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‘We are called to be peace-makers’, says Archbishop

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poppyWAR may sometimes be necessary but it is a sign of human failure, the Archbishop of Wales said at a candlelit vigil service to commemorate the outbreak of the First World War.

Dr Barry Morgan told the congregation at Llandaff Cathedral that we were called to be peace-makers and no conflict could be a good act.

The Archbishop was speaking at a commemorative service held jointly by the Welsh Government and Cardiff  Council in the presence of the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.  He said the service was about remembering sacrifice, not celebrating victory, and he urged people to strive for peace in their own relationships, the nation and the world.

Dr Morgan said, “War may sometimes be necessary but the Christian Church has never claimed that war and violence are good acts.  To be involved in war is always to lapse from the God-given ideal of peace and reconciliation.

“If there is no other way except through war to establish justice, then it may be the right or necessary thing to do, as the lesser of two evils but such a choice necessarily involves one in sin.  It is never a good act.  It is only by a convoluted and tortuous process of reasoning that I can ever claim to be demonstrating God’s love towards my unjust neighbour by taking a gun and shooting him.

“That is why this service has a penitential section where we acknowledge our failures and shortcomings before God, since involvement in any war, for whatever reason, is a sign of human failure and in any conflict there can be no completely innocent party, even though one side may be more guilty than the other.”

While giving thanks for those who sacrificed their lives standing against oppression and injustice,  we need to resolve to ensure war doesn’t happen again, the Archbishop said.

“Wars do not solve the deepest problems of human life.  Not even the First World War resolved the issues that led to it for some of these conflicts still smoulder on in the Balkans and elsewhere.  At best, they give us breathing spaces in which to build and work for a world in which war will seem an obscene irrelevance.  That is why abstaining from conflict is never enough because more is needed.  We are called to be peacemakers, for as Jesus said “peacemakers shall be called the sons and daughters of God.”

He added, “Our prayer tonight then might be that conscious of our past, and all that it entailed, we seek to live compassionately and caringly for the whole of humanity by striving for the things that make for peace in our own relationships, our own nation and indeed our world.”

During the service, a message of peace was read by two members of Urdd Gobaith Cymru’s Youth Forum. Wreaths were laid by the Duke of Goucester, the First Minister of Wales, the Lord Mayor of Cardiff and Wyn Calvin, a president of the Cardiff Central branch of the Royal British Legion. Saleem Kidwai, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Wales, laid an olive branch on behalf of the Interfaith Council for Wales.

At the end of the service, lights in the Cathedral were dimmed and a candle was lit by the Revd Albrecht Kostlin-Buurma of the German Lutheran Churches and people kept a period of silence.

Following a blessing by the Archbishop, the Last Post was sounded and the Cathedral bells tolled to mark the centenary of the outbreak of war.

 

Sermon – Commemoration of

World War I

bishop“The trouble with services about the two World Wars” wrote one veteran of World War II recently, “is that the ceremonies have been hijacked by politicians, the Royal Family, and the church – and they are not about any of them”.

Well, that seems to exclude a fair number of us here tonight but without becoming too defensive, what precisely are we doing when we hold a service such as this?

Well, it is certainly not about giving significance to any of the categories just mentioned nor is it about glorifying war.  As the Lambeth Conference of 1930 said “War as a method of settling international disputes, is incompatible with the teaching and example of Jesus”.

War may sometimes be necessary but the Christian Church has never claimed that war and violence are good acts.  To be involved in war is always to lapse from the God-given ideal of peace and reconciliation.  And it is interesting that people who have served in our armed forces usually both refuse to talk about the horrors of war and regard it as the option of a last resort.

If there is no other way except through war to establish justice, then it may be the right or necessary thing to do, as the lesser of two evils but such a choice necessarily involves one in sin.  It is never a good act.  It is only by a convoluted and tortuous process of reasoning that I can ever claim to be demonstrating God’s love towards my unjust neighbour by taking a gun and shooting him.

That is why this service has a penitential section where we acknowledge our failures and shortcomings before God (just look at the last hymn we have sung), since involvement in any war, for whatever reason, is a sign of human failure and in any conflict there can be no completely innocent party, even though one side may be more guilty than the other.

Memorials of the fallen in the First World War indicate the way in which our predecessors made sense of it all.  They saw the deaths of those who fought as a laying down of lives for the sake of others, as the First Minister points out in his foreword to this service.  Human sacrifice, not triumphalism about being victorious is the note they struck.  The  Annual Service of Remembrance is held at a cenotaph not an Arc de Triomphe.

That way of seeing things, helps people deal with the pain of loss.  Death seen as sacrifice has remained the language through which those whose loved ones in today’s conflicts also find solace.  And so we give thanks for men and women who gave up their lives to safeguard values such as justice, freedom and liberty and for men and women from every race and nation who have stood against oppression and injustice.

But, alongside penitence, there is repentance.  The word “repentance” means to have a change of heart.  It involves a resolve to ensure that such a thing never happens again.  Japan is an example of this.  Since the last war, as if to make amends for its atrocities, Japan has become one of the most peace loving of all nations.  It has committed itself to peace and non-military economic growth.

Wars however do not solve the deepest problems of human life.  Not even the First World War resolved the issues that led to it for some of these conflicts still smoulder on in the Balkans and elsewhere.  At best, they give us breathing spaces in which to build and work for a world in which war will seem an obscene irrelevance.  That is why abstaining from conflict is never enough because more is needed.  We are called to be peacemakers, for as Jesus said “peacemakers shall be called the sons and daughters of God”.

