100 Years On: Poppies planted for commemorations

Junior Church with Revd. Robert Barthram and Mrs Irene Brymner, Earl Haig Fund Co-orindator Bob Purdom, St Andrew’s Reading

A church in Reading has gone to ground as it started its preparations to mark the 100th anniversary of the declaration of the First World War.

St Andrew’s United Reformed Church in London Road, Reading, planted poppies of peace and remembrance on the first Sunday in May with the hope that they will bloom on or around Saturday, August 4 – the 100 year commemoration of the declaration of the First World War.

United Reformed Churches across the three nations, along with churches from other denominations, planted both red and white seeds throughout Holy Week. Red poppies have been used since just after the First World War as a symbol of remembrance for those who have died in war, while white poppies have come to be a symbol for peace and an end to all wars.

The Revd Robert Barthram, minister of St Andrew’s, said, “The planting of both white and red poppy seeds offer an opportunity for members of the congregation to join together to actively remember those who lost their lives during the First World War, whilst contemplating Christ’s message of peace and justice.

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“It was an occasion of prayer, reflection and planting that ended with a message of hope – that there may come a time when the peace of Christ prevails and there is no more war.”

What made it more significant was the mix of young and old at the service, where the church’s young people, who attend its Junior Church, were involved.