November 11, 2001


LAY ASSISTANTS: John Arnup, representing Veterans; Jo-Anne Bentley; Trevor Buckley; Elizabeth Elliott, representing Veterans: RCAF(WD); Katherine Gray; David Henson; Heather McPherson; Gordie Steiner, from the confirmation class; Karelle Steiner.     



PREPARATION FOR WORSHIP: 526       "Weep for the Dead"

You may wish to prepare for worship by using this text as a focus for prayer and reflection. You may also wish to write names of those you remember today on the insert found  in your bulletin. The names may be offered to be brought forward later for the Wall of Remembrance.




*HYMN: 688               "O Day of God, Draw Nigh"   ST. MICHAEL





Gracious and holy God,

            we come before you in praise and remembrance.

Be with us today, in our heads and in our understanding,

            in our mouths and in our speaking,

            in our hearts and in our speaking.

We remember all who have served you

            and now rest in your everlasting arms.

And we remember the horrors of war, past and present:

            the holocaust and terror,

            the death and destruction.

For those qualities in us that make war possible,

            for times when we have not sought justice or peace,

            for times when we have deadened our spirits to the suffering of others,

            forgive us, we pray.

(Silent prayer)




INTROIT:             God, Be in My Head.


SHARING WITH EACH OTHER:            (With Gordie Steiner)

            We hear "In Flanders Fields" and sing "O Canada":  HYMN   524




*A LITANY OF PRAISE AND REMEMBRANCE, based on Psalms 46 and 90           (Trevor Buckley)


Sung:    O God, our help in ages past,

                        our hope for years to come,

                        our shelter from the stormy blast

                        and our eternal home.


God is our refuge and strength,

            a very present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should tremble

            and the mountains tumble and slide into the sea,

            though the waters foam and rage,

            and mountains shake at their surging.

The Lord of Hosts is with us;

            the God of Israel is our refuge.


                        Before the hills in order stood,

                        or earth received its frame,

                        from everlasting, thou art God,

                        to endless years the same.


There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,

            the holy dwelling of the Most High.

God is in its midst; it stands firm;

            God will help us at the break of day.

Even if the nations are in chaos, and kingdoms fall,

            God's voice resounds; the earth melts away.

The Lord of Hosts is with us;

            the God of Israel is our refuge.


                        Under the shadow of thy throne

                        thy saints have dwelt secure;

                        sufficient is thy arm alone

                        and our defence is sure. 


Come and see what God has done,

            the wonders wrought upon the earth.

All over the world, God makes wars to cease -

            breaking bows, splintering spears,

            burning the chariots with fire!        

God says: "Be still and know that I am God.

            I am exalted among the nations, exalted upon the earth.

The Lord of Hosts is with us:

            the God of Israel is our refuge.


                        A thousand ages in thy sight

                        are like an evening gone:

                        short as the watch that ends the night

                        before the rising sun.


                        O God, our help in ages past,

                        our hope for years to come,

                        be thou our guard while troubles last

                        and our eternal home.


A prophecy of God and people, dwelling together in holy peace.



HYMN  527            "God! As with Silent Hearts"

Readings for the Act of Remembrance come from The Stone Carvers, by Jane Urquhart, a Giller-nominated  novel which describes, in part, the building of the memorial at Vimy Ridge, in France, to commemorate Canadian soldiers killed in the First World War. (McClelland And Stewart, 2000)


Thanks to Katherine Gray for her depiction of the memorial printed on your Order of Service. 


(During the hymn, tea lights placed in a semi-circle on a black riser in the middle of the sanctuary are lit. Then  readers come forward to form a circle around the riser. Readers and soloist step on to the riser for their reading/ solo, then back to the circle, to stand for the other readings and the ‘Time of Remembrance’.)


INTRODUCTION: (Lillian) The novel The Stone Carvers, by Jane Urquhart, tells the story, among others, of the building of the Vimy Memorial, of the vision that created it, of Walter Allward, from Toronto, its builder, of some of the people it memorializes, of the monument taking form over the fields of France, of statues that became part of it, of carving more than 11,000 names in its base. Sometimes, in the book, the author refers to the monument as ‘twin towers’ and as you look at the depiction here on the Wall of Remembrance and printed on your O/S, you will see why. As so often happens on this day, as we remember one event, we call to mind many others. On this Nov. 11, it is inevitable that we will remember those other towers, that other eleventh day. As we listen, let us hold all these memories in our hearts, bring them into the light, and pray, ‘let there be light, let there be understanding’. 


Each reader in turn to riser, in circle of candles - to read:

Begin by saying: “God, be in our heads and understanding as we bring these memories into the light of your love.”  - read - pause  - say: “Let there be light, let there be understanding...” 

off riser to stand in the circle.


1. THE VISION OF VIMY - from pp. 266-267 of The Stone Carvers            (Elizabeth Elliott)


“God, be in our heads and understanding as we bring these memories into the light of your love.”


