CAPTION: The Archbishop of Canterbury remembered the 21 children and 3 adults lost in the St Mary's Church bomb raid in May 1943

The Archbishop of Canterbury Prays for Peace at Remembrance Events in Torquay

Posted: 11th November, 2023

The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Reverend Justin Welby took part in the Torbay Armistice Day Commemorations on Saturday 11 November.

He began the day in prayer at the Chapel of the Innocents at St Mary the Virgin Church in St Marychurch, Torquay, during an online prayer gathering with the Bishop of Plymouth, The Rt. Rev’d James Grier.

During the prayer gathering he held up a cross, which was made from an automatic rifle.

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the tragic World War Two bombing raid, in which 21 children and three adults were killed in the church during a Sunday School service at St Mary the Virgin Church at St Marychurch, Torquay.

During the Remembrance service there, the Archbishop gave an address were he remembered the lives lost during the tragic bomb raid at the church.

He also reflected on the Gaza and Israel conflict. Archbishop Justin said, “In the Holy Land today 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.”

The Archbishop is visiting Devon as part of the Come and See weekend of Mission.

The Archbishop has recently returned from Jerusalem, where he joined Anglican and other church leaders in praying for peace in Gaza and Israel.

The Archbishop described Remembrance day as a special day of Repentance, saying, “Repentance from all that brings darkness.”

Following the Sung Morning Prayer service, the Archbishop then took part in an Act of Remembrance led by the Royal British Legion at Torquay War Memorial, alongside civic leaders.

The Torquay service included the 11am silence, marking the day and hour the guns fell silent at the end of World War One.

The Most Revd Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury during the Reflection for Peace walk. Photo: Neil Turner for Lambeth Palace. November 2023

The Archbishop then joined others on a Walk of Reflection for Peace. During this walk, they paused at Torquay Harbour Bridge to pray for peace makers and ‘bridge builders’ in places of conflict.

Students from Torre Church of England Academy who are Pupil Chaplains took part in the walk of Peace, with some students giving readings in front of the crowd.

The Archbishop was joined by students from a local school who took part in the service. Photo: Neil Turner for Lambeth Palace. November 2023

On Sunday 12 November, the Archbishop will visit Plymouth Hoe to lead the annual Remembrance Service. The service will remember 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 livestream of the the Morning Prayer service at St Mary the Virgin Church is available to watch on our Facebook page.