CAPTION: Archbishop Justin Welby has made reconciliation a key part of his ministry. Photo: Alex Baker Photography.

Archbishop of Canterbury will Pray for Peace at Remembrance Events in Torquay and Plymouth

Posted: 7th November, 2023

The Archbishop of Canterbury is visiting Torbay on Saturday 11 November to take part in the Armistice Day commemorations there.

The Most Reverend Justin Welby will begin the day in prayer at the Chapel of the Innocents at St Mary the Virgin Church in St Marychurch, Torquay.

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the World War Two bombing raid in which 21 children and three Sunday School teachers were killed while attending Sunday School inside the church in May 1943.

The Archbishop will be taking part in a Walk of Reflection for Peace in Torquay, as well as the Armistice Day commemoration

The Archbishop will give the address during a service of Sung Morning Prayer at the church at 9.15am, which is open for anyone to attend.

He will then take part in an Act of Remembrance led by the Royal British Legion at Torquay War Memorial alongside civic leaders.

This will include the 11am silence, marking the day and hour the guns fell silent at the end of World War One.

Cllr Mark Spacagna, the Worshipful the Mayor of Torbay, said: “Remembrance is a time for our communities to come together and show our respect for those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the two World Wars and in more recent conflicts.

“It also is an opportunity to show our appreciation of the work that our Armed Forces carry out today to keep us safe, and their involvement in peacekeeping and disaster relief around the globe. Please come along and join us, if you are able to do so.”

Walk of Reflection for Peace

Archbishop Justin will then join others on a Walk of Reflection for Peace, pausing at Torquay Harbour Bridge to pray for peace makers and ‘bridge builders’ in places of conflict, and at the Harbour Wall to pray for peace ‘beyond the horizon of the here and now.’

The Archbishop, who has made reconciliation and peacebuilding a priority during his time in office, has recently returned from Jerusalem, where he joined Anglican and other church leaders there in praying for peace in Gaza and Israel.

Father Peter March, Vicar of St Luke, St John and All Saints, Torre, said “This will be a timely opportunity for people to reflect both on the damage caused by conflict, and on the part we are all called to play in bringing peace and healing by the way we live our lives.”

The church service, the Act of Remembrance and Walk of Reflection on 11 November are all open to the public.

On Sunday 12 November, Archbishop Justin will lead the Remembrance service on Plymouth Hoe.

Archbishop Justin will also be visiting a school and livestock market on his tour of Devon (Photo: Travis Hayto)

The service remembers all those who lost their lives in both World Wars and in all conflicts.

He will be joined by the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, Councillor Mark Shayer and Mrs Samantha Shayer, the Lord Lieutenant of Devon, David Fursdon and the Bishop of Plymouth, The Rt Revd James Grier.

The Lord Mayor said: “We are incredibly honoured to welcome Archbishop Justin to Plymouth to lead this year’s Remembrance Sunday Service. This is such an important occasion for the city, bringing us all together each year to commemorate and pay tribute to the service, bravery, and sacrifice of those who have laid down their lives for our country.

It is an opportunity not only to remember those we have lost in conflict but also join in a shared hope for a more peaceful tomorrow.”

Bishop James said: “Plymouth is a city with a rich military history and an ongoing military presence.

“The Remembrance Sunday Service is an especially significant and important moment for us as Plymothians and so I am delighted that Archbishop Justin will be joining us.

“As the Archbishop of Canterbury, he not only brings the message of hope and peace that Christian faith offers but he is also someone who has personally devoted his life to peace and reconciliation across the globe.”

The Archbishop’s visit to Devon is part of a weekend of mission in the county called Come and See, which will also see him visiting Ilfracombe Academy, Holsworthy Livestock Market and taking part in an event about bereavement at Exeter University.

In addition, churches are putting on special events for their local communities, alongside their annual Remembrance services. You can see more details here.