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Living God's Love logo


Living God's Love...

.is an invitation to journey

It's an opportunity to discover new things about God, ourselves and the world, to look with fresh eyes and explore new ways.

In particular, it is a call to the parishes, schools and people of the Diocese of St Albans to Go Deeper into God,Transform Communities and Make New Disciples.

Click here for current Mission Action Plan (MAP)

They came forward in the hour of their

country's need to fight, to suffer and to die

that she might live (War Memorial dedicatory inscription)

On 11 November 2018, one hundred years after the end of the Great War, wreaths will be laid at the War Memorial in the churchyard of Great St Mary's. We will remember as a town, on Remembrance Sunday, those who have died for their country in war.

This year there will also he particular awareness of those who had the foresight and commitment to erect a War Memorial in Sawbridgeworth in 1919. It has provided a focus for the grief, loss and pride of this community for the past century and will continue to do so in the years to come. In the years following the First World War, memorials were erected in towns and villages across the land in the greatest wave of remembrance the nation had ever seen. This was a new social phenomenon and marked a major cultural shift in how conflicts were commemorated.

An expectation had arisen during the war that individual soldiers would expect to be commemorated, whatever their rank. Memorials increasingly included lists of names, which were usually compiled by local communities. In part this was a response to the practical problem of commemorating large numbers of dead, but it carried additional symbolic importance: in some ways the physical presence of a name acted to compensate for an absent body. 70 names of those who died in the Great War are carved on the Sawbridgeworth Memorial. The soldier's rank is omitted (in common with many British lists), creating equality in death. After the Second World War, there was no equivalent mass construction of memorials to the war dead and Sawbridgeworth, like many other places, adapted its existing memorial by inscribing additional names on the existing lists.

The Sawbridgeworth memorial is Gothic in style, harmonizing with the church and producing a noble and enduring commemoration. The monument is topped by a Celtic Cross.

The emblems of self-sacrifice, victory and death carved on this memorial include The Cross o Suffering and The Crown of Victory.

You may have noticed that the War Memorial (under the ownership and responsibility of the Council) has recently been refurbished thanks to the work of the World War One Commemoration Group (WWOC Group) and liaison between the Totiw-I1 Council, War Memorials Trust, Great St Mary's and the Diocese of St Albans. It -will soon be restored to the way it would have looked when newly erected in 1919.

We are fortunate to have an account in the Herts and Essex Observer (27.12.1919) of the dedication and unveiling of the Memorial Cross*:

...All sections of the local community manifested the depth of gratitude and affection entertained for the brave sons of the town who,nobly fighting, fell in honour's cause... Ex-Service men were drawn up in line at either side of the monument, and the very large and representative attendance included the members of the Urban District Council and leading residents, quite irrespective of sect or denomination.

The impressive proceedings opened with the singing of the hymn, "0 God, our help in ages past" after which the Collects were taken by the Rev. H.L.West, Congregational minister. The Lesson was read by the Rev. S.P. Woodfield, the curate, and then the unveiling ceremony was performed by Col. Sir Charles Longmore, K.C.B., at the invitation of Mr A. Flack, Chairman of the Council and War Memorial Committee, who laid a wreath at the base of the Memorial, where many other tributes of love and esteem were also placed by relatives of the fallen.

Following the unveiling, the Buglers of the 1st Volunteer Batt. Hertfordshire Regiment sounded "The Last Post" with great effect.

The dedicatory prayers "to the glory of God and the memory of the men of this parish who died on active service" were then read by the Vicar, the Rev E.O. Beverley 

Or Annual Service of Remembrance takes place on 11 November 2018.

I am indebted to the WWDC Group for this extract from the Obsever.

Frances ARNOLD


Details of the dates are in the calendar of events ("This Week") here on the website and in Church & Town. If you would like to know more about what is available for children or adults at Great Mary's, then do please contact us. Our contact details are HERE.