R. H. Tawney was a major figure in the development of British political thought,  a Christian socialist who had also fought in World War One and found himself alone in No Man’s Land for nearly two days, after being wounded by the fragments of a shell.

He wrote “why is it that marshalled against an enemy, is given to a nation a common outlook, a spiritual unity, a power of co-operation and a comradeship in service which eludes it in peace time.  How can people lay down their life for one another in war but not in peace?”

The idea of a fellowship limited to the business of killing and absent from the business of living haunted him.

“Why are we”, says Tawney “so willing to pay for our armed services but reluctant to pay for social, educational and health services?  Wasted lives in war ought to lead to a prevention of wasted lives in peace”.

Our hope is that by reflecting on all these things in an act of worship, God may be able to work on us and change us for the better.  As one theologian puts it “We come into the presence of God with our human emotions, with pride and courage and grief at loss and waste.  As we pour out our prayer, our mourning, our pride, our shame, our convictions, God is able to work upon us.  He is able to deepen and enlarge our compassion and to purify our thanksgiving.  People who come mourning their own losses, then find not just consolation but a spirit which enlarges their own compassion for others”.

Our prayer tonight then might be that conscious of our past, and all that it entailed, we seek to live compassionately and caringly for the whole of humanity by striving for the things that make for peace in our own relationships, our own nation and indeed our world.

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Entertainment

Broad Haven’s Music Festival set to rock village

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GET ready for an electrifying day of music and fun as the Havens Events Crew proudly presents the highly anticipated Broad Haven Music Festival. Scheduled for Saturday, July 20, from 3 PM to 11:30 PM, this event promises a vibrant mix of live bands, local talent, and a delightful BBQ, making it an unmissable occasion for music lovers and families alike.

The festival, at Broad Haven School Field, will feature an impressive lineup of performers. Attendees can look forward to the acoustic melodies of Cadence Acoustic, the energetic rhythms of Coastal Horizon, and the dynamic performances by Loose Change. These local bands are set to deliver a variety of genres, ensuring there’s something for everyone.

In addition to the musical performances, the festival will offer a range of delicious BBQ options, perfect for enjoying a summer evening outdoors. Whether you’re a long-time resident or a visitor, the Broad Haven Music Festival is an ideal opportunity to experience the local culture, connect with the community, and enjoy high-quality entertainment.

Tickets for the event are available for purchase at the Broad Haven Post Office and Lobster and Môr. Early acquisition is recommended to secure a spot at this popular event.

It promises to be a memorable day filled with music, food, and community spirit. The Broad Haven Music Festival is more than just a concert; it’s a celebration of local talent and a testament to the vibrant culture of our town. Don’t miss out on this fantastic event!

For more information, visit the Havens Events Crew’s official website or follow their social media pages for updates and announcements.


Event Details:

  • Date: Saturday, July 20
  • Time: 3 PM – 11:30 PM
  • Location: Broad Haven School Field
  • Performers: Cadence Acoustic, Coastal Horizon, Loose Change
  • Tickets Available At: Broad Haven Post Office, Lobster and Môr

Be sure to mark your calendars and get your tickets soon – we look forward to seeing you there!

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News

England’s Euro 2024 semi-final victory captivates millions

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ENGLAND’S Euro 2024 semi-final victory over the Netherlands garnered a peak audience of 20.3 million on ITV, cementing its status as the most-watched television programme of the year. Broadcasters are now hopeful that Sunday night’s final against Spain will attract over 30 million viewers, surpassing the numbers that tuned in for England’s Euro 2020 final defeat.

The overnight viewing figures, provided by ratings agency Digital-i, do not account for the millions who streamed the match on ITVX or watched in public venues. The coverage of Euro 2024 in the UK is split between the BBC and ITV, with the channels alternating first choices for matches in each round. ITV executives celebrated Jordan Pickford’s crucial penalty save against Switzerland, which secured another high-profile England match and delivered a substantial advertising boost to the channel.

Both the BBC and ITV will broadcast the final, with approximately a fifth of viewers typically opting for ITV over the BBC. Euro 2024 has demonstrated the enduring appeal of live sports broadcasting, which continues to draw massive audiences, particularly when the events are free to watch. Even matches not involving home nations have attracted significant viewership, with the Spain v France semi-final on BBC One peaking at 11 million viewers.

The Euros are part of the UK’s “crown jewel” sporting events, which include the football World Cup, Wimbledon, and the Olympics, all mandated by law to be shown on free-to-air channels. In contrast, other sports have opted for the higher revenue available from pay TV channels, resulting in substantially lower audiences for international matches. The England and Wales cricket board successfully lobbied in the 2000s to keep England test matches off the free-to-air list. Consequently, Jimmy Anderson’s farewell match against the West Indies at Lords, broadcast behind a paywall on Sky, attracted a peak audience of only about 700,000 viewers.

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Crime

Welsh Snooker star Michael White jailed for assaulting partner

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A WELSH snooker star has been jailed after assaulting his then-partner. Michael White, 33, of Penshannel, Neath Abbey, assaulted the woman, causing actual bodily harm, on two separate occasions. The first incident occurred on February 12, 2022, and the second on December 10, 2022.

White pleaded guilty to the charges. A further charge of intentional strangulation on December 10 was directed to lie on file. White, whose snooker world ranking peaked at 15 in 2016, was sentenced at Swansea Crown Court on Thursday, July 11, 2024.

He received a total jail term of 36 months – 19 months for the first incident and a consecutive 17 months for the second. The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association has announced that White has been removed from the world ranking list and the World Snooker Tour with immediate effect.

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