Rev John's July Jottings

27 Jun 19

What price do you pay for Freedom?  – cheap and a right, or costly and a privilege?

It was on June 6th this year that the D Day landings on that day in 1944 were being commemorated around the country and across Europe, including at Arley and Ansley by the Memorial at St Wilfrid’s church. No doubt many of you will have read some of the stories of bravery and inspiration that were written in the national newspapers or seen on television or heard on radio. On that one day alone, casualties were over 10,000, with 4,414 confirmed dead. 

This year there was even a song which was to surpass Ed Sheeran on the Amazon best sellers list, written by an ex- serviceman, Jim Radford, now 90 years old.  He was a galley boy aged 15 at the time and regarded as the youngest surviving person on D Day.  On board a deep-sea tug, he helped to construct artificial harbours in northern France.  As he approached the shores of Normandy he described it as, ‘being like a war film but you can’t switch it off’. He also said, ‘The best way we can honour those who fell is, to make sure it doesn’t happen again’.  The last two verses of his song called ‘The Shores of Normandy’ are:

For every hero's name that's known, a thousand died as well.
On stakes and wire their bodies hung, rocked in the ocean swell;
And many a mother wept that day for the sons they loved so well,
Men who cracked a joke and cadged a smoke as they stormed the gates of hell.

As the years pass by, I can still recall the men I saw that day
Who died upon that blood-soaked sand where now sweet children play;
And those of you who were unborn, who've lived in liberty,
Remember those who made it so on the shores of Normandy. 

It’s a solemn thought that many of the ‘sweet’ children mentioned in the song, are playing war games on their computers, i-Pads and phones.  They can switch them off, unlike the reality and devastation of war which Jim Radford describes in his song.

Warfare has become more sophisticated over the years, but nonetheless the cost of freedom from oppression can never be taken for granted.  The world has become a more dangerous place to live and I am always amazed how people can go through life without seeking to live at peace and harmony with each other. As another song says, ’Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me’.

Wishing you God’s blessings through another month.

Rev John

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Flower Festival 2019 Report

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Personal Profile
Rev. John Langlands

 It is with great pleasure that I would like to welcome you to St Laurence.  Frances, my wife, and I have received a very warm welcome ourselves, so you will not be disappointed when you visit St Laurence.  I am also the Curate of the other churches in Ansley and Arley – St John’s, St Michael’s and St Wilfrid’s.

Being in a rural and farming area in the north part of Coventry Diocese is like coming home for us.  A number of years ago I pastored a church in rural Norfolk which was mainly surrounded by arable farms with some pigs and chickens.  The strong sense of community life was something very special.  This should be particularly valued in these days when many folk live such individual, separate and often lonely lives. 

We have just had hot off the press a visiting card which I hope reflects what our church stands for: ‘You will not walk alone.  Together we are with you on life’s journey’.  Over these next weeks, months and years, I hope we can get to know you better and that you will find Frances and myself not just ‘churchy’ people but friends as well, who enjoy life and plenty of laughter!