Today we try to remember. The Vimy Memorial was built at the site of the great 1917 battle of Vimy Ridge, won with huge losses by Canadians who lived for weeks in tunnels they had carved themselves out of the chalky soil, before bursting out of these tunnels on April 9, into a hell of mud and shrapnel. It was designed and built by Walter Allward of Toronto: During the First World War he was too old to go overseas. But then came the vision: 


‘Who knows who or what shattered his indifference, or why, but the last years of the war came to him as a great awakening that let all the horror in, and he dreamed the Great Memorial well before the government competition was announced. He saw the huge twin pillars commemorating those who spoke French and those who spoke English, the allegorical figures with downcast or uplifted faces, and in the valley beneath the work of art, the flesh and bones and blood of the dead stirring in the mud. And then the dead themselves emerged like terrible naked flowers, pleading for a memorial to the disappeared, the vanished ones... those who were unrecognizable and unsung. The ones earth had eaten, as if her appetite were insatiable; as if benign nature had developed a carnal hunger, a yawning mouth, a sinkhole capable of swallowing, forever, one-third of those who had fallen. A messy burial without a funeral, without even a pause in the frantic slaughter.’(Pause)


 “Let there be light, let there be understanding...” 

Step down, to circle.



2. WHO WERE THESE BOYS? - from p. 267                                     (Karelle Steiner)


“God, be in our heads and understanding as we bring these memories into the light of your love.”


Who were these boys with their clear eyes and their long bones, their unscarred skin and their educated muscle? How was it possible that they were destined to be soldiers? In what rooms had they stood? In what shafts of sunlight? Prairie grasses quivering beyond the old watery glass of farm windows. Snow falling softly on small uncertain cities, or into the dark lakes of the north. And all the footsteps they left in the white winter of 1914 would be gone by spring, the boys themselves gone the following autumn.

Allward wanted white, wanted to recall the snow that fell each year on coast and plains and mountains, the disappeared boys names preserved forever, unmelting on a vast territory of stone that was as white as the frozen winter lakes of the country they had left behind. (Pause)


“Let there be light, let there be understanding

Step down, to circle.


3. SOLO:         “I Vow to Thee, My Country”(Peter Fisher)                         GUSTAV HOLST

 - (print words)  


4. THE  MONUMEN T TAKES FORM                            (Heather McPherson)

God, be in our heads and understanding as we bring these memories into the light of your love.”


Visible from a distance of forty miles, the two massive irregular pylons stretching toward the sky like white bone needles or remarkable stalactites, even the skeleton of the memorial had become a feature of the French landscape. The Italian carvers were beginning to work on the figures Allward had cast in plaster in his London studio. The names of the eleven thousand missing men were being collected and the complicated mathematics necessary to fit these names into the space available on the base was being undertaken.

The most recent set of figures had suggested that it would likely take four stone carvers two years to chisel the hundreds of thousands of characters into the stone. Lines, circles, and curves corresponding to a cherished, remembered sound called over fields at summer dusk from a back porch door, shouted perhaps in anger or whispered in passion, or in prayer, in the winter dark. All that remained of torn faces, crushed bone, scattered limbs.(Pause)


“Let there be light, let there be understanding

Step down, to circle.


5. THE SITE -                                     from pp. 299-300          (David Henson)


“God, be in our heads and understanding as we bring these memories into the light of your love.”


Tillman quickly located at the market in Arras a farmer with a cart who was delighted by the idea of being able to convey two new workers to the massive sculpture at Vimy six miles away. As they got nearer to the site the terrain through which they rolled became unsettling in its disorder, the farmer pointing out germinating tenches, muddy craters, barbed wire, shell holes. Acres and acres remained fenced off, posted out of human bounds as active shells and mines still littered the surface and hid in the depths of the earth. Each crossroad they passed through was defined by a mound of rubble where once there had been a hamlet... and by men (who) still toiled at reconstruction. All this more than sixteen years after the troops had gone home, leaving in their wake a torn, unrecognizable landscape, a wind full of ashes, and the smell of rotting flesh. The most manicured and orderly spots were the household gardens... and the military cemeteries... where the grass that covered the graves was mostly green, ironically unscarred. Tillman would not look at the graveyards, stared straight ahead as they lumbered past these inappropriately tidy reminders of tragedy, these gardens of the dead.  ‘I can’t look at them yet,’ he told Klara, who had reacted with shock at the quantity of headstones and crosses. ‘Just, please, don’t make me talk about it....’

Above all this on the horizon rose the twin white towers of the monument.... (Pause)


“Let there be light, let there be understanding

Step down, to circle.


6. THE WIND, THE LARK, THE CARVERS - from pp. 290-291                         (Jo-Anne Bentley)


“God, be in our heads and understanding as we bring these memories into the light of your love.”


The carvers toiled to accurately tease the great female figures of Peace, Knowledge, Justice and Truth from the huge stones.


The wind tore across the ridge some days, shaking the studio and causing the men  to stagger like drunks under glass skylights drenched with rain. On other days there was golden light, a view across cultivated fields to villages still only half reconstructed after the annihilation of a war now (many years) gone. Italian workers knelt on scaffolding erected inside the studio and worked with such concentration it was as if they were engaged in the act of worshipping the human body.

