with a candlelit vigil at the Memorial Hall from 7.30-11pm.

Services in Swillington will start after its all age service on Sunday at 11.30am when the Royal British Legion will lead a procession out to a memorial in the graveyard for commemoration prayers. The church will be open for prayer on Monday from 12-4pm.

On Monday, the church at Allerton Bywater will be open for prayer from 9.30-10.30am. Kippax will have a candlelit vigil with the Royal British Legion from 10-11pm.

St Matthew’s Church, Chapel Allerton has created a poets corner with war poems and readings for visitors to reflect on, a quiet chapel to light a commemorative candle and the war memorial will be decorated where prayers for the fallen of WW1 and for enduring peace can be said. The church will be open throughout Monday from 12.30-2pm and again from 5-8pm. Short prayers will be said each half hour and a vigil service will take place at 7.30pm.

In Leeds, St. John's Church, Yeadon, will be open during the day from 11am onwards on Monday 4th August 2014 for prayer and reflection. There will be a short vigil service at 7.30pm followed by refreshments.

The Headingley Team Ministry has planned a weekend of WW1 Commemorations which can be found here:

They include a Parish Eucharist at St Michael’s on Sunday and a vigil service at Evensong at 6.30pm which includes an anthem specially written for the occasion by the Vicar.The Church will be open on 4th August for any who would like to remember those who suffered because of the World War and there is an exhibition in church.

In Morley, a small platoon of troops in WW1 uniform will lead a parade from Morley Town Hall at 10.30am on Sunday to the war memorial in Scatcherd Park. The Salvation Army Band will play familiar songs from WW1 and the parade will include local councillors,  other civic dignitaries, and members of the Royal British Legion.

There will be a community singing and a service including readings, prayers and a two minute silence opened and closed by gun volleys. Wreaths will be laid.

In Barwick in Elmet, community commemorations include the unveiling of a new WW1 memorial bench, parades to the war memorials in Barwick in Elmet and Scholes, a charity BBQ on Sunday and on Monday evening the churches will hold a ‘lights out’ event to coincide with the national initiative.

St James the Great in Pudsey will be holding a Vigil for Peace on the eve of the centenary, Sunday August 3rd at 6 pm and St Margaret's' Church, in the Thornbury Centre, Bradford will be holding a similar vigil on August 4th at 12.30 noon. Both will include war poetry and readings from that time.

St Matthew’s Church, Wilsden, Bradford has a display of photographs and information of all those from the village who fell in the First World War and will be open on Monday Aug 4 from 10-4pm and again from 7-8pm.

In Bierley at St John the Evangelist there is a special service to commemorate the outbreak of WW1 on Sunday August 3rd at 6.30pm with traditional hymns followed by refreshments.

Muffled bells will signal the start of commemorations at Ghyll Church on Monday 4 August at 10am. This will be followed by a short prayer service and the tolling of a single bell. The church is open for refreshments and has two displays, one telling the story of those who died as a result of the war and are buried in either the Pendle Council Cemetery or the Ghyll churchyard and a second exhibition on the wrecking of the naval hospital ship, the HMHS Rohilla off Whitby in 1914. The event will close at 3pm with the ringing of the bells.

In the Huddersfield Episcopal Area, there will be a commemoration service on Sunday 3 August at 4pm at Huddersfield Parish Church and a vigil service at St George’s Church, Ovenden with the local branch of the Royal British at 9.55pm on Monday August 4.

St Saviour, Brownhill, will be open on Monday from 12 - 2pm for prayer during which the church bell will be rung from time to time.

In Huddersfield, there is a community centenary service on August 3 at 4pm at Christ Church Moldgreen with a ration tea and a brass band.

In Hebden Bridge, the Churches Together Group " will hold a First World War service of  Commemoration " at Hope Baptist Church on Sunday 3rd August at 2.00pm. And the Churches Together Group in Shelley and Shepley have organised a peace walk between the churches with short services at each of the war memorials and a community picnic on Monday to mark the last day of peace.


Planting poppies together in Ripon earlier this year

Planting poppies together in Ripon earlier this year

In the Ripon Episcopal area, St James and the Methodist Church, Grewelthorpe will open its doors all weekend for a WW1 display and there is a commemoration service on August 4th at 11am with the local branch of the Royal British Legion.

In Gargrave the church bells will ring followed by a march to the cenotaph led by the Royal British Legion Corps of Drums for an act of commemoration and rededication at the War Memorial at 7pm on August 4 followed by a service in church and an audio-visual display about the 53 Gargrave men who fell. 

At St Michael’s Kirkby Malham, the church is open all weekend for an exhibition telling the lives of the soldiers from Malhamdale and relatives of those living in Malhamdale now who served in the war. There is a vigil service in church on Monday evening at 7pm.

 Bishop Monkton Parish Church will hold a memorial service at 6pm on Sunday 3rd August. It will be supported by a community choir and will commemorate the five soldiers who fell locally and others who have served in conflicts worldwide.

In Wakefield, St Anne’s Wrenthorpe is holding an open air service at the War Memorial on Sunday 3 August at 3pm which is a community event followed by refreshments in church afterwards.The church will then be open 7.30-11pm on the Monday 4 August for a candlelit vigil.

Find out more. Many churches have uploaded their special commemorative services and events onto their own websites or at




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