Sligo Churches Together meet regularly during the year as they seek to work out how they, as Christians, should be serving the community and bearing witness to the unity that they share as followers of Christ, even though there is diversity in their church traditions.
The group comprises representatives from the Roman Catholic church, Church of Ireland, Methodist and Presbyterian churches. One annual fixture in their calendar is Remembrance day, which they have collectively marked for several years. This is an account of the events around remembrance day last year.
On Sunday 11 November 2018 the bells of all the Churches in Sligo rang out as over 600 local people dressed in period costume marched in military file from Sligo City Hall to the Cenotaph, representing the 605 men and 2 women from Sligo town and county who lost their lives in the Great War of 1914–1918.
The previous day the annual Service of Remembrance took place at the Cenotaph. The Service was led by Very Rev. Arfon Williams, Dean of St John’s Church of Ireland Cathedral, with Presbyterian and Catholic clergy also taking part. It wasattended by many whose relatives served in the war. An Irish Army colour party was also in attendance.
A special memorial is soon to be erected in Sligo which will bear the names of all the people of the town and county who died in the Great War. During the remembrance events the site was blessed and the first sod turned on this very notable weekend for Sligo.
Following on from this, the Sligo Grammar School hosted their Annual Remembrance Service on Wednesday 14 November and as usual, clergy from all the main denominations were in attendance along with public representatives while a particularly large congregation filled the beautiful Calry Church of Ireland Parish Church.
Throughout 2019 the churches in sligo have continued to run joint programmes, such as the Alpha course and have encouraged congregations to visit one another’s churches for Carol Services and Christmas events.
An inter–church approach to a Service of Remembrance or special events in the life of your church is a good way to get to know the wider community. Specifically remembering and commemorating the loss of life due to war reminds us such tragedy was brought on the town as a whole, rather than individual churches.
The sense of fellowship that comes from participating in such events is another reminder that we are all connected as brothers and sisters in Christ.
The churches in Sligo are a great example of how to gather together as a community during special seasons. As Remembrance Day approaches, why not discuss how you, as a church group or individual, could join with other denominations in your area?