To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England is taking to support the commemoration of the contribution of the armed services by supporting veterans in establishing new war memorials in churches.
30 November 2016
In February 2015 the Archbishops of Canterbury and York on behalf of the Church of England signed a commitment to support the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant. The Corporate Covenant commits the Church to recognise the need of and care for Armed Forces personnel, veterans and families in their local communities. More information about the commitment to the Corporate Covenant can be found at: https://www.churchofengland.org/our-views/international-affairs/armed-forces-covenant.aspx
With regards to commemoration the Church of England plays a significant role both nationally and locally during the season of Remembrance. Across the Church most parishes host memorials to local regiments and provide communities space to mark the contribution of the armed forces and uniformed organisations. In Newcastle, the magnificent East End window at St Nicholas Cathedral, Newcastle, is itself a memorial, installed to give thanks for the preservation of the building during the Second World War. In this period of the WWI centenary the Cathedral has worked with the Coldstream Guards to oversee conservation of their Standards, laid up in the cathedral after WWI. The Church is also working closely with local schools and community groups to help young people build understanding the contribution of all those who have served in armed conflict.
When considering constructing new memorials the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England and the Church Buildings Council are able to provide advice to churches. The CFCE has recently been involved in the commissioning of a significant new memorial at Hereford Cathedral, designed by John Maine RA, which will be a tribute to former and current soldiers serving in the SAS. Called Ascension the piece involves a new stained glass window and linked stone sculpture to provide a place for reflection and hope, as well as of remembrance. SAS veterans and serving soldiers were closely involved in its creation.
The Church Buildings Council has produced a free guide, available on the ChurchCare website, to help churches considering commissioning new art, of which memorials would be one type. This is a practical guide aimed at those with no experience of commissioning art and would be well suited to be used by veterans who wanted to work with a church to produce a memorial: http://www.churchcare.co.uk/churches/art-artefacts-conservation/introducing-new-art