Although he couldn’t see them, it was possible at times for Giorgio the hear airborne larks singing on the other side of the thin studio wall. They provided a kind of thrilling accompaniment to the heart-breaking songs the Italians sang while Giorgio moved his chisel and then the palms of his hands over the magnificent... Statue of Peace, the drapery that covered her... or while he ran his fingers across the bones of her cool hand.  (Pause)


“Let there be light, let there be understanding

Step down, to circle.


7. THE NAMES AND THE BIBLES            - from pp. 347, 377                             (Katherine Gray)

“God, be in our heads and understanding as we bring these memories into the light of your love.”


Then (the carver), Giorgio, became serious.“There is absolutely nothing,” he said, “like the carving of names. Nothing like committing to the stone this record of someone who is utterly lost.”


[Later Allward watched carvers engraving a name of someone they had known:] and he knew that passion was entering the monument itself, the huge urn he had designed to hold grief....“Carve it in your heart then,”he said, speaking to them, to himself. “Let it go out of your heart and into the stone.”  


They were again sitting at the entrance to the studio, looking out over the beautiful fields whose patterns had been determined a thousand years ago, fragmented by the war, then reassembled in recent times. If you overlooked the dimpling of the craters, which were now covered by green, you could, from this elevated position, easily believe that the calm landscape had never known battle. And, yet, each year, war’s detritus was

plentifully unearthed by the blade of the plough. One farmer had told Giorgio that since the war he had discovered at least fifty small bibles - French, English, and German - in the plot of earth where he grew his turnips. And often these bibles were found in the torn and decayed pocket of a military uniform, along with a mud-soaked photograph or a stained and unreadable letter from home.(Pause)


“Let there be light, let there be understanding

Step down, to circle.



            (Sung) ‘For the Fallen’ (Glyn)


            ‘The Last Post’ and ‘Reveille’ - trumpet from balcony


(All readings taken from ‘The Stone Carvers’, by Jane Urquhart, pub. 2000, McClelland and Stewart; slightly edited for context.)












OFFERTORY ANTHEM - ‘Greater Love Hath No Man’

- print words -

During the anthem and offering, members of the congregation are invited to place in baskets the name(s) of those remembered today. Names offered in remembrance will be placed on the wall as we sing the recessional hymn. Please look at the names on the wall as you leave, so that we may all ‘bring them into the light. They will later be transcribed into the ‘Book of Remembrance’ for future remembering.    


*DEDICATION HYMN             678      






Gracious God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come,

            in memory and in hope, we come before you.

We bless you for your presence with us in our greatest joy and our most crushing sorrow.

We thank you for love and life; for friends and family.

Bless our remembering, O God. 

God, be in our heads and understanding as we bring our memories into the light of your love.


On this Sunday of remembering, we offer prayers of thankfulness and care

            for those who have gone before us, those who died that we might live,

            who suffered and still suffer in defence of the dignity of all people.

We remember men and women who have struggled for peace, stood against evil,

            sought justice with the sacrifice of their blood, their bodies,

            their minds, their futures, their lives -

            in the great European wars, in wars in Asia, the Middle East,

            Eastern Europe, Southern Africa,  Latin America -

            wherever the human struggle for justice and hope has been fought with pain and sacrifice.

God, be in our hearts and thinking as we bring our memories into the light of your love.


And we remember that many throughout your world still live where war and terror,

            violence and injustice, are part of daily life.

We remember those we do not know: children, men, women, and all your creatures

            whose eyes have seen the darkness of war.

We ask your presence with them in struggles for justice and peace,

            and with us as we try to discern how best to assist them.

For the healing of the nations, O God, we pray.

God, be in our heads and understanding as we bring our memories into the light of your love.


In memory of those who died in war, and in the firm and fervent hope

            of a just and lasting peace for all people, we ask that you pour your gift of healing grace upon us.

Comfort and strengthen those who suffer from oppression and natural disaster,

            from hunger and isolation, from illness and sorrow.

And keep us all ever mindful of the peace that is more than the absence of war

            the peace that is the presence of compassion and understanding,

            faith and hope, justice and love, throughout all creation.

Help us to build a world that has no room for hatred, no place for violence,

            a world in which love can live.

God, be in our hearts and thinking as we bring our memories into the light of your love.


We gather these and all our prayers, thankful that we may turn to you as to a Mother watching over us, as Our Father who art in heaven ...





*HYMN            678             `For the Healing of the Nations'                 WESTMINSTER ABBEY

(Karelle, Gordie, Heather and David place the names on the wall of remembrance.)



Copyright ©:'The Stone Carvers'. Copyright c. Jane Urquhart and McLelland and Stewart, 2001, used with permission.

Thanks to readers, participants and to the Worship Planning Team.
Copyright © 2002 - The Rev. Dr. Lillian Perigoe (
Revised -- November 11, 2002

Please acknowledge the appropriate author if citing this resource.
Page © 2004 - 2005 - The Rev. Richard J. Fairchild

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