Silent Night: churches nationwide to mark WW1 truce this Christmas
Churches across the UK will be singing a special version of traditional carol favourite Silent Night this Christmas, to mark 100 years since the famous truce when peace came to the trenches ...
This Christmas choirs all over the country will help communities to remember a remarkable World War 1 event. Peace broke out in the trenches. There was no fighting for 24 hours.
Enemies sang the much-loved Christmas carol, Silent Night, then they ventured out across No Man’s Land to exchange gifts – some even played football.
To mark the centenary of the 1914 Christmas Truce, a new verse and chorus has been written for Joseph Mohr’s famous carol, originally written in German as Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht.
All over the country in schools, sports stadia, cathedrals and churches, choirs, congregations and sports fans will sing Silent Night as part of Silent Night Carols events.
The events have the backing of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, who is President of the Football Association. He says: "Even in the bleakest of times, Christmas offers peace and hope. This Christmas, the Silent Night carol services are a powerful way to remember the sacrifice made by so many in the Great War and to celebrate the peace we enjoy."
Silent Night Carols are part of HOPE’s Greater Love campaign, helping churches to serve their communities as the nation commemorates the centenary of the First World War. The events have the backing of Sports Chaplaincy UK.
Roy Crowne, HOPE’s director, says: ‘It’s been amazing how the Silent Night Carols events have come together. There’s been a huge response, so we are expecting thousands of events to be held all over the country this December, in football stadia, schools, churches and wherever people sing Christmas carols.
"The Christian churches, military chaplaincies and sports chaplains who have met to plan Silent Night Carols, want people to celebrate, reflect and join us as we pray that this Christmas people will find fresh hope for the future.
"Most of all we want people to discover the peace and hope found in knowing Jesus personally – supernatural peace that anyone who knows Jesus can experience even when you are surrounded by fighting."
Through Silent Night Carols, HOPE is asking churches to raise funds for the work of Tearfund – as it brings hope to those affected by the war in Syria, particularly women and children.
Copies of the free Silent Night Carols programme are available from www.silentnightcarols.org; local groups can sign up on this site with details of their event.
Photos: Top: World War One football in No Man's Land. Photo with permission from Imperial War Museum.
Above: 2013 carols at Bradford Bulls rugby stadium