CAPTION: The Archbishop of Canterbury has visited Devon as part of the Come and See Weekend of Mission

Archbishop of Canterbury says he will remember the people he has met after a packed Remembrance weekend tour of Devon

Posted: 12th November, 2023

The Archbishop of Canterbury led the annual Remembrance Sunday service on Plymouth Hoe at the end of his packed weekend tour of Devon.

During his prayers, deluged by torrential rain, the Most Rev’d Justin Welby remembered those that had fallen in both World Wars, along with those who have fallen since.

He also remembered members of the military currently on deployment, and those fighting in wars around the world today.

He said, “We take to heart the word from the poem In Flanders Field, and thank all those who carry the torch that gives us freedom and liberty.”

The Archbishop also shared the need for peace in our world, something which he has made a priority during his time in office.

He said, “In our remembering, we pray for a world that may find peace. That in the words of the prophet Isaiah, ‘we may not know war anymore.’

“In hope, we turn to God, seeking strength, resilience, and courage, and in God we find hope. We find direction, and light amidst the darkness.”

On Saturday Archbishop Justin took part in Armistice Day Commemorations in Torquay, which included a service at St Mary-the-Virgin church.

This year marks the 80th Anniversary of a World War Two bombing raid on the church in which 21 children and three adults were killed during a Sunday School service.

During the service Archbishop Justin reflected on the current situation in Gaza and Israel.

He said, “In the Holy Land they will be remembering those 1400 people terribly murdered just over a month ago.

“In Gaza, they will be remembering the thousands of children who have now died in the bombing.”

“This church speaks most vividly of Remembrance. It points most determinedly to the need for change.”

The Archbishop led Remembrance services in Torquay Photo: Neil Turner for Lambeth Palace. November 2023

The Archbishop also took part in the civic Armistice commemoration at Torquay War Memorial and a Walk of Reflection for Peace around Torquay harbour.

During the walk he showed local school children an iron cross he carries, which is made from an automatic rifle surrendered during a gun amnesty in the United States.

In a reference to the book of Isaiah, he spoke of ‘swords becoming ploughshares’ and prayed for us all ‘to become ploughshares for peace’.

The Archbishop’s visit to Devon was a part of a weekend of mission for parish churches called ‘Come and See’.

During the weekend churches across the county hosted outreach events for their communities.

The Archbishop of Canterbury visited students and teachers at Ilfracombe Academy. Photo: Neil Turner for Lambeth Palace. November 2023

As well as taking part in Remembrance events, the Archbishop visited Ilfracombe Academy and Primary school and answered questions from pupils and teachers, on subjects including how heavy was the King’s crown at the coronation,  what it was like to be kidnapped and whether he preferred jam first or cream first on his scones.

The Archbishop also took part in Holsworthy Livestock Market’s annual Harvest service and a bereavement event at the University of Exeter, in which he held moving conversations with four people who had suffered loss and took part in a candlelit walk of reflection to the university chapel.

He paid a private visit to the Living Room at St Mary Mags church in Torquay, which works with people living with homelessness and addiction.

He also spoke about the pressing need to work collaboratively to tackle climate change and inequality when he addressed a gathering of leaders of public and private sector organisations at a dinner to thank them for their contribution to Devon life.

Archbishop Justin has now returned to London ahead of the start of the Church of England’s General Synod, which begins on Monday